June Expense Report – First Month in the Van!

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June Expenses - First Month of Full-Time Van Living

Written by Matt

June Expense Report - $15,335 of $40,000 challenge (36%)

We took off in the van on May 30th so this Expense report marks the first month of us living in the van full time! I wasn't sure exactly what our expenses would look like but so far they look pretty good! I think they will drop even more next month as we get more comfortable in the van, how we manage groceries, and get a little farther away from all the people we know (quit inviting us out to eat already...)

So far we are 6mo in and we have only spent 36% of our $40k budget which is awesome!

June Expenses

Our June Experience!

June was the first full month of Van Life. We left California on May 30th and booked it across the country to get to South Carolina by June 9th for my family reunion. It was a pretty serious pace which was less than our favorite way to travel. But that's just how the cookie crumbled.

This month was a nice ease into van life. We spent a lot of time visiting with friends and family. We only camped out 4 of the 10 days it took us to drive from CA to SC. The other times we stayed (in the van) at friends and families houses.

We stayed in the van the entirety of the family reunion which was actually pretty nice to just have our own little space. After leaving Myrtle Beach we headed down to Savannah GA to pick up my sister's dog who we will be taking with us on the trip. Things worked out that she needed a long-term dog sitter and we were supremely qualified.

From GA we started our trek north hoping that we would find some cooler weather and some fun adventures. We found one of those things as the weather has been relentlessly hot. We have stayed in the comfort of AC quite a few times in the last 2 weeks as we head north. We have visited with 1 travel buddy, 2 aunts and uncles, 3 cousins, and my grandma on our way up the east coast and have a couple more friends to meet before we reach Maine and turn West again.

Our New Van Puppy
Our New Van Puppy

June Expenses

Mortgage: $1,790.74 - We finally stopped paying that principle only payment. It will help with our monthly cash flow a bit going forward until we start bringing in some more income from the businesses.

Roommate Income: $2,380 – This should be pretty typical of a month going forward as long as we keep the house fully rented

June Housing

Net housing Costs Income: $456.97 (plus we built some equity in there!)

This represents a pretty stable idea of what we should be getting out of the house going forward. I realized that I had been counting the excess income we got from our house in the last two months against our expenses (which made sense when it was a cost) but now that it should be an income going forward we'll take it out of the total so we can look at how much we actually spent during the month


Other Bills:

Gasoline: $599.40 This was a big hitter this month! makes sense because we drove all the way across the country and then down to GA and up to Virginia all in one month. I think we covered ~4,000 miles this month which is pretty insane. I think we'll be quite a bit slower in July. I thought something might have been wrong here but a quick back of the envelope of 4,000 miles at 20mpg with gas around $3/gal for diesel works out to $600. So I'd say we are pretty close.

Student Loan Payment: $500 – Only 5 more years to go!

Groceries: $437.16 – slightly higher than last month but we did cook in quite a bit. We also took our turn cooking at the family reunion for 21 people... I think that dinner was $120 by itself. But we got fed the rest of the time at no charge to us. The community food for breakfast and lunch will get split up between everyone but we haven't seen how much that will be. It was a good week with a lot of food and drink.

Eating Out: $215.31 – One of the hardest parts about visiting with friends and family is that it always seems like a "vacation" to them. "You're in town for a couple days? Let's go eat at our favorite restaurant or get some drinks at our favorite brewery"... its easy to do and hard to say no to because its always fun and the food and drink is always amazing. However for us... it isn't a vacation it's our everyday life. So it can really start to pile up. Honestly, I thought this number would be higher as I reflect back on June. We have a ton of family on this side of the country so I expect once we get our on our own a bit more when we get north we will be back to eating out just a few times per month.

Health Insurance: $202.24 - We signed up with a Christian health Sharing ministry for our insurance when we left work. We waited until May to sign up because we could have gone back on COBRA for 30days after we ended employment if something had happened that required significant medical care. This charge was for set up fees as well so from here on out I believe its only ~$100 for both of us which is super affordable. Granted we have a $10,000 deductible but we have that if something catastrophic happened like a car accident and otherwise we are generally pretty healthy and got full check-ups before we left work.

Phone: $121.70 –  We maxed out on our Project FI account this month because we used it a lot as we traveled across the country as a hot spot. We ended up switching to Verizon in June though because of the hacking incident. There are some more details on that in our VLOG videos

Travel: $106– We got an annual pass to the national parks ($80) and an entrance to sliding rock in Pisgah National Forest ($3) each. The other $20 was a sticker for the van (gotta keep a record) and some other random items.

Doctor: $91.78 – Had some remaining balances somehow from our doctor visits back in March and April... Not sure how it takes 3 months to bill someone but it was a legitimate charge but that should definitely be the last of it.

Fees and Charges: $76.60 – Last month we talked about our hacking situation. This was some more bank and account fallout because of that. we got quite a bit of stuff reversed but not everyone is willing to work with you on it.

Gift: $25.63 – For a friends wedding we will be going to in Oct.

