Wow! January was our cheapest month of tracking expenses since I started doing so in February of last year! I don’t know if it is just all the stars lining up, that we are getting better about spending money, or because we have been traveling in Mexico. I find it interesting because some things like gas and camping are way more expensive here – but visiting museums and eating out is way cheap! Perhaps it all balances out.
Total Money Spent
Although we are spending mostly pesos while we are in Mexico, I have converted all expenses here into US dollars. Because the exchange rate is different every time I get cash from an ATM- it is a bit of a process to convert. Luckily, I like playing with numbers.
And so here is the total for everything we spent in January:
And here is the break down of what we spent in sheet form:
And here is a version you can download.
We spent almost two weeks in Mexico City this month and the rest of the time traveling and exploring in the states of Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, and Oaxaca. All of our expenses were pretty normal – no surprises, no dental expenses, no van repairs — so what did we spend money on? Let’s look at some of the numbers and see…
Van Living Expenses
These are all expenses relating to the van itself, living in the van, and traveling in the van. The total for January:
Our biggest expense here was camping at $198.00. This expense hurts a little. There is so much free camping in the US. Not so in Mexico. I am learning to accept it. The next biggest was gas with $154.47. Since Ballena Blanca was parked for a good bit of January in Mexico City, the gas expense was lower than most months.
Our other van expenses were for insurance, $96.63 and $2.40 for 24 gallons of water.
Groceries and Booze
This is food and alcohol we buy a grocery or liquor store as opposed to in a restaurant.
– Food and Booze
These numbers are low since did a lot of eating and drinking out in Mexico City. I find that groceries are somewhat cheaper here and beer is definitely cheaper.
This category is for eating and drinking out, live music, museums, and attractions. Here are the breakdowns:
Almost two-thirds of this number, $190.80, is for eating and drinking out – if you balance this against what we didn’t spend in food and drink in January, we probably did pretty good. The rest of the money in this category went to Museums, Lucha Libre, bathroom expense when we are out (Clean bathrooms with toilet paper and seats on the toilets cost money – although not much – in many places in Mexico), and tips for street performers.
One of the things that is super cheap in Mexico is prescription and over-the-counter medicine. When is the last time you ever paid so little for prescription medicine without insurance?
These are the same kind of household expenses that you might have even if you didn’t live in a van or on a boat. Like toilet paper, clothes, personal items, laundry, and phone/data plan.
The biggest expense here, $86.12, is our phone plan with Google Fi. We could probably find a cheaper plan but I have been so happy with Google Fi in Mexico. We have up to 15 gigs of data and international phone calls are inexpensive. I had to make two phone calls to the repair shop about my computer when it was being fixed in Guadalajara. The first call cost me $1.20 (6 minutes at 20¢ a minute), but for the second, I made sure I was using WiFi and it only cost me 10¢ (10 minutes at 1¢ a minute).
We have also been spending money on all the usual stuff as well as finding the perfect gifts for family and friends.
Travel expenses include all of our costs for riding the subway and our bus trip to Teotihuacán when we were in Mexico City. Also included here are toll costs in Mexico – toll roads are everywhere and although we usually try to keep this cost down by avoiding them and taking the more scenic and sometimes rougher routes, every once in a while we just want to get somewhere fast or are tired of all the bumpy roads and those potholes or topes (speed bumps) that send things flying in the back of the van.
A tour guide in Guadalajara told us that “No Manches!” means “Oh My God!” in English. I added this category for unexpected expenses like getting our computer repaired. We hope we have seen the first and last of the No Manches expenses
*All pics are click to enlarge.
So what do you think? Do you track your expenses? How does this compare to your sticks and bricks expenses or your traveling expenses? Are our expenses less or more than you would have expected?