Below you will find our 2012 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 2012 Budget.
The "Notes" at the bottom of the page explain significant variances between Actual & Budget figures. Large one-time expenses are also explained.
The reports below show the Final 2012 results for the year. The report on the left shows our total expenses including the replacement of our truck engine in the Emergencies & Unexpected Expenses category. The report on the right excludes the replacement of the truck engine for a more normal representation of annual expenses. For the monthly details, keep scrolling down.
Well, July pretty much blew the budget all to pieces. We lost our truck engine on the 15th of the month, and our total costs for replacement of the engine came to about $18,000. Fortunately, we had enough in savings to cover it.
I didn't want to skew the financials that much, as our goal is primarily to show normal living expenses. So, I've presented two reports above - one with the truck engine replacement (left) and one without (right). You'll notice the truck engine cost at closer to $17,000 as the dealer that installed the new engine gave us a good faith reimbursement of $1,000.
The good news regarding the cost of the new truck engine is that our investment savings recovered two thirds of that in value by year end.
Now, even with the exclusion of the truck engine replacement, we were still $5,100 over budget for the year. Of that $5,100, almost $4,600 of it is overages in the budget for RV Maintenance and Truck Maintenance.
I naively only budgeted $50 a month ($600 for the year) in both RV Maintenance and Truck Maintenance. With both vehicles being in service seven years, I should have budgeted something more reasonable.
Anyway, prior to the loss of our truck engine, we did a 60,000 mile service and we had a large bill to repair a water leak. Thus, we ended up being $1,000 over budget in the Truck Maintenance category.
As for the RV, earlier in the year, we had some water heater parts replaced and our gray tank replaced. The gray tank replacement was covered by our extended warranty, but the water heater parts were a maintenance item. Then, in September, we had all of our windows re-sealed, had our roof re-sealed, and had all of our slide-out toppers replaced. In addition, our dual-pane, large picture window in the rear lost its seal and started fogging, so we had that repaired. And we replaced all of our lights with LED lights. So, with all of that, we came in $3,500 over budget on RV repairs and maintenance. But hopefully, that should keep our costs down for the next couple of years or so.
Next, we're over budget on Entertainment by just under $700. That's from a combination of two events in 2012.
First, we made an impromptu decision to go to the Final Four College Basketball Championships in New Orleans in March. Both my favorite college basketball teams were in the Final Four and it was a "bucket list" item to go. Since we were already in Louisiana at the time, we did it. Final Four tickets cost us $670.
Second, in November, our satellite TV DVR went out. We had the option of upgrading equipment for free, but we still had our old heavy, analog tube TVs. We knew we were going to replace them soon, but I hadn't budgeted for that for 2012. Anyway, we got two new lighter weight, LED flat screen TVs for a total of $400. And we upgraded our satellite TV LNB on our internet satellite dish to HD at a cost of another $200.
So, those two events totaled over $1,200 and they weren't budgeted in 2012. However, I was lucky enough to net some nice poker tournament winnings to help offset a third of that.
We were about $440 over budget on Miscellaneous. That is all the result of expenses incurred related to the unexpected death of a good friend.
Fortunately, all the Miscellaneous overage was offset because we had a healthy year and were almost $520 under budget in our Medical Expenses categories.
Fuel wise we came in under budget on Diesel (about $550 under) but over what I budgeted for Gas for the Jeep (about $280 over). The net effect is we were about $270 under budget for fuel for the year. Considering the high fuel prices and even higher fuel prices the last four months of the year on the west coast, that's pretty good.
Our average cost of diesel for the year was $4.05 per gallon, and the average cost of gas was $3.70 per gallon. We towed our rig about 7,500 miles (about 620 miles per month) and we drove our Jeep another 9,600 miles in local exploring.
We were over budget for Dining Out ($320 over) but under budget for Groceries ($130 under). The net effect for food was $190 over budget for the year. We budget $450 per month for food (and non-food grocery store items) and we came in at $465, so we'll tighten that up a little for 2013.
We came in $50 under budget for the year on Campground Fees. We budget $15 a day ($450 a month), so to be under budget in that category is very good. We tend to camp at places where we pay $15 - $25 per night with an occasional splurge of $30 - $35 a night. Then we offset that with free or cheap ($10 or less) camping with no hook-ups on public land or in friends and neighbors driveways. We also take advantage of various discounts and specials to keep camping costs down.
All the other categories pretty much balance out.
Certainly, the truck engine replacement was devastating, but fortunately we had enough savings to handle that emergency and we've already recovered most of that cost in on-paper value. In addition, I should have done a better job of budgeting for vehicle maintenance considering their ages. However, we're pretty happy with how we did financially in all the other categories.
