Our Budget Adjustment

A thorough examination and an honest discussion this past week about our weekly budget and what remains in our savings account has resulted in the decision to change how we manage our budget.
First A Bit of Background

For nine months prior to starting our life on the road we diligently and with a steadfast focus saved our butts off, living to a tight strict budget. We saved to have both enough money in the bank to travel for twelve months (without needing to stop and work) and to have additional funds for emergencies or major unforseen events. Our article Saving to Caravan Australia talks in detail about what steps we took to reach our savings goals and provides ideas on how you could do the same.

When deciding how much we needed to save, prior to starting our life caravanning Australia, we decided what our weekly budget would be; $500 per week all inclusive with $400 living expenses and $100 for things like insurances and registrations. In our article Budgeting for Ongoing Travel Around Australia we discuss how we reached our budget amount as well as provide tips on how you can decide yours and strategies to help you keep to the budget you decide.

Heading off that first day, 27 November 2017, I felt financially we had our bases covered. We had enough in savings to very comfortably travel for six months without having to consider working and with due care twelve months would be highly possible. This month, August 2018 brings us to ten months caravanning Australia, sticking to our $500 weekly budget and so far we haven’t needed to work.

Travel Expenses

Travel Expenses

How Have We Gone So Far?

Well six months came and went (felt like a few weeks!) having had enjoyed four months in Tasmania and then two months traveling through the Gippslands of Victoria and the NSW South Coast. At the time, 6 Months Caravanning Australia, we did a thorough check of our money situation and found we had spent only $11.16 per week over our budget. We also concluded that our strict budget hadn’t impeded our experience or enjoyment of living on the road and it was then we decided we could continue traveling for another six months without needing to work. Happy days!
Now What With the Budget?

Now at the 10 month mark, a close examination our finances revealed that thanks to a couple of healthy tax returns and little boost from some interest on our savings we have more funds at this time than we anticipated we would. This is pleasing for us. However in our discussion this time about our $500 per week budget, it’s ability to meet our needs while we travel and if we were still able to get the most out of the experience we found $500 is not always enough. This has especially been true since we reached Queensland due we think because of it being a state of high tourism as well as great distances and remoteness. Reality is tourism and remoteness brings with them higher costs so based on this we decided to change how we manage our budget.

Truth be told there is also another reason for the change. So earlier in this article I said our overspend in the first six months was only $11.16 per week. This achieved because we (mainly me) managed the budget very very strictly. In hindsight it came from behaviours and habits I developed in those nine months we saved to travel. In addition I have had some anxieties about staying afloat financially when unemployed while desperately wanting at least a year off work. Well now I want to challenge and push back these anxieties. I want to let go of the total control and be more open to the idea that from necessity we will find opportunities (ie if we become flat broke jobs will be available). I want to take this as another important step in really settling into this life living on the road; a life of adventure, opportunity and less stress.

Budget

Budget

What Changes are we Making?

Our base weekly budget will remain at $400 for day to day expenses. What has changed is what happens if we spend more than the $400 in a week. Up until now if in any week we spend more than our self allocated $400, the following week or two we paid ourselves back the overspend. Not every week did we spend more than our budget, the most from memory was $75. There have been plenty of weeks we didn’t spend our entire weekly amount with $96 the most being left at the end of the week.

Now no more. We will no longer be concerned if we need to go over budget. We aren’t about to go all out spending money Willy Nilly but if things are needed or there is something we really want to do and the money for the week is already spent we are just going to give ourselves the extra money and not pay ourselves back the following week/s. We are going to trial this for the next two months at which time we will be taking some time to work and top up the savings again. But we will look then at what our spending has been and set a target for our savings again.

Come December 2018 there will be a thorough report on twelve months of Our Wayfaring Life.

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4 thoughts on “Our Budget Adjustment

  1. Hi Emma and Daryl,
    I am so glad you have managed well on $500 a week for the two (three) of you. My partner and are leaving on a 12 month trip around Australia in November. We have also budgeted $500 a week and I often wonder if it is going to be enough. You have given me renewed confidence it will be manageable.

    Like

    1. Hi Melissa

      $500 per week is achievable for the most part especially if you free or low cost camp, cook your own food and make the most of free activities and prioritise the paid ones you want to do. Doing a lap in one year will mean you will need to allocate more money to fuel than we have out of your budget. We have done 20,000 km in 10 months.

      I think having at least $3000 (we have $5000) in the kitty for emergencies is good for your peace of mind too.

      It’s so worth doing on any budget! You will have the best time.

      Like

    1. True! We like our farm fresh veggies when we can get them. Taste better, last longer and more money goes to the farmer. We talk about lots of ways to keep food costs down in our article – Caravan and Camping: Eating Well and on Budget. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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About Our Wayfaring Life

Welcome to Our Wayfaring Life blog. We are Daryl, Emma and Chika living in our caravan traveling Australia. Daryl is a golfer and keen traveller. He has since we moved our life onto the road permanently discovered he has a love of cooking and taken up reading. Emma is the article writer for this blog (most of the time). Emma has a background in child protection work and while she likes to think she was able to create some positive changes for children and their families, she welcomes the chance to leave her career to travel and blog. Chika is a six year old border collie with reactive fear towards other dogs (makes traveling with her just that little bit more interesting) and anxieties associated with some sounds. Regardless life on the road has turned out to be brilliant for Chika and she LOVES it.