Nomad Life & Expenses November 2022

Downtown Austin, Texas.

We spent almost the whole month of November in Austin, Texas house-sitting. I needed some more time to continue to catch up on the blog before we started really traveling again. We also had a few van projects and needed to prepare for our winter’s journey in Mexico.

We choose Austin because Austin is just a cool city. Plus I had an old friend there I was hoping to reconnect with. And because once I set up an alert on the house-sitting app we use, Trusted House Sitters, it became obvious that out of the entire 268,596 square miles of Texas, Austin was just about the only place where anyone trusted house-sitters to come into their home and take care of their pets. As Thanksgiving week neared my phone buzzed every day with people posting new sits in Austin.

We ended up doing three different sits back to back. We didn’t get out on the town as much as I thought we would, but we did enjoy hanging out in the company of our new pets. I got a little bit further with my Alaska blog posts. Greg completed another van project. We learned some new skills, like how to put a harness on a cat. And I reconnected with that old friend. And we made some new ones!


After our last sit in Austin, we decided to finally make our way just a little bit closer to Mexico and drove to San Antonio. We had a new issue to deal with – my hard drive with all my photos on it stopped working. So in San Antonio, we reserved a Boondockers Welcome spot and dropped the hard drive off at Best Buy. Best Buy said they were going to transfer all the files onto a new drive. Due to complications, this ended up taking 8 days. We found another Boondockers Welcome location and after our 3 days were up we asked for 3 more. Meanwhile, I also had a call into my doctor to refill a prescription. This also increased our wait time in San Antonio.

But I am digressing from our timeline here and dipping into December’s events.

The Expenses

Notes about us, some of our expenses, and our rig:

  • All expenses are in US dollars.
  • We drive a 2015 Ford Transit Cargo Van that we upfitted ourselves to live in. Currently, the van gets about 17 miles to the gallon.
  • Our van is registered in Florida as a standard cargo van. Our van insurance is through USAA.
  • We are vegetarians and we cook – eating little packed or prepared food.
  • We get our health insurance through the ACA exchange in Florida. Our insurance is very basic and is mostly good only in Florida where we are residents, but hardly ever visit. Our costs for health insurance are one of the few things we don’t include in this report.
  • Our phone service is with Google Fi. With our plan, we have unlimited calling and text (in the US, Canada, & Mexico) and up to 50 gigs of high-speed internet per person. Our data plan works internationally at no extra cost. With Google Fi, we can make phone calls over wifi from our phone, tablet, or computer. The plan provides an extra sim card for our tablet at no extra cost. 
  • We receive our mail through St. Brendan’s Isle in Green Cove Springs, Florida. We pay $11.99 per month for the basic service plus an extra $7.99 to have the envelopes scanned and posted online where we have the option for small additional fees to have the envelopes opened and the contents scanned. There are additional charges if we want anything sent to us on the road. We keep $100 in an account with the service. When this runs low they charge us another $100.
  • Our dentist is in Los Algodones, Mexico. If you would like to read more about our experience with our Mexican dentist, click here.

And our total expenses for November were…


Here is the breakdown of categories…

Expenses November 2022
Gas $124.83
Insurance/Registration $245.46
Maintenance $0.00
Repairs $0.00
Van Total $370.29
Life in the Van
Upgrade/Repairs to Upfit $31.01
Utilities $0.00
Camping/Housing $129.00
Household $0.00
Laundry $0.00
Showers $0.00
Tolls/Parking $0.00
Van Life Total $160.01
Phone $96.26
Mail Service $0.00
Communication Total $96.26
Food $469.79
Booze $94.55
Cleaning/Paper Products $33.24
Medicine Cabinet $61.14
Consumables Total $658.72
Drinks/Eating Out $307.83
Museums/Attractions/Music $20.00
Entertainment Total $327.83
Eyes/Feet/Doctor $202.58
Dentist $0.00
Health Total $202.58
Clothes $0.00
Gifts/Charity $29.64
Gear $232.81
Personal Total $262.45
*Utilities include our water, propane for the stove and heater, and items that are required to run our composting toilet.
*Gear is anything we think we need but probably don’t. These are the things that make our life more fun and interesting, and keep us entertained and informed. Our NY Times subscription goes here. As well as expenses for hobbies, computer devices, books, kayaks, bikes, etc. These are the things that make us not quite minimalist.
This is the best expense month we have had since I started tracking again in May. And that’s pretty good considering we have a few atypical expenses, including our biannual vehicle registration, our yearly charge for Trusted Housesitters (entered under Camping/Housing in the report above), the expense of a new hard drive and the charge to transfer my files, and the cost of an eye exam and new contact lenses.
Our phone bill went down this month because we are now sharing our phone plan with our friends from Roaming About who are traveling in South America. Our plan with Google Fi works internationally in most countries which means that there is no need to buy sim cards every time you cross a new border. Adding another phone line reduces our charge to $45 plus tax for each line saving us $20 a month and hopefully making our friends’ travel more convenient.
Our food bill might have not been as high but we have been stocking up on some of our favorite foods that we won’t be able to find in Mexico.
And although we didn’t get out as much as we thought we would in Austin, we did get out some, having meals with our (new and old) friends and one big day out on the town for lunch, drinks, and Chicken Shit Bingo!

To see all of our expense reports, click here.

If you are interested in reading other expense reports from nomads who really know how to live cheaply while still having a good time, check out the blog from our friends Mark, Liesbet, and Maya at Roaming About.

The Camping/sleeping Report

Here are our camping/sleeping stats (all camping/sleeping is free unless otherwise indicated):

25 – nights house sitting
1 – night in a friend’s driveway
4 – nights at Boondockers Welcome locations

* This is where I usually post all the pictures of Ballena Blanca and where we slept. But since we were staying in or at other people’s homes the entire month I didn’t take any pics of BB in order to respect people’s privacy.

Map and Miles

Number of miles driven: 404 and our November gas cost about 22¢ per mile

Right Now

Greg and I are in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, right outside of Monterrey. Currently, we are staying at the best Boondocker’s Welcome hosts ever. They have been so generous to us – showing us around, giving us advice, telling stories, and hanging out and having a good time! But, Mexico is like that – everyone we have met here has been so nice! From here we will head south visiting lots of places we have never been to before and a few of our favorites from our last journey through mainland Mexico.

We have been traveling pretty rapidly the last few days and have barely had time to rest. I still hope to catch up with my Alaskan blogs and start writing about what we are seeing and doing in Mexico. Soon we will take a day off and I will get back to writing about glaciers, wildlife, and quirky little Alaska towns.

End of the month celebration at a brewpub in San Antonio.

*All pics are click to enlarge.

10 thoughts on “Nomad Life & Expenses November 2022

    1. Thanks, Margie! As soon as I can wrap up Alaska I will move on to Mexico. We have only been here a few days and we are having fun already. Hopefully the fun will keep up and I will have lots of good stuff to write about.

  1. My gas bill is higher than yours!!!

    When my Physics class ended in October I added another day’s visit to Juanita’s nursing home for 4/week instead of three. Gas is finally getting cheaper here though so that will help.

    Enjoy Mexico!


    1. Yes, thankfully gas has come down. I think the last time we bought it in Texas it was around or maybe below $2.50. But now we are in Mexico and it will be expensive again. I hope it continues to come down in the States.

      Thanks! We are enjoying Mexico so far!

  2. Chicken shit bingo! I love it! How ingenious.

    All your house sit pets look adorable and sweet and I’m glad you had a wonderful time in Austin, especially that day and night out on the town. While I was reading your post and checking your photos, I thought: “We should celebrate more things!” 🙂

    Nice to read about your lovely Boondockers Welcome experience in Mexico. Happy travels south of the border. Soon, we will hit the road again as well. Mark should be able to pick up Thirsty Bella tonight. Fingers crossed everything looks – and sounds – the way we left her.

    1. So excited for you to be reunited with Thirsty Bella!

      Chicken Shit Bingo was fun. There was such great energy in the place. Everyone loved the band.

      We’ve been able to keep up our new ritual of celebrationg each month. It’s been good!

      Hope Bella has all her spits intact and you’ll be on the road soon!

    1. It does seem like it! It always ends up being time for us to catch up on projects, do laundry, and get real showers. But it is a good way to just get to know a neighborhood. Neighborhoods always have something interesting about them.

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