View of Lake Patzcuaro from Rancho la Mesa RV Park, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Rancho La Mesa RV Park, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.

Where are they going next? Lago de Camécuaro National Park, Michoacan, Mexico.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2018 Financial Year in Review

I spent a couple of hours this morning finally getting caught up on our expenses from November and early December. Fortunately, I had been on top of things since mid December, so since then, and into January are already up to date!

2018 was our most expensive year since we took off in the motorhome in 2007. By far!

(By the way, this is the second blog post today... you can see the first one here.)

We spent a total of $35,564 CAD (about $27,000 USD). To give you some perspective, in the last five years prior to that, we spent between $17,000 and $22,000 CAD each year.

A big chunk of that was due to motorhome repair and maintenance. Sherman is getting old. In fact, he'll be 23 years old this year. And, we don't treat him gently! We did 9,000 kms (5,400) miles in the first three months of the year on some very rough roads in Mexico. And then, we drove him up to the Arctic Ocean where we did 1,700 kms (1,050 miles) of rough dirt road on the Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk.



We spent $9,330 CAD ($7,100 USD) on new tires all around, ball joints, lower control arms, a major tune up, new brakes all around and a couple of wheel alignments!

Our next biggest expense for the year was fuel. We did a lot of miles in 2018, and much of it was in places where fuel is very expensive...Mexico and Yukon and Northwest Territories. We spent $9,100 CAD (about $6,900 USD) on fuel to drive about 32,000 kms (20,000 miles).

Our "miscellaneous" column took a big hit this year as well. We bought a new camera for you at $885 CAD, good quality used bicycles at $734 CAD, new hiking boots, new camp chairs, etc.

We spent $1,068 CAD staying connected throughout the year.

Grocery expenses were lower than expected. Everybody warned of us of the expensive products on the shelves up in the north, and to a certain extent that is true. But Ruth is a smart shopper and knows how to stretch the food budget. We bought things that were on sale and didn't buy anything that wasn't necessary. We averaged $410 CAD ($309 USD) per month. That included a couple of $500 months, and even a couple of $200 months!

We spent $2,500 CAD ($1,900 USD) on booze. That's higher than the last five years, however only because we didn't work at Cabri park in 2018, while we spent 5 dry months there every summer for the previous five years.

Entertainment expenses were below average at $131 CAD ($100 USD) per month including meals out. We do a lot of hiking, which is both free and good for you!

Overnight expenses were really cheap at $649 CAD ($490 USD) for the year. Part of that is because the four months we spent in Mexico in 2018 were with the RV caravans and overnight expenses are covered as part of our compensation. The other part is because we do a lot of boondocking! 

And we spent $977 on "travel"... this includes air fare and car rentals.

It will be interesting to see how 2019 works out financially. Hopefully Sherman's repair bills will be minimal. We're thinking of leaving him in Texas for the summer and flying back to Canada. We've already got our airfare to Australia booked, but no idea what kind of expense we are going to have there for transportation. And, we're thinking of visiting a friend on his boat in Bahamas for a week or so in April, and then we'll also look for a trip to take in late August or early September. No idea where.

And then maybe another RV Caravan tour back to Mexico next November... we'll see... :-)

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And in Canada...




20 comments:

  1. You still have done so amazingly well, the repairs to Sherman were necessary to have a safe trip to Mexico with your Caravan. The new caravan certainly seems to be going well. Darn liquor, I have started to make wine to alleviate some of our liquor costs (ours are considerably higher but I will be bringing a bottle of rum back from Mexico). Question - do you purchase any out of country medical over and above basic SK healthcare? Mainly for USA and Australia? I know Mexican costs are so reasonable that you normally don't

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    1. No, we don't purchase any extra medical coverage.

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    2. Not even in the US? I find your frugalness very impressive. I'm curious as a fellow Canadian if living full-time in an RV is doable in Canada year round and have you ever done it? My husband and I are considering it and have the Class C already. Or would we need to plan on snowbirding. Also, do you spend enough time in Sask for keeping the medical in good standing?

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    3. We are never in the U.S. for much more than a month or so per year. We do not believe that RVs are suitable for a Canadian winter, but that's just our opinion. Yes, we know that some people do it.

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    4. Maybe in Vancouver area but hard to find cheap camping. So you guys have always either gone to Mexico or parked it and went somewhere else in winter?

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    5. Yep. The #1 goal in life is to never spend another winter in Canada. We did most of the winter of 2009 in Kingston, Ontario but that was only because Ruth's mother passed away.

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  2. Your expenses are about the same as ours on an average the last few years , we started at around $22,000 back in 2006 still a very reasonable lifestyle that gives us a lot of freedom.

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    1. Yes, we definitely love this type of lifestyle, it certainly does give us lots of freedom, especially for the price.

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  3. All in all I think it is great value for the money! And we all get to come along…

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    1. We think it is great value for the money as well, except for this past year being so expensive. Hopefully this year will be better. Glad you enjoy tagging along with us virtually. :-)

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  4. And here I worry about traveling in our 3 yr newer Daybreak from IL to FL! You both are fearless! :)

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    1. Lol, I wouldn't say fearless but we definitely have a great sense of adventure. If a rig is well maintained then you really shouldn't have anything to worry about, especially with a newer one like yours. :-)

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  5. My first 34 years of life were spent in Alaska, my #1 goal in life is to never spend another Alaska winter. After moving to Arizona for 10 years, we then spent 18 years on a sailboat in the tropics. Now even 65° seems too cold. Mexico for the winter is a great plan.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think we would want to spend even one winter in Alaska, but then we don't even want to spend another winter in Canada! A few weeks maybe but that would be it.

      Even some of the places we have been staying at here in Mexico are chilly by early evening and first thing in the morning but the daytime temperatures are pretty much perfect for us.

      We've been hearing that Arizona has been having a bit of a chilly winter this year!

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    2. I totally understand! After spending ten years in the tropics (by camper and sailboat), our bodies can't take the cold anymore. We've been back in the US for three years and can't find a comfortable (read "warm") enough place to spend the winters. Like you write, the 65F in San Diego doesn't do the trick for us either. Soon, we will try the Arizona desert for the rest of the winter. :-)

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  6. Good summary, but I think you need to add a category for miles (km) hiked.

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    1. Lol, we have thought of that but it wouldn't be in under our expense report! :-)

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  7. And I thought our alcohol bill for 2018 was high. :-) Understandably, the camper is the highest expense category, especially with older vehicles. And, your fuel category is extremely high as well, but that's the price we pay for doing the miles. I can't believe how much you both drove in 2018. Wow!

    It looks like you're ready for a little break from the road in 2019. Australia will be an incredible experience. I visited for three months backpacking, when I was in my twenties, as part of a bigger year-long trip, on which I also traveled in New Zealand. Going back to NZ a few years ago, however, was a shock in regards to how expensive everything had become. Hopefully Australia won't be that way! Enjoy!

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    1. Our alcohol expenses are high because we have to buy very expensive wine and beer in Canada. Hard liqour is even more expense so when we are in Canada we wouldn't even buy it!

      This was definitely the most money that we have ever spent in one year on repairs for Sherman but we also did a ton of driving last year, which also means lots of money for fuel and again we were in places where fuel is expensive. We will keep our fingers crossed that these categories will be much better this year. :-)

      We still plan on being on the road when we are in Australia. With any luck we will find and buy a campervan to travel around in for the three months and then when we are finished we will turn around and sell it. We are really looking forward to this upcoming adventure! :-)

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