Gym: $5 – I know I said this one would be gone but it Snuck in there! it billed super early in June but next month for sure!

June Expense

June Income

Selling Stuff: $0

Dividends: $143.95

Interest Income: $26.38

Credit Card Bonus: $588.16  - We had opened a couple discover cards last year to put a loan to a friend on. They let us carry the money at 0% for 18mo or something. We paid them all off last month and got the sign-up bonus and cash back this month.

June Income

Business Expenses

Owen Your Future: $604.83 – We bought a Drone (DJI Spark) used off of craigslist for our youtube channel ($400). I'm still learning to fly it around but its a pretty good time and relevant to the videography we are learning.

We spent about $180 on things for Clifford, I bought a fuel filter and a spare, some tire fill extenders for the dual tires, a wifi adapter with antennas that will hopefully help us catch better wifi. a couple air filters (Number 1 maintenance item to be on top of) and a new circuit breaker for the electrical as one failed limiting our microwave or appliance usage.

Business Support: $133.48 -  We had an issue with referrer spam on our website causing the site to go down due to too much bandwidth usage. It took me a while to find a solution but if you are having issues banning people with a free Cloudflare account has worked great so far for us. We had to boost up our hosting subscription to get through the month. I'm thinking we can bring it back down after we get the spam under control.

Primal Noms: $16.35 -  We have our first product out and ready to go! You can check out the mug cakes at PrimalNoms.com I bought a package of them to test the order form and payment processing. Hopefully, we will have some business revenue coming in for next month!

Align with Alli: $22 -  additional credits for the program she uses to level her audio before publishing her podcast.

June is in the bag and we are already well into July. Let us know what you think about our first month's expenses in the van. I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on your own monthly expenses in the comments or send us an email!

Thanks for Reading!

Business June

May Expenses – Leaving Bakersfield Behind and Finishing the Van

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May Expenses - Leaving Bakersfield Behind and Finishing the Van

May Expense Report

Written by Matt

May Expense Report - $13,046 of $40,000 challenge

As you read in our April post we are a little late publishing our blog content because we spent just about 6 weeks straight building our van working on it full time. we spent the next few weeks traveling and we are just hitting 4 weeks of being on the road. We are starting to get caught up but to be honest sometimes I'd rather enjoy the travel and experiences than be to focused on keeping our content schedule

So better late than never but here are our May expenses.

May expense

Our May Experience!

If our April Experience was crazy, I'm not quite sure how to describe May. We started out the month with 5 days to finish the van and get fully moved out before our new tenants moved in to take over our room and start acting as house managers... We 100% missed that target. We ended up behind schedule on Clifford's build and we ended up spending an additional week sleeping on our van mattress in the living room of the house.

We needed to stay for a bit longer to finish up the framing and cabinets inside. We had some larger saws and things we didn't intend to take with us when we left that held us up.

Following that week we packed up all the things we were going to keep (some tools, sentimental stuff, winter clothes, everything that belonged in the van) and moved it to Allison's Mom's house just outside of LA where we resumed living on a different living room floor for an additional 2 weeks while we finished everything else on the van!

Seriously this period of our life was a tornado of activity.

Alli Knocking out some Van Construction
Alli Knocking out some Van Construction

May Expenses

Mortgage: $2,090.74 - We made the election change to take off our principle only payment and they kindly let us know it woudl take several weeks to go into effect... oh well. Maybe next month this will go down.

Roommate Income: $2,900 – We had new roommates move into our master bedroom. Another couple our age that was trying to save some extra money by getting out of their apartment. Since they are helping to manage the house where we still rent the other 3 rooms individually, we gave them a break on the rent. This month we had some deposits which raised the total a little bit. we are expecting to have around $2,400 coming in for the house each month going forward.

We also let them take over paying the maids and gardener so those are bills we are no longer responsible for

may housing

Net housing costs Income: $668.63 (plus we built some equity in there!)

As I explained above we had a bit more generous rental income than usual and since we have gotten rid of the responsibility for the maids and the gardener the numbers look pretty awesome this month. It will all even out down the road when deposits go back to renters but even so we should be in the black on the house rental with the current arrangement.

Other Bills:

Insurance: $1,249.74 - We finished the Van! Now that Cliffy was complete we decided we needed to get appropriate insurance on him. It was surprisingly hard to find a company to insure a self-built RV. We called around to lots of companies and ended up with AAA because they were one of the only ones that would do it. He had full comprehensive coverage up to $30k

Student Loan Payment: $500 – same as every month

Eating Out: $396.50 – Last month I talked about how we can start to slip up when it comes to eating out when you get busy? Well, that definitely happened to us this month! we were out of our element, we were living in a different house, sleeping on the floor, and working on the van nonstop. We also were staying with someone who didn't cook often so it was so easy to end up in their routine of eating out and grabbing something quick that was convenient... Just to show that we are not perfect haha. I was proud of us last month and a bit disappointed this month...

