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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Budget

I've already talked about our future setup for full-timing, we will either purchase one after we sell our home, or we will barter our home for a rig of equal value. That is undoubtedly the biggest expense we will face in starting out. Whatever we have from selling our belongings will be our "road egg".

We will be living on my husband's social security checks, he will be able to take an early retirement the end of this year. Where we stay will depend on what we have left over. One of our first expenditures that we will save for will be a solar power system, unless we are comfortable enough with the size of our road egg to set it up at the start - or unless we are blessed with a rig already outfitted with solar! (The Father knows our needs!) This, along with some other things, will open up a lot of options as far as boondocking and free camping.

Right now I work as an answering service for a small pest control company. I don't currently live in the area where the business is located (although I did when I started, back in 2001), and as long as I have a strong and reliable internet connection, a good cell signal, and a reasonably noise-free environment there is no reason I couldn't continue to do what I do. The customers certainly don't know where I am (the assumption is that I sit in an office, I do nothing to dispel that even when I'm propped up in bed in my jammies with my laptop on my lap!), and even the owners wouldn't know that anything had changed from the way things are right now, unless I told them...which I will, of course. If this job were to go away for some reason, I would find another one like it. Anyway, the job is seasonal (April-Oct) but I can spread out the income to last all year, and that will supplement our income.

Hubby is strong, friendly, and experienced in many areas. People like him right off the bat. And he is willing and even eager to do some workamping in exchange for a site (or whatever). I would also be happy to do that Nov-March. For many years I ran a small but very successful niche business; on a much smaller scale, I could also resurrect that, should my physical state (arthritis in my spine, cognitive after-effects from a stroke several years ago) allow it.

And with all of this, we will also continue to tithe from our earnings, and save for our future. I know it sounds ridiculously optimistic - but that's exactly how we live now. When we sit down and list our income and expenses it doesn't seem to work - but it does, it always has, and I'm sure it always will. It is how we live, serving God, living sacrificially for the Kingdom, and honoring Him with our tithes and offerings (not only $)...and He meets our every need just as He promised!

On a day to day basis, when we get "out there" we will have to figure out a few things...

Like groceries! Right now I shop the sales/stock up and keep our grocery budget average to $275/mo. for Pete and I, and our 3YO grandson who is here much of the time, plus my mom who is in a nearby nursing home but here for meals sometimes, food for our monthly church potlock, etc. (We are low carbers, so mainly eat vegetables, meat, and dairy.) My concern is how we'll be able to keep the food budget down so low on the road, with the tiny freezer and limited fridge space. Probably 5% or less of our food is processed (comes in boxes or cans for storage). I don't even know how to shop without stocking up and having a ready store of food on hand, so that will be an adjustment. (I detail my shopping expenses at another of my blogs, Cheap'n'Easy Low Carb.)

We will have pet expenses of course. At the minimum yearly exams and vaccines (or titers) and heartworm for the dogs and the cat. Food. Fresh water that I will purchase so they have consistency. However my personal philosophy of pet ownership precludes huge vet bills for illness or emergency. This isn't the place to discuss that, but my pets aren't a huge drain on our finances.

Probably the biggest thing that will help us is our lack of debt. We have always paid cash for everything, have no mortgage, car loan, or credit cards. And of course we will continue to do so. Rather than keep cash in the RV, one of our options will be to keep it on a refillable debit card. But that's only one option...anyway, remaining debt free will be the only reason we are able to do this on such a small budget.

Lastly, I want to mention that the trigger for this post is a Facebook group that just started yesterday and I joined, RVing On A Budget. So far the discussions are interesting and very informative, and there have been a lot of helpful links and suggestions shared as well. This promises to be a GREAT group, and I'm looking forward to learning and contributing a lot!

There is a lot of planning involved in this. But there is also a lot of freedom. We are never free of expenses but as Christians we are always free of worry about how they will be met.

(To read more about how God meets the needs of His children, here is a wonderful Biblical article the topic.)

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