2015 Actual Expenses

Below you will find our 2015 Actual Expenses. We keep track of every single penny and they are all accounted for here. The reports below include both Actual & Budgeted numbers with differences.

Click on this link to see our full 2015 Budget.



2015 Year-End Summary

First of all, I prepared our 2015 budget in late 2014 assuming we would be traveling all summer.  However, early this year, we accepted a workamping job for three months from June 22 - September 21.

The workamping gig reduced many of our expenses like Campground Fees and fuel, but it was a paid position and we ended up spending much of our workamping income on fun stuff (as reflected in our Entertainment category).

So, while we ordinarily spend about a $1,000 less per month that we workamp, that wasn't the case for the summer of 2015.

Normal Living Expenses Summary

As I explained in our 2014 expenses summary, we're just strange when it comes to certain expenses.  And when we're doing well on the income side, we spend more.  We expand our Entertainment budget, we dine out more, and we're more generous with gifts and charitable donations (recorded in our Miscellaneous category).

And this year, we took a six-week trip to Costa Rica.  The costs of that trip are not included in here as I try to keep these expenses to the basic costs of RVing.  


For 2015, we were $2,109 over budget ($42,090 actual vs. $39,981 budget).  

Here are some details.


Campground Fees
We budgeted $20 a night or $600 a month for Campground Fees for a total of $7,200 for the year.  We came in well under that at $3,098 or about $8.50 a night.

Again, we're just not normal.  We stayed for free a few nights at the homes of friends and family, and we had several "comped" nights at locations where we hosted rallies.  Also, we had free camping during our workamping job the last part of June, all of July and August, and most of September.  Plus, we put our RV in storage during the time we went to Costa Rica, so that was another six weeks of zero campground fees.  Of course, we consider a certain number of free nights each year to keep our costs down and average out the more expensive stays, but this year we had far more zero nights than usual. 

For the nights we stayed in campgrounds and/or RV parks, our average nightly rate came out around $27 a night.

Cell Phones

We budgeted $100 per month for cell phones and we were right on that number.

Note:  Our internet costs are all in our cellular bill, and we pay about $160 a month for our cellular internet plans (30 GB of data) and equipment.  We have higher costs than most RVers and include this expense in our business internet expenses.

Clothing & Hair

We budgeted only $50 per month for Clothing & Hair, but actually spent a little over $100 per month and were $620 over budget for the year.
 
Whereas Linda was paying hardly anything for hair care when she had long hair, with her short cut, she is now averaging about $70 a month for cut & style.  Looks like I'm going to have to increase the budget for next year 'cause I don't think she's going back to the "hat and ponytail" look anytime soon.

For what it's worth, we averaged about $25 per month on clothing plus I bought a pair of expensive running shoes for me.


Entertainment

In 2015, with income good, I budgeted $300 a month for Entertainment.
  
We splurged on three guided fishing trips and two backpacking trips during the year.  Still, we came in $288 under budget in this category (mostly because we left the country for six weeks at the end of the year).

Food

Just like the prior year, we budgeted $125 a month on Dining Out and $360 a month on Groceries.

At year end we were $580 over budget on Dining Out (about $50 a month).  That includes nice dinners out with our friends from Florida in August, and us picking up the tab a couple of times for family during a May family reunion. 

We did great on Groceries, coming in about $850 under budget for the year. 

So, we were a net $270 under budget on Food for 2015.  Of course we had zero expenses in these categories for most of November and December when we were in Costa Rica, so it's a hollow victory.

Fuel

We were $950 under budget on Diesel and $500 under budget on Gas for the Jeep for 2015.  Lower fuel prices than I budgeted certainly helped.  And staying put in July, August, and most of September while workamping also contributed to being under budget on Fuel.  And finally, once again, being out of the country for six weeks also contributed to our savings.

For the year, we drove the truck about 5,688 miles while towing and another 501 miles locally (mostly as a shuttle for our paddling trips and to fuel up).  We averaged $2.72 a gallon for Diesel, about a $1.00 less than 2014. 