Groceries: $330.15 – It's amazing how we can spend so much on eating out and STILL spend the same amount we normally do on groceries. This just goes to show that you pay a huge markup on meals out!

Shipping: $294.20 - We really kicked up the eBay selling this month! I debated taking this out but I already built the nice graphics and chart above so it's staying in... all of this was covered by the eBay income and the majority of it was a tool that got mailed to Dubai.

Gasoline: $178.23 –  We sold the Prius in the middle of the month so we are now a one van family! we had to put some gas in the moving truck and ran what felt like a million errands to Lowes or Home Depot...

Moving Truck: $119.03– We moved out of our house in Bakersfield the second week of May. We kept some things we didn't want to sell like all my mechanics tools, some sentimental items, everything coming in the van, and our winter clothes. I was shocked that even after selling what felt like 90% of our belongings we still had no trouble filling an 18' Uhaul... minimal stacking but it was far from sparse in there.

It is truly incredible how much "stuff" you acquire so quickly. Especially living in a big house with lots of room for it to hide. I think the experience of downsizing and selling all of it was a good learning experience for us that we hopefully mind in the future if we ever move back into a house.

Phones: $102.39– We used quite a bit of data this month. With Project Fi you pay for data up to 10GB and then its free. So it maxes out at $120/mo. I managed to upload a ton of videos from our build to Dropbox via data.... Oops, Later $60... In fact, I still haven't figured out how to prevent it from uploading on data and I believe its impossible. At least going forward I know we will be maxed out anyway so it shouldn't matter too much.

Fees and Charges: $94.16 – So there will be more to come on this but I'll spill a bit of the beans. We had our computer hacked and had all of our information stolen. It was AWFUL. We spent all of June just trying to get our lives back in order. It was a truly eye-opening experience to the importance of internet security, something I had really taken for granted up until now. In response to this, we froze all our accounts and changed all our cards, all our online passwords for everything we could think of. because of that, we had some checks bounce as bills that were on auto-pay tried to deduct from a frozen checking account. We got some fees from this and some we could petition to have removed and some we couldn't. There will be some more of these charges in June and I want to do a post on what we learned from the experience with some more details so you can learn from our mistakes.

Trade Commissions: $12.26 – This is our usual wealth front fees

Gym: $5 –Alli Finished her Yoga Teacher Certification. So Proud of her! You won't see this charge from here on out because it's all private lessons for me!

May expenses


Paychecks: $0– The lifeline of 9-5 income has officially ended! We are on our own from here on out. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time!

401k Contributions: $0

Selling Stuff: $9,510 - We Sold my Prius ($7k) and lots of other stuff on Ebay, craigslist, and offer up. We have extracted just about all the value we can out of the stuff we have so from here on out its all up to the businesses.

Dividends: $121.96

HSA Contribution: $0

may income

Business Expenses

Owen Your Future: $3,307.46 – This is the remainder of the stuff we needed to finish out the van. In total we ended up spending ~$21k on the van and all the materials for the conversion. Definitely wasn't cheap but I think we built a pretty kick ass van and when you consider our house cost over 10x that, It's pretty cool that we have a mobile home for the next 6mo on the cheap. Van Life is just like anything else, you can spend whatever your heart desires. There are vans that cost upwards of $100k and there are people who are enjoying life in a $5,000 rig. It all just depends on what you want and need from your van and your own personal strategy to fill your needs.

Business Support: $39.98 -  This is Dropbox, LibSyn, and Active Campaign

Primal Noms: $869 -  We finalized our formulation for the Muffin product for our ketogenic food company. I paid the remainder of the bill to the food scientist to close the contract. We've had some trouble getting everything lined up for manufacturing but we do have a mug cake mix that is ready to go! We are going to launch into the market with that and then hopefully bring the muffins along down the line.

may business

Hope you enjoyed the May Expense report. I'd love to know what you think and as always if you have any tips or tricks to save some money share them bellow in the comments!

April Expenses – Sprinter Van Conversion Costs and Our Last Paychecks!

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April Expenses - Sprinter Van Conversion Costs, Our Last Paychecks

April Expenses

Written by Matt

April Expense Report - $10,354 of $40,000 challenge

Sorry this post is coming out so late! Our lives have really been a whirlwind recently and the blog has not been getting a whole lot of love. I wanted to keep these posts going through because I think it's important to keep us on track for our goal of $40k even when we are going through a crazy life transition. Hopefully, you all enjoy learning about how we spend our Money Monthly!

Year to Date Expenses
Year to Date Expenses

Our April Experience!

Our April was CRAZY. We Quit our Jobs (April 12th) Went full time on converting Clifford, our Sprinter Van, Started selling all our belongings in preparation for leaving our house behind. There felt like there were hundreds of small logistical items that neede handled when you transition out of a job, out of your house, and out of your town into an unconventional lifestyle.

I'll break down our expenses this month and I was pretty shocked that they were still right in line with where we wanted to be! obviously, it is easy to slacken up on your budget when the rest of your life gets hectic. After all you only have so much mental bandwidth and when you're spending a ton of time thinking about everything else in your life sometimes it easy to lose track and overspend.