First Quarter Details
First Quarter Notes
January was indeed a strange month. We spent several nights out of our RV while we supported family with a move and friends with a serious illness.
We were fortunate during those times to have a place to leave our RV that didn't cost us anything. So, it wasn't at all a normal RVing/camping month and we came in $208 under budget on Campground Fees.
Being as busy as we were, our Entertainment was limited to buying a couple of cheap books for our Kindles (a total of $3). So we were under budget in that category by $147.
On Food, we were a little over budget on Dining Out but under budget on Groceries, with a net effect of being about $30 under budget overall.
As for fuel, our truck was parked most of the month and we only drove 255 miles while towing. We didn't have to fill up with Diesel at all and, therefore, we were $300 under budget. However, we drove the Jeep all over the state of Florida as friends and family asked us for assistance. We drove the Jeep a total of 1,692 miles (only 255 miles while moving the RV). We were $72 over budget on Gas. But for total fuel we were $228 under budget.
We were $126 over on Miscellaneous, which was the result of Linda purchasing a steam mop for the rig ($117) and a couple of expenses we paid for our friends.
It was a crazy month and not a lot of fun, but we did well financially at $680 under budget, AND we feel great that we have the freedom to help out friends and family in need.
After our funky January, February was also different from our normal RVing. We flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan the first week of the month to do seminars at the Grand Rapids RV Show.
When we returned, we hung out in a friend's driveway, then crossed the state for our friend's memorial service. Then we returned until it was time to attend a rally in central Florida where we did a couple of seminars and weighed RVs. The campground fees there were higher than we normally pay. That coupled with $320 in pre-payments of campground fees for rallies later in the year put us over budget by $180 on Campground Fees for February. But we should be under budget in that category later on due to the pre-payments.
After the February rally, we spent four nights at an RV dealership having some work done. We had to spend two of those nights in a hotel. We had our gray tank and dump valves replaced under our extended warranty, but we still had to pay shipping for the parts. Also, we replaced some parts in our water heater and that wasn't covered under warranty. The total cost plus the hotel stay added up to way more than we expected. But we should get reimbursed for the hotel stay in the next month or two.
While having the RV worked on, we had our truck in for a 60,000-mile service. I only budgeted $600 for the year, and the cost of the half-day service and some minor parts replacements came in at over $900. It looks worse for February because I didn't know when we would be having the service done and I spread out the budget at $50 per month through the year.
Again, we were pretty busy so our Entertainment was limited to a $6 park entrance fee so we were under budget by $144. Finally, at the end of the month, we got back to some more normal camping.
On Food, we were again a little over budget on Dining Out but under budget on Groceries, with a net effect of being about $20 under budget overall.
As for fuel, we didn't travel very far with our entire month being spent in central Florida. We only drove the truck 263 miles while towing and 322 miles total. We were $84 under budget on Diesel. We drove the Jeep a lot more at 969 miles but we were still a little under budget on Gas.
We were $94 under on Miscellaneous to make up most of the over budget from January.
It was another unusual month and an expensive one at the RV and Ford dealers. But we should make most of that up as the budget was spread over the year. We're certainly looking forward to getting back to a more normal routine in March.
In March, we were over budget by $604. Almost all of that can be attributed to our decision to attend the NCAA College Basketball Championships in New Orleans. I've always wanted to attend a Final Four. And since both my teams, Louisville & Kentucky, were in it and we were already in Louisiana, we had to do it.
So, the Final Four made us go over budget by $670 in Entertainment for ticket purchases and souveniers.
Also, because we back-tracked, we drove more miles than planned, so we were over budget in fuel costs. We were over $188 in Diesel and $63 in Gas.
In March, we drove the truck 1,102 miles (1,036 towing). And we drove the Jeep 1,406 miles (1,036 traveling and 370 in local exploring).
We were $110 over in Campground Fees. Our budget is for $15 per night and we came in about $18 per night. We had no free camping in March.
Our extended warranty on our RV expired, so we put a $149 downpayment on a new one. Forgot to budget for a new extended warranty for this year.
Oh, we forgot to pay our annual Umbrella policy. I budgeted for it in March, but we didn't pay it until the first of April.
We did well in all the other categories to help offset some of the overages above.
Second Quarter Details
Second Quarter Notes
We were $461 over budget in April. Most of that is the result of buying an airline ticket for Linda to attend our friend John's memorial service in May (Miscellaneous category) in Indiana. Originally, we were going to be in Kentucky and drive to Indiana before heading west, but our speaking engagement in Kentucky was canceled, so we changed travel plans making the flight necessary.
