Lots of people enjoying another beautiful day in Istanbul, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

December Expenses and 2023 Expenses Review

Well, 2023 was our most expensive year yet since we started out in 2007. We knew that we were going to spend more in 2023 than we did in 2022, so it's not surprising. We just didn't plan on it being that much more!

For December, we had a planned budget of $2,400 CAD ($1,780 USD). However that was before we decided to come to Malaysia, and the flights and accommodation here added to that. Also, we did some things in Thailand that were unplanned, like flying from Ubon to Chiang Mai.

And finally, on an overall basis, Thailand is more expensive than we thought it was going to be. 

We ended up spending $3,428 CAD ($2,586 USD) for the month, which considering we were a full 30 days of the month in a very inexpensive country, it's a little surprising.

Here's how it all broke down... (the following figures are in Canadian dollars)

Fuel: We spent $26 on gas for the rental car we had in Ubon.

Groceries: Somehow, we spent $110 on groceries, even though we ate out most of the month. But, we did some breakfasts in, and just milk for coffee, and some snacks all added up. 

Meals out: It's really cheap to eat out in Thailand, especially when you stick with Thai street food. But even approximately $4 a meal adds up to $546 over a month. So really, Thailand was more expensive for us than when we buy our own groceries and don't eat out when living in a motorhome and traveling Europe! Of course the benefit is that Ruth doesn't have to do the cooking on a daily basis!

Alcohol: Wine is expensive in Thailand. Ruth couldn't find anything else alcoholic that she liked at a reasonable price, so she just didn't drink much. And neither did I, although I had a few beers throughout the month. Total cost, $61.

Miscellaneous: Mostly local Grab taxis and the Skytrain in Bangkok. Again, cheap on a one time use basis, but it adds up over a month. Also, ATM fees are expensive in Thailand, so we had to pay every time we took cash out. The best idea is to take out as much as you need in one shot, but we weren't sure at the beginning of the month exactly how long we were staying. Anyhow, miscellaneous expenses added up to $162 for the month.

Entertainment: Not bad, at $133 for the month. Mostly related to National Park fees, and temple visits.

Overnight: Again, Thailand can be done very cheap in this category if you stay at one place for the month. But we are explorers, so we like to move around a lot. Maximum of one week at a time usually, so we don't get much in the way of long stay discounts. Plus, we treated ourselves a bit over the Christmas period and spent a little more than normal. Total for the month, $894.

Travel: Planes, trains, and automobiles. Mostly in the "planes" category! We started the month in Almaty, Kazakhstan where we flew to Bangkok through New Delhi. Then an in country flight from Ubon to Chiang Mai. Then from Chian Mai to Kuala Lumpur at the end of the month. Total including the in country trains (which were cheap) and a two day car rental, came to $1,494.

But, we had a really good month! It was just more expensive than we thought it would be.

Just like 2023 was in total! A really great year... but expensive!

Now, we knew it was going to be more. We had the one trip in January to Mauritania that in itself cost almost $9,000 CAD for ten days. And we had so much fun on that one that we signed up for the Turkmenistan trip in October. By the time we actually got airfare in there, it was well over $7,000. So $16,000 CAD just on those two trips. 

Then, we also paid for our daughter and grandkids to fly to Morocco for almost three weeks. And, we paid for Grandson Cameron to come and visit us in England and Europe for ten nights.

So... the grand total for the year? An astounding $47,812 CAD (about $35,000 USD). The most we have ever spent in one year. 

The category monthly averages don't really mean much because we spent the first seven months of the year in the motorhome, and we had the family with us during some of it. Two categories that stand out though are groceries... an average of $394 CAD per month, and eating out... an average of $229 a month. So even with the inflation that the world experienced in 2023, we still managed total food costs of $623 CAD ($470 USD) a month for the two of us. And alcohol... a reasonable $129 CAD ($97 USD) per month. 

So, in 2024 we will spend less than 2023! Probably quite a bit less, because we can't go on spending that much every year. Otherwise we'll have to sit and watch TV by the time we're 70! But, we'll probably do one special trip instead of two. It was the second trip that kind of put us over the top.



  1. That's actually pretty good. Imagine if you were retired and just sitting around in a house in -30C for the winter.

    1. Yes, we would much rather spend that money and do stuff that we enjoy now while we can, then later on when we can't travel we will find somewhere really cheap to settle down in so that we can sit in front of the TV, lol!


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