View from our hike near Beauregard-Baret, France.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Saint-Côme-et-Maruéjols, France.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Towards Andorra.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yearly full time living expenses

Readers Rob and Sherrie from Alberta asked about our yearly expenses while living fulltime in Sherman. We've kept track of pretty much every dime that we've spent, so I can kind of give you a breakdown.

The first 12 months, we did a lot of driving, and a lot of it was in expensive Canada. We drove 17,000 miles (27,000 kms) and spent $6,673 on gasoline. An average of $556 per month.

The second year we slowed down. Only drove 10,000 miles (16,000 kms) and spent $4,219 on gasoline. An average of $351 per month.

The third year, Ruth's Mom was sick and so we didn't go very far. The only real trip we took in the motorhome was the month of March to Florida. We only put about 3,500 miles on it at a cost of about $1,100 in fuel. We still have a small car that we drive while we're parked up so we had some car expenses that year as well.

This year, we've already done about 5,000 miles at a cost of about $1,600. Fuel is cheaper in Mexico, about 75 cents per litre in Canadian dollar terms. But we may be headed for Nova Scotia in the summer, so that will add some costs.

As you can see, fuel will be the number one thing that you have control over...the less moving around you do, the cheaper it will be for you.

This one has been pretty consistent for us, we spend between $350 and $400 per month on average. Keep in mind that we do not eat out very often, so this is pretty good. But then Ruth is a great cook, and doesn't waste anything! But this expense can be variable depending on where you live. In Mexico, we spend about $300 per month, but in Nova Scotia we spent about $500 per month.

Pretty minor really, even though we use our stove and oven a lot. Also the fridge runs on propane while we're travelling because we're rarely plugged in to electric. Figure $25 per month on average.

Obviously different for everybody. We spend about $130 per month, but we get a lot more booze in Mexico for $130 than we would in Nova Scotia. We spend about the same no matter where we are, we just drink less when we know how expensive it is!

This has been a real variable for us. Expenses range from veterinary fees to new sunglasses. So there have been some really high months ($800) and some really low months ($60). Since we started, it averages out to $350 per month.

We don't spend very much here. This includes anything touristy that we might do while travelling, and also includes eating out and the odd ice cream or treat. The highest month ever in this category was about $180. Averages out for us to about $75 per month.

Overnight expenses:
We don't stay in expensive parks. I think the most we have ever paid to overnight is about $35 per night. That is one of the reasons that we are outfitted with solar panels and batteries so that we can park where ever we want and not have to pay. Having said that, we don't mind staying at some state and county parks that are under $15 per night. We spent $920 our first 12 months, and $820 the second year. The third year we didn't travel much, but spent $193 for our month long trip to Florida. This year, we're already averaging $175 per month, so we'll have to cut back!

Other expenses such as insurance and repairs are not worth discussing because there are too many variables. Everybody's situatuion will be different.

Any questions, feel free to ask!


  1. Thanks for sharing the financial data with me. You certainly travel very efficiently. One question is how/cost of phone and internet service. We are a bit nervous being that both of us will be a couple of years from receiving our company pensions so we have to finance these years out of savings. Your blog is one of the better ones on travel in Mexico from the perspective of a couple that is acutually doing it.

    Rob and Sherrie

  2. Good breakdown.

    Something to think about, that "not moving around alot" thing.
    Gas prices just jumped here from 96.9 to 103.9 in a day. WOW.
    Glad I filled up yesterday!!!

    Love the header pic!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing your expense info. It's always interesting to see those for others. You spend a lot less on food than we do - we eat out a lot. Had to laugh - I think we both drink too much. You camping costs are amazing. We rarely boondock so our expenses are HIGH.

  4. Rob and Sherrie...Hope this will help you out a bit. We are very frugal compared to many RVer's but we have to be if we want to keep on RVing at our "young" age and only work in the summers. A lot is up to the individual as to how they want to RV, but you yourself have the control on how much you want to travel each day and where you decide to "park up" for the night also how much you eat out.

    As for communication, again we are frugal. We have a cellphone that is very basic and has $15 monthly charge and it is rarely if ever used. We use skype to call our families. Our internet is what we find for free along the way. Libraries, certain restaurant and hotel chains are great for unsecured wifi and were have a wifi booster that helps. In Mexico we bought an internet stick that runs off the cell system and works out great for us at an initial cost of $72.50 for the stick and one month of service after that it is about $42 a month.

    Again don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

    WBY...Yep, I think that is our number one cost, so we have to watch how much we travel. We learned this after our first year of travel.

    Kevin, Ruth and Whiskey

  5. Yup, we are pretty frugal and operate much on the same idea and budget lines at home here and when we travel in our rig. We are sure the transition to full time in 2013 will be right about in line with what you guys are doing. We do splurge on an aircard and cell phone with data..because sometimes one works when the other doesn't. Who knows what is changing in that area of electronic doo-dads in the future too?

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  6. Margie and Roger...I think that we probably spend a lot less on the food budget than most, but then Kevin and I always say "we're different". Can't have a day at the beach with out a drink! Again, not everyone likes to boondock and there's nothing wrong with that, but we perfer it over RV parks.

    Karen and Steve...I don't think you will have a problem with the transition over to full timing. You and Steve are both great at finding the best price possible for things and for finding great inexpensive camping. You will get a good look into full timing when you leave for you trip next month.

    Kevin, Ruth and Whiskey

  7. Thanks for sharing :)

    We are taking a 4 1/2 month trip this summer from April-September for our first major trip and have plans to do much more in the future.

    We have 2 little ones so our expenses will be a higher and since this is a trip this time for us we are budgeting a lot on entertainment but will definitely save and boondock whenever we can as parking on a slab doesn't sound like too much fun for us. Our gas here in Canada this weekend went up to $1.30 Canadian so even though we will spend alot on out travels from BC to Arizona, Utah etc over to Texas, Florida and then up to NS too, back through the states to head home so we can visit Mt Rushmore...we will spend a fortune on gas but we will see so much and have such a wonderfultime!

    I will be keeping track of our expenses as well when we go and will post on but it will be much higher but perhaps a better perspective for those travelling with small children as there are a few out there but finding info on family costs and family places has been a challenge for me.

  8. Brooke...Having children will cost more, but there are always ways to make things cheaper. Some suggestions are as much boondocking as possible even if it is at a Walmart. You can spend the days at parks and such and just before nightfall pull into a Walmart. Although there are also other spots, churches are usually a good spot as well as some ball fields. Cooking your own meals. Eating out adds up quickly especially with kids. If you are doing "tourist" things with them that cost money, look on the internet for discounts or possible free passes or 2 for 1 passes. If you also know that you will be stopping at the National Parks (Canada or US) think of buying the yearly family pass. Make sure first the it will be worth your while and that you will make use of it enough.

    Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions we can help you with. We will be watching for your travels. Have fun!

    Kevin, Ruth and Whiskey


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