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How Much I Spent This Year (Hint: It’s A Lot Less Than You’d Think)

How Much I Spent This Year

The majority of this year I spent traveling and taking a sabbatical/mini-retirement after experiencing massive burnout! I sold pretty much everything I had (my furniture, car, clothes, etc.) and hit the road!

How much did I spend? What does it cost to travel full-time?

I’ll break down my expenses to you. I was recently talking to someone about how long I’ve been traveling and they said, “Wow that must be expensive!” It wasn’t as expensive as you’d think and in fact, I probably have spent less than YOU this year.

First Off, Where Exactly Did I Go?

I visited multiple states: Florida, made a pit stop in Oklahoma to visit a friend, and with my keen interest in finance, I had to check out Omaha (home of Warren Buffet). I spent multiple months in the Carolinas and the highlight was spending over a month in Hawaii. Here’s my entire year in review with 19 things I did in 2019.

Here’s My Expenses and How Much I Spent This Year

I used my very own Financial (day) Planner to organize my expenses! You can get the exact planner I use and created. Here are the details.

Housing: $7034.91

I’m proud of how low this number is. This is the total spent for housing, electricity, water, and gas for the year. It comes to an average of $586.24 a month. Prior to leaving to travel I was renting a room for $600 total (including internet too!). I timed everything so that I wasn’t paying a mortgage or rent plus hotels. My most expensive month was in Hawaii where I paid for an Airbnb for $1352.73. I paid $597 a month in Omaha via a sublease living downtown. Then I’ve paid for RV sites that cost between $350- $550 a month.

Insurance: $1870.80

This is the total I spent on all my insurances for the year (car, home, and health). It’s pretty freakin’ low because multiple months I didn’t have a car or have a permanent place where I needed to pay for home or renter’s insurance.

Services: $1170.02

I really unplugged this past year, which meant that I had multiple months with a Wal-Mart cell plan for $25. This is the total I spent for my cell phone and internet. I don’t pay for other subscriptions like internet radio, streaming movies, or cable.

Debt: $0

I’m 100% debt-free and this really allowed me to have freedom to travel. I don’t have liabilities like a car payment, student loans, or bother with any sort of, “Hey this is 0% interest with $0 down,” but you’re gonna be on the hook for hundreds of dollars a month for the next 18 months. NO. THANK. YOU. I’ll pass on that😊. You can see how I eliminated almost all my monthly bills here.

Weekly Cash: $5890

My favorite money hack is to take a set amount of cash for the week to pay for day-to-day expenses. It helps pace spending and it reallllly comes in handy when traveling to keep expenses in check. MC Hammer style, weekly cash is too legit to quit.  This is the total I spent in groceries, eating out, gas for my car, and basic entertainment like happy hours or buying an occasional new shirt. I normally take out $120 a week, but some weeks I took out a little less.

Maintenance: $1388.23

My biggest expense that I classified as maintenance was to get my RV and (new-to-me) car registered. I also had a flat tire (ugh), and had to buy an expensive tow hitch sway control bar for my RV. I had some other some things come up… like having no heat the exact night it went below freezing!

Here’s how I decided live full-time in an RV and how I bought my car with cash.

Projects: $817.97

That’s what I spent on non-emergency upkeep or DIY projects. I ended up buying some tools like a drill and saw to renovate my RV. Also, I bought paint and supplies to paint my RV interior walls and kitchen cabinets (soo I suck at painting and am still working on finishing that project!). During Labor Day I bought a down comforter on sale😊. 

Celebrations: $371.90

This is how much I spent on extra gifts for birthdays and holidays throughout the year. A quick confession, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping (yikes!) so this will go up a bit.

Travel: $4372.85

Yes, I dropped a few thousand on traveling and traveled full-time for the majority of the year! However, I did sell almost everything I owned to fund my traveling. A lot of this was for my flights. Hawaii isn’t cheap to fly to and then I hopped from one island to another. For some of my travel I purchased a couple of train tickets. I didn’t have a car for a few months, so I had to use Uber’s or car rentals to get around day-to-day when traveling in each city.

Most of the time for my travel I paid low monthly rent, that is less than most people spend regularly without travel. I did spend extra on Airbnb in each location before and after my monthly rates started to explore other cities.

Then there were tours: I swam with the dolphins and zip lined in Hawaii. Of course, driving across the country with an RV I spent extra on gas!

Fun: $1059.92

This is for everything else. I bought a new laptop, enjoyed a couple of massages, and since I sold most of my clothes, I did a couple of bigger shopping trips to get some new stuff after settling into my RV.

There’s a couple more weeks left of the year, but in a nutshell, I spent around $25k on all my expenses and the majority of the year I was traveling. I’m pretty happy about how much I managed to do without spending an arm and leg.

A caveat, I did buy my RV and car outright and didn’t include that in my expenses because I have been saving for YEARS to buy a home and car. This won’t be my permanent lifelong home, but for now I have a paid in full home!

All in all, managing money isn’t about depriving yourself or sitting at home doing nothing to save money.

Becoming CFO and taking on the mentality that you are in charge of your finances, means you can do MORE of the things in life that you love. For me, travel and experiences are where it’s at and that is where a lot of my money goes.

How much did you spend last year?

Do you have an idea of where your money is going? Does what you spend money on, fit your values? As we close out the year and decade, I hope you enjoy an eggnog or too, then also get focused and organized with your money and life!

best money class ever carly michelle

Hi! I'm Carly

I’m a Finance grad and creator of Best Money Class Ever, a 4-week live virtual personal finance class. I paid off $35,000 of debt and saved a nest egg of over $100,000 by age 26 (earning only around the median household income!).

If I can pay off debt and build savings at a young age, anyone can with a little education and solid plan.

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