One year ago this week, we drove away from Humboldt County in a daze. We couldn’t believe that we had really pulled our sabbatical off, and year on the road seemed like an eternity. Little did we know that it would fly by seemingly as quick as a two week vacation. We have so much to say about our epic journey. But for now, let’s start with the hard numbers.
Thanks to the meticulous Quickbooks expense tracking I’ve done over the last several years, and Carol White’s Live Your Road Trip Dream book budgeting templates, I was able to put together a budget that works for us. In short: we came in under budget, and the money we’ve saved will enable us to continue to live this lifestyle for at least the next year if we choose to.
If you’d like to see the technical details, a PDF with summarized numbers is here. But if spreadsheets make you snooze, then here’s a quick summary of my numbers for the year, and some ways we saved money:
Estimated: $9,172 / Actual: $7,011
When I created the budget at the end of 2006, I thought I was overestimating fuel costs at $3.75 a gallon. Who knew? Despite the oil industry ripoff, our fuel costs came in less than expected. I attribute this to less driving because of workamping. The scary thing is, I still need to jack up this coming year’s fuel budget by at least $2.55 a gallon. Imagine, $7.50 a gallon diesel.
Estimated: $8,120 / Actual: $6,632
You have to eat, only you don’t have to eat out as much. By cooking in about the same amount as we did when we had a stick home, we saved money. Only now Jim’s going to make me take him out to a fancy dinner to celebrate!
Hotels Estimated: $4,800 / Actual: $433
RV Parks Estimated: $8,770 / Actual: $4,641
The right RV is key when it comes to saving money on lodging. When you’re home is comfortable, staying at a hotel seems like more hassle than it’s worth. Packing for a vacation from your vacation is just too much work! As far as RV park accommodations, we saved money by boondocking as much as possible, staying in public parks and of course, workamping.
Estimated: $7,056 / Actual: $1,766
Don’t say it. Yes, this is kinda sad. We thought we would be doing a lot more visits to museums, concerts, etc. But we’ve managed to entertain ourselves with free low cost things, stuff that we’ve always wanted to pursue but never had the time for, like playing the guitar, hiking and sitting in hammocks, and writing our blogs!
I realize that the final numbers on the spreadsheet look high, but when you figure that two people lived on the amount shown on the bottom line, paid off all their debt, their vehicle and their home, I think it looks pretty darn low!