Alli Knocking out some Van Construction
Alli Knocking out some Van Construction

April Expenses

Mortgage: $2,090.74 - You've seen this one the last several months. No change here yet. We will stop paying our $300 extra towards principle soon though.

Roommate Income: $1,950 – We had one roommate change over. It was good to get that done before we left. We are planning to have a couple move into our house on May 5th to take over our master and become the house mangers. We have to get the Van done and get moved out by then.

April Housing

Net housing cots: $513.93 (plus we built some equity in there!)

Bills were reasonable this month. We didn't need to heat the house at all so there is no gas bill. Just $12 we pay per month to PG&E for their smart meter. All the electricity was covered by solar. The way our solar billing works is they keep track of how much is used and generated for a 12 month cycle. at the end if you used more than you made you pay the difference and if you made more than you used you owe zero (unfortunately they don't have to pay you for your surplus)


Other Bills:

Student Loan Payment: $500 – I was fortunate enough that my parents could help me pay for college. I’m paying my mom back for ~$60k in student loans. We set up a $500 payment each month for 10 years which I’m about 5 years into. (0% interest!)

Travel: Zero travel expenses. I could have put some of our San Diego expenses in under travel but they were already categorized in our regular spending and it was relatively short and inexpensive trip.

Groceries: $300.45 – Groceries were back on track this month after having so may people visiting last month. We tried to eat everyting that we had stocked up in our house which helped keep this low. We were pretty sucessful in cleaning the pantry and the fridge before we left

Doctor: $253.37 – So we decided we should get checked up before we left our company insurance. We started the process in March of getting full blood works done and any kind of tests we thought we should have. Luckily we are both in great health but we did spend some money here for some peace of mind before we left the safety net of insurance for our health sharing plan ($10,000 deductible!)

Insurance: $202.24 - $60 for Alli, $72 for me, and we added the van to Allison's policy. We are taking both of our cars off as we sell them and will likely get a refund for some of these payments

Gasoline: $157.24 –  I only commuted to work about half the month but we filled up Clifford for a grand total of $100... California gas is pretty expensive and he took ~26gal at $4 a pop. Luckily other states are a lot cheaper for diesel

Eating out: $185.37– We went out to dinner with a few friends for going away get-togethers. We bought a couple meals for people that stopped by and helped with the van. A little higher this month but considering how busy were working on everything else I think it went really well. Its easy to let cooking fall by the wayside and opt for the convenience of going out when things get a little hectic

Auto Parts/service: $88.63 – Allison had a flat tire on the Honda and had to have it replaced. Unexpected but maybe got some of that value out of the car when we sold it. Hard to say.

Trade Commissions: $50.37 – all the fund fees for my 401k got charged. Seems like this only happens once a quarter so that would explain why this month was so much higher.

Phones: $47.97 – We used to get our phones paid for by work. Now we are on our own. We decided to go with ProjectFI by google. it had a pretty attractive price at $20/mo plus $10/G of data. I'll have more to say about that in a future post but we have since swapped to Verizon

Shipping: $29.22 – we have been selling a ton of stuff on Ebay. So really this gets offset by some of our income but I included it here because really it all comes out in the wash in the total for the month.

Gym: $5 – we have a web subscription to “yoga works” which we still haven't canceled. We barely used it this month and unfortunately, workouts have fallen down the priority list and niether of us have done a great job keeping up on it. Allison is still doing her Yoga Teacher training so soon I'll have my own personal instructor!

april expnse

April Income

Paychecks: $12,392.18 – We got our final paychecks this month so we got paid out some of our banked vacation time. I had ~2 weeks of vacation banked up so I basically got paid through the end of the month even though we left on the 12th.  Also, Alli filled her 401k so we started receiving that money as paychecks again.

401k Contributions: $9,047.53 -  We still were able to get some additional funds into the 401k before we quit. That money will have lots of time to sit there and grow before we need to pull from it!

Selling Stuff: $7,110.10 - It's amazing the value of all the stuff you have in your house. We sold Allisons Car ($4,000) held a garage sale ($1,200) and sold lot and lots of stuff on OfferUp and Ebay. This was Extremely taxing though. Its hard to part with all your things and it can be a real time suck to try and get a fair price for everything. The garage sale was the last step and we just sold everything at 80% discounts... but it was good to just have it gone

Dividends: $782.85 – All of the 401k holdings paid out dividends. So this offsets all those fees you saw up above.

HSA Contribution: $188.46 – Since I only got one paycheck I could only put half into this account.

april income

Business Expenses

Owen Your Future: $8,325.82 – We purchased almost everything we would need to finish out the conversion on Clifford. He, unfortunately, did need a very expensive engine repair that we didn't see coming. The original owner had told us he replaced the motor. We came to find out that he actually had a shop just replace pistons and bearings on the bottom end of the motor. They had re-used the old head and we ended up with a failed head gasket. I personally learned a lot about myself through this van purchase. I felt as though I got caught up in the emotions of the moment and wanted the van so badly that I accepted that there was no maintenance paperwork or proof of any work. Just went by word and overlooked some warning signs that it may not have been in the best condition.

