July 1, 2012

Budget vs Actual Expenses

Long before we left on our trip, I reread Live Your Road Trip Dream, by Carol and Phil White, a book that had inspired me to take a seven-week road trip after I retired from the City of Miami.  This book demonstrated how one could travel for a year for the cost of staying at home.  When we were developing a budget for our road trip, we looked to the book for advice and discovered that, indeed, we could take our trip for not much more than staying at home.  The trip seemed to be something we could afford.

Unlike the Whites, however, we had hoped not to have to rent our home while we were away.  Although the income would have been nice and would have covered our expenses for the mortgage, utilities and other home-related expenses, we preferred not to have to pack up our personal items to make room for a renter if at all possible.  Our solution to this came in the form of a nine-month job that I happened to get at the Estes Park Museum, just one year prior to leaving on the trip.  Not only did I love the job, but I was also able to save what I earned and use that to cover our home expenses.  There was even quite a bit left over to cover some of our other trip-related expenses.

Live Your Road Trip Dream offered great ideas on how to develop a budget, and we used many of these ideas in creating our own budget.  We erred on the high side in almost every category as we didn’t want to come up short part way through the trip. 

It’s been interesting comparing our budget with our actual expenses.  Although we certainly did not scrimp on spending, we were pleased with the final figures.  So, we are sharing these numbers in case anyone else might want to think about doing a similar trip.