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The Cost of Life on the Road – August 2016 Expense Report

The month of August treated us well. Despite buying a new iPhone ($150 from Walmart), we managed to keep the rest of our expenses under control. We’ll break the report into 5 sections and let you know exactly how much we spent.

Our accounting is done completely with pen & paper. We use our favorite Moleskine Journals to track daily expenses and write the results for each day on a calendar that hangs from the fridge – its a visual reminder that keeps us accountable and aware.

Here’s the breakdown:



We camped at 12 sites during the month of August – starting at Grand Teton National Park and ending in Moses Lake, Washington. We dry camped for 18 nights, had partial hookups for 3 nights, and lived in luxury with full hookups for 10 nights.

We paid a total of $0 for camping. When we weren’t boondocking, we traded our services (marketing & design) to camp for free in RV parks.

  • Monthly Expenses: $0
  • Daily Average: $0


Food / Household Goods

In the previous expense reports we forgot to clarify that this sections includes more than food. We lump all of our grocery expenses into this category. So, it also includes medicine, household goods, dog food & supplies, and vitamins.

We can’t seem to get this category less expenses. Our camper isn’t big enough to store bulk items, and sometimes when we’re in the boonies, inexpensive groceries are hard to find!

  • Monthly Expenses: $558
  • Daily Average: $18.00


Driving across middle America can be a financial drain. The land is so expansive, with hundreds of miles between stopping points. We did seem to cut back our gas expenses from the previous month, but we still have some work to do!

  • Monthly Expenses: $325
  • Daily Average: $10.48



Knock on wood – all has been good on the maintenance front. The oil didn’t need changing, the truck ran well, and the camper was rolling along without issues. We know – all to well – this can change in a moment; but, as for August, we spent $0 on maintenance.

  • Monthly Expenses: $0
  • Daily Average: $0

“Other” Expenses

This is the catch-all category. In the month of August it included an iPhone, propane, post cards, a Washington park pass, laundry, and an air pressure gauge. We aim to keep this section under $100 a month, but with the iPhone purchase we ended well above that number.

  • Monthly Expenses: $256
  • Daily Average: $8.26


Fixed Expenses

These are our unchanging expenses that include insurance, a student loan, subscription services, and cell service. 

  • Monthly Expenses: $400
  • Daily Average: $12.90

Total Monthly Expenses

We’re satisfied with our August expenses, but we also know there’s room for improvement. As we continue through September, our focus is lowering gas expenses and keeping an eye on our food costs.

  • August Expenses: $1539
  • Daily Average: $49.65

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  1. Interesting… Mine are about 1/2 that, but its just me… As a Prius dweller my gas is $100, but my other expences are very similar.

  2. Christine says:

    You 3 are awesome! I wish my boyfriend and I could do this. Be safe and have fun!

  3. Karen Brown says:

    Just found you…we want to try this so will follow and see how to plan. Thanks for blog.

  4. Mush says:

    how did you get an iPhone for $150????

  5. Walmart is selling iPhone 5s for that price

  6. Bob Kilroy says:

    Keep this blog up, please. You provide a base line for others to compare to and learn from. Much appreciated.

  7. Ouch! That seems pretty expensive. I’m hoping my monthly expenses are way lower than that.

  8. Are you a solo traveler? Do you have pets? And, how much traveling do you plan on doing?

    We’re always excited to hear different saving strategies

  9. It must be nice to save that gas money!

  10. Mary says:

    Just curious. Your Etsy business. Where do you store your products. I’ve been an Amazon seller of books for few years. We are retiring next year and plan some years of full timing. But decided the physical issues of housing the products while in transit etc was just too cumbersome. Curious how you do this

  11. We only have flat paper products, so not as bulky as books. They all fit in a plastic storage bin from walmart, and we store it in our covered and locked truck bed.