Its always good to know where you shortfalls are so that I can help mitigate them in the future. While its unfortunate to have to immediately put $4,000 into the van in repairs It was a learning experience and at this point, there is no stopping this train so whatever Clifford needs, Clifford gets.

Business Support: $404.30 -  We paid for our yearly hosting bill, Active Campaign, LibSyn for Alli's podcast and we took the step of setting up an LLC. We decided to create one master LLC that we could then put the individual companies underneath but after talking with a tax advisor and doing our taxes for last year we determined we had to at a minimum get one business structure in place and stop comingling expenses. So we have Owen Family Enterprises LLC and a business bank account now!

Sorry again for the tardiness of this post! the next couple months should follow this one shortly. Overall it was a good month. Even with all the major changes and shakedown happening in our life we stayed on budget. We are doing pretty well with our Clifford renovation budget even with a large mechanic bill. Stay tuned for more details on Clifford's renovation and our travels from the road!

Leave us some comments below and let us know how you are doing on your financial goals for this year and if we can support you on your journey in any way! Thanks for reading!

April buisness

March 2018 Expenses- How Much Does a Sprinter Van Cost?

March 2018 Expenditures

Copy of saved more than earned (1)

Written by Alli

March 2018 Expenditures- buying a van, PRK (Lasik) eye surgery, and other really expensive things.

This month Alli is coming at you with our March expenditures! And let’s just say…we had a REALLY expensive month. We bought Clifford the big red van, I (Alli) had PRK (Lasik) eye surgery, and we bought Matt a laptop! Clifford is a business expense, due to the fact that we will be blogging and sharing financial wisdom from the road. PRK (Lasik) is a healthcare expense and the laptop is also a business expense. For these reasons, we are not including them in our $40k per year challenge. You might think we are changing the rules because we spent a lot this month and that’s cool if you think we’re weaksauce! Feel free to read more hardcore blogs elsewhere. To us, the $40k per year challenge is about reducing personal expenses, so that’s why we are sticking to the personal categories. So let’s dive into the details.

Housing- $618.49: this is the net expense out of our pocket after we collect rental income from our tenants who rent out 3 rooms in our house. This is fairly normal, the cleaning is a tad high (it’s only $200 per month) but I’m guessing that’s because they didn’t cash a check. Our gardener is notoriously forgetful and only asks us for checks every couple months, so that’s why it’s zero this month.


Groceries- $535.32: This is high for us this month for a couple reasons. We had some friends in town (a family of 5) for a week and instead of going out to eat, we opted for cooking lots of meals at home for them. We also had my mom and aunt come to town one weekend to help us with curtains for Clifford, and we cooked them a meal in the Instant pot (carnitas tacos..yumm).

Student Loans- $500: Matt pays this every month to his mom. It’s 0% interest so we don’t see the point of paying it off.

Gasoline- $192.18: Matt drives a 2006 Prius and Alli drives a 2009 Accord, which are both for sale right now. Email us if you’re interested! Lol.

Travel- $150: I spent this reserving a campsite in September for my 8 college roommates and myself to visit Arches National Park in Utah! $134 of this will be reimbursed by the girls when that time comes. We don’t record reimbursements until they come in, so for that reason, this will hit our expenses this month.

Insurance- $145.50: For both of the cars. We also have an umbrella policy through Liberty Mutual. We keep liability only insurance on both of our cars because they aren’t worth more than $7k each.

Pharmacy/Doctor- $135.39: I had to get a prescription eye drops for my eye surgery and Matt got some blood work done. Typical routine work. We tried to get a bunch of routine work done in March since we will be changing insurance and hitting the road soon. We will have a whole video posted on which insurance we went with now that we are self-employed.

Supplements- $134.39: Various supplements including CBD oil! If you’re interested in hearing what supplements we take and why, leave us a comment below!

Eating out- $122.87: Took my mom out to dinner one night, everything else was fairly small meals eaten out!

Cars Registration- $55: ya know, gotta stay legal. This was for my Honda Accord.

Entertainment- $63.99: One of our roommates was in a local volunteer theatre program and we went to support her. All the proceeds went to charity! It was a fun night and Dinah is a star! We also went to CALM, a local museum that celebrates California’s native plant and animal species.

One of the little friend's we made at CALM
One of the little friend's we made at CALM


Late Fee- $25: Matt’s credit card number changed and it turned off AutoPay. Sad day. We got this fixed though so we won’t miss a payment again! We use credit cards for all of our purchases because travel points!

Shopping- $13.93: Some skincare things from Amazon because I turned 28 and ya know, I need an eye cream now.

Trade Commissions- $13.77: Wealthfront and 401k Fees

Itunes- $11.97: We pay for Dropbox through Itunes. $10 per month. We also pay $.99 per month for ICloud, but we are in the process of moving all that over to DB.

