January treated us well. We met so many awesome, fellow working-age fulltime RVers and we explored more land than the previous months.
Our budget was a mixed success. We experienced our first vehicular hiccup when the truck’s thermostat housing cracked. We also made our first “big toy purchase” since hitting the road.
Let’s start the breakdown.
We camped in 10 locations during the month of January. While that’s more campgrounds than we prefer in a single month, many were in the same town. We weaved between boondocking locations and RV Parks as we tried to manage our power situation.
We dry camped for 10 days (8 of those being free), we camped at SKP Co-ops for 10 days, and used Passport America discounts for the remaining days.
January has been our lowest cost month for camping so far. However, we intend to get our daily average into the single digits during February.
January Camping Fees: $343 ($11.06/day)
Since we began fulltime life on the road in September, we’ve been able to keep our food costs under control. We go out to eat around five times a month – these luxuries cost us about $30/trip. We’re really able to manage this category because neither of us are smokers or drinkers. And, while we’re interested in finding ways to beat our budget, we enjoy quality food too much to cut corners in this department.
January Food Cost: $481 ($15.03/day)
We drove a lot more in January. Our travels took us to Anza Borrego, El Centro, Yuma, Winterhaven, Blythe, Salome, Quartzsite, Casa Grande, and Tucson (in that order). We also did a lot of in-town driving. When gas prices are $1.50/gal, we’re motivated to explore a larger radius.
Also, our truck was out of commission for four days.
January Gas Cost: $203 ($6.54/day)
One day we’ll create a more specific breakdown for this section, but in January “other” included the following: laundry, sunglasses, pet supplies (non-food), vitamins, campground wifi, post cards, and state park entrance fees.
January Other Expenses: $265 ($8.55/day)
Truck Repair Cost
Before leaving for fulltime RV life, we created a healthy savings to use for unexpected expenses and big purchases. We aren’t including these expenses in our monthly budget, however they will be tracked in a year-end financial review.
Truck Repairs: $340
Purchase of Honda 2000 Generator
At the Xscapers Convergence in Quartzsite we were introduced to the benefits of a quiet generator. Having an all electric fridge, our solar power system struggled to keep up with our energy needs. Boondocking experiences were limited to three days.
Our friends, Spot the Scotts, were serendipitously trying to sell their Honda 2000i Companion. Since we already had to dip into savings for truck repair, we thought it was a better time than ever to buy this generator with one, large savings account transfer.
Generator Cost: $600
Our average camping cost in 2015 (before the generator) was $17.74/day. At that rate, 34 days of boondocking will pay for the purchase.
Month to Month Comparison
- January 2016 (December 2015)
- Camping: $343 ($554)
- Food: $481 ($582)
- Gas: $203 ($201)
- Other: $265 ($171)
- Fixed Expenses: $400 ($400)
- Total: $1,692 ($1,908)
We really want to save some serious money in February due to an anticipated iPhone purchase. Our goal is to boondock as much as possible. We’re spending this week on BLM land in Tucson and plan to venture south toward more scenic, free camping spots.