The backyard where we are housesitting near, Stamullen, Ireland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Stamullen, Ireland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Full year of expenses

Wednesday October 2… 12:00 noon

Well exactly one year ago we were running around like mad trying to get everything out of the house before we had to vacate October 5th. Hard to believe a full year has gone by since then. But what a great year it has been.

I promised a breakdown of our full year expenses, so here it is…

Gasoline: We spent a total of $6,673.54 for gas. $320.04 went into our little car, which we barely drove because we left it behind during our motorhome travels. So $6,353.50 into Sherman, and that leaves us with almost a full tank to start our travels south again in a few weeks. We drove a total of 16,207 miles (26,082 km’s) in the motorhome. The most we spent in one month was $984.45, and that was our very first two weeks on the road making a big effort to get out of Ontario through Thunder Bay heading west. We had only one month (July) where we didn’t spend any money on gas, and that was when we were parked up at the KOA in Cavendish PEI. Our next best month was January where we spent $120.00. We spent the majority of that month parked at several beach spots in the Baja with very little distance between them. During the 12 months we averaged $556 a month for gasoline. The most we paid was $1.45 CAN per litre (about $5.75 US per gallon) on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia and the least we paid was $0.67 CAN per litre (about $2.60 US per gallon).

Propane: We spent a total of $298.57 on propane. We use this for cooking, running the furnace, and it runs the fridge when we’re not hooked up to electricity…which is most of the time. We averaged $24.88 a month for propane.

Groceries: We spent a total of $4,602.51 for groceries. This would include dog food for Whiskey, and a variety of minor household type items that one might pick up while doing grocery shopping. A great deal of our groceries were bought at Walmart, and we spent a total of $2,687.18 at that store. Throughout North America there was a WIDE variety of pricing for groceries. Almost everything was expensive in Nova Scotia and PEI. The government “regulates” the price of milk there, and as such it was $7.11 CAN per 4 litres of milk. (About $6.00 US per gallon). Then, there was the time where we bought rib-eye steaks in Mexico for $1.50 each! Most of the United States has very reasonable prices for groceries compared to most of Canada. We averaged $383.54 per month for groceries.

Alcohol: We spent a total of $1,941.04 on booze. We entertain a lot. Well, we entertain ourselves a lot anyhow! Most of that is my beer, which I enjoy. But Ruth likes her fair share of wine too. We really cut down while in Canada…it’s just too much of a rip off spending $40.00 CAN on a box of 24 beer. That’s about the standard price in both British Columbia and Nova Scotia. It’s about $37.00 a case in Ontario, and about $28 a case in Quebec. Of course in Quebec you can buy beer at a corner store, so it’s much cheaper because you don’t have to pay a unionized employee $18 an hour or so to serve you your box of beer. Much cheaper anywhere in the US…averaging probably $18 a case, and then going down to about $16.50 a case in Mexico. Wine is cheapest anywhere in the US. You can buy a 5 litre box for about $14. In comparison, a 4 litre box in Canada costs minimum $32. Mexico didn’t have many great deals on wine, although hard liquor was much cheaper. Bought a 750ml bottle of scotch for $7.50…a blend, but imported from Scotland. Can’t figure how they do that so cheap. We spent an average of $161.75 a month on alcohol.

Entertainment: We spent a total of $1,175.13 on entertainment. This would include anything from meals out to taking in a baseball game to buying a movie on DVD at Walmart. An average of $97.93 per month.

Overnight Costs: We spent a total of $920.31 on overnight campground costs. We boondock a lot. (Boondocking is the RV’ing term for camping free without services). We hate having to pay for somewhere to park our self sufficient motorhome. That’s why we have a motorhome, so we don’t have to pay rent. Sometimes we do though, in order to empty holding tanks or some other necessity. We averaged $76.69 per month in campground costs.

Motorhome Maintenance: We spent a total of $1,677.45 on motorhome maintenance and capital expenses. The majority of this, about $1,100 was to install 160W of solar panels so that we can cut back even more on campground expenses and enjoy our boondocking even more. The balance was for oil changes and tune up parts. Averaged out, it came to $139.79 per month.

Miscellaneous: This is where we went over budget. We spent $3,161.50 on miscellaneous items ranging from a Costco membership to laundry to vet bills for our dog Whiskey. We really hadn’t counted on spending as much on minor little things that just happen to come along. So $263.45 per month there.

Travel: We also spent $3,410 on travel. This included my flight to Manzanillo while Ruth and her brother drove the motorhome down. And I flew from New Orleans to Boston to check out a new school with our son. And we had a little holiday just a week ago in Toronto. Also includes the approx $784 it cost to take the motorhome on the ferry between La Paz and Mazatlan. Average of $284.17 a month.

So we spent an average of $1,988.20 per month. This is about $600 per month higher than we originally wanted to spend. The next 6 months will be considerably less than that, on a monthly basis. We won’t have any travel costs, and the gas, booze, food, will all be bought in the US whereas last fall we spent almost 3 months in Canada. We plan on averaging $1,300 per month in total costs for the next 6 months.


  1. We are following along eagerly! We're starting full time In August. We bought a small Class A too. We like the simplicity. Our first two months we are heading to the Maritimes. Going to check out a bunch of your spots! Thanks for the great info. We'll be heading to Mexico on Nov 1 ourselves. First time. You've given us courage!

    1. Congratulations! I hope you both have as much fun full timing as we have had. If you are out in the Maritimes in August you may not have quite as easy a time boondocking as we did because it will be at a busier time of the year, whereas we were off season. It is beautiful out there and I am sure if you stop at a lot of the little harbours along the way you will find somewhere to park.

      Good for you on wanting to head to Mexico. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us, we are always willing to help if we can.


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