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.


10 comments:

  1. Good stats! Now the question that remains is what are you going to do with the extra $8000?? ha LV

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    1. LV, Thanks. Actually, the $8,000 is mostly gone! We bought an IRA just before the April 15 deadline. Sarah

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  2. Personally, would you recommend a trip like this to other couples, married a long time or not? Not to get personal, but you know me. Was it harder on one or the other of you? Is it hard going back home to a regular routine? I know I have more to ask. Love A

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    1. A, I would definitely recommend a trip like this to other couples, with a few caveats. First, you really have to like one another, not just love one another. Second, it helps to enjoy doing similar things. Even though it's a good idea to go your separate ways from time to time, you will be spending every day and night together. If you can't agree on what you want to do for the day, it could get old very quickly. I don't think it was harder on either one of us, although you'll have to ask Tim about that! It has been harder for me to come back home and try to develop a regular routine. I'm now looking for a job. Sarah

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  3. Boy comming up with 85% of your busker you did very well. Did you have any unforeseen repairs on your condo? Love A

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    1. A, Yes, I think we did well, even though many of our budget numbers were based on a worst-case scenario. Luckily, no repairs to the condo were necessary while we were gone. We paid a neighbor to come in once a week to check on things and take care of our mail. I think that was a good way to go. We did pay to winterize and de-winterize our pipes, just to make sure we wouldn't have any water-related surprises during freezing weather. Sarah

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  4. Are you going to close this out now? Or do you have more to write? Thanks A

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    1. A, Good question. I believe there will be one or two more posts. I was thinking about summarizing the places we visited and providing a few statistics, such as number of states, national parks, etc. I'm also working on better overall maps of the trip. Given that, I'll likely have one post this weekend and maybe a final one sometime mid-week next week. I'll make sure to add a sentence at the end of each post as to whether there will be another one and when it might appear. Thanks. Sarah

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  5. Sarah and Tim - I guess I haven't done a Google Search on our book title for awhile and came across your nice comments about the book - the budget spreadsheet format even looks familiar! (<: I'm so glad that our book inspired and helped you to do your road trip dream. Now we can both inspire more people - it is one of the greatest things a couple can do for themselves - I think you would agree.

    Thanks again.

    Carol White

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