Below you will find our 2017 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.
We were $2,500 over budget for the year, averaging $3,551 per month.
First of all, of all the years we've been full-time RVers (since 2005), this year, 2017, has probably been the least "normal" year we've been on the road. We would recommend throwing 2017 out if you are looking for guidance on a typical year of full-timing costs.
But it is what it is, and we're putting it out there anyway.
My father passed away in October 2016, and my mother had passed away two years earlier in 2014. April 2017 was the time we had planned to return to Louisville to divest their possessions and get their house ready to sell.
Actually, technically, it was my house as they had transferred title to me years before for various convenience and financial reasons. So we spent a month having an estate sale, painting the house, and getting it in the proper shape to put on the market.
And then we headed to Tennessee for our Spring Educational Rally in May. Less than an hour outside of Sevierville, Tennessee, we had a really bad stretch of road and when we arrived at River Plantation RV Resort, we noticed the kingpin on our fifth wheel was at an awkward angle.
After the Rally, we had the front section of the rig taken apart and discovered that a frame beam up inside had broken completely in two places on either side of the pin box.
It took us the rest of May to figure out a plan of action. With the help of RVs For Less in Knoxville and our insurance company, Progressive Insurance, it was determined the frame could be fixed.
We did a temporary weld and got the rig to Knoxville where we dropped it off at RVs for Less around the first of June not really knowing how long the repair would take.
The month of June, we went back to Louisville where we stayed in a friend's basement for the month. While we were there, we got a contract on my parents' house. There were some repairs needed after inspection, so we managed those and the closing took place on the last day of the month.
Our fifth wheel, our home, still wasn't ready, so we drove to Florida. The plan was to use the proceeds from the sale of my parents' house to purchase a house in The Villages where Linda's mother lives. Due to the number of activities and sports available and having family in the area, it is a place we could see ourselves living sometime in the future.
We had always assumed that the equity in my parents' house would be used to pay for assisted living or nursing home facilities, but we had taken over management of their finances a few years before, and I found a Veterans benefit my father was eligible for to help. So we were able to take care of them at their home until their passing without having to sell or mortgage the house.
With the unexpected funds from the sale of the house, we decided to purchase an investment property in The Villages. This would accomplish a few things:
This was not something we had thought about until this year, and everything just seemed to fall into place.
We stayed with Linda's mother, looked at houses on July 1, made an offer on a small, furnished villa on July 2 and the offer was accepted within fifteen minutes. We closed on July 12 and moved into the house shortly after closing.
We spent the last half of July fixing the house up while our rig was still being repaired. We would return in early September for a family gathering, and then it would go on the market to be rented, hopefully, on an annual basis. We got our first annual tenant starting November 1.
So, for June & July, we were out of our RV. Then we headed back to Tennessee the first of August and picked up our fifth wheel where we moved it back to River Plantation RV Resort until our Fall Educational Rally in late September.
After the Rally, we started moving west and the last three months of the year were more "normal". But the middle of the year was nowhere near normal and, again, this was probably the one year where you can throw out the financials as far as using them as a guide for full-time RVing.
With that said, we're still providing the numbers below.
We were $2,500 over budget, having spent $42,618 on a budget of $40,119.
In several categories, we were very close to the budget, but we had some significant differences in a few categories, most notably our "Miscellaneous" category and our "Jeep Maintenance" as we'll explain below.
For January, February, and most of March, we parked for free in Linda's sister's front yard and I had budgeted accordingly. And then we didn't have any campground fees for June & July as explained above, and we were given very good rates at River Plantation having brought in two rallies for the year. At the end of the year, we had a couple more weeks of free camping on a friend's property. So, we were about $2,670 under budget on Campground Fees for the year.
For 2017, I changed the Clothing & Hair Care category to Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, & Mary Kay as Linda has desired a little more pampering with our somewhat steadier income. And being with her sister and her Mary Kay consultant niece for a few months increased that desire. Even with an increased budget, we were about $500 over budget.