We drove the Jeep about 13,570 miles in 2015 and averaged $2.47 per gallon.

Insurance

For all of our insurances - Health, Life, Truck, Jeep, Fifth Wheel, Umbrella, - we were pretty much on our budget for 2015.

Health Insurance - $4,166 ($332 per month through July, $388 per month August - December);  Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kentucky, $10,000 deductible, $0 co-insurance, covered preventative care, Health Savings Account feature.  It's a "grandfathered" plan, so we haven't yet had to buy insurance on an "exchange".

Life Insurance - $953 ($250,000 of coverage for each of us;  30-year level premium policies)

Truck Insurance - $910 (2005 Ford F450 - special RV hauler policy; Kentucky rates)

Jeep Insurance - $600 (2005 Jeep Liberty; Kentucky rates)

Fifth Wheel Insurance - $710 (2006 Keystone Cambridge; includes Full-timers package; Kentucky rates)

Umbrella Policy - $131 ($1 Million additional liability coverage)

Laundry

Budgeted $30 a month for laundry, and we came in around $7 a month due to lots of opportunity to do laundry at relatives' and friends' houses.  Also, we got free laundry at our workamping job.  We were $280 under budget for the year.

Medical

We were $1,100 over budget on Medical/Dental due to Linda needing a root canal at the end of October.  The procedure and a new crown ran about $1,300 and we self-insure for dental using our Health Savings Account.

We were $220 over budget on Prescriptions/Pharmacy.  Linda started taking a prescription in October, and I hadn't budgeted for that.    


Miscellaneous

I never get this right.  We were $2,600 over budget in 2015.   Half of that was due to expenses related to my mother's death last December that were paid in January.

We also purchased a macerator pump and related equipment due to the septic tank at our workamping spot this summer being uphill.

When our refrigerator went out suddenly, we bought a mini-fridge and electric cooler.  The fridge started working again on its own, but we had it looked at and now we have back-up plans if it fails again.

Most of the rest of it has been due to increases in our charitable donations and what we have spent on gifts for others.  We have been fortunate with our businesses and that has allowed us to be more generous with our funds. 


Propane

We budgeted $30 a month for propane, but we came in at about $10 a month.  That budget is high, but we weren't sure how much of an effect our new Truma instant water heater (runs on propane only) would affect our propane consumption.  It turns out there isn't much difference.

Property Taxes

Still being residents of Kentucky, we have to pay personal property taxes on the values of our Truck, Jeep, and Fifth Wheel and they are all due in the first half of the year.  Fortunately, those taxes go down each year and I over-budgeted by about $160.

Satellite TV

We like our satellite TV and pay for a few extras like our east and west coast network feeds.  We budgeted $130 a month for 2015 and we came in about $80 under budget.  The prices went up, but I just called and got a "loyal customer" discount of $10 a month.

Vehicle Maintenance

We budgeted $280 per month on maintenance for the Truck, Jeep, & Fifth Wheel.  These categories were our downfall on the budget this year.  We came in under budget on Jeep Maintenance by $198, but we were over budget $3,440 on RV maintenance and over budget $1,430 on truck maintenance.

In February we spent $2,800 to have all the windows in our fifth wheel removed and re-sealed.  Many of our dual pane windows were starting to fog, so we went ahead and had them all re-sealed with better, commercial seals.  The work was done by Suncoast Designers in Florida.  

Then in October, we spent $1,000 on generator repair, hydraulic system repair, and other miscellaneous items.  We also replaced some worn out rubber springs on our RV independent suspension ($430).

On the truck side, it wasn't really a maintenance issue.  We installed a PacBrake exhaust brake to enhance our safety while towing and that ran $3,000 for the parts and installation. 

So, if not for the Dental issues, the RV maintenance items, and the exhaust brake for the truck, we would have been about $4,000 under budget and right at that $36,000 per year expense total we use as a good moderate base for full-timers.  Of course, it's always a good idea to have an emergency fund built up to cover these large expenses that may pop up.


First Quarter Details



First Quarter Notes

January

We were $230 over budget in January.

