Preplanning for Monthly Budget
Hey thanks for the continuing support and for following along in our journey. We cannot wait to get out and start to experience new things and share with you what we learn. I have been asked a lot of times since we announced this new adventure, how do we plan on surviving. Making a living and paying for things. Well I wanted to touch a little bit on our budget. To kind of give you all an overview of what we are planning on spending each month and how this will come together. This is a rough draft since we know things will change and that we have never done this before so we do not know what other things will pop up.
To start, our hope is that we have a two year cushion on what we plan on spending each month when we leave. We will be paying cash for the travel trailer and truck from the sale of our house. We hope to save and use the rest of the equity from our home as our savings. That way if something happens we have a few options to survive. That being said, we hope to have a max of 2000 dollars a month budget. Below is a rough breakdown of our main budget. There are other things we are planning and preparing on, but this is the heart of our budget.
$350 – Health insurance $200 – Truck and Trailer Insurance $150 – Gas $500 – Food/necessities $220 – Phone and Internet $600 – Campground Fees
So first, we will go over the two insurances that we will need. With both insurances, location and other factors play into cost. Once we are on the road paying for it, we will let you know what the costs are. The health insurance is a rough estimate as of right now. I did some research through a local company and found this price for family coverage. The only issue with it is the higher deductible that we would have. That being said, we are all relatively healthy so I don’t mind having a higher deductible. The other insurance, truck and trailer will hopefully be lower. Without owning those getting an accurate quote is difficult. The way we can save money on those is paying the premium a year at a time. Most companies offer a discount when you pay the full premium at once. This does two things, it frees up some monthly spending money, and also lowers the price. Both a win-win when we do not know exactly how much we will be making a month.
One comment/question we get is how we are going to pay for all the gas we use, that we will be spending so much money on gas. Well with our plan that we have we will actually not be traveling a lot. We will be enjoying life, going at a slower pace. For example, when we leave in September, we hope to have 1 month to get to our first destination. In that 1 month we will only be traveling 1500 miles at the most. That is about 3 tanks of gas, 150 bucks. When we get tour final destination, where we will be working for 6 months or so, we will be driving hardly at all. The other months when we are not working or traveling, we will be boondocking. Living off the grid, hardly traveling, taking a slower pace and enjoying life. With these plans, I don’t see us spending more than 50 bucks most months on gas.
Food and necessities is probably the biggest budget item that can change on a month by month basis. For those that don’t know feeding a family of 5 can be very expensive. However over the years Michelle and I have developed a good routine for keeping costs down. We almost always only go to the grocery store once a week. We make a list and do our best to stick to it. We pick out usually about 4 or 5 meals, depending on my work schedule, and just purchase those meals. We try to stray away from junk foods and items the kids will eat up in 1 day. With these tips, I believe that we can easily be under 500 bucks per month. I know I also stated that this includes necessities, but those are also going to be ever changing. We do not know how many supplies we will be going through because the normal ways of showering, laundry, dishes and so one will be different from the norm. As we get out on the road we will update everyone with what we have found that works.
The phone and the internet are pretty set in stone. We currently have Sprint. We have been on the Sprint network since 1998. As much as we have enjoyed our time with them, we are planning to switch to Straight Talk Wireless. A couple of nice things about this switch is that they use all four networks. This means we can bring our current phones to their service. In addition, since they do use all four networks we should not have much time without service except when we are boondocking or in the middle of nowhere. We do plan to have four phones. After much discussion, we decided that each kid does need his or her own phone. We do not want to have them fighting over talking to their friends or watching movies online when we can. Michelle and I will be sharing one. This will cut down on the monthly cost. Therefore, at 55 dollars a month for unlimited talk, text and data, we will be at 220 bucks a month.
Finally, I will discuss the campground fees. I put this in because it could be a budget item. However, we are planning on workamping, which I will discuss in a future Blog and Vlog. With workamping though there is not a fee for parking at the campground. As we are planning on workamping about six months out the year, we can cross that off for six months. The other months when we are traveling, we are hoping to find a lot of land through the BLM or other open land to camp on. Most of those types of land you are able to stay for up to 14 days without having to move. After the 14 days, we will move maybe 50 miles to another free area to park. Our ultimate goal is to not to have to pay for a campground for 10 out of the 12 months of the year. If we can succeed this will be only $1200 for the year of campground fees. A significant saving in our monthly budget.
Although this is a rough estimate on our budget, it gives you all an idea of what we are planning on spending. When we are out on the road, we will try to give you an update on how things are going and what we have learned or what has changed. As I stated, this does not include all of the items we are planning for our master budget. Big thanks goes to my coworker Doug who helped build an Excel Spreadsheet that we will be using when we leave. Thanks again for checking out our journey.