In our Entertainment category, we were $165 under budget for the year. We haven't done much in the way of entertainment this year, so I thought we'd be way, way under budget in this category. But then I checked and remembered that this one is on me. I bought a new set of golf clubs and a pair of golf shoes to leave at our house in The Villages. And, I splurged on a Kindle Oasis. Fortunately, in December, I won $200 in a poker tournament to get us back in an "under budget" situation.
For 2017, I raised our Dining Out budget from $125 a month to $150 a month. And I raised our Groceries budget from $350 a month to $400 a month. We were $205 under budget in the Dining Out category for the year. And we were $330 under budget on Groceries mostly due to staying in hotels for most of January and February while speaking at RV shows AND sharing food costs with friends and family while out of our rig in June & July.
I knew our only moving of the RV would be from Jacksonville, FL to Louisville, KY in the first four months of 2017, and we had planned on staying at one RV park in Tennessee from May through September, so I budgeted low on Diesel. Even with the low budget prediction, we were still $613 under budget for the year.
Well, we had an unexpected trip to Louisville from Tennessee and back, and two unexpected and unbudgeted trips from Tennessee to Florida and back. And during our time in Louisville, we drove the Jeep more miles than I expected. Even with all of that, we were still $28 under our Gas budget for 2017.
We're $116 over budget on Health Insurance through November. Our rates increase every year in August and I budgeted for an increase. However, the actual increase was about $23 more a month than I budgeted.
On Medical & Prescriptions, we were $90 under budget. I budgeted $120 a month in these categories for 2017. Linda had some collarbone pain early in the year, and the doctor had her do an ultrasound which we had to pay for since we have a very high deductible, but other than that, we've been very fortunate.
We were $254 under budget on Laundry. This was mostly due to free laundry while staying at Linda's sister's for three months, staying with friends in Louisville for a month, and having laundry in The Villages for a month while our rig was still being repaired in July.
We were $3,093 over budget in our Miscellaneous category for the year. About $400 of that was for taxes, license fees, registration, etc. on the Jeep we purchased at the beginning of the year. And we spent about $565 on Linda's sister's house, tiling the bathroom floor and other projects - sort of a trade-off for not having to pay camping fees for December 2016, and January - March 2017. Also, we bought some gift cards for our friends that let us stay with them in June. This year, we also purchased a Blackstone Griddle for outdoor cooking, and Linda bought an Instant Pot. Finally, we've been contributing some tuition payments for a troubled youth in our family that is working hard to turn his life around. In the overall scheme of things, the overbudget situation here is pretty much offset by our savings in the Campground Category as explained above.
I over-budgeted on personal property taxes for our truck, fifth wheel, and Jeep, so we were about $310 under budget there. Most folks don't have personal property taxes as they domicile in states without them, but since we are still Kentucky residents, we have this extra expense.
We were $168 under budget on Propane which I simply over-budgeted (even considering we were not in our rig for two months).
We're $230 under budget on Satellite TV. In the changing of accounts, DirecTV failed to charge us for a month and I over-budgeted by a little each month.
Here's the big reason we are over budget in total for the year. We've had to make major repairs on the used Jeep we bought at the first of the year. We're $5,933 over budget in Jeep Maintenance. Part of that is new tires which we were going to have to put on our other Jeep anyway, but we also had to have a new water pump and the entire air conditioning system replaced in addition to some other repairs we had done at the same time. Hopefully, those repairs will be worth it over time, but they kept us from being well under our planned budget for 2017.
The good news is that we were around $2,200 under budget on RV and Truck Maintenance for the year. So that helps on the Jeep situation a bit. Oh, and we were very, very fortunate that Progressive Insurance completely covered the repair of our fifth wheel frame. We had a disappearing deductible and several years of no prior claims, so we didn't even have to pay a deductible. That repair would have been about $11,000.
