During the trip, I made several changes to the way I track money. I've been meaning to go through and re-examine my data, try and get things to align since I didn't initially capture data the way I did at the end. But the fact is that school is upon me and my days are full. But here is what I DO have:
Total money spent: $55,623.07
That way overshoots my initial goals. I'm bummed. But I'm gonna spend some time and justify my overspending ways. I included in there a lot of items that were bought for the trailer. LEDs, shower rods, curtains, organization items, cookware, and the like. Yes, that's money spent. If I took the same trip today, it wouldn't cost as much, because I would already have those items. There are also medical expenses that are not solely trip related (though Lyme was, so stink on you, Vermont! Whom I really love, so most is forgiven). I have allergies that have to be tended to, asthma that simply can't be ignored any longer, a slow thyroid that needs some revving, and the miscellaneous headaches and other aches and pains. We had two major services on the Sprinter, and that stuff costs a pretty penny. Let's break down that wad o' cash:
Fuel: $7062.89 That comes to just over the $500/month that we budgeted. We spent about 13.5 months on the road, so that's not so bad. We had some very spendy months with fuel, and some very non-spendy months. I'm overall pleased with our fuel purchases.
Laundry: $562.25 I have to be honest, I didn't even track this expense initially. What I'm saying is that I know this number isn't totally honest. The money has most likely been captured in another area, but sometimes not. Cash was our number one way of paying for laundry, and since I didn't write it down while we were in the laundromats, it sometimes wasn't the most accurate accounting. Also, looking back at earlier blogs, I didn't even budget for this expense. And oh my, this was a wildly varying expense. Some weeks we could get away with $10, other weeks it cost us over $40. And we generally washed the same amount from week to week. Some weeks were bigger than others because of sheets and towels or what not, but the number one factor for how much it cost us was the laundromat itself. The laundering experience was not my favorite on this trip.
Groceries: $18743.50 My oh my is that a large number. For those paying attention, we also overran on this category. I had wanted to stick to $1000/month, so we overran by about $5000. Which in truth was predictable. Could I have done better? Absolutely. If it were you, could you have done better? Surely. But food deprivation is not my style. Perhaps it ought be.
Restaurants: $6772.19 Another category I denied in the beginning. I just tracked food, so my numbers for groceries and restaurants are combined for the first two months and reflected above. And I never budgeted for this. So with the two categories combined, we spent just under $2000/month, just about double what I budgeted.
Lodging: $7940.02 Um, I wanted to stay at $500/month or under. Didn't happen. Even with all the Wal Mart parking lots and relatives' houses we stayed in, that number is high. We had quite a few places (especially on the East Coast) that were $30/night. There was hardly a place we stayed on the East Coast for under $20/night. Guadalupe Mountain National Park in Texas was $8/night. We stayed in Hickiwan Trails in Why, AZ for just under $14/night, with full hookups. We paid $25/night at Bradbury Mountain State Park with no hookups. And it would have been $30/night had we used their reservation system (good thing we were there on weekdays and didn't NEED a reservation!). We definitely spent more on a nightly basis on the East Coast.
We have other categories, but the one we spent the most in was just a miscellaneous column. There we put all the car expenses, trailer stuff, medical stuff, and souvenirs we bought. That was an outlandish $14077.91. I know we spent on the order of $2400 just in car maintenance/repair. We bought things like chocks and LEDs and solar for the trailer. We spent more than $1000 on medical and dental. But once again, not budgeted and I certainly didn't keep them categorized.
So, am I disappointed that I can't keep myself to as strict a budget as I could when I was 25? Absolutely. Did I want to live like I did when I was 25? Truly did not. It wasn't fun enough the first time around. BUT, we had the money in the bank for this trip, we came back with some money, so it was a choice we could afford to make. Bill did not have a paycheck for eight of our nearly 14 months out, so it was tougher than I would have liked. I would have liked to have come back with more money in our accounts, but we spent the money the way we wanted, and that's what the money was in the bank for.