Month four and it feels like yesterday that we hit the road full time in a motorhome. The biggest thing for us this month was that we became Texas residents! We’re very excited to be Texans, but the cost to set everything up impacted our budget for this month. Surprisingly, we spent about half of what we did last month on food even though we splurged in Louisiana and ate at several restaurants. Kait thinks we can cut down our food bill even further for the month of January. We did stay at our family’s farm outside Ocala, FL for a good portion of the month, which greatly helped us save on campground fees.
While we were on the farm, we were able to get some maintenance items done like changing the oil in the RV and generator, changing the differential fluid on the Jeep and washing the RV. We did this all ourselves and saved quite a bit of money (see “Learnings” below for specifics).
To view all our reports, visit our Cost of Living Full Time in a RV page.
Statistics for December:
Total Expenses: $2,829
Cost Per Day: $91.26
Total Miles Driven: 2,073
Generator Hours: 15
Jeep MPG: 18
RV MPG: 7.5
Nights At RV Parks / Family Farm: 23
Nights Spent Dry Camping: 8
Meals Eaten Out: 13
This month our expenses went down, spending a total of $2,829 compared to $2,929 last month.
Here are a few notes about our expenses this month compared to last month:
Food costs were cut in half this month. Although we ate out quite a bit in Louisiana, we spent the rest of the month cooking and using up food supplies we bought in November. Total spent on food was $651 compared to $1,121 last month.
Performed all the maintenance on our vehicles at the family farm. We changed the engine oil on our RV, the oil in our generator and the differential fluid (front/rear) on our Jeep. In total, we spent $55 on oil and filters rather than $450 to have the dealership do it for us (avg. quoted prices: RV oil change $100; generator oil change $90; Jeep differential fluid (F/R) $260). We also cleaned the RV inside and outside. These maintenance items were easy to do and saved us a lot of money. It also gave us a good opportunity to inspect the RV and we found a few warranty issues that we’ll have taken care of at our next service appointment.
Spent many more nights hooked up. Although a majority of those were spent on our family’s farm, we are spending more on campsites now that we’re on the east coast where dispersed camping in National Forests and on BLM Land is almost nonexistent.
In becoming Texas residents, we paid several one time fees from setting up our mail forwarding service to getting our Texas drivers licenses and vehicles inspected and registered. We wrote a post about becoming Texans through Escapees RV Club.
Saves money on gas. We continued to drive fewer miles which saved us $56 on gas and GasBuddy continues to help us find the best gas prices in each city.
Miles on the RV: 1,169 – avg mpg 7.5
Miles on the Jeep: 904 – avg mpg 18
MPG on the RV went back up to 7.5 this month because we’ve been slowing down and taking our time. We also lightened the load to help increase mpg.
Some things we learned this month that we’d like to pass along.
Researching sales tax can help save money. We were going to make a Costco run in Mobile, AL, after doing some research, we found that the tax rate was 11%! Since we were headed to Tallahassee, FL, we decided to make our purchases there and saved the 3.5% on sales tax.
The further east we go, the fewer free dry camping spots there are. We have been accustomed to dry camping on BLM or National Forest land and only stay at a campground when we want hookups for a few days. Now, the dry camping spots we’re finding are at Walmart or Cracker Barrel and since we are limited to one night, we are staying at more campgrounds.
The humidity and bugs in the south make hookups a necessity. Many of the places we’ve gone this month are swarming with mosquitos and small stinging flies. The smaller mosquitos and flies are able to get through the screens and we got eaten alive one night when we left the windows open and fans on. It’s also been warm and VERY humid in Florida and not having the AC running made life in the coach very uncomfortable.
We’ve taken our own advice from last month and started driving slower in the RV (around 60mph) and not filling our water tank whenever possible. We’ve seen an increase in 1mpg over the course of the month.
This site is our primary source of income and we earn money thru ads, Amazon affiliate links and our YouTube Channel. This month we made $50, more than any other month. Most of this came from our Amazon Affiliate ads and we believe that the Christmas season contributed to most of the sales. Although we only made enough to have a nice meal or pay for a night or two at a RV park, we are very excited to see some growth in our income. If you are interested in starting your own site, read our post on How to Setup a Self Hosted WordPress Website.
We also started making videos for our YouTube Channel this month and hope to start generating more views and engagement. Check it out and let us know what you think.