August 2018 (Update #2) – $25K Challenge
August was a good month for us. We started the month with $20,635.13. At the first of the month we were still in Alaska, working our way south. Believe it or not, Alaska was actually a relatively inexpensive portion of our journey. Aside from the driving miles, which we conservatively overestimated, there were lots of ways we were able to cut corners during this month.
Looking at an overview of our month, we came out almost $2,500 UNDER budget!
TOTAL BUDGET: $5,590.00
Fuel: 5,500 miles @ 10 mpg x $4 per gallon = $2,200
Food: $25 per day x 31 days = $775
Accommodation: $25 per day x 31 days = $775
Phone: $100 for cell service (AT&T) + $100 for data service (Verizon) = $200
Maintenance: $500 monthly for each month of travel
Healthcare: $500 (includes insurance premium + miscellaneous expenses)
Truck Insurance: $175 (includes truck premium + camper rider)
Contingency: $15 per day x 31 days = $465
|Phone / Internet||$200.00||$194.00||$6.00|
Starting Funds: $20,635.13
MINUS August Expenses: $3,104.96
Remaining Funds: $17,530.17
PLUS Donations: $456.50
PLUS INCOME: $900.00
We saved a lot of money as a result of our journey to Alaska. A big part of this is that we realized that in order to make it to Argentina some day we needed to treat each potential expense a little more serious than we had. So, for instance, when we returned to the Lower 48 we had the option to camp in a campground that was within our budget or to boondock. We opted to boondock because we knew that would save $25 per night and extend our budget even further.
As much as we have not wasted on this journey, we have tightened even more in our eating habits and in working through an overstocked pantry. We ended up with a LOT of delicious, fresh fish this month and between cooking our own meals from it at little cost or trading meals with friends, we really cut down on our food costs.
We have learned to be even more lean than we were before, which is good because we know that we have to be as efficient as we can if we are to make our funds last. And, now that we have learned that we can earn income in creative ways, we are eager to start putting money back into our savings when we can.
Additionally, we were blessed to not have any unexpected maintenance on either the truck or camper this month. We actually made money back in the maintenance department because we received a refund on the tire we blew on the Dalton Highway. We did pay for a scheduled oil change. But we actually came out with additional savings in maintenance… a very welcome sigh of relief.
We had several people give us donations over $100 a piece. Without recognizing them by name, they were made in the following locations:
- Haines, AK – $100
- 100 Mile House, BC – $100 (in a shoe on our camper, no less!)
- 100 Mile House, BC – $25 Canadian
- Thermopolis, WY – $200
- Thermopolis, WY – $40
We learned an awful lot from our donors during the month. Some we shared meals with. Others we prayed with. Together we spent time talking about the important things in life and our goal to reach Argentina one day.
We cannot say enough how grateful we are for the support that we have received. Receiving with an open heart has been a lesson we have come to learn this month.
Believe it or not, we actually got PAID to go halibut fishing! It’s a longer story, of course. But Chris was able to serve as deckhand on a small commercial fishing boat in Hyder, Alaska. In two days of fishing, and nearly 1,000 pounds in halibut, we were paid $900. In addition, we received a few great meals and a place to stay at no cost. We were also invited back next summer and Chris was offered the deckhand job!
We ended the month in one of our favorite towns, Thermopolis, Wyoming. Our goal was to settle down through the month of September and work camp at the campground as well as to possibly earn income working with our friend in his construction business.
This more “settled” life for us means that we will have no accommodation expenses while we are in Thermopolis. It also means that our fuel expenses drop to nearly zero and (hopefully) our maintenance is also very low considering the truck won’t break down if we’re not driving it much. We are also among friends and plan to share meals more than going out to eat, so we can see in only the last week of the month that our expenses should go down quite a bit in September.
We won’t spend the entire month of September in Thermopolis. However, for the time we do spend we anticipate that we will spend far less than we would otherwise spend on the road.
Additionally we continue to seek ways to earn income while we travel. We are focusing on our blog as well as in various ways to work online. Chris is pursuing teaching Chinese kids online through VIPKID. It’s a great opportunity, but the hours will be very hard to meet if we go that route. We’re also exploring other ways to use our talents and passions as we continue our journey now from Alaska to Argentina!
Check out our other updates: