I know how much you people love numbers, so today, I’ve put together a collection of numbers that might interest you! Basic stuff like our savings percentage and overall expenses. But also some more specific areas, like the exact amount we paid for sweet potatoes. 2016 was a great year for us.
Because we ALL must know how much money we spend on sweet potatoes. Oh, and black beans.
Before we begin, this was a very expensive year (it also kicked ass because, well, I retired). We bought our Airstream and truck and acquired everything (we think) that we will need to live in Charlie full-time, including our solar panels. 2016 was a bit of a weird year for us financially as we got everything together to enable full-time travel. No problem, that was completely expected.
This year, things will settle down (after my wife retires!).
2016: The numbers
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Some notes on these numbers
Notice the difference in rent between our previous mortgage costs and our current campground costs. Also, remember that we won’t be staying in campgrounds very often after we set sail, and even when we do, they won’t be nearly as expensive as the one that we’re currently in.
Our side hustle/passion project income is respectable, especially before my wife and I officially retire. If we can figure out how to bring in around $10,000 a year doing things that we enjoy, we’ll be living large. Even if we can’t, we’ll be fine – just…fewer breweries for lunch along the way.
Areas where we need to do better: Two primary areas – camping fees and food. Camping fees will take care of itself after we leave Tucson and start our lives of boon docking around the country with the occasional stop-over in a campground to fill up our water tanks and empty waste water.
We went over budget on food on several occasions throughout the year. Some things that we buy, like Cauliflower, are fairly expensive. We continually tweak our recipes to keep as much taste/satisfaction and minimize costs. For example, we’ve switched out cauliflower for broccoli in several recipes because broccoli is cheaper.
How do we track our money?
I suppose this is the time for a shameless plug for Personal Capital. They rock. They make tracking our whole net worth picture super duper easy. It’s literally a no-brainer to stay up to date on this stuff.
But, Personal Capital doesn’t get down into the nitty gritty of how much we spent on individual food items, like sweet potatoes. Enter…my wife. She’s the grand wizard of spreadsheets. She whips through Excel formulas like no one I’ve ever seen. She enters a number *HERE*, and every other number, throughout multiple spreadsheet tabs, gets instantly updated.
It’s kinda nice.
So, tell me – what are some areas of spending that you track meticulously? Do you know exactly how much you spent on a particular food item in 2016?
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.