How we budget…

We have been working on our 2020 budget so I thought I would share our money management style so that we can afford to stay on the road. I have rewritten this one entry many times. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to budget. The only wrong thing, in my mind, is not to budget at all.

I write our budget in Excel. Most of the budget is actual expenses except for gas, lodgings and groceries. We use this method because both Donna and I need to understand where our money goes each month. Before we decided to full time RV we both budgeted but had different methods. I liked my budget in Quicken with Excel as a quick year in review. Donna liked the Dave Ramsey envelop method. This is our compromise to manage our money.

PayeeJanuaryFebruaryMarch
Mastercard200200200
Gas for RV350350350
Gas for Car150150150
Verizon cell phones130160160
Maintenance for RV250250
Maintenance for Car150
Joint Saving (WF)500500500
Allowance  Donna757575
Allowance  Jowanna757575
Insurance RV and Car211211211
Health Insurance
Siruis Radio161616
Netflix999
Hulu Plus888
RV park fees 700700700
Dining out/Entertain100100100
Groceries300300300
Health Deductible707070
Acorn
Misc757575
Life Insurance (ELK)656565
Amazon Prime79
Dish fees

We only have Dish fees when we are in a place where there is no TV coverage. I have money in that bucket for May between October when we are at Yellowstone. We own our Wally so there is no extra fee for that. I put the deductible for our PPO insurance so you won’t see money going into that bucket near the end of the year.

This is every single expense that we have. I choose to making savings an expense. This is how we prioritize saving. We paid off our RV while we were working at Amazon in the fall of 2018. We do keep our maintenance buckets as flush as we can. This way we can just pay for it and not have to use a credit card because I am anticipating that we will have an expense. I do have another Excel sheet called left is savings. This is how we track what is left in a category. I work with both sheets on the first of the month to make sure we are on track. Thus far it is working for us.

Donna is retired military so our main source of income is her retirement check. We also have Tricare Select for health insurance. There are no premiums but we have a deductible to reach before it kicks in with cost sharing. I know this is a hurdle for most younger folks who want to live this lifestyle. They usually end up with ACA coverage if they don’t have a job that offers health insurance.

When we work we usually make a goals for that money. We discuss those goals before we start working. Last year, Donna wanted to shore up her personal savings. I wanted to contribute $2,000 to my Roth IRA. Our combined goal was to increase our savings account to $10,000. We were able to meet those goals while working at Yellowstone. We have not discussed our 2020 work goals yet but we will soon.

Do you budget? If so, what is your method?

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