In addition, we were over budget in Campground Fees by $170. Again, we budget $15 per night and came in at about $21 per night. That was mostly due to the high campground fees at Buckhorn Lake Resort in Kerrville, TX where we held our Spring Rally.
We were also $142 over budget on food - $24 on Dining Out and $118 on Groceries. That tends to happen whenever we spend time in Louisiana. :)
In fuel, we were $14 over on Diesel and $41 over on Gas. That was mostly due to higher per gallon costs. In April we drove the truck 763 miles (730 towing). And we drove the Jeep 1,108 miles (730 traveling and 378 in local exploring).
We also paid for our Umbrella policy which was actually budgeted for in March, so that put us over budget in April by $128.
And I forgot to budget for our Coach-Net Roadside Assistance which expired this month, so we were over $110 on that.
The good news was we got a reimbursement for a hotel stay for RV service from back in February, so we got to reduce expenses by $225.
We did pretty well in all other categories.
In May, we had a terrible month expense wise. We were a whopping $1,164 over budget. About half of that was from an unexpected truck repair. The rest was mostly due to a splurge of Entertainment while visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota for the first time.
We noticed what appeared to be an oil leak on our truck. We took it in to a Ford dealer and found that we had a water leak that was dripping down and mixing with oil from a mis-installed drain plug. A few hours and $628 later, we were good to go. If nothing else, we want our truck and fifth wheel to be in the best shape they can be.
In our Entertainment category, we went a little crazy and went $560 over budget. We did a $160 overview tour of the Black Hills. I also played golf a couple times, entered two poker tournaments, and I replaced a bunch of fishing gear. We also bought a Federal annual park pass for $80. Fortunately, except for the Final Four in March, we hadn't spent much on entertainment.
We averaged a little over $22 per night on Campground Fees on a budget of $15 per night, so that put us $252 over budget. Actually, for spending over two weeks in the Black Hills, the average rate wasn't bad since rates can be $30 - $50 per night there.
On food, we were $42 over on Dining Out, but $139 under on Groceries, so we had a net under budget of nearly $100.
As for fuel, we were $95 under budget on Diesel, but $31 over budget on Gas for the Jeep. There is a lot of driving to get to all the places we wanted to see in the Black Hills. The net effect is about $60 to the good on fuel in May.
We drove the truck 1,390 miles in May (1,295 towing). That's a really big driving month for us, but we expected that and budgeted accordingly. We drove the Jeep 2,507 miles (1,295 traveling and 1,212 in local exploring). Yeah, we did a lot of exploring including 794 miles just around the Black Hills area.
We did pretty well in other categories, but we've got to do better overall the rest of the year.
We had a nice comeback in June coming in at $584 under budget. Most of that was due to very low camping fees and being well under budget on fuel.
We worked a couple of rallies in Gillette, WY in June. We had prepaid camping fees earlier in the year for one, and in the other we negotiaed free camping. We also boondocked on public land for free for several days in between the rallies. So our total out-of-pocket camping fees for June were only $42.
In our Entertainment category, we only spent $25, so we were under budget by $125.
On food, we were $33 over on Dining Out, but $45 under on Groceries, so we had a net under budget of nearly $12.
As for fuel, we were $268 under budget on Diesel, and $74 under budget on Gas for the Jeep. With staying in the vicinity of Gillette, WY in order to do three rallies in June/July, we didn't do much driving. So, we were $342 under budget for fuel in June.
We drove the truck only 323 miles in June (all towing). We drove the Jeep 970 miles (323 traveling and 647 in local exploring). Over 400 miles of the local exploring was while we were still in the South Dakota Black Hills the first week of June.
On the overbudget side, we were $205 over in Miscellaneous. We spent more than budgeted for birthday and Father's Day gifts for the month. We also had some charitable donations that we didn't budget for.
Also, we made an estimated income tax payment of $319 that I had budgeted for in July rather than June. It was the same for our $95 property tax payment on our Jeep. So we could have been another $400 under budget for the month. :)
We were pretty happy with June.
Third Quarter Details
Third Quarter Notes
July was a great month for us expense-wise EXCEPT that we lost the engine in our 2005 Ford F450 truck. It cost us $18,000 to replace the engine and we've added that to our Our Major One-Time Expenses page as well as showing it above.
But, in our normal every day living expenses, we were $944 under budget in July. Of course, about $400 of that was for items I budgeted for in July that we actually paid in June (quarterly estimated income taxes and annual property taxes on the Jeep).
We were under budget in Campground Fees by $179. That was due to boondocking on public land in the Bighorn National Forest for free for the first two weeks of the month.
We were $18 over budget on food - $48 over on Dining Out and $30 under on Groceries.
In fuel, we were $185 under budget on Diesel and $5 under on Gas. With the loss of use of our truck for half the month (a week while we decided what to do, and a week while the truck was being repaired), there was no need to fill up with diesel more than once.
In July we drove the truck 157 miles while towing. The dealer where the truck was being repaired drove it 56 miles testing it, and then we drove it another 100 miles before a part on the new engine failed and it was towed back to the dealer.
We drove the Jeep 1,201 miles (275 traveling and 926 in local exploring including 400 miles in two roundtrips from Gillette, WY to Sheridan, WY where the truck was being worked on).
When the truck broke down in Buffalo, WY, we were 70 miles from Gillette, WY where we were supposed to be weighing RVs at a rally. The truck was towed 30 miles in the opposite direction to the nearest Ford dealer in Sheridan, WY. We had the RV towed to Gillette so we could work the rally and have a place to stay until the truck was fixed.
Under RV Maintenance we had $92, but that was just the purchase of a dozen LED lights.
Other than the truck fiasco, we did well on our expenses for July.
August was a good month for us expense-wise as we came in $173 under budget for the month. Of course, it was another strange month as we spent the first half just sitting waiting on our truck to be repaired.
We were under budget in Campground Fees by $338. That was due to 1) doing some work in exchange for our camping while waiting for our truck to be repaired, 2) boondocking on public land just outside Grand Teton National Park for 10 days, and 3) staying at Mammoth Campground in Yellowstone National Park for $14 a night for the rest of the month.
We were $62 over budget on food - $54 over on Dining Out and $8 over on Groceries.
In fuel, we were $141 over budget on Diesel and $127 over on Gas.
Diesel - The reason for the diesel overage was that we used an extra tank of fuel to drive the truck about 500 miles to test it out before towing the fifth wheel.
Gas - Grand Teton and Yellowstone are huge parks requiring a lot of driving to explore them. We drove the Jeep 1,150 miles during the last two weeks of the month while in the parks.
In August we drove the truck a total of 1,145 miles. The dealer where the truck was being repaired drove it 160 miles testing the new engine, and then we drove it another 370 miles as a further test before towing. We added another 56 miles locally without the trailer. And we drove 559 miles while towing.
We drove the Jeep 2,005 miles (559 traveling and 1,446 in local exploring including 200 miles in a roundtrip from Gillette, WY to Sheridan, WY where the truck was being worked on).
We spent $50 for propane that we hadn't budgeted. We usually don't buy propane in the summer, but we hadn't planned on boondocking so much when the budget was prepared at the end of last year. While boondocking, we use propane for the refrigerator (takes very little), the water heater, the furnace (necessary a couple times), and the generator.
We were also over on Miscellaneous by a little bit. But that was due to a gift to the campground where we were parked for half a month during our truck repair. Just a little "thank you" for their understanding and allowing us to work a little to cover camping fees.
All in all, a strange month financially, but we're happy to have come in under budget.
We didn't do so well on expenses in September. That was mostly due to deciding to get some maintenance and repair done on the fifth wheel. We're seven years into full-timing and I really should have budgeted for these items, but didn't. We had all of our windows re-sealed, had our roof re-sealed, and had all of our slide-out toppers replaced. In addition, we had our large, rear double-pane window repaired after it lost its seal and started fogging. So we spent over $3,200 on RV maintenance and repair that we hadn't budgeted for.
We were a total of $3,725 over budget for September, so we didn't do so well in other areas either, coming in an additional $500 over budget in all the other categories.
Part of that was $319 in Estimated Quarterly Taxes which I budgeted in the wrong month - budgeted in October and should have been September. :)
We were over budget in Campground Fees by $85. Not too bad. At $535 for the month, that's still less than $18 per day.
We were $120 over on cell phones due to being way over our minutes in July/August (billed in early September) while dealing with our truck repair.
We were $20 over budget on food - $77 over on Dining Out and $57 under on Groceries.
In fuel, we were $166 over budget on Diesel and $51 over on Gas.
Diesel - The diesel overage was the result of higher than expected fuel prices on the west coast, and traveling a bit more rapidly than planned due to our long layover for truck repairs in July/August.
Gas - Again, higher fuel prices on the west coast and driving farther than originally estimated.
In September we drove the truck a total of 1,121 miles. All but 17 miles were while towing.
