No, this isn’t the total expenses for the month of November. It is only the total of one usually empty column from the month’s spreadsheet – Van Repairs.
I’m sure this number is more than what many people have probably initially paid for their van. And a number that could put an end to the adventure for other people like us traveling small on a limited income. With other vehicles we have owned in the past this number would have meant a call to a local charity to have it towed away. In fact, we did have our last 4 vehicles towed away – including our last van which we, fortunately, were able to sell to the person who had it towed away.
But this van, Ballena Blanca, is our home. When we had our initial van troubles and need to replace our torque converter with a repair estimate of $3,500 we never questioned whether we would spend the money. Since then we have had even more troubles – one that left us disabled and which almost seemed dire. But fortunately our wandering coffers are still full of summer painting dollars and we’ve been able to pour money into our traveling home without hesitation.
I initially thought I might use this space to tell you the details about our van troubles but they multiplied during the month and now merit there own blog post. Look for it in a few weeks.
A few notes before we get to November’s total:
- All expenses are in US dollars.
- We drive a 2015 Ford Transit Cargo Van upfitted for living in.
- We are vegetarians and we cook – eating little packed or prepared food.
Total Money Spent
Our total expenses for November were:
And here is the break down of everything in spreadsheet form:
Let’s look at a few of those numbers in detail…
Van Living Expenses
These are all expenses relating to the van itself, living in the van, and traveling in the van.
The total of all Van Living Expenses for November are:
Here is a breakdown of some specific van expenses:
– Van Upgrades
These expenses are for things that improve the van. I am constantly thinking of ways to make the van more comfortable and more efficient.
We are always thinking of ways to upgrade and improve the van.
In November we traveled from the coast of Maryland to lower central Pennsylvania, Charlotte, NC to Knoxville, south through Montgomery, AL to the Apalachicola National Forest in the Panhandle of Florida where we are now. Because we had so many van problems, though, we haven’t travel as much as we would have liked. The upside is that we didn’t spend as much on gas.
Right on the edge of the Apalachicola National Forest (where we have been exploring during the latter part of November), there is a small town call Sopchoppy which has a very nice city campground/park with full hookups (electric, water, and sewer) and hot showers for $20! So really you can see this as a camping expense or as 4 hot showers (one for each of us the day we arrived and the day we left) for $5 each.
Here are our camping/sleeping stats for November (all camping is free unless indicated):
3 – nights boondocking at a Walmart
14 – nights sleeping inside in a house
1 – nights sleeping in the van in someone’s driveway
1 – Boondockers Welcome (for more about Boondockers Welcome click here.)
6 – nights camping in a National Forest
4 – Florida Water District Campsite
1 – Paid City Campground
– Van Utilities
Here we include expenses for things like water, propane for our stove and heater, and expenses for maintaining and using our composting toilet.
This includes 12 gallons of water, wood chips and bags for our composting toilet and propane for our stove.
This includes labor and parts for a new torque converter, $3222.45, a new EVAP purge canister, $35.19, parts and labor for parts and labor to replace a support bolt the driver’s side strut, $307.98, and a new tire, $232.34. Tires would normally go in the maintenance category but since this tire was nearly shredded due to the loss of the support bolt for the strut, we are putting it here.
Groceries and Booze
This is food and alcohol we buy a grocery or liquor store as opposed to in a restaurant.
I did a little stocking up on my favorite foods at Trader Joes since once we got down to the Panhandle of Florida we wouldn’t be seeing one again until we got to New Orleans. Our alcohol expense is up a little bit from last month but I bet yours would be to if you just spent $3,797.96 on van repairs.
This category is for eating and drinking out, live music, museums, and attractions.
Here is the total for everything in the Entertainment category:
$38 of this total was spent on museums. The rest was eating and drinking out. When we were at Greg’s parents we took Greg’s dad out for a birthday dinner. We also did a bit of eating out while visiting a friend in Knoxville.
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.
Here is the total for everything in the Personal/Household category:
$77.84 for our phone bill/data plan. $21.36 for a new set of flannel sheets (it gets cold camping in the woods – even in Florida). And the rest for odds and ends.
This category if for expenses outside of usual van travel expenses like the extra costs of traveling to another country, plane tickets, tolls, public transportation expenses, and parking.
Parking in Montgomery, Alabama while we visited the Legacy Museum.
To see all of our expense reports, click here.
If you are interested in reading other expense reports from people living on the road, check out these links:
*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?