During our first month as fulltimers we were in all-out vacation mode. Speeding from park to park, we burnt through miles and money. We bought snacks and drinks at every gas station, we ate out often, and we even bought shirts and hoodies in tourist towns. This frivolous living was definitely not aligned with our original mission.
We enjoyed the month-long vacation, but we knew it was time to create a budget.
Our budget goal is pretty simple: don’t spend more than we make. As the average monthly income from our Etsy store is $2000, we decided to create a livable budget around that.
We have minimal fixed costs (insurance, phone & internet subscriptions, bills) – these expenses are $370 a month. Leaving us $1630, we created our monthly living budget.
- Camp Site: $750 a month ($25 daily)
- Food: $600 a month ($20 daily)
- Gas: $200 a month ($6.67 daily)
- Post Office: $80 month ($2.67 daily)
We created a color-coded budget calendar and detailed budget book to help us achieve our goals.
We spent the entire month of November in southern California – home of expensive gas & campgrounds. We camped in Tecopa Hot Spings, Mojave, and Piru. We toured Hollywood, Malibu, and Santa Monica. Even though we were living by the budget, we had many enriching experiences both in nature and the Big City.
Here are our November budget results:
- Camp Sites: $528 ($17.60 daily average)
- Food: $369 ($12.30 daily average)
- Gas: $196 ($6.53 daily average)
- Post Office: $289 ($9.63 daily average)
- Other: $264 (propane, Etsy supplies, spark plugs, parking, etc)
November Living Expenses: $1,646
Fixed Expenses: $370
November Total Expenses: $2,016
November Income: $2,164
We were thrilled to end November in the green. We actually saved $148!
We’re headed to Arizona in December where the cost of living is much better. Our budget will remain the same, although some adjustments will need to take place. We spent a lot more money at the post office than expected. This isn’t an awful problem since it means we’re selling more items on Etsy. Overall, it was pretty easy to meet our goals without missing out on experiences.
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