Gym- $5: We pay for an online yoga membership, which we will be cancelling this month because now I am a registered Yoga Teacher! Woot woot!

Total: $2,722.8

So here’s how we’re doing on our $40k challenge for 2018…We’re 25% of the way through the year, and we’ve only spent 19% of our budget…so I’d say that’s pretty damn good!


Now onto some of the “other stuff” i.e., income and business expenses:


401K Contributions- $11,026.20: All of my (Alli) paycheck went to my 401k because we were trying to minimize our tax burden for the year. Matt’s company wouldn’t let him put his whole paycheck, but he did they max they would allow.

Paychecks- $7593.03: Little lower than normal because of me putting all of my money into my 401k

Selling stuff- $1955.29: Hell yah! I’ve been working my buns off selling all our furniture and things on Craigslist and OfferUp. I imagine April’s will be much larger.

HSA Contribution- $376.92: Matt’s company automatically puts this into an HSA account, which is awesome. We strategically didn’t use the HSA funds for my eye surgery right now though because there’s this rule that you can pull out the money anytime as long as you have the receipt. So we kept the eye surgery receipt and should we need it at a later date we can pull it out then.

Dividends- $721.73: We invest most of our money in VSTAX.

Total income: $21,673.17

Business + Health Expenses:

Clifford- $8800: What a STEAL! You might be thinking. Well, Clifford has 440,000 miles on him BUT thankfully he just had a new engine put in him, and the new engine has about 60k miles. He does have a few issues and is actually in the shop right now down in LA getting a full check up before we take off. The issues seem to be small, but Matt can update further on what’s going on.

Clifford’s conversion- $1538.38: We have budgeted around $10k to get him totally functional, and it looks like we are going to come under our budget. You’ll see lots of charges for this in April's expenses.

Insulation foam from Home Depot!
Insulation foam from Home Depot!

Lasik (PRK) eye surgery- $4000: I had horrible eyes! So thankfully now I can see. This will be especially useful for van life! This will be a one time cost and will eliminate my need for glasses and contacts. It doesn't exactly pay-out economically, but contacts have never been comfortable to me, so for the convenience of not having glasses...I will pay!

Business Items- $852.87: Matt bought a laptop because we can’t have a desktop in Clifford. This also has our recurring subscriptions like ActiveCampaign and Libsyn.

Primal Noms- $60.04: We had some business meetings up in SF so this is just gas and food for our day trip.

Total business expenses: $15,251.29

April is also shaping up to be an expensive month, but we will be selling the rest of our belongings and both of our cars, so we will be making money from those. We also only worked half of April, but we both got paid out a bit of vacation, so our April income shouldn't be too shot. May on the other hand, lol!

Thanks for reading, was this insightful to you? Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or would like further explanations!

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February Expense Report – The $40k Challenge

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February Expense Report - $40K Challenge Update

Copy of Saving money during the holidays

Written by Matt

February Budget - $4,865 of $40,000 challenge

Starting off 2018 we decided to take a challenge to spend $40,000 this year. We are two months into the challenge and we are on track! I honestly expected some overages with the beginning of the year travel but Feb is always a good month. Its shorter than all the other months by half a week and I get my company bonus!

Spending wheel

Our February Experience!

We kept it pretty calm and collected this February. We had on trip down to San Diego to visit with one of Allison’s friends from college, Liz, and to record a podcast with Rachel Maddox. Check out Alli’s two podcast episodes here: LINK TO PODCAST

We stayed at Liz’s house so we didn’t have any hotel but we did spend a little bit more than normal on eating out and we went out the bar which always racks up some bills and an Uber home. It was a great little trip and I got to take some cool beach photos while Allison was in her podcast which is always a good time.

I could get use to that San Diego life! Weather is a wonderful 70F in Feb.
I could get use to that San Diego life! Weather is a wonderful 70F in Feb.

February Expenses

Mortgage: $2,090.74 – Same as last month. Should be the same for the rest of the year. We will likely stop paying our extra $300 toward the principle in May or June. We are planning to leave the state in the second week of May and will be having another couple move into our master bedroom and act as onsite property managers. I’m sure we will have a post on that and maybe on how we selected this property in general as a real estate investment.

Roommate Income: $1,950 – We will have one roommate that is leaving in April. Hopefully, we can fill it rather quickly and avoid any vacancy. I think we may have another one moving out in May so we will have a bit of turnover at the house! Looks like that might coincide with when we take off on our trip so we’ll do our best to get it lined up and filled ahead of time.

Vacancy is really one of the worst things for rental property income. Just one month missed rent with one empty room is $600 extra that month. If both our rooms were empty for a month that would be $1,200 or almost half of our whole month's spending!


Net housing cots: $719.67 (plus we built some equity in there!)

Bills were pretty normal other than the Gardener! We hadn’t paid him since we left on vacation in December so we had 3 months of regular bills ($60/mo plus we had trees trimmed and we reseeded the front yard). We had one bill for the maids (they come every 2 weeks so next month we might have 3) internet is always the same and unfortunately, it’s the lowest we could find for the area, water is usually pretty cheap and usually 30-40 a month. We spent a little less on gas since it’s a bit warmer than last month. That should drop of even more in March as we have solar, so the electricity side of things is practically free.


Other Bills:

Student Loan Payment: $500 – I was fortunate enough that my parents could help me pay for college. I’m paying my mom back for ~$60k in student loans. We set up a $500 payment each month for 10 years which I’m about 5 years into. (0% interest!)

Travel: Zero travel expenses. I could have put some of our San Diego expenses in under travel but they were already categorized in our regular spending and it was relatively short and inexpensive trip.

Groceries: $386.16 – Few stops at Vons and Trader Joes. I keep hearing how great Aldi is on the choose FI forums so we might check that out. We just let our Costco membership expire as we won’t be needing Costco sized things when we are living in a Van/RV

Electronics: $370 – We bought Allison a Google Pixel. When we leave our jobs, we are going to have to get on our own plan and bring our own phones. We will be going to Project FI through google and decided we’d rather buy an older version phone instead of doing a brand new one or financing it. Project FI uses 3 different wireless providers and only costs $130/mo for an unlimited plan. If you use less data you pay less so the base price is ~$50 a month for the two of us and caps at $130. The data also works internationally which is an amazing feature for when we go international next year!

Gasoline: $187.65 – I worked from town a few extra days this month so a little less driving out the field but we also drove down to SD although we took my Prius so it wasn’t a huge hit on the gas bill.

Insurance: $145.50 - $60 for Alli, $72 for me, and $13 for an umbrella policy since we have renters in our house and because we are working on our businesses. As those become more mature we will likely have separate insurance and LLCs for each of those.

Eating out: $131.23 – Breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days basically while in San Diego. This also includes our bar tab when we were out on the town. All in all, it was pretty cheap. Nothing over $20. Thanks “California Burrito” for feeding me twice and being soooo delicious.

Pharmacy: $68.75 – Our health is super important to us. We didn’t buy any supplements this time around but we did have to hit the pharmacy to get a few things. Allison got her nose pierced and we needed some stuff to take care of that. I do think we still bought some vitamins though. Can’t get out of rite aid without some vitamins.

Registration: $55 – registration for Alli’s car was due. Thankfully we drive old beaters so its pretty cheap!

Shopping: $24.02 – While we were in SD we went to the mall. We used mostly Gift Cards we had from Christmas but had to make up a little bit of the difference. New swimsuits and some makeup.

Gym: $5 – we have a web subscription to “yoga works” which is awesome. There are a ton of great classes on there we can do from the house and its really cheap. I could save the $5 and just look some up on YouTube I’m sure but having a good range to pick from with good quality video is worth the price for us.

Feb Expenses

February Income

Bonus!!!: $19,837.99 - My company pays an annual bonus which is a big portion of my compensation. The company performed well this year and due to that, we got a pretty nice chunk of change. We had definitely planned for this and it will make up a good chunk of the money that will go into the honeypot to fund our travels for the next year or more.

401k Contributions: $10,284.59 -  Since we were planning to leave our jobs we elected to kick up our Pre-tax 401k contributions as much as we could. My company allowed me to put in 25% of my income but Alli could do 100%! So, we elected to do that as we can live off my income for the next two months and still get all of the money into our 401Ks for the year. I won’t be able to top mine off but Alli will have hit the $18,000 limit by the end of this month.

Paychecks: $5,430.55 – This dropped due to the change in Alli’s paycheck going 100% into our 401k. We will save a little bit less cash prior to quitting but we will avoid a bit more California Taxes which I think will be worth it.

HSA Contribution: $376.92 – This will keep it up for the next two months. I had not contacted Fidelity to front load the HSA the same way we are doing in the 401K but I easily could. Maybe something I’ll look into this week.

Dividends: $224.91 – I have one dividend stock in my 401k that pumps out consistent dividends. Its also acting as the bond allocation for my diversification.

Overall it was a good month. Even with the market dip we survived and increased the net worth. No doubt due to that company bonus. Wish those came all the time!

For those that don't know we will be traveling this summer in a Rv or conversion van. I'm starting to do some research into converting our own! If anyone has some good resources let me know!

Leave us some comments below and let us know how you are doing on your financial goals for this year and if we can support you on your journey in any way! Thanks for reading!

January Expense Report and The $40k Challenge!

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January Expenses and The $40k Challenge

January Expense Report

Written by Matt

Starting off 2018 we decided to take a challenge to spend $40,000 this year. We talked about it a lot last year and it will mark a pretty significant reduction in our total spending (we spent about $65k last year).

We have a lot in store for 2018 (which we will be sharing soon!) so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. We decided we would post here for all of you to help keep us honest and accountable! It's really amazing what diving deep into your finances can do for your spending. Especially when the idea of buying that thing is rolling around in your head but you know you'll have to post about it later for all to see... It's some serious spending inoculation.

Our January Experience!

We haven’t put up our travel post quite yet, but we spent our Christmas and New Year in Iceland! We travel with my mother and sister during the holiday season and we alternate going to a warm and cold place (this was our cold year!) We traipsed around a frosted Iceland admiring many glaciers, ice caves, waterfalls, and some northern lights to boot! It was an awesome trip with some amazing scenery and it really let me flex my photography muscle with was pretty fun. Hopefully, you follow me on Instagram so you can see the glorious pixels.


The Fireworks in Reykjavik are unlike anything I've ever seen!!
The Fireworks in Reykjavik are unlike anything I've ever seen!!

After New Years we parted ways with my mom and sis. Allison and I took off on the second leg of our journey to Berlin and Prague. We spent another 9 days between the two and we’ll have a more detailed travel post to show you where we went and what we did.

The short and sweet of it is we checked out all of the World War II history and lots of relics and information about the Berlin Wall. It was fascinating to get a deeper look into what it was like to have lived in that area during that time. Hard to comprehend but good to remember and honor those who were involved in that struggle.

We hopped a train to Prague and truly adored this city. It has so much character and it's soooo Old. Everything is so beautiful and there is so much history about each and every building. We mainly took free walking tours around the city which were a great way to see everything and learn about the history at the same time. Everything in Prague was really cheap too so it was a great place to balance out Iceland (Expensive!!), Berlin (Average), and Prague (Cheap!!). Also, Czechs love their beer! I had one at every meal I think and they never cost more than ~$2!

We got back on the 10th so about half the month we had travel costs lumped into our budget which made it a little tougher to hit our target but we still ended up way under!

Those Flying Buttresses are Insane!!
Those Flying Buttresses are Insane!!

January Expenses!

Mortgage: $2,090.74 – This is up $190 from December! Our property re-assessment finally hit from when we bought the house (18 months later?) but our taxes jumped by over $2,000 per year. Insane right? Luckily, we house hack our current home so while this number Is big, we really offset the majority this with incoming rents most months. We also pay an extra $300 per month towards the principle so we could bring this down a little bit if we wanted too.

Roommate Income: $1,958 – We rent 3 of our rooms out in the house. We purposefully bought this house so that we could live almost or nearly for free. It was working a little better before the jump in taxes… Even so it definitely cuts down a big chunk of our housing expenses!

Housing Expense

Net housing cots: $429.09 (plus we built some equity in there!)

Travel: $1,156.13 in Jan, $1,479.22 in Dec. we got a check back from my mom and sister to settle up and that worked out to $1,377. Total spent on our trip was $1,258.35 over two months. (this doesn’t include flights or some hotels that we booked ahead of time!) $629.17 per month! Not bad since Iceland is crazy expensive. We will post a breakdown of all the costs of that trip in our travel post!

Groceries: $300 – This was literally one Costco Trip after we got back from vacation.

Gasoline: $115.41 – Very good month since we were out of the country for half of it.

Supplements: $69.95 – Our health is super important to us. We got this one supplement based on a recommendation on a podcast. Restore. It's supposed to help maintain your gut lining and be a defense against gluten and other irritants that can cause leaky gut. It helps you absorb nutrients more efficiently and overall assist your microbiome to thrive.

Auto Insurance: $60.33 - Just mine. I pay monthly, Alli pays every 6mo. I drive about 100miles a day right now so my insurance is crazy. I also have coverage up to 300k so our net worth is protected if someone sued us!

January Income!

Paychecks: $8,792 – This is pretty self-explanatory. We worked or used paid vacation for our travels in Dec/Jan so we still got paid! If you're new to the blog both me and Allison work for oil and gas companies in Bakersfield CA as engineers. I’m a mechanical engineer and I maintain and do project management for my companies treatment facilities and Alli is a petroleum engineer who manages subsurface equipment and production. The jobs pay great but it's not all sunshine and roses.

HSA Contribution: $2,376.92 - My work puts $2,000 into an HSA each year for me. It helps to cover our deductible since we carry a high deductible plan which saves the company money due to Obama Care. So it’s a way they incentivized us to move off of the “Cadillac” health plan we had previous to 2015. I also contribute the maximum I can so a total of $6,350 this year or $376 per month.

401k Contributions: $1,572.43 - I think this missed the second deposit because of the timing of my paychecks. So Feb. will likely be higher. Both Allison and I max our 401k contributions each year and then our employers have a 4% and 6% match which goes in on top of our $18,000.

Dividends: $206 - Most This may have bled over from December as that’s when the vast majority of our dividends are distributed. All of them are reinvested but it still helps to build the account!


Thanks for reading! This is the first post we've put up bearing all of our financials. I know I've always enjoyed reading about other peoples financial experiences so Leave us a comment and let's continue the conversation!

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©2017. All Rights Reserved. Please note we are not financial professionals and this is only our personal experience.

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