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Out for a walk at Crescent Beach near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Bellingham, Washington.

Where are they going next? Somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Expenses - Yikes!

Well, we knew it was going to be bad.

We spent a record high $6,302 CAD ($4,950 USD) during the month of April. Yes, we spent a lot of money on motorhome parts and repairs, but even if we subtract that $3,493 we still spent $2,809, which would have been a high month anyhow. We're going to have to tighten our belts for the trip up to Yukon!

(The following dollar figures are all in Canadian dollars. For U.S. dollar equivalent, you can subtract about 22%)

Here's how it all broke down...

Gasoline: Considering we started the month in Mexico, and we ended it in Canada, we knew that fuel expenses would be high. We bought 295 gallons of gas that cost $1,005 and we drove about 4,300 kms (2,667 miles). An average of 9.1 mpg. Not bad considering the winds we fought with for most of the trip. I looked back in our records, and there have only been three other months in the last ten years where we spent over $1,000 on fuel.

Toll Roads: On April 1st and 2nd, we were on the toll roads around Saltillo and Monterrey. We spent $75 to do that.

Propane: We filled Sherman's tank, plus we stocked up on a few of those 1 lb containers. Total cost for propane was $52.

Groceries: Groceries are no longer cheap in the United States, and then we have to add on 30% for the Canadian dollar. When we did that, it came to $548. Still, not bad, but we shop for deals and Ruth works hard at making food last and not wasting anything.

Alcohol: A little higher than average at $237. Now that we are in the land of high booze prices, we will be curbing our intake accordingly.

Miscellaneous: Far higher than normal, at $724. The major expenses in this category were Ruth's hiking boots at $154, and a one year Good Sam Roadside assistance program for Sherman, at $161. We also spent $161 on internet access, but that should carry us through most of the month of May as well. We also stocked up on a few things (bug spray, as an example) for our Yukon trip.

Entertainment: We knew we didn't have any money left for entertainment! We spent $28.70 on one lunch out.

Overnight: We spent $139.80 on 8 nights of state park campgrounds in Texas. Average of $17.50 per night. The other 22 nights we free camped.

Motorhome: Poor Sherman. He needed some major work, and we spent $3,493 to fix him up. And we're not done yet. He still needs some minor repairs. Some exhaust clamps need replacing, he's still got that minor structural problem, and I need to install the new bell crank.

What a year we picked to take the summer off! We've already spent $12,700 through the first four months. I've been wanting to buy a better quality camera to show you higher quality pics from our Yukon trip, but it might have to be put off. We'll see.

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Great deal on a home workshop bench vise...

Yost 4 1/2" Workshop Vice

And in Canada, top of the line Blendtec blenders are on sale...

Blendtec Blender

30 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info. It sounds like the road was a little bumpy.

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    1. We hope that you find the information helpful and yes, the road was a little bumpy but it will smooth out more this month. :-)

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  2. Your pictures are great as they are.

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    1. Yes, but the colour is starting to go on the camera so the photos are washed out and not showing their true colour so Kevin has to adjust the saturation level, contrast and such to reflect that. Kevin said it is the image sensor that is going bad. Plus sometimes the camera won't turn on or off, so we have to remove the battery for a minute or so and then put it back in, then it usually works again and a few times it wouldn't properly focus on a subject. We had the perfect opportunity to get a fantastic picture of a vermilion flycatcher in Texas and Kevin tried for several minutes and just couldn't get the camera to focus on it and it surprisingly perched quietly all that time. It was very frustrating.

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  3. No need for a new camera, your pictures are excellent. Sherman's repairs will last a long time so that is more of an investment than an expence. In the greater scheme of things, the expences are well worth the life style.
    Cheers, and keep on trucking.

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    1. As I mentioned in the above comment, there actually is a need for one but not one that is absolutely necessary at the moment. It just takes Kevin longer do the pictures and he knows that with a better camera his pictures would be all that much better but it will have to wait, Sherman's repairs were much more important.

      Yes, in the whole scheme of things, we have been doing well overall with Sherman's repairs and we are still able to travel. Definitely cheaper than trying to keep up with repairs to a house.

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  4. Yikes! But you spent most of the money on your home/vehicle so that is good. Always good to keep home and vehicle in good repair.

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    1. Yes, we did spend a lot of the money on Sherman this past month and it is definitely important to keep him running properly. Things will eventually even out over the course of the year. At least we hope it will! ;-)

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  5. I agree, you don't need a new camera. I get a lot of comments on the quality of your pictures!

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    1. We do need a new one, there are several things failing on this one, which is now four years old but it is still usable. Plus, Kevin isn't seeing anything that he likes in the new cameras at the moment except for one which he can't justify the cost. He will continue to keep his eyes open and if a good deal comes our way for the "perfect" camera than perhaps we will break down and get it.

