Expenses of the Next Three Years
Realizing The Bumps Along The Way
April 29, 2017
Our Expenses of Laura & Sasha’s Excellent Adventure
We have always kept a record of what we spend each month and post it on the website.
In the beginning, we followed the principles of Your Money or Your Life, Transforming Your Relationship with Money (YMOYL). While we still use the guidelines of YMOYL, we do not show our income online. It should not feel weird, but it does. Some of the ideas, especially the investing, have changed for us, especially during the 2011-2013 time period. This period had low interest rates, horrible for savers.
In 2011, we still had most of our investments in 7 year CDs earning between 5 and 6 percent. We felt they could earn us money and there was no way we would lose money. It was not used money, the payments kept churning back into the CD.
In 2012, some of those CDs came due. And we no longer had the higher interest rates of 2007-2008. Therefore, I looked for alternatives. I found them in Zions Direct and municipal bonds. I first went after the low hanging fruit, trying to buy for only a couple of months and earn some high interest. I played around with it and found some great munis and corporate bonds. Corporate bonds, though, are taxable in the state you are domiciled. However, because we domiciled in Texas, there was no state income tax.
Ultimately I found some great bonds. Most of the ones I found were for longer periods of time. Several were not due until three years later. I set up Zions Direct interest income to pay into Zions Bank and used that money to buy more long-term bonds. By the end of the year, we had four really good municipal or corporate bonds. These bonds would last from one to five years, giving interest of between 4 and 6.25 percent, two times a year, based on the bond.
In 2013, we thought I had messed up the previous year because of all of these different bonds. We paid an accountant at H&R Block over $400 to look over what I had bought and everything else. She said I actually did the right thing, buying corporate bonds and municipal bonds while living in a state that does not have state income tax. Municipal bonds do not get taxed at the federal rate.
Federal tax-exemption of municipal bonds. The interest income earned from most municipal bonds is exempt from all federal income taxes regardless of your tax bracket.
A corporate bond is taxed on the interest it makes. Since I would always wait until the bond dates’ end, we would only get taxed (same as CDs) when we got interest. In 2013 we paid the lowest amount of taxes for federal, and none for the state of course. We also had the MAXIMUM taken out of our paychecks because of this interest. We did not have Zions Direct or Bank take the money out for taxes.
I also thought I had royally messed up in November of 2013, when I bought ZionsBancorp Stocks, which I thought were bonds. They would not be due out until 2023, and I had invested $20,000 in what I thought was a Major Oops.
However, December 2013 came around and we had over $300 in the Zions Bank that came from this Bond/Stock. I then realized that this investment was our first foray back into stocks, and it was earning us 6.95% every three months. And we would have it for 10 years. An Oops that turned into a Yahoo! And a great Yahoo too, because I had bought it under the sales price of $20,000!
Our Financial Reports
Unfortunately, I did not have spreadsheets in 2005 and 2006, only really started with them in 2007. So far I have the expenses of the seven years’ itch. If you go to the main pages you can then see the monthly amounts.
- 2007: Living in a House to Full-Timing in an RV = Total Expenses: $45,052.08
- 2008: Cabin Camping, Workamping, and An Apartment = Total Expenses: $29,997.17
- 2009: Sasha’s Retirement and National Park Living = Total Expenses: $67,302.84
- 2010: Headed East and West = Total Expenses: $39,914.66
- 2011: Volunteering and Living = Total Expenses: $36,110.88
- 2012: Of Jeeps and Visiting Family = Total Expenses: $47,325.68
- 2013: Trying Something New = Total Expenses: $30,424.82
- 2014: Of Nonprofits and Giving = Total Expenses: $45,832.12
- 2015: Working Hard and Having Fun Total Expenses: $24,649.26
- 2016: 10 Years and Counting! Total Expenses: $26,700.09
- 2017: Laura & Sasha’s Excellent Adventure Continues Total Expenses: $not yet
After looking at these numbers for the first time, I might have to change their titles a bit. To give you a little perspective, we spent:
- In 2007: Most of that money in the first 5 months when we lived in a house
- In 2008: Moved three times, and Sasha was still working
- In 2009: Bought a New to us rig, and put solar system into it. Plus upgrades on the truck
- In 2010: Bought a New to us Truck and aa motorcycle and Scooter
- In 2011: No major purchases but paid a bunch in Federal taxes.
- In 2012: We bought a Jeep that I could not drive
- In 2013: Sold the Jeep, No Major purchases and government shutdown
- In 2014: We Bought the Ural Sidecar Motorcycle and got rid of our Motorcycle and Scooter
- In 2015: Serious Savings
- In 2016: Slight uptick, but we stayed in more campgrounds
- In 2017: Not fully happened yet, but more in line with the last two years.
The Below Table shows our regular expenses for each year.
From this table, I see food for two people at $6,000 to almost $7,000 every year. By averaging those numbers above, our food plan is between low-cost to moderate cost plans of USDA. The most liberal plan on the USDA scale for two adults is $8,304 a year. At least we are not doing that!
Our highest expense every year seems to be transportation. I call it Vehicles on the Table and Transportation in the monthly costs. It is the same thing although we separate out our RV as shelter or household or 5th wheel. Vehicles are all over the map because we were trying to find a vehicle that worked for us both.
It took several years of trial and error before we found something that the both of us could enjoy. Our Ural SideCar Motorcycle, which we bought in 2014, fits the bill. Before that though, we had motorcycles, ATV, scooter, and a Jeep. Not all at the same time, but 2012 was a serious vehicle year when we had a motorcycle, scooter, Jeep and truck.
After these two categories, Health is a low third. Yet we see the health prices going up as we age. The other categories go up and down depending on what we are doing and where we are.
We cannot change the past, only learn from it. A wise person said:
A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistakes of others.
Be the wise person and learn from our mistakes.
Is there anything that you would like to know in more detail? If so, please comment below or send us an email: Laura @ Laura-n-Sasha.com (just take out the spaces so I don’t get spammed 😉