Sunday, June 12, 2011

WHAT IT COST ME TO LIVE LAST MONTH

Three readers of my last post have asked that I detail my living expenses for a month----because 4 to 600 dollars a month seems ridiculously cheap. So --OK--here goes---as best I can calculate.
Satellite TV programming----------------------27.00
Satellite radio-------------------------------13.00
Cell Phone-----------------------------------25.00
Propane--------------------------------------30.00
Park camping pass (amortized)----------17.00
gas-------------------------------------------120.00
Food----------------------------------------200.00
Insurance-----------------------------------30.00

total----------------------------------------462.00

I'm fortunate that I don't have to live this frugally---It's just that I can---while enjoying most of the amenities of modern life. I'm also fortunate not to have medical cost: (VA)

The lesson I hope these numbers impart is that it is now possible for millions to live the fantasy life. That millions are needlessly working-----they have enough money now---and don't realize it.
I also hope these numbers prove that it is the cost of HOUSING that is impoverishing America.
(here's my rant on that subject written years ago

http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/2008/02/housemania.html

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Across America, I see BUTTERFLY SOULS-- fully morphed, wings spread, capable of flight----feeling the call of open skies----YET STUCK---in houses, jobs, conventionality, fear, dead relationships, old habits, crazy religion! I say to you all: "Come--travel with me---however sweet these laid up stores, however convenient this dwelling---We cannot remain here. However calm these waters, however secure this harbor---we must not anchor here. Together, the inducements shall seem greater---We shall sail wild and pathless seas---We will go where the winds blow, waves dash---and the Yankee Clipper speeds by under full sail.
Forward---after the great companions---and to belong to them---they too are ON THE ROAD. Onward---to that which is endless---as it was beginningless. To undergo much--tramps of days and rests of nights. To see nothing anywhere, but what you can reach it--and pass it. To look up or down no road--but it stretches and waits for you. To know the universe itself as a road---as many roads---as roads for TRAVELING SOULS." (Walt Whitman)

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahh, yes... the one cost that eats the rest of us alive - medical cost (or medical insurance). You are indeed fortunate not to have that cost. It would certainly put a dent in your numbers.
Bill in NE

farmlady said...

I understand the lure of the "traveling soul" but I also know that when there is sickness,a broken vehicle or just road fatigue, it's nice to have a place to come back to.
I wish more people could live without the trappings of society, but I think it's for a very few who can throw caution to the wind and take a chance. There is a part of this that sounds wonderful. I guess that's why I read your blog.

More power to you and those that travel with you.
Here's to the open roads of life.

Ash said...

I live in a converted car and spend about $300-$400 so you're doing great! I keep trying to explain to people that rent or mortgage just means more hours I would have to work and less time/money to do fun things. Thanks for the break down:)

The Tuckerbag

Anonymous said...

The word was "incredibly" cheap not ridiculously cheap.

I have been reading what I can find on the net for RV lifestyles and most importantly, to me, living costs. If $600 a month is doable for you, great. It just seemed incredibly low. Your readers asked for some enlightenment to compare what they are spending to others. In this case you.

The fact is, most all of us want (forced) to try to reduce our living costs that continue to go up but with very low inflation. How do costs continue to rise more than double the inflation rate stated in reports from our leaders in government? I for one am able to do less but am paying more! Is anyone else having this problem? Or is this what is called condensed economics or an attempt to control stagflation? Got a little off course of coarse.

Sondra said...

Im all for it and can live on a shoestring...currently I dont have steady income --that is a big part of it..most of the RV bloggers I read have some source of steady income or sold their home and are lived off those proceeds-Once Im 62 I can do a reverse mortgage or something akin to that then Ill have income and a nest egg to rover on-if the GOP doesnt rob the KITTY before I get mine-- MY BIG FLAWED PLAN eh?

Boonie said...

You've pushed too many real costs off-budget. Depreciation of your tow vehicle and your trailer are just as real as groceries, despite them being deferred.

You also left out automobile maintenance, trailer batteries and refrigerator maintenance, dental care, and wireless internet.

Your gasoline and grocery costs look rather low. I'm skeptical. But congrats to you if you really were able to keep it that low.

But this minutiae is missing the whole point. A person could live more frugally in an adult RV/mobile home park if they were within walking distance of a grocery store.

The frugality that you attribute to mobility is better attributable to not living in a stick and brick house. Mobility PER SE is a wasteful expense.

squire said...

Great numbers Randy. I am looking forward to you post on how you became financially independent. As for me, I had to reach 62 and sign up for SS before I had the cushion I felt I needed.

Wayne (Wirs) said...

@Boonie: Quality of life at a very reasonable cost. Quality of life, really, is what seems to me to be what Randy is espousing.

Where is the joy of exploring new vistas or discovering new friends or taking in a sunset over a remote and primal desert - where are these splendors in most people's lives?

It may not be the absolute frugalest way to live, but isn't it one of the most balanced?

1 More MIle! said...

You forgot the:

* Beer Money
* Bar tab

Jack said...

Randy, even though you don't pay for medical, I am sure it is a topic of conversation sometimes with your tribe. Can you enlighten us on what others have found to be the most cost effective yet quality coverage?

Sweetchops said...

Randy, When you sold the investment property and assumed the $50K profit, how old were you at the time and what investments did you make to subsist for such a long while. Also how do you develop a reserve for occasionally replacing aged/broken autos or major repairs?

Also do you mind telephone calls? You have previously given out your number. Perhaps a chat would be easier than publishing certain things on a blog

Cordially,
Sweetchops

Randy said...

Thanks all for your comments--they always enrich me in ways I'm probably unaware. Boonie: You're right (as usual) about hidden cost--such as maintainance etc. My numbers presume that a person has acquired some kind of rig even if it be a "tweaked" car. You've pinpointed the heart of my message-- that the killing overhead of the masses are conventional housing. It's also true that mobility is brutally expensive for those who don't have the knack of frugality.
They will often buy a $100,000 rig to start traveling in when a $10,000 rig would serve perhaps better. (less complicated)
Thank you Wayne for making the larger point about quality of life---the heart of which---I have found is not enthralling scenery (though it often is)--but the scrambled stimuli that presents itself for noticing/noticing--(a real experience as opposed to a thought) till one day you notice--to your delight--that you have disappeared. (a nod to Wayne). The apex of human experience.

Sweetchops: e-mail me and I will send you my phone number.

Jim said...

==========
Per your low-budget enterprise, do you share any recipes? Particularly those that work when only cooking for one or two?
==========
One of my favorites (breakfast OR dinner) is "Cowboy Stir Fry." I use 1/4 can of Spam (though other sources of protein work too), one medium potato (quartered the long way & sliced into 1/4" thick pieces), 1/4 of a pepper and 1/4 of an onion. (The recipe works out perfect for four servings.)
==========
I start the meat to frying in my little pan while cutting up the potato. Put it in right away -- while slicing the pepper and onion into 1/4" thick pieces -- toss the pepper in when it's sliced; toss the onion in last. Season to preference. Then I just fry it up; turning almost constantly, snacking on the cooked pieces of Spam as I go. When it's all cooked just right, pour on a little medium taco sauce (FREE from the junk food vendors and requires no refrigeration) and enjoy. I eat mine right out of the pan and it stays warm the whole time (no dish to wash!). If you have company, give them the pan full and start on the next serving.
==========
I keep the unused ingredients in their separate zip-lock bags . . . just toss 'em on top in the cooler. I'm sure this would be yum just wrapped in foil and tossed near a campfire too.
==========
sail4free
==========

Anonymous said...

Hey Randy how would that work if all 300 million of us only worked about 1 hour per month on our Blog and spent the rest of the time frolicking in the sun ? would that not put the national GDP at about .000000001% of Uganda. Who would build your trailer, your truck, the roads, water supply, maintain the parks, there would be no houses, factories, no farms etc...., could our USA society function if everybody only works 1 hour per month?

exactly how would that work ? I'm dying to hear you answer !!!

Randy said...

Thank you Anonymous for giving me the opportunity to repeat my mantra: We work too hard and too long. The Industrial revolution should have freed us from drudgery--but hasn't---for various reasons.It is still possible to enjoy and incredibly free and comfortable, and interesting life despite our national obsession with work and possessions and crude, expensive pleasures. In the future, when we come to our senses, careers will be short and retirement long. We will begin to use things instead of owning them. (like cloud music--now on its way).
And the central insight that will take us there is that we are all in this (life) together and that "everyone for himself" is a world destroying philosophy.

Mary Matzek said...

Hi Randy,
One thing you don't mention is the need to raise a family and educate your children. Our lifestyle is only available to people who have retired or no longer have to be responsible for children. And, we need stop lights and bridges, the organized machines of an industrial nation, and those fast food places that provide your free salsa. It isn't going away. Soaring free is wonderful,but not available to all.
I have a homeless brother. He couldn't put together enough to hit the road because the cops continually hassle him. Kids steal his bike, or what little he manages to accumulate including his tent. He has no insurance nor medical care. He gets run off one spot on the earth to another spot on the earth. Life isn't equal, nor opportunity either. If you are a person of color, victimization is even worse. But, I'll have to agree, this lifestyle is incredibly cheap and I love it.
lvmary

Victor said...

Hello Randy,
Just found your blog and am enjoying your posts. I've been traveling across the country, living out of my car. It's not very comfortable but I get good mpg.

I'd love to hear how you manage to keep your food costs down. That's been my greatest challenge as I try to eat healthy to avoid medical issues as I don't have health insurance.

Best,
Victor

Randy said...

Victor: Welcome to the site and to the road. I almost envy your splendid efficiency of car living. I've done it for months on end----and I assure you that with a bit of ingeneuity you can make your car very comfortable--if you're going to be in it for awhile.
Take out all but the driver's seat and stash them somewhere--platform in a plywood bed (in segments) and get a piece of foam and a sleeping bag. Using soft flexible screening engineer quick-removal screens for the windows for bug free ventilation. A single burner propane stove will allow cooking.
Food doesn't cost me much because I eat simple stuff--and take vitamins. Have you checked out the blog of tuckerbag? (been living in her car a long while)