For folks who are new to my blog (and to refresh the memories of those who maybe have forgotten), one of my goals for 2016 is to keep a record of every penny I spend this year. (To find out how this project came about, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/31/spending/.) Each month I will give a report on what I bought and how much I spent in the previous month. As follows is my spending report for January 2016.
1-1-16 I thought I’d get through the first day of the year without spending any money, but realized late in the afternoon that the auto-payment for my phone went through today. Total spent: $27.78
1-2-16 Today I stocked up on food for my trip to Quartzsite. Total spent: 38.08
$13.66 to Trader Joe’s for toasted sliced almonds, unsweetened organic coconut, cashew pieces and tofu
$15.61 to Fry’s Food Store for food and toilet paper
$7.56 to Sprout’s for shelf stable tofu
$1.25 for seven gallons of water
1-3-16 Today I visited friends and offered to bring over pizza for dinner. I stopped at the supermarket by their house and picked up a bulk-size package of dehydrated has browns. Total spent: $19.62
$10.83 to Little Caesar’s for dinner for four people with leftovers
$8.79 to Smart & Final for dehydrated hash browns
1-4-16 Today I finished my shopping and ran errands with the Lady of the House. Total spent: $27.14
$7.24 to Dollar Tree for food and trash bags
$19.90 to American Discount Food for food (including 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, 2 boxes of Quaker Real Medley’s cold cereal, and a large container of Tillamook yogurt)
I successfully browsed in a Goodwill without buying anything.
1-5-16 Today I left for Quartzsite. Total spent: $2.99
$1 to the Lady of the House for vegetable broth to contribute to the soup dinner at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR), since I forgot to pick up a contribution during all my shopping
$1.99 to supermarket for ice on my way out of town
1-6-16 Finally, nearly a week into the new year and nothing spent because I kept my butt at the RTR all day
1-7-16 Nothing spent
1-8-16 Today I went into Quartzsite to run some errands. Total spent: $21.44
$2.72 to post office to send book requested through BookMooch
$12 to food outlet store for food ($11) and hair care product ($1) (Note: I’d hoped hair care product would make my hair beautiful. It does not.)
25 cents to vending machine for one gallon of water
$2.15 to Dollar General for ice
$1 to guy flying a sign
$3.32 to Burger King for 9 piece chicken fries and large fries, with coupon (Note: I only got food at BK in order to use the internet. The internet service was terrible and the chicken fries were kind of gross. What a waste of money.)
I successfully browsed in a thrift store and spent no money.
1-9-16 Nothing spent
1-10-16 Nothing spent
1-11-16 I went into Quartzsite again today. Total spent: $7.71
$2.50 to Community Thrift Store for yarn, notecards, and bag to replace my deteriorating craft suitcase
$2 to grocery store for ice
$3.21 for cheese and cabbage
1-12-16 Nothing spent
1-13-16 Nothing spent
1-14-16 Today was another in Quartzsite. Total spent: $17.99
$8 to food outlet store for food
$2 to Pilot for tortilla chips to have with my dinner
$2.99 to Pilot for internet access
$5 for craft supplies (6 glass pendants)
1-15-16 Today I spent no money, even though I went into Quartzsite.
1-16-16 I went to Quartzsite again today because friends wanted to meet at the free pancake breakfast at La Mesa RV. Total spent: $3.50
50 cents to Salvation Army Thrift Store for two troll dolls (gift)
$1 to Reader’s Oasis Books for 2 bookmarks (one for me, one for a gift)
$2 to grocery store for ice
1-17-16 Nothing spent
1-18-16 Nothing spent
1-19-16 I was in Quartzsite again today. Total spent: $70
$60 to Pilot for gas
$10 to food outlet store for food
I browsed at two thrift stores today and spent nothing.
1-20-16 Today was my last day in Quartzsite. I shopped at the PowWow gem and mineral show for shiny rocks to resell down the road. I spent a lot today. Total spent: $71.13
$2.49 to Pilot for ice
$3.64 to Carl’s Jr. for food while I sat in the dining room for hours and used the WiFi
The following amounts were given to various vendors:
$3 for three stone animals (gifts)
$5 for twelve charms (4 for crafts and 8 for gifts)
$6 for six stone cabs and a approximately 30 pieces of tiger’s eye
$40 for twenty septarian concretions
1-21-16 Today I drove from Quartzsite to Yuma to visit a friend. Then I drove from Yuma to Ajo where I spent a few days. Total spent: $20.93
30 cents to vending machine for one gallon of water
$15 to Love’s for gas
$5.63 to grocery store for cheese, clove of garlic, an apple, and orange juice
1-22-16 Today a nice friend bought me lunch. I spent most of the rest of my day in the public library. Total spent: $2.99
$1 to thrift store for notecards
$1.99 to supermarket for ice
1-23-16 Today I spent nothing, even though I was in town and there was a farmers market going on.
1-24-16 Today I took a shower at an RV park. Total spent: $3
$2 to RV park for shower
$1 (in quarters) in machine to dispense hot water (Note: I wasn’t sure how many minutes each quarter would get me, so I put in four all at once. I could have gotten plenty clean for 50 cents, but since I had already spent the money, I enjoyed all that hot water.)
