August 2016 Spending Report


I apologize for being so tardy with this month’s spending report. As I’ve said before, I’m tired of this game and disappointed by the amount I am spending each month. However, I still think this exercise is a beneficial one. I continue to believe it is good to know how much I am actually spending, although it is rather depressing. I thought I was living on just a few hundred dollars a month. HA!

(If you are new to this blog, you can read about how this spending report project started here: You can also find the spending reports from previous months by typing “spending report” in the search bar.)

8-1-16 I was in civilization today. It was the anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s birth. I ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream for breakfast in celebration. Total spent: $134.35

$5.59 to grocery store for ice cram and tortilla chips

$8.68 to Dollar Tree for batteries for my small fan

$43.14 for gas

$23.43 for groceries

$8 to Panera for breakfast, lunch, and internet access

$4.50 for laundry

$34.99 autopayment on phone

$6.02 to Little Caesar’s for a pizza

8-2-16 All I bought today was ice. Total spent: $2.69

8-3 through 8-8-16 I stayed out of civilization. Nothing spent

8-9-16 I picked up my mail today and sent off some items. Total spent: $10.01

8-15-16 Today I was back in civilization. Total spent: $152.06

$5.25 to Etsy shop for pendants to use in gifts

$2.17 to Taco Bell for breakfast

$7.50 for laundry

$8.71 to Panera for coffee, lunch, and internet access

$3.36 for groceries

$100 for dept repayment

$.70 to Wal-Mart for money order

$11.43 to Dollar Tree for supplies

$12.94 to Wal-Mart for laundry detergent (huge savings over buying those little boxes of detergent at the laundromat) and hair scissors (so I can trim my own bangs)

8-16-16 Today I finished my errands in town and did some more work on the blog. Total spent: $88.65

$31.17 for groceries

$51.04 for gas

$3.21 to the post office

$3.23 to Panera for coffee, a bagel, and internet access

(You will notice I successfully avoided buying a pizza during this trip to Babylon.)

8-17 through 8-21-16 On the mountain for five days and Nothing spent.

8-22-16 It was back to civilization today, and I succumbed to the siren song of the Asian buffet. Total spent: $34.73

$14 for buffet and tip (Believe me, I ate all I could.)

$11.23 for groceries

$9.50 for laundry

8-23-16 Today was another day in civilization. Total spent: $82.10

$13.14 for groceries

$43.92 for gas

$2.05 to Panera for coffee and internet access

$22.99 oil change

8-24-16 I spent an extra day in civilization due to fire on the mountain. I stupidly left my rug in the dryer on Monday night, so I went to the thrift store today to replace it. (I paid $6 for the rug last summer, plus I’d just spent money to wash and dry it. Grrrr!!!) Total spent: $12.39

$8.50 to thrift store for new rug ($4), necklace for a gift ($1), greeting cards (30 for $2.50), and four magazines ($1)

$2.70 for groceries (I bought hummus and cracker and yogurt at discount grocery store instead of eating lunch at a restaurant)

$1.19 to Panera for coffee and internet (Price reflects $1 discount I got using my loyalty card.)

8-25 through 8-27-16 I stayed on the mountain. Nothing spent

8-28-16 I prepared for the next day’s trip to a National Park. Total spent: $51.06

$42.89 for gas

$2.15 for ice

$6.02 to Little Caesar’s for a pizza

9-29-16 Today I visited a National Park, where I successfully spent no money. I did spend some money while I in civilization before and after. Total spent: $14.29

$1.62 to gas station for coffee

$2.62 to thrift store for yarn (I’ve been on a yarn bender.)

$10.05 for groceries, including food for dinner instead of eating out and $4.29 for calcium supplements, since I woke up with a leg cramp last night.

9-30-19 Today I cooked and ate breakfast in the park instead of eating at a restaurant. I also sent a big package to a friend before I went back up the mountain. Total spent: $27.35

$2.19 to Panera for drink and internet use

$2.92 for ice (I spent 12 cents per pound more on ice in the shopping center where I already was so I wouldn’t have to drive across town where ice is cheaper. Did I save or waste money by doing this? I have no idea. I did save time and aggravation. )

$22.24 to post office to send a package priority mail (including tracking and insurance) with four infinity scarves (gifts), plus ten bracelets and nine hats for my friend to sell. I ran out of tape as I was sealing the package, and apparently this post office doesn’t offer free priority mail tape any longer. I ended up paying the USPS $3.49 for a roll of tape. Ripoff! But again, I saved time and aggravation by not leaving the post office to make a special trip to Dollar Tree.

Total spent for the month: $609.68









About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

7 Responses »

  1. Thank you for posting, I am hoping that you keep posting this even after the year is up…. This is real and it helps other women who are looking into this life style

    • I don’t know if I can do another year of keeping track of every penny spent….But the other day I was thinking it would be interesting to compare what I spend each month this year to the corresponding month next year. So I may be hooked on tracking my money and reporting on it.

      I’m glad you think the spending reports are helpful, Lori.

      Thanks for reading my blog and thanks for this comment.

  2. Everything costs money. Unfortunately.

    The one thing that sticks out is the gas. $181 for a month? Is that because of the distance between work and what passes for civilization? Or do you have to drive quite a way between work and campsite? Even if you only get 10 mpg, that’s over 700 miles in a month. Just curious! I’m (hopefully) hitting the road next spring or summer, and your information is a real help.

    • I drive about two miles from my campground to the parking lot, then two miles back to the campground after work. So a four mile commute per day, five days a week = 20 miles a weeks, and 80 miles a month. (At this point in the season, I am patrolling among three campgrounds and the trail. When I am driving on patrol, the company I work for reimburses me 54 cents a mile.)

      I have to make a 25 mile round trip to pick up my mail if I don’t leave the mountain. During the weeks I don’t leave the mountain, I drive to the post office once.

      My campground is about 50 miles from the town where I go to use the internet and buy groceries and supplies, so that’s a 100 mile round trip whenever I go to civilization. I try to do that twice a month, but I usually do it at least three times a month.

      In September, I made two trips to a city 80 miles from my campground. Once was to go to the dentist for my six-month cleaning. (Last summer I had such a good experience there, I decided to make the long trip this summer too. I won’t be visiting that dental office again…More on that later.) The other trip was to catch a shuttle to visit a tourist area. So that was two 160 mile round trips in the month, 320 miles.

      Whenever I get gas, I fill the tank. The last thing I want to do is run out of gas somewhere on the mountain. If I am in civilization, I fill up whenever I reach 1/4 tank.

      Gas prices are high in California. If I were working in a state with lower gas prices, I wouldn’t spend so much on gas. However, if I were working in a state with lower gas prices, I probably wouldn’t be making $10 an hour as minimum wage.

      I could save money by using less gas if I didn’t leave my campground on my days off. BUT, I like to see new things, and my blog requires the internet, so I’ve chosen to spend money on gas so I do such things.

      I hope this info clarifies things. I’m glad you find the spending reports helpful.

  3. I think you are doing quite well to live on that much per month. Prices on food are outrageous, especially food in restaurants–which I keep to a minimum in our spending also. Gas hasn’t been bad for me, since I drive a smaller car (a Toyota Corolla) but I could hardly live in my Corolla. I understand you need more space than that. Laundromats are expensive too–when we do travel I never take more than one week’s clothes, and it costs at least $3 a load generally. I also bring my own detergent from home–on one trip I purchased a small jug of ERA and have saved the jug from year to year and fill it with Tide (my preferred brand) before a trip. Doesn’t take up much space as we do road trips anyhow. We had a very limited budget when we were first married, and we are thrifty people by nature, but it sure is nice to have a nest egg so we don’t HAVE to be as careful as we used to be. We were good savers while we were working, and now in retirement, are reaping the benefits–although our granddaughter tries hard to get us to spend freely on her!! We try equally hard to convince her she needs to spend less.

    • Marcia, it is a really good tip to carry your own laundry detergent. Buying a tiny box of detergent from the vending machine at the laundromat (usually $1+) is such a ripoff. Even if one spends $5 on a bottle (or box) of laundry detergent and only gets twenty washes from it, one is still saving $15 over buying those little boxes.

      I like liquid detergent, so I try to get the ultra-concentrated kind because the bottle is smaller and takes up less space. I had the problem of my bottle of detergent falling on its side and the liquid leaking out all over the floor of my van. That led me to buy pods, which seemed to work well, but are maybe more expensive than the liquid.

      However, I think even the most expensive bottle (or box) of laundry detergent is still a better bargain than buying those little boxes at the laundromat.

  4. Today I discovered a purchase I thought I’d made in September was actually made in August. I added the purchase to this report and adjusted the total spent. The purchase had not been added to the September report, so I didn’t need to subtract anything from the September total.

I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.