We were way under budget in almost every category, but way over in two categories: Entertainment & Miscellaneous.

After a rough January, we took a chartered fishing trip in the Everglades at the end of the month.  That caused us to be $380 over budget in the Entertainment category.

In our Miscellaneous category, we had expenses related to my mother's death, we gave a large gift to a great friend, and we made donations and other gifts to charitable organizations related to my mother's illness and the death of another close family friend.  Those unanticipated expense resulted in us being $1,270 over budget.

Again, in all other categories, we were close to budget or well under budget.

We were $500 under budget in Campground Fees.  We spent the first part of January in Louisville with our rig parked on friends' property.  The rest of January, except for the last few days were spent camped on another friend's property.  For ten days in January, we were working two RV shows while our rig was parked in south Florida.

We were almost $300 under budget in Groceries and Dining Out.

We were $175 under budget in Diesel and Gas driving the truck only 290 miles and driving the Jeep 664 miles

We had no Property Taxes due, we were right on in Insurance, and we had no Vehicle Maintenance expenses for the month. 

Considering the large expenses we hadn't budgeted for, we were fortunate to only be $230 over budget.


February

We were $1,800 over budget in February due primarily due to replacing all the dual pane window seals in our fifth wheel at a cost of $2,800.   

We were $390 under budget on Campground Fees.  That was due to several days of parking for free while we were having our windows replaced, and the low cost of parking during our 2015 Boondocking Rally. 

We had negative Entertainment expenses for the month due to reimbursement of some expenses we fronted for others in January for a "swimming with the manatees" tour. 

We were almost $90 under budget on food for the month. 

We were $150 under budget on Diesel for the truck, and $50 under budget on Gas for the Jeep.  We didn't do many miles in February.

We only towed 396 miles in February and drove the truck only another 63 miles in local exploring.  We drove the Jeep 938 miles which included 546 miles in local exploring and trips to the Tampa airport to fly out to RV shows.

We were over budget in Miscellaneous due to a charitable donation, and over budget $60 in Truck Maintenance.

Of course the big item for the month was the $2,800 for the removal, separation, are re-sealing of our dual pane windows in the RV.  A few were starting to fog, and since we were in the area of Suncoast Designers, known for guaranteed seals, we decided to go ahead and have the work done on all of them rather than doing it as each one failed.  We hadn't anticipated that large expense and I didn't budget for it.


March

We were $418 under budget in March.

We were $18 over budget on Campground Fees.

We were $210 over budget on Clothing & Hair.  Linda had an expensive hair cut & style, and she went clothes shopping with her Mom while we visited for a week.

We were $120 under budget in Entertainment as we've budgeted high for that this year.  Just three rounds of golf, some Kindle books, and a kayak launch fee. 

We were $35 under budget on food for the month.

We were $90 under budget Fuel.

We towed 287 miles in March and drove the truck another 150 in local exploring while Linda was using the Jeep to go to her stained glass class for a week.  We drove the Jeep 971 miles which included 684 miles in local exploring.

We were $128 over in the Miscellaneous category due to purchasing a grill cover, a hitch cover, and a couple more expenses related to our new stained glass door window and fireplace glass. 


For the first quarter, we were $1,625 over budget on our "normal living expenses".  We would have been in great shape had we not replaced all of our dual-pane windows.


Second Quarter Details



Second Quarter Notes

April

We did great in April.  We were $1,025 under budget.

We came in $257 under budget on Campground Fees with the last part of April being free at our Spring Rally.

I budgeted high for Entertainment and we weren't even close, coming in $218 under budget.

We were $65 over budget on Groceries and Dining Out.

We were $65 under budget on Diesel.  We drove the truck 658 miles while towing and another 16 miles locally.

We drove the Jeep a total of 941 miles, with 284 being local exploring and errands.  We were $70 under budget on Gas.

April is a big expense month with over $1,000 due for Jeep and RV insurance.  Fortunately, there were no surprises there, and we were $95 under budget between the two.

We were about $75 under budget in our Miscellaneous category. 

All in all, we were very pleased with the April results and it was a good start to the Second Quarter.


May


We had a very good May.  We were $490 under budget.

We were $360 under budget on Campground Fees.  We had several nights free at the site of our Spring Rally.   

We were $280 under budget on Entertainment having done nothing but purchase a couple of Kindle books.

We were $220 over budget on Dining Out due to us picking up the tab on a couple of group meals during a family reunion weekend for Linda's family.  We were $30 under budget on Groceries in May.  So, we were a net $190 over budget for food.

We were $130 under budget on Diesel as we only had one fill up for the month and only towed 305 miles with an additional 14 miles in local travel. 

We drove the Jeep a total of 1,591 miles, with half of that being for a trip from Sevierville, TN to Louisville, KY in the middle of the month for a family reunion and to see my Dad who went into the hospital.   We were $36 over budget on Gas.

We were about $73 over budget in our Miscellaneous category.

All in all, a great month


June


We were $800 over budget in June.

We were $7 under budget in Campground Fees for June.  

We were $15 under budget on Entertainment.

We were $270 over budget on Groceries as we stocked up for our remote workamping job in northern Minnesota.  And we were $108 over budget on Dining Out.

We were $141 over budget on Diesel.  We had a lot of miles to travel to get to our summer job in Minnesota.  Again, we accepted the position after I had made the budget for the year. 

We drove the truck 1,479 miles with 1,425 of it while towing.  That's a lot of travel in a month for us.

We drove the Jeep a total of 2,275 miles, with 850 of that being in local travel (575 miles in Louisville during hometown visits and appointments).  We were $114 over budget on Gas.

We were $300 over budget on Medical/Dental/Pharmacy expenses.  We self insure for dental, and we had a dental cleaning with X-rays in June ($356).

We were about $130 over budget in our Miscellaneous category.  That was mostly due to buying some rope lights and other items for our three-month stay at our workamping job and birthday and Father's Day gifts. 


So, we were about $718 under budget for the second quarter.

For the first half of the year, we were $900 over budget. 


Third Quarter Details




Third Quarter Notes

July

We were $245 under budget in July.

We came in $600 under budget on Campground Fees with July being free with our summer Workamping job.

We were $470 over budget on Entertainment.  We took a guided fishing trip in Voyageurs National Park, and we reserved a bed & breakfast for a couple nights when our friends from Florida come to visit in August.

We were $70 over budget on Groceries and Dining Out.

We were $124 under budget on Diesel.  We filled up the truck at the beginning of the month, but drove only 18 miles in July while at our workamping job.

We drove the Jeep a total of 670 miles exploring the area around our workamping job near Voyageurs National Park.  We were $87 under budget on Gas.

We were about $450 over budget in our Miscellaneous category.  We purchased a new wastewater disposal system with a macerator.  Also, Linda purchased a new set of king sheets for our bed.  And, we made a large charitable donation.


August

We were $265 under budget in August.

We came in $600 under budget on Campground Fees with August being free with our summer Workamping job.

We had a lot of fun in August and spent a lot of money on Entertainment.  We were $1,000 over budget.  We had friends that came up from Florida for a week, and we stayed at a bed & breakfast in Bayfield, WI and took a private boat tour.  Linda & I also took another guided fishing trip in Voyageurs National Park.  And, finally, we took a four-day, three-night backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park (the ferry cost alone was $372). 

We were $77 over budget on Groceries and Dining Out.

We were $233 under budget on Diesel.  The budget was done before we decided to take a workamping job for the summer.  So, we had $0 diesel expense for August and didn't drive the truck at all other than to run the engine and keep it exercised a little. 

We drove the Jeep a total of 944 miles exploring the area around our workamping job near Voyageurs National Park, checking out Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, and Isle Royale National Park.  Still, we were $58 under budget on Gas.

Our health insurance goes up every August, and it went up $28 more a month than we expected.

We were about $96 under budget in our Miscellaneous category.


September

We were $185 under budget in September.

We came in $37 under budget on Campground Fees with most of September being free with our summer Workamping job.  But we had $385 in Campground Fees we paid in September that were actually for October, so it was actually better than it looks.

We were $180 over budget on Clothing & Hair Care due to my purchase of some expensive running shoes and Linda's purchase of some souvenir clothing from Kabetogama Lake where we workamped this summer. 

After spending a lot on Entertainment in August, we settled down in September only spending $50 and coming in $250 under budget for the month.  

We were $66 under budget on Groceries and Dining Out (over on Dining Out, but well under on Groceries).

We were $10 under budget on Diesel driving 740 miles the last week of September as we made our way from Minnesota across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to get to our Fall Rally location in Lake Leelanau, MI.

We drove the Jeep a 740 miles traveling from campground to campground and another 1,100 miles in local exploring for the month.  Still, thanks to lower gas prices, we were only $34 over budget for September on Gas.

Our health insurance goes up every August, and it went up $28 more a month than the increase I budgeted for.  Therefore, we'll be $28 over budget each month the rest of the year.

We were about $262 over budget in our Miscellaneous category due to the purchase of a mini-fridge and an electric cooler to save our food when our refrigerator went out.  It was apparently some kind of a fluke, because the refrigerator came back on the next day and has been working ever since.


Fourth Quarter Details



Fourth Quarter Notes

October

This month pretty much blew our budget for the year.  We were a whopping $5,655 over budget for October.  Linda had to have a root canal, we had some large repairs for the fifth wheel, and we purchased an exhaust brake for the truck.

We came in $370 under budget on Campground Fees.  Most of the first half of the month we were parked at various service centers in Elhart & Shipshewana, Indiana.  National RV Refrigeration, Master Tech RV, and MORryde all offer free camping when coming for service or check-ups.  The last week of the month wasn't paid until November.

We were $270 under budget on Entertainment.  We were mostly having service work done, traveling, and visiting my Dad in Louisville, so there wasn't much time for entertainment.

We were $110 over budget on Groceries and Dining Out, $235 over on Dining Out, and $125 under on Groceries.  

We were $15 under budget on Diesel.  We towed 633 miles and used the truck another 30 miles locally.

We drove the Jeep a total of 1,632 miles with 1,000 of that being for local driving.  We were $28 over budget on Gas.

We were about $380 over budget in our Miscellaneous category.  Linda purchased a supply of Mary Kay from her niece, and we made some large gifts and donations.

We were $1,360 over budget in our Medical & Dental expense category due to Linda needing a root canal and a crown replaced.  We self-insure for Dental.

We were also $194 over budget on Prescriptions.  Linda began taking a prescription in October that I hadn't budgeted, and we had to purchase a large supply before going to Costa Rica for six weeks starting in November.

We were over budget $1,400 on RV Maintenance.  As we came through Elkhart, Indiana, we stopped at Master Tech RV to have repairs made to our generator and hydraulic system, plus a few other minor issues ($1,000).  We also went into MORryde to have our independent suspension checked - we needed two new rubber springs ($430).

Finally, we were over budget $3,100 on Truck Maintenance.  It really wasn't maintenance, but rather the cost of purchasing and installing an exhaust brake on our truck to provide additional safety while towing.  The warranty on our truck engine had expired, and we hadn't installed the device earlier because we didn't want to take the chance of voiding the warranty.


November

We were $1,670 under budget in November.

During the year, we had the opportunity to go to Costa Rica with some friends of ours.  We left November 10 and returned December 22, so we were gone most of November.

However, the first part of November, we had some Campground Fees, and we traveled hard to go from Kentucky to Florida in a short time, so we had some fuel costs along the way.  

Of course, we had some expenses like health insurance that continued while we were gone, but there was nothing after November 9th that related to our RVing life.


December

We were $2,090 under budget in December.

Clearly, with us being out of the country for three fourths of the month, we didn't have a lot in the way of expenses.

What we did have were recurring monthly expenses and the small amount we spent the last week of the month to re-stock our food.

We also got a $250 rebate in December for the exhaust brake we purchased in October, so that was a reduction in expenses.

While we returned on December 22, we stayed with Linda's Mom for several days after we returned, and didn't take our rig out of storage until December 28.