Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trip Expenses for our 2011/2012 USA Tour

The numbers are in!

Well, not JUST in, I wish they were JUST in - but no I've been sitting here for an hour or so pouring over our records, compiling all the numbers, doing the math.

Good thing too because now we know! If it wasn't for this blog I probably wouldn't have taken the time to add up all of the figures, I would have thought - well, we left with this much, and came back with this much, and so we spent about this much.

So, exactly how much did we spend?

This much.....

(Note: Expenses are for the entire 6 months, however keep in mind that for March and part of April we stayed with friends and family which amounted to a relatively small cost to us (due of course to their generosity). Since we were gone for a total of 6 months I figure the amounts should reflect that.

Food: $2,110.00  (÷ 6 months = $ 351.74 per month)  really really good because in Canada we average between $500 - $600 a month.

Restaurants: $370.27 (about 18 times out with an average of $20 per outing) really good for 2 people who LOVE to eat out but try really hard not to

Gas: $3,241.00 ($2,933.10 in the USA) I had estimated $3,000 so I was real close

Truck Repairs: $1,078.13 ($650 of this was done at our friends in Nampa before we headed further south. Much cheaper then if we had taken it to a shop) Yup, that's our truck a money guzzler!

Truck Insurance: $378.00 ($63 per month) Pretty good premium but we have mainly just liability coverage

Propane: $143.76 Cheap cheap cheap - super happy with this figure!

Camping Fees: $413.56 (28 nights in County, State or National Parks) hmmm, a little higher then I would have hoped but still not too bad - it is an average of 4.6 nights out of each month.

Personal Items: $476.78 (This includes all sorts of things for the three of us - probably made up mostly of Cassia's diapers and wipes and other items for her. Also movies we bought or toiletries.) Not bad because I know we try to keep this amount low AND know that diapers are much cheaper in the USA then Canada. Before we hit the road Cassia had cloth diapers but that just didn't work once we started to travel - unfortunately.

Pets: $271.23 ($73.00 for Roofous's shots before we left Canada - so $197.77 for food and litter for 1 large dog and 3 cats) pretty good - again pet food is wayyyy cheaper in the USA 

Medical Insurance: $784.06 ($10 million coverage for 6 months for the 3 of us) not bad - particularly if something HAD happened - right?!

Passports: $286.00 (We didn't need our passports for the USA because we have enhanced driver's licenses BUT we thought we would go to Mexico BUT didn't). well, at least we have them

Liquor: $483.05 (For micro brewery beer! Works out to about 88 cents a beer - it is about double that here in Canada for the cheap beer.) no comment :)

Cigarettes: $298.10 (Derek smokes filtered cigars (cheaper in the US than cigarettes) that is why the figure is so low because he DOES smoke a pack a day. In Canada that figure would be for 1 month instead of 6!) I know, I know - he should quit - right? - right! At least he always smokes outdoors and away from us!  ( Derek here :-) In my defense, I have tried to quit  at least 30 times over the years. I have tried every cure from cold turkey to Wellbutrin to the nicotine gum/patch to natural herbal remedies with no success (Some people take Prozac to cope with stress, I smoke, self-medication). I did make it 3 months once but it became harder instead of easier as more time passed, I am hardcore addicted and only a lobotomy would be the answer or a 6 month coma. I do enjoy smoking, it calms my over active mind, I know it is bad for my health and it costs a lot of money - SIN TAX - (especially in Canada) but I wish I had known that at 15 years of age when I first started. C'est la vie.

Electronics: $674.68 (Two big splurges back in December - a DVD player and the iPad2) we agonized over these purchases for months but glad we went ahead, we are getting a lot of use out of both.

Miscellaneous: $500.00 (Amount not accounted for - day to day things without receipts - laundry, coffee and snacks out, etc.) oh well - no sense worrying about it

Grand Total: $11,508.62 ÷ 6 months = $1,918.10

High? Low? Not sure, everyone is different. As I said it was a good trip and we didn't go without.

It seems a bit high to me but I KNOW that it would be higher if we stayed in Canada over the winter. However, it does show that living costs no matter where you are or what you do. I think we did pretty well - we are frugal - not cheap - we don't spend money frivolously (smokes and beer not withstanding - not my issue) so that we can spend our money on the things we need and really want.

Also - if I pull out just the cost of items we consumed each month - food, restaurants, truck insurance, propane, camping fees, personal items, pets, liquor, cigs, and miscellaneous the total is $5,372.29. A really good average of $895.22 per month.

Because we live on about $22,000 a year we need to keep our travel costs as low as possible The minimum wage in BC is $9.50 per hour. Our wage here is $11 per hour to be Provincial Park Managers of two parks with a lot of responsibilities and duties. Again - not a complaint - just a fact - the additional benefits of the job - like being with Cassia 24/7 and living rent free for 6 months, are the real reason why we have chosen this life.

By the way, here are a few mileage and gas facts for you:

• We (well not ME but Derek) drove a total of 17,475 kms thats 10,859 miles!

• We stopped for gas 80 times - 73 of those in the USA.

• We paid an average of $3.399 per gallon - 90¢ per liter on gas - in the USA.

• We paid an average of $1.31 per liter of gas - $4.96 per gallon of gas - in Canada.

• The lowest we paid in the USA for gas was $2.929 per gallon - 77¢ per liter in Roswell New Mexico.

• The highest we paid in the USA for gas was $3.969 per gallon - $1.05 per liter in Northport Washington (just before we entered Canada on our return).

Thanks! We DO have to thank many people for their generosity and hospitality - those that housed and fed us! Our friends - Karen and Jerry, Pastor Jerry and Barbara, Pastor Steve and Kim, Pastor Edward and Lisa, Maude, Barbara and Terry, Pastor Scott, and Pastor Curt and Debbie (and their daughter for the great 4 night stay at the Marriott!)! Plus our family once we returned to Canada.

Our trip was a great as it was because of all of you!

Thanks also to Walmart, Home Depot, Sam's Club and assorted rest areas (especially Texas - LOVE Texas rest areas) and other boondocking areas where we spent our nights.

One last trip picture that was left out of the last post - one of my favourites taken at San Augustine.

Well, I think that about wraps up all of the posts of and about our winter travels. Let me know if you have any questions about the above information or any other questions regarding our trip or the states we visited. Having traveled to the States for 3 winters now I feel like we have A TON of info to share - where to go - where not to go - you know - that kind of stuff.

And thanks to all of you for sharing this trip with us - particularly to our loyal and faithful commentors - Trent and Teresa, BlackSheep, Kevin and Ruth, George and Suzie, The Good Luck Duck and more recently Rob, Richard and Clara.



Today's Interesting Link: I have a new favourite parenting blog - Janet Lansbury Elevating Child Care. As with all the other links I post I haven't had a whole lot of time to read through the site and so I can't say that I agree with all of it. However, I have read many posts that have helped me and ring so true. It is worth a look for all of you with small children in your lives.


  1. Being frugal does make a difference. Rving is a very rewarding lifestyle and cost you a lot or very little as we too have been able to prove. our average is about 25% more than you but we have a satellite dish, wifi, two cell phones, stay mostly in our membership resorts ($10.00 a night to free) and alcohol is more too. But usually only drive our coach about 9,000 miles in twelve months. We too love the Texas rest areas.

    1. It really does make a difference. WoW! you guys really well too with $$.

  2. Yep, all things condsidered you guys did pretty good. As you said if you were to have spent the winter in Canada it certainly would have been much higher than that. The main thing throughout it all is that you enjoyed yourselves, that's all the matters.

    Don't forget to vote for us,

    Kevin and Ruth

    1. So true and I've been voting! Good luck - hey everyone else - go and vote for K and R so that they can visit Australia and we can all live vicariously through them!

  3. Thanks Teresa,

    This is really helpful to budget for when we will be mobile.

    Wow! That’s a lot of mileage; we drive about that in a whole year (without Kids or pets :) ). Your trips to Florida really increase the distance. Probably, next year if you go to Mexico, your mileage (and the cost of gas) should be lower.

    1. I think most everything would be cheaper in Mexico as K and R have shown!

  4. Good blog. Derek! Please stop smoking!!! My husband was like you ALL the same excuses, you repeated him exactly. He did it, finally and it has been 10 years since his last smoke. Keep trying till you make it.

  5. I was a hard core smoker but not for 6 years now. I used the book called Alan Carr's easy way to quit smoking. Good luck.

    1. Sadly he's been there and done that! I'm thinking electric shock treatment! ha ha just joking - maybe!

  6. Our numbers are very similar to yours ... except ... your camping fees !!!

    We paid nearly 10X that !!

    We surprised ourselves, because we thought we would enjoy boondocking, but we found out that we really do enjoy the amenities that resorts offer, even if we are squished in like sardines ... lol.

    You have given your readers a lot of info for their future travels.

    Can hardly wait to read about your future travels and blog direction.

    Take care ... TnT

    1. Oh well, the difference in camping locations keeps our blogs interesting to each other - right!

      But 10x! YIKES!

  7. Your truck is pretty good at 29 cents per miles, considering the load being carried. Most people with a class C are about 45 cents and a gas class A are about 50 cents per miles. Thank your for the information and your honest impressions of the places visited.

    1. Totally agree! 29 or 30 cents is pretty good - not complaining at all even though our truck seems to go through gas pretty fast - even when not towing. Guess next year won't be so great since we are giving up the truck and trailer for a small motorhome - oh well - guess we just won't go as far!

  8. Interesting.will comment more after really getting into the numbers...


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