Through September, it was a very strange year without a lot of real RVing involved, and our "RVing" expenses were still over budget due mostly to our issues with the Jeep (which most people without a second vehicle wouldn't have). Still, it could have been much worse with the fifth wheel frame issue.
In the end, we're still feeling blessed and happy and looking forward to exploring the western U.S. for the first time since 2013.
First Quarter Details
First Quarter Notes
We were $523 over budget in January.
Staying in Linda's sister's front yard, we had no Campground Fees, and I had budgeted accordingly.
Staying at Linda's sister's and being near to her Mary Kay consultant niece AND doing three RV shows in January (and two more in February), Linda splurged a bit on hair, nails, and make-up, so we were about $140 over budget on Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, & Mary Kay.
I splurged on a Kindle Oasis in January, so that put us about $150 over budget in our Entertainment category.
We were about $285 under budget on Groceries and Dining Out, mostly because we were in hotels doing RV shows much of January and didn't do much grocery shopping.
We were right on budget in Diesel having filled it up early in the month and then not driving it at all in January.
We were $3 over budget on Gas and drove the Jeep 299 miles in January.
We were $660 over budget on Miscellaneous expenses due to taxes, license, and registration fees for the 2005 Jeep Liberty we bought.
If not for the administrative expenses of the new Jeep purchase, we would have been in really good shape for January. As it was, we knew it was going to be a low expense month for everything else, so it turned out okay.
We were $780 under budget in February, and that was on a low budget amount of only $1,922.
Again, we had $0 in Campground Fees and that was what I had budgeted knowing we would be parking for free for the month in Linda's sister's front yard - that's what we call "Moochdocking".
We were $135 under budget in Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, & Mary Kay. I had raised the budget in this category, but Linda splurged in January and had little in this month. Now were back to about even for the year on the budget.
We were $85 under budget in Entertainment for February.
We were about $330 under budget on food for the month. Like January, we were living out of a hotel for much of the month doing RV shows and didn't do much grocery shopping. Meals while at the shows were reimbursed as part of our contract.
Budgeted $0 for Diesel for the truck for February and accomplished that goal as we didn't drive the truck at all.
We were $2 under budget on Gas for the Jeep filling it up only once and driving only 219 miles for the month.
We were $35 under budget on Medical and Prescription expenses for February.
We did a change over of bank accounts in February, and somehow we didn't get charged for our Satellite TV, so we were $150 under budget. I'm sure that will get fixed in subsequent months.
February was a great month as we only had $1,140 in expenses. Of course, we were at RV shows much of the month, and our expenses during the shows are covered.
We were $292 under budget in March. March is a big expense month for us every year as we have insurance due on the truck, personal property taxes due on the truck and fifth wheel, and our umbrella insurance premium is also due. So we had a whopping budget of almost $4,300 for the month.
We were $185 under budget on Campground Fees. When I set the budget, I wasn't sure when we would be leaving Jacksonville, so I budgeted high. It turned out we left late in the month and only had a few nights of discounted camping as we made our way to Louisville.
We were $90 over budget on Clothing, Hair, Nails, & Mary Kay. Linda splurged on a hair cut and a few manicures - some new process she loves.
We were $50 under budget in Entertainment.
We were $140 over budget on Dining Out this month as we went out or had take-out or home delivery much more than usual for us. But we were $212 under budget on Groceries, so we did fine overall on food for the month.
We were $55 under budget on Diesel and $10 under budget on Gas in February. We towed the rig 784 miles and had another 205 miles driving the truck without the rig (mostly for my mid-month solo trip to the Okefenokee). We drove the Jeep 672 miles in addition to the 784 travel miles.
We were $210 under budget on personal property taxes for the RV and truck. That was just over-budgeting on my part, but happy to see the bills came in so much less than expected.
So, for the first quarter, we were $550 under budget in total. Not bad and a good start to the year.
