June 27, 2012

How Did We Spend the Rest of the Money?

Last week I reported about our biggest expenses for the trip – diesel fuel, lodging and food.  Those were big categories and accounted for approximately sixty percent of our total expenditures.  But what about the other forty percent?

Our next largest expense was RV service, maintenance and repairs at $4,736.  We knew the RV would require two routine services while we were on the road and budgeted $2,610 for this category.  Although it seems that we grossly underestimated this figure, we decided near the end of the trip to bite the bullet and upgrade the RV with an anti-sway bar and new shocks.  That alone cost us approximately $1,715.  Although the work was not required, we felt it would be a worthwhile expenditure and knew we had been coming in under budget in other categories.  What we hadn’t counted on, however, was having to replace the tires.  That was a painful, but essential, $1,167.

The Upgrade to the RV and the Tires Were a Major Expense
Another big expense was entertainment at $3,924.  This category included everything from admission fees, tickets and tours to boat and seaplane rides.  We had decided even before the trip began that we preferred to spend our money on experiences, not things.  Even though we did not scrimp in this category, we still came in under budget by $1,871.  You see, that difference paid for the upgrade to the RV.

Experiences Like the Seaplane Ride to the Dry Tortugas Were So Worth the Money
OK, that brings our percentage of total expenditures up to seventy-seven percent.  What else did we purchase?  We did shop a little bit and spent a total of $3,283 for gifts, a few new clothes, a new camera and assorted books, souvenirs and other things.  It’s a good thing we had decided to mostly forego shopping, since we did have a tendency to buy stuff once we walked into a store.  Other “shopping” items included supplies for the RV, household supplies and a few office supplies.  We did exceed our budget by about $400.  Kitty, however, did a much better job and only exceeded her $475 budget by $2.  Good Kitty.

Tim Collected Bandanas from Various National Parks
We only had a few additional categories that exceeded a total of $1,000.  These included personal care expenses, such as haircuts, laundry and toiletries, at $1,396.  We paid $1,395 for cell phone and internet access through our MiFi, as well as $1,294 for last-minute airline tickets to Colorado for both of us.  We were under budget for the first two.  Airline tickets, however, were not in the budget.

Expenses relating to winterizing our house and having someone take care of the house and mail came to $1,372.  We still had to pay the mortgage, condo association fees and minimal utilities, but we did not include those expenses in our trip expenditures.  Other assorted expenses amounted to almost $4,000.

By the end of this week I plan to post a chart comparing our original budget with our actual expenses.  These numbers may change slightly, but they’re pretty accurate.  After I finish with the chart, I don’t want to think about these numbers anymore!


  1. I always tell people that a budget is a moving target. You are doing a good analysis. There are always those unexpected costs. I just had to replace the microwave, the coffee maker, the dryer and 4 tires. So I feel your pain. At least Kitty has $2 left! ha ha LV

    1. LV, Ouch! I feel YOUR pain! That's way too many things to replace at one time. It's been an interesting exercise to see just where the money went and how we did. Sarah

  2. You can take over my expenses bookkeeping . Nice job. Very interesting. I see that Tim collected bandanas, what did yOu collect? Love A

    1. A, Thanks. I've been tracking expenses for the last five years with Quicken, and I love it. It really helps to understand what we spend money on. Actually, I only collected "stamps" in my National Park Passport book. It's been a fun hobby and is a nice record of all the parks we've visited. Sarah