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  6. Staying home this winter showed us that we actually spent less for groceries in Canada over the winter than we did in the US last winter. We did less entertaining at home and are able to buy in larger, more economical quantities but still, that does not explain all the difference. Your observation that groceries are getting more expensive in the US is accurate.

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    1. X2, Croft. We've noticed that the up and down cycle of vehicle fuel prices in getting food to market has affected grocery (and mom and pop restaurant) prices, but those grocery prices don't seem to fall when fuel prices cycle down. Since we are both fish and red meat eaters, we find ourselves eating more fish now (since we live on the east coast) than eating beef as prices have skyrocketed. If we find it on sale, we try to stock up. Just planted a few Celebrity tomato plants and farmers' market is opening up for the season, so that should help lower vegetable prices.

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    2. Yep, we really noticed the prices in the grocery stores were higher than it has been and then you have to add in the exchange rate. We found that the fresh produce was pretty much the same price or more than what is is in Canada and that was before even adding on the exchange rate. It is incredible, I don't know how they can afford to eat healthy down there now.

      Dee, we have always said the same thing about the fuel prices. When fuel goes down in price we never see a corresponding reduction in food prices! Our trip through the states this spring I only bought on package of ground beef, no other beef, it was just too expensive. We like chicken and fish and lots of fruits and vegetables.

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  7. You guys still are some of the best examples of RVers travelling "frugally" that I know. I often direct people to your blog for that reason alone.

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    1. Thanks Marianne, we do always try our best to be frugal but sometimes things are just out of your hands. Hopefully a month like this will never be repeated. :-)

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  8. It's not the camera, it's what you can do with it. I love your pictures.

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    1. True but unfortunately this camera is starting to give Kevin some difficulties and the colour is now off on it because the image sensor is starting to go which causes Kevin to spend a little more time on our pictures than what it should take. Thankfully it is still operational, at least at the moment.

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  9. Awesome trip, we to some day want to do the Mexico trip as well. Were totally new and, although retired still can't get away full time yet do to family resp. but we will be. You have Good Sam, is that still needed if we have CAA full RV coverage and may I ask what phone service you use out of country???

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    1. You would have to compare the coverage provided with CAA RV and see if you're happy with it.

      We normally buy a SIM card when we arrive in whatever country we're visiting. Currently here in Canada, we're still using a Telcel SIM card from Mexico.

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  10. Yep April was an unusually expensive month for me also.

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    1. Sorry to hear that! Hopefully May will be better for us both. :-)

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  11. Taking care of your house isa priority and still well worth it for a place to live and travelling is your own home. Still cheaper that owning a house.

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    1. We agree, we love this lifestyle and we know that that will always be repairs to be done on our "home", it is just hard when you have a big repair bill all at once. May should be better! :-)

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  12. X3 on the groceries. Bread, dairy and beef were considerably cheaper, but dry goods and fresh veggies were quite a bit more. Combined with the poor exchange rate, we found for the 5 month period we were south, we only spent $100 less than we do at home, and that could be easily explained by what we didn't spend on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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    1. Funny we found milk to be inexpensive as well as eggs compared to Canada but just about everything else is more, especially when that exchange rate is added on. Fruits and veggies seemed much higher than back home in Canada.

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    2. Milk and eggs should be cheaper because most US states provide state floor price supports/subsidies for their dairy products which guarantee the farmer/producer gets a decent margin above the farmers' costs. Thus, when you buy a gallon of milk, you are benefiting from those taxation supports. Milk farmers say if they did not have those supports, they would have to pour, in the aggregate, an overproduction of milk on the ground.

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  13. Although your pictures conveyed a most exquisite story of your travels, I found them of a bit lower quality...especially while viewing them on a 23 1/2" monitor at my desktop. Cameras (or phone cameras) that take very good quality photos/videos are not very expensive these days...and with the scenery up north I think would be justified...hope you can squeeze that into your budget!

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    1. Thank you for you honesty Douglas. We do (or did) have a mid-range camera when we bought it 4 years ago and Kevin as looked at ones similar to this but isn't happy with them because now many of them need you to buy a second lens which he is really trying hard to stay away from because they are more bulky especially for traveling abroad which we do like to do. So it is hard to find a good quality one that has the features that he is looking for at a half decent price. He will continue to keep his eyes open for a good deal on one that is at least similar to what he wants.

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    2. You know Ruth, I'm a bit on the thrifty side also...so now what I use for higher end photos and videos is my son's out-of-date (to him...he's always upgrading) Samsung 5 Note? phone...there is no sim card in it...it's just a camera...and can connect to WiFi. It was a good price...free.

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    3. We also have a Samsung phone that takes decent pictures and videos but it doesn't have the versatility that a good camera has. There is no way that Kevin would use just the phone for all our photos. He could never get some of the good zoomed in photos that we have gotten over the years with just a camera phone.

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