Second Quarter Details
Second Quarter Notes
We were $63 over budget in April.
We were $145 under budget for Campground Fees. I had budgeted $600, but we ended up getting a monthly rate just outside of Louisville that was much less than expected.
In our Entertainment category, we were $160 under budget. We just didn't do much entertainment-wise that cost money in April.
We were pretty much on target for Groceries and Dining Out coming in just slightly under budget.
We were $120 over budget in Diesel. I budgeted $0 since I knew we would be staying put all of April, but I ended up filling the truck after we arrived in town on April 1. I drove the truck all of 42 miles.
We were $112 over budget on Gas as I underestimated how many miles we would be driving around Louisville getting my parents' house ready to sell. We drove almost 1,650 miles in April - it was like having a job we had to commute to every day.
We were $320 over budget on Medical expenses with Linda having some nagging pain in her collarbone. With our high deductible, we had to cover an ultrasound.
We were $424 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. That was having to pay taxes and registration fees on our Jeep in Kentucky. We had paid the dealership in Florida to do that in January, but they messed it up and reimbursed us in March, so the April amount was offset last month.
Considering we had a couple of large expenses, we were quite satisfied with April.
We were $2,973 over budget in May. OUCH!. This was due to unexpected repairs needed for the used Jeep we bought at the first of the year. More on that later.
We were $453 under budget for Campground Fees. I had budgeted $600, but part of our month was comped by River Plantation RV Resort due to hosting a rally there, and the non-comped part they just put on our tab to pay later since we were planning on being there all summer.
In our Entertainment category, we were $47 under budget.
We were $64 over our $550 budget for Groceries and Dining Out.
We were $83 under budget in Diesel. Our only trip was Louisville to Sevierville, TN. We had 245 miles towing, and I drove the truck 125 miles around Sevierville, mostly while the Jeep was in the shop. Total of 370 miles.
We were $29 under budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 757 miles with about 500 of that being from Louisville to Sevierville and then a return trip to Louisville on the last day of the month.
I accidentally doubled up on our Health Insurance payments in May, so we were one payment over budget - $412. We'll be under budget in June by the same amount.
We were about $9 over budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $311 under budget in our Miscellaneous category actually having negative expenses. The dealership where we bought the Jeep at the first of the year really screwed up the taxes and registration, so they reimbursed us everything we had paid them. The May reimbursement offset the expenses in this category from back in January.
The biggest problem in May was that our new-to-us Jeep needed some major repairs. The prior owner had lifted the Jeep but there were some mechanical flaws in the way it was done. Also, she had put extremely loud, aggressive tires on it (although she lived in Florida and never took it off-road), so we replaced the tires (should have had the dealer do that when we bought it). If we had kept our old Jeep with 230,000 miles, we would have needed to replace tires anyway. The Jeep also needed a new water pump. The total came to over $3,300 making the good deal we thought we got in January, a terrible deal in May.
We also were over budget on RV Maintenance by $390 as we spent $300 for a wash and wax and we paid another $240 for air conditioner repair.
If not for the Jeep tires and repairs, we would have been well under budget for May.
June was a much better month for us as we came in $1,153 under budget, to make up for part of May's over budget amount. But that's misleading as we weren't in our RV or any campgrounds in June.
We had a broken frame on our rig, so it went into the shop from the first of June through the end of July. Fortunately, our insurance company covered all the repairs.
So, we were $600 under our $600 Campground Fees budget.
In our Entertainment category, we were $130 under budget.
But we were $331 over on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget. Linda had a big time this month with her friend Sandy, and she had a big Mary Kay order from her niece. Also, she bought some walking shoes.
Being out of our rig we were over budget on Dining Out, but we were under budget on Groceries by about the same amount, so it was a wash on food.
We had planned on staying put in June so I hadn't budgeted anything for Diesel. And we didn't spend anything on Diesel as the truck sat with our fifth wheel while the fifth wheel was being repaired.
