And just like that in November 2018 we completed our first year living and travelling full time around Australia. How did we celebrate our one year anniversary? We thoroughly looked at our expenditure over the past year, parked up, got ourselves jobs and are now saving our arses off (again) for another year of work free travel. Just what you expected right?
So when we thoroughly looked at our expenditure during our first year of full time travel what did we learn, how much did we spend and where did our money go? See the answers to these questions please keep reading.
Firstly a brief recap. When we set off in November 2017 we had savings in the bank and a budget. Initially we tried to live off $450 per week, soon increased that to $500 per week and in the latter half of the year decided to no longer have a set budget as discussed here in Our Budget Adjustment although we still remained mindful of how much we were spending.
How much did we end up spending on average each week over 52 weeks? Inclusive of absolutely everything $665.19. Somewhat more than we planned.
Our Spending: The Figures
Here is it, every cent we spent on Our Wayfaring Life in the first 12 months.
- Groceries: $6599.98 total = $18.02 per day or $126.57 per week
- Fuel: $6141.01 total = $16.82 per day or $117.77 per week
- Equipment and Technology: $5155 total = $8.64 per day or $60.51 per week
- Insurances, Registrations and Roadside Service: $2728.40 total = $7.48 per day or $52.33 per week
- Car and Caravan Maintenance: $2382.68 total = $6.53 per day or $45.70 per week
- Transport: $2377.28 total = $6.51 per day or $45.59 per week
- Golf: $1576.61 total = $4.32 per day or $30.24 per week
- Phones and Internet: $1248 total = $3.42 per day or $23.93 per week
- Medical, Dental and Pharmacy: $1148.79 total = $3.15 per day or $22.03 per week
- Eating Out: $967.25 total = $2.65 per day or $18.55 per week
- Odds and Sods: $892.66 total = $2.45 per day or $17.12 per week
- Tours and Entertainment: $842.65 total = $2.31 per day or $16.16 per week
- Chika (excluding food): $619.50 total = $1.70 per day or $11.88 per week
- Gifts: $484.95 total = $1.33 per day or $9.30 per week
- Postage: $397.10 total = $1.09 per day or $7.62 per week
- Camp Fees / Accommodation: $307 total = $0.84 per day or $5.89 per week
- Gas: $257.52 total = $0.71 per day or $4.94 per week
- Alcohol: $252.32 total = $0.69 per day or $4.84 per week
- Work Related: $229.24 total = $0.68 per day or $4.40 per week
- Laundry and Showers: $77 total = $0.21 per day or $1.48 per week
Grand Total: $34684.94 = $95.03 per day or $665.19 per week
Lessons About Our Expenditure
During our first 6 months Caravanning Australia we stuck to our $500 per week budget and did well with an overspend for the entire six months of only $286. Then somehow we ended up with an over all spend for the 12 months of $665.19 per week. What happened in the second half of our first year to see our expenditure increase so much? Well a few things, mostly life happened:
Equipment and Technology
Spending $5155 in total on a kayak, upgrading our solar, a drone, a laptop and a second car where not things we planned to buy when we started travelling but buy them we did (you should see what is still on our Wish List). For us all these purchases have been money well spent. We now regularly kayak. Our power issues have been resolved. Daryl is learning to use the drone (hoping to share some great photography in the not too distant future). As for the second car, that is a current necessity so we can both work and save for another year of travel.
This included any means of transport we used that wasn’t our cars including our voyage to Tasmania on the Spirit of Tasmania (return), flights from Brisbane to Sydney (return) and the ferry to North Stradbroke Island. We have also used public transport from time to time. Conclusion transport is costly.
In the first half of the year as we mainly travelled around Tasmania, Daryl only managed to get in a few games of golf. Being in small towns on the day of their comps turned out to be more miss than hit than he had hoped. However, in October he went on a golf trip for a week, something he has done every year for a number of years and this year it was held in the Murray River region. Most of Daryl’s expenditure on his golf for the year was going on this trip.
Mobile Phones and Internet
Haven’t these turned out to be more expensive than we had planned. The decision to sign up with Telstra to get better coverage and increase our data amounts saw this expense more than double. Perhaps sadly we are somewhat reliant on the internet as we travel. We use it to keep in contact with family and friends, blog and use social media, for researching areas we want to visit, for our banking, using maps on our phones and occasionally watching TV or a movie. Its something we feel we need to have, for it to be as reliable as possible so we pay a premium for it.
Medical, Dental and Pharmacy
Living on the road means life happens on the road. Life as in the stuff like health scares. Daryl being Daryl couldn’t just have simple joint pain and an ordinary boring rash. He had to be tested for arthritis and whatever else so off to a specialist and high tech tests he went. In the end we learned he is okay just getting older and things don’t work as well as they once did. He also had to have some dental work done. What can you do? Got to have your health.
Rarely have Daryl and I dined out this past year just the two of us. The occasional hot chips was our splurge. Time to see numerous family and friends as we travel has been one of the huge benefits, and it often means eating out and enjoying a meal with others. Over the year, the expense of eating out grew and we are all the better for it, spending time with people we love and adore.
Feeding Chika and keeping her healthy through vaccinations and flea/tick prevention isn’t too costly. However, Chika developed a constant skin irritation and vets were consulted. Not one vet. But THREE and each rather costly. Despite recommendations we did not find one vet capable of a proper diagnosis and a complete treatment plan. At least vet #3 bothered to do some tests and got the diagnosis right – mites (our new hate) but they still didn’t provide a full treatment plan or future prevention. So some internet research, a change in flea and tick prevention to a brand that includes mite protection and we have a happy healthy dog again.
Amount this expense added up to was surprising. A combination of ridiculous prices of our postal service in this country, selling some second hand goods and sending gifts to loved ones were the culprits.
There you have it. Of course we spent money on things like food, fuel, gas, campgrounds and even car and caravan maintenance but it wasn’t these things that blew out our budget. It was the day to day life stuff like keeping in contact with family and friends through internet, calls, visits, golf trips and eating out. Attending to our and Chika’s health needs and splurging on things that enhance our life on the road such as buying our kayak.
These are all things to consider if you too decide to take your life on the road.
Originally Published: 8 April 2019
Republished: 21 January 2020