Budget: Month One

We have always been quite good at managing our money, but have never taken the time to actually document our spending. Now that our lifestyle and income have both changed so dramatically, it’s time to start keeping track of every penny.

There are one-bazillion nomad bloggers out there who talk about how cheap it is to travel, but few of them are actually open about their finances. I might be shooting myself in the foot here, but I would like to open up the books and share our budget and income for anyone interested.


Month One: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Setting the Scene: We have been living in Salt Lake for a little over a year. The apartment is well stocked with household equipment, but we reduced the supply of consumables before starting the month for a more accurate view of how things will be going forward. We are not including rent in this month’s budget since it was already paid for, but we did have a car and drove frequently.

We ended up skipping the budget for Week 1 since I was still working, it was Josh’s birthday, and his mom came to visit. (Editor’s note: I had been well under budget for the week, but my celebration kinda blew that up. Totally worth it. -Josh)

Budget Goal: I set our goal income at $600 with the expectation that we might come in a bit short due to the transition. Our spending goal is $388.50 (about $18.50 per day). I set this amount assuming an average of $15 for food, $3 for entertainment, and $0.50 for gas per day. I got these figures by averaging prices I researched online along with a solid bit of guessing (it is my first month, after all!).

Income: Josh started the job search on Upwork on Monday of Week One. He got his first job on Tuesday of Week Two. Throughout the month, he officially worked 12 hours (not including finding and bidding on jobs) and made $352, although $100 of that hasn’t yet been deposited in our account, so it won’t go on this month’s summary.

Expenses:¬†Our total spending for three weeks was $398.15, putting us an average of $18.96 per day. That’s just a little over our projected spending limit ($0.46 per day), so we actually did fairly well in sticking to the budget. We ended up driving a little more than expected, costing us a little extra in gas, and we also went over with our goodbye dinners/celebrations, but just barely. Compared to what we were spending just a month before, this is an incredible turnaround.

Summary: For the month of October, we ended up slightly over budget and pulling $146.15 out of our savings account. We expected this due to birthday celebrations and going-away parties. I still very good about the month and am looking forward to seeing how we do once we hit the road.

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