We were $34 under budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 1,452 miles around Louisville while we stayed in the basement of some friends.
I accidentally paid the June premium on our Health Insurance in May, so we were one payment under budget in June - $412.
We were about $40 under budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
Our annual life insurance is due in June so we paid $953 for that. We each have a $250,000 policy on a 30-year level premium meaning we locked in the premium back when we started in 2005 and it won't change until 2035. That's an easy one to budget for.
We were $279 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. That was mostly for gift cards and other items we spent on our hosts in Louisville while we lived in their basement for the month.
We were $100 under budget for Property Taxes as the budget was based on our old Jeep. The taxes on the new Jeep were paid when we registered it earlier in the year.
We had no Truck or RV Maintenance in June, so we were way under the $350 we budgeted for those expenses.
Although we weren't in our RV, we still had many of our usual living expenses like food and insurance. But it was good to be under budget considering the expensive Jeep repairs in May.
Third Quarter Details
Third Quarter Notes
In July, our fifth wheel was still being repaired, so we were still out of our home. We had just sold a house in Louisville, so we drove to The Villages community in Florida, where we planned to purchase an investment property.
Just like June, we had budgeted $600 for Campground Fees but our fifth wheel was in for repairs, so we were $600 under budget in July.
In our Entertainment category, we were $1,000 over budget. We bought an investment property and I bought a set of golf clubs and a pair of golf shoes to leave at the property for when we might visit in the future.
This month we were $117 under budget on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget.
Being out of our rig we were over budget on Dining Out, and we were also a little over on Groceries. We were a total of $127 over budget on food.
We had planned on staying put in July so I hadn't budgeted anything for Diesel. And we didn't spend anything on Diesel as the truck sat with our fifth wheel while the fifth wheel was being repaired.
We were $42 over budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 787 miles in July, mostly getting from Louisville to central Florida.
We were about $43 under budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $107 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. That was for hotel stays going to and from Florida in July and for a gift card for Linda' mother for hosting us for a couple of weeks.
We had no Truck or RV Maintenance in July, so we were way under the $350 we budgeted for those expenses.
But we had another big Jeep repair expense in our Jeep Maintenance. It was certainly frustrating after our big repair bill in May, but we didn't have much choice. We had to replace the entire air conditioning system at a cost of almost $2,800.
Just like May, the Jeep repairs killed us. And my golf clubs purchase didn't help either. Still, if not for the Jeep expenses, we'd be way under budget for the year.
The first of August, our RV was finally repaired and it looked beautiful. The repair and the welding of the front beam went quickly, but the whole front end had been taken apart, and the time and labor was all in putting it back together.
Back to camping, we were $15 over budget in Campground Fees for August.
In our Entertainment category, we were $157 under budget.
This month we were $217 over budget on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget. That was due to the purchase of two pairs of athletic shoes for me and another pair for Linda. We've been doing a lot of walking and the RV park has a new pickleball court, so we needed some court shoes.
Having been out of our rig for two months, we had to re-stock most of our groceries. We also had to go back to Florida for a birthday gathering and spent quite a bit on food for the party. We were $226 over budget on Groceries, but $80 under on Dining Out for a net of $146 over budget on food.
We had planned on staying put in August so I hadn't budgeted anything for Diesel. But we had driven the truck to a repair facility in North Carolina and had $30 in fuel. The trip was 185 miles roundtrip.
We were $26 over budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 1,600 miles in August going from Florida to Tennessee the first of the month and then back to Florida again at the end of the month for a family gathering.
We were $23 under budget on Health Insurance. Our insurance premiums go up every August and I budget for that, but I was $23 short per month in my estimate.
We were about $64 under budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $434 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. That was mostly for a new grill, a Blackstone Griddle, and an Instant Pot, and lots of accessories to go with both. Linda also cleaned out her pantry and bought new food storage containers.
We had no Truck or RV Maintenance in August, so we were way under the $350 we budgeted for those expenses.
We were back to RVing finally and were re-supplying after a couple months out of our fifth wheel. We were $332 over budget overall.
In September, we had to make another trip to Florida for a birthday gathering and more family visits. We were gone a couple of weeks.
With bringing in another rally in September, River Plantation comped our site, so we were $600 under budget on Campground Fees.
In our Entertainment category, we were $110 under budget.
This month we were $55 under budget on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget.
We were almost dead even on our Dining Out and Groceries budget.
I budgeted $150 for Diesel in September, but we did no traveling. Perhaps I was thinking we would fill up in September before we left the area in October, but that didn't happen. $150 under budget.
We were $36 under budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 467 miles in September.
We were about $35 under budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $276 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. That was mostly due to the purchase of Instant Pot accessories and a back-up water pump for our rig.
We were $118 over budget on Truck Maintenance in September for repair of our PacBrake after market exhaust brake.
September was a good month as we were $700 under budget over all.
Fourth Quarter Details
Fourth Quarter Notes
Finally, in October we got back to our usual travel mode. It was good to be back traveling and we started our trek west.
We were $42 over our $600 Campground Fees budget.
In our Entertainment category, we were $186 under budget.
This month we were $59 under budget on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget.
We were $19 over budget on food. We were under budget on Dining Out and almost the same over budget on Groceries.
I knew we would be traveling more in October, so I kicked the budget for Diesel up. We were $147 under budget in this category in October. We towed 840 miles and drove another 12 miles locally.
We were $31 under budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 1,480 miles with 640 of that being local exploring.
We were about $45 under budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $305 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. Most of that was due to us committing to helping pay tuition for a troubled youth in our family that is trying to get his life turned around.
We were $375 under budget on Truck, RV, and Jeep Maintenance.
October was another good month as we were $477 under budget over all.
Continuing our slow travel west, we did well again against our budget.
We were $116 under $600 Campground Fees budget. That was helped by nine days of boondocking for free.
In our Entertainment category, we were $181 under budget.
This month we were $95 over budget on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget.
We were $100 under budget on Dining out and $78 under budget on Groceries, for a total $178 under budget on food. Getting remote helps in these categories.
We were $224 under budget for Diesel in November. We towed 653 miles and drove another 14 miles locally.
We were $89 under budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 797 miles with 144 of that being local exploring.
We were about $48 under budget on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $312 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. Again, most of that was due to us committing to helping pay tuition for a troubled youth in our family that is trying to get his life turned around.
We were $380 under budget on Truck, RV, and Jeep Maintenance.
November was a great month as we were $760 under budget over all.
We finished the year with a good month budget-wise. We were $111 under budget for December.
We were $26 under our $600 Campground Fees budget. That was helped by a free stay on some friends' property at the end of the year.
In our Entertainment category, I won a poker tournament and credited the money back into Entertainment. So we actually made about $4 and were therefore $204 under budget our $200 budget.
This month we were $59 over budget on the Clothing, Hair Care, Nails, and Mary Kay budget.
We were $125 under budget on Dining out and $75 over budget on Groceries, for a total of $50 under budget on food.
We were $104 under budget for Diesel in December. We towed 919 miles and drove another 78 miles locally.
We were $15 over budget on Gas. We drove the Jeep 1,486 miles with about 500 of that being local exploring.
We were about pretty much break even on Medical & Prescription expenses.
We were $382 over budget in our Miscellaneous category. Again, most of that was due to us committing to helping pay tuition for a troubled youth in our family that is trying to get his life turned around. We also purchased some new luggage for our travels to RV shows to speak.
We were $275 under budget on Truck, RV, and Jeep Maintenance.
So, that wrapped up 2017. It was a very strange year, but the fourth quarter was more "normal" and we were $1,346 under budget in those months.
All in all, the year turned out okay. Could have been better, could have been worse.