We drove the Jeep 1,607 miles (approx. 1,100 traveling and 500 in local exploring/errands).
Finally, we were $83 over budget on Clothing due to a much needed wardrobe upgrade.
Fortunately, we were under budget in Entertainment by $126, and under in other categories to offset some of the overages.
We were doing so well making up for budget overages from earlier in the year, but we had the opportunity to get some RV maintenance and repairs done at a pretty good hourly rate, so we did it. Bad for the budget, but probably a wise move in the long term. :)
Fourth Quarter Details
Fourth Quarter Notes
We did pretty good on expenses in October considering the month was spent on the west coast where prices are higher for everything. We came in $474 under budget for the month.
Of course, part of that was $300 in Estimated Quarterly Taxes which I erroneously had budgeted in October when it was due and paid in September. :)
We were over budget in Campground Fees by $101. Still, not too bad. At $551 for the month, that's still less than $18 per day and very good for the west coast.
We were $128 under budget on food - $55 under on Dining Out and $83 under on Groceries.
In fuel, we were $32 under budget on Diesel and $69 over on Gas.
Diesel - We just didn't travel that much in October.
Gas - We did a lot of exploring on the Oregon coast and higher west coast fuel prices played a role.
In October we drove the truck a total of 858 miles. All but 42 miles were while towing.
We drove the Jeep 1,710 miles (approx. 860 traveling and 850 in local exploring/errands).
Finally, we were $47 over budget in Miscellaneous due to the purchase of a water bladder to fill our fresh water tank while boondocking.
Actually, we were quite pleased to come in under budget in October. I certainly didn't budget with the expectation of such a difference in costs on the west coast, but we did a pretty good job of controlling expenses in the basic areas like campground fees, food, fuel, etc.
November was another month where we had expenses we didn't budget for and we were over budget by $647.
That was mostly in the Entertainment category. Our satellite TV DVR went out. DirecTV gave us the option of upgrading to a new DVR and whole-home service (one DVR for both the living room and bedroom) for free. The problem was we still had our old analog, heavy, tube TVs and I hadn't budgeted for replacement in 2012. Still, we went ahead and got two new flat screen LED TVs for a total of $400. Also, we upgraded our bird-on-a-wire TV attachment for our internet satellite dish to an HD LNB ($200).
We were over budget in Campground Fees by $66. Again, not too bad. At $516 for the month, that's still around $17 per day and very good for the west coast.
We were $173 over budget on food - $2 over on Dining Out and $171 over on Groceries mostly due to timing. We had a big shopping day at the beginning of the month that could have been done in October where we were under budget.
In fuel, we were $75 over budget on Diesel and $23 over on Gas.
Diesel - We fueled up one more time than we really needed to as it was convenient.
Gas - Just higher fuel prices than expected.
In November we drove the truck a total of 737 miles. All but 12 miles were while towing.
We drove the Jeep 1,239 miles (approx. 740 traveling and 500 in local exploring/errands).
Finally, we were $70 under budget in Miscellaneous.
Actually, except for the unbudgeted entertainment upgrades, we did pretty good considering the higher food, fuel, and camping prices on the west coast.
December ended up being a good month budget-wise as we came in $455 under budget.
We were over budget in Campground Fees by $120. That was due to four weeks spent in private RV parks where we usually don't park, especially with one week at $32 a night. Still, it wasn't too bad. At $570 for the month, that's still less than $18.50 per night and, again very good for the west coast. We had one week of free camping on public land to offset the RV park costs.
We were $62 over budget on food - $20 over on Dining Out and $42 over on Groceries.
In fuel, we were $170 under budget on Diesel and $104 under on Gas.
Diesel - We just didn't travel that much in December.
Gas - We relaxed at the end of the year and didn't do much exploring.
In December we drove the truck a total of 269 miles, 184 towing and 85 local.
We drove the Jeep 727 miles (approx. 185 traveling and 542 in local exploring/errands).
We had some work done on the Jeep which put us $120 over for the month, but we still came in under budget on Jeep Maintenance for the year.
Finally, I $541 in a poker tournament to offset all our Entertainment costs for this month and some for last month. It's nice when the Entertainment category shows income rather than expenses. :)
We were very pleased to come in under budget in December. It made for a nice fourth quarter as we came in under budget even with the November entertainment upgrades.
Also, we did very well on the budget in our three largest expense categories - camping fees, food, and fuel.
Still, it was an expensive year. Hopefully, some of the unbudgeted expenses we incurred in 2012 will keep the expenses lower in future years. We're just fortunate to be debt free, have some decent savings, and earning a good portion of our expenses via our business ventures.