1-25-16 I was in town again today, mostly at the public library. Total spent: $11.99
$10 donation to worthy cause
$1.99 to grocery store for ice
1-26-16 I was in town, mostly at the public library today. I completed a big project today and thought I’d eat at a restaurant to treat myself. It was early in the afternoon, and I had plenty of time to get to my camp spot and cook food. I had a lot of food in the van, so I decided to go to my camp spot and cook brown rice and have beans and rice and cheese for dinner. Then I thought I’d pop into the food outlet store and get a snack, but then I realized I had plenty of snacks in the van. I headed to my camp spot without buying anything. I figure I easily saved $12 by cooking dinner instead of eating out and snacking on food I already had. Nothing spent
1-27-16 I was in town today. Total spent: $12.42
$1 to vending machine for five gallons of water
$1.50 to café for apple fritter (Note: This fritter was not even good, and I was immediately sorry I had spent the money.)
$4.30 to to food outlet store for snacks (I gave into the temptation of the bargain. At least I bought healthy items that won’t go bad any time soon.)
$2.12 to bookstore for postcards
$3.50 to post office for ten postcard stamps
1-28-16 Today my friend and I went to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Since she has a senior pass, we did not have to pay the $12 entrance fee for the car. When we left, my friend treated me to lunch. What a nice friend. What a nice day. Nothing spent.
1-29-16 Today I left Ajo. Total spent: $23
$23 to Love’s for gas
1-30-16 Nothing spent
1-31-16 Today was the last day of the first month of my project of tracking my spending. Total spent: $36.75
Since my phone is on a 30 day billing cycle, I again this month spent $27.78 for phone service. I won’t have to pay this expense again until March.
$7.97 to Goodwill for a book by one of my favorite authors (99 cents), a brand new skein of yarn (99 cents), and a two-drawer module for the van ($5.99)
$1 to kids selling lemonade on the corner
Total spent in January: $418.46
I predict I will spend less in February, since I won’t have to pay my phone bill, and I have no plans to buy more shiny rocks. Since I’ll be camping less in February, I’ll buy less ice. Also, I’m well stocked on food and shouldn’t have to spend much to eat in February. However, I do have several packages to mail, and will need an oil change and fuel injector cleaner for the van. I’m excited to see how little I can spend in February. (To read Feburary’s spending report, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/03/01/spending-report-for-february-2016/.)
Fascinating, and a real challenge to read this on the first of the month! Maybe I can keep track of my spending this month too! Thanks for the effort. Nothing for like, insurances?
Thanks for reading and commenting, Pam.
I am keeping records of my actual spending each month, not my expenses. It’s a slight distinction, but plays out like this: in November, I paid for six months of insurance on my van. Yes, insurance is paid for the month of February, but no money is coming out of my pocket for insurance in the month of February. When I pay for insurance again in March, I will make a note of that lump sum payment then. Similarly, if in February, I eat a can of beans that I bought in December, the 89 cents I paid for it won’t show up in February’s accounting. However, if I buy a can of beans in February, I will note the amount I spent on it in February’s accounting. For the sake of this project, I decided it was easier for me to record the cost of what I actually bought each month, rather than recording things I’d bought previously but used in the month in question. I hope this explanation has made my method clear.
I think you will be fascinated if you record your spending for a month. Feel free to share what you discover.
Thanks, John, and thanks for reading.
Very good! Just like dieting, it helps to write down all the food you eat…it helps to spend less by knowing you have to write down all you spend. Really good job!
Thank you for reading and commenting, Patty. I’m very glad you enjoyed this post.
This is a great idea! Many fulltime RVers put expense accounts on their blogs but I’ve never seen a realist report from a budget minded van dweller. I was surprised at the low total at the end of the month because you are clearly not holed up somewhere in the desert denying yourself any form of entertainment and pleasure just to save a bit of money.
I had to laugh at comments on the chicken fries and apple fritter. We do that a lot – buy something to eat which is gross then remember that we really do like own own cooking. 😀
Thanks for your comments, Karen.
I want to use the money I do have to have experiences rather than a lot of things I don’t really need. I hope I can inspire people to live with fewer unnecessary things, spend less money, but still have lots of fun. There are so many free and inexpensive ways to have a good time in the world. And even if no one decides to live the way I do, at least people will see that it is possible.
I think few situations disappoint me more than realizing I’ve wasted money on food that isn’t good for me and I don’t even like, which is a double loss.
Good to see it in black and white. At the end of the year, you can add in those expenses that are not monthly and then give an average spent per month. I`ll be looking forward to that.
I always enjoy your writing.
Thank you Richard. I appreciate your encouragement. I think it will be super interesting to see how much I spend and on what at the end of the year.
It sure is interesting where the money goes.
Thanks for sharing.
Brent, I suspected I spent quite a bit of money on ice, but now I have the records to prove it. We’ll see how it all turns out at the end of the year. Thanks for reading.
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