We started keeping detailed track of our financial expenses in October 2007. That was the month we sold our house and started living full time in our motorhome.
This started off being a post about our expenses for the month of September, when I realized that five years worth of expenses is more relevant. I think we've proven that we can live and travel for around $1,000 per month, and September 2012 came in at just under that.
When we first set off, we were not experienced RV'ers. In fact, we had never owned an RV in our life so this was a big step. And then, to head down to Mexico that very first winter seemed like a huge undertaking. We did far too much driving that first year though. I think this is a common problem when people set out living full time in a motorhome. So a result of all that driving was that we spent way too much money on gasoline. Trying to get everywhere and see everything.
So we slowed down a little bit. And we learned that when you slow down, you save money.
We spent $6,700 on gasoline alone that first year! We forced that down to $4,200 the second year, and year three was about $3,000. Year four was back up over $5,000 because we drove up to Nova Scotia for the birth of our grandson. This past year was the cheapest ever, mostly because the motorhome has been parked while we tried out the backpack method of travel. Also, Sherman has been in Mexico for all of the last 12 months and of course fuel is a lot cheaper there. Our total fuel expenses for the last 12 months were only $1,230.
Although we dearly loved our dog Whiskey, she was a very expensive part of the family over the years. In year three, we spent $1,980 on vet bills alone, and in year four it was another $1,300. We miss having a dog, but we don't miss the associated expenses!
We have averaged just under $400 a month for groceries. The yearly averages have all been fairly close, although they are certainly higher for the months that we have spent in Canada. In comparison, this past twelve months we have averaged only $224 per month in groceries. Not bad, since you all know that we eat very well!
Miscellaneous expenses have fluctuated wildly. A lot of that was because of Whiskey's vet bills, but there are other items that come out of no where to get lumped into this category.
We spend too much money on booze. Going to have to make an effort to reduce that. Our five year average is about $130 per month. No, I don't want to add all that up!
Entertainment expenses, which include meals out have been pretty consistent over the years. We try not to spend more than $100 a month here.
Motorhome repairs is another wildcard. We spent $9,200 over the last five years on repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. So $1,840 per year or $153 per month on average. We drove 80,000kms (50,000 miles) over that time period.
Our overnight expenses fluctuate quite a bit. When we were traveling in the motorhome we would only spend about $100 a month because we would free camp a lot. And when we were parked longer term, our overnight costs went up but of course our gas costs came down. And of course when we're backpacking, our overnight costs can become higher, but we have no gasoline costs and our travel costs are higher. So there is some give and take in the different categories, but we've proven that backpacking is a very inexpensive form of travel when you are flexible about airfares, and if you like couchsurfing and you can find suitable accommodation that way.
The first four years averaged around $1,850 per month. However the last twelve months have averaged only $1,135 per month.
The next six months should average out below $1,000 a month, however it's going to be an expensive start to the fiscal year because October is going to include our airfare back to Canada as well as our drive down to Mexico and a few minor repairs to get the little blue car ready for the drive.