September Van Life Expenses - New Transmission, Michigan-Florida-Colorado
Written by Matt
September Expense Report - $27,195 of $40,000 challenge
September Van Life expenses are ready to share! It was a hard month for us because Clifford needed some major repairs. We had to put a new transmission in him in Milwaukee which set us back ~$4,000. Hopefully, it increased his resale value a bit but we're going to count it against our expenses here anyway. Even so, we still have 32% of our $40,000 left to finish out the last 4 months. Since we'll likely be a little more stationary we will hopefully keep the costs down pretty low!
Our September Van Life Experience!
After leaving the UP of Michigan we headed South West and went through Minneapolis MN to visit with some friends. We met with one of our Financial coaching clients and got to spend some time with some other Finance nerds (Financial Panther, Fiery Millennials and All She Saves) before heading south towards Florida for FinCon, a Financial Blogging Conference.
As we made our way south we headed to Milwaukee Wisconsin to meet another of Alli's longtime friends and just as we were pulling into town tragedy struck... Clifford stopped moving in the middle of the freeway and there was an ominous grinding sound coming from under my feet.
We luckily were able to get ourselves off to the side of the road and had to wait for AAA to take us to the shop. Turns out he needed a new transmission...
While that was a HUGE and Expensive bummer. we knew he had 400,000 miles on the original transmission so it was always a possibility that we might need to replace it. I count ourselves lucky that we were in the city and able to find a shop that was familiar with sprinters without taking it to the dealership. If we had done that we probably would be looking at a $7,000 bill instead of our $4k.
So we spent about a week outside of Chicago while we were waiting for the new transmission to ship and be installed. Luckily Allison had some extended family outside of Chicago about an hour from Milwaukee who put us up for the majority of the time and had truly amazing hospitality.
We took the train into Chicago and explored the city and tried out some deep dish pizza. Check out the Youtube video HERE
Once Clifford was Fixed we had to book it south to get to Tampa Florida where my sister lives before my flight took off to go to Denver. I was flying out for the weekend to go to a friends bachelor party and we only had a couple days to get from Chicago down to Florida.
We made it in time and after returning from the bachelor party we went straight to Orlando for our conference. We spent an amazing week with all the money nerds in the world and after finishing up the conference caught the Epcot Food and Wine festival with my sister.
We then made the trek back to Colorado where we will be hunkering down this winter. We have some ski passes lined up and are looking forward to a (hopefully) amazing ski season and some time to really hunker down and get to work on our businesses. The end of Sept. saw us just getting into Colorado and concluding our road trip.
Mortgage: $1,745.92 - Same as always!
Roommate Income: $1,745 – We had some extra income last month so we knew this month would be a little short. Unfortunately, it coincided with our big van repair but It will all even out in the end!
Net housing costs: $146.54 (at least we built some equity in there!)
For some reason, our internet jumped up $20 this month. We haven't called to figure out what happened there yet. As we mentioned above our rental income was a bit lower than usual so we actually spent $146 on the house this month instead of making money. That's just how it goes. We have been fortunate so far to not have any real vacancies or major repairs although we know there is on on the horizon (20yr old AC unit!)
Clifford: $4,155.14 - Clifford really wracked up a bill this month. The biggest portion of this was obviously our transmission which was about $3,700. On top of that, I had replaced a serpentine belt along with an alternator to fix a belt issue we were having, and done an oil change at our friends in Minneapolis which cost another $400. Sometimes van ownership is not cheap... And anything Mercedes is automatically about double the cost
Student Loans: $500 - It's nice to see this so close to the top of the list! slowly but surely making my way through these payments but still have 4.5 years to go! As a reminder, this is a 0% interest loan so that's why we won't pay it off 🙂
Gasoline: $297.53 – This is looking pretty good considering how far we drove. From Chicago to Florida and from Florida to Colorado. The helpful thing was we didn't do much driving once we were at our destination and we didn't take many detours so it was basically a straight shot between each city.
Groceries: $260.40 - Groceries looked good this month. We had some help because we got fed some while we were at Allison's family outside Chicago and at our conference. We did end up eating out a bit more though which is our next category!
Eating Out: $237.96 - We did eat out a bit more but that happens when you are displaced from your house! We ate out on our trip into Chicago, I had a few meals out on our bachelor party weekend and we went out with some FinCon peeps in Florida. All and all our total food budget for the month looked pretty good!
Phones: $174.42 – Verizon Unlimited plan for both of us.
Housing Expense: $146.54 – This one is a bit unusual but considering we made $700 last month I saw it coming. Next month we'll be back in the green!
Travel: $125.79 – When we didn't have Clifford we were forced to travel via Ubers. We also bought some train tickets into Chicago and back as well as a train from Chicago to Milwaukee when I went to pick up our boy after surgery! We also had one bill from our Isle Royal trip hit in September so that is in here as well
Insurance: $112.21 – We pay $12 for our umbrella insurance which takes care of anything with our business or renters that would be above and beyond our normal insurance. We also pay or Auto insurance Yearly but I added $100/mo in here because its just under $1,200 per year.
Health Insurance: $101.00 – We use Medi-Share for our health insurance and have a $10,000 deductible. Basically, its there if we get cancer or hit by a bus. Luckily, we are young and healthy and this covers both of us for a really reasonable price.
Gift: $35 – We bought a gift for a friend who was having a wedding that we wouldn't be able to attend
Gym: $22.06 – This is the normal price each month for our Planet Fitness membership. See last months for something to watch out for if you do this!
Pharmacy/Doctor: $17.17 – All the travel (and stress?) wore us down a little bit. I picked up some medicine from the pharmacy to help me get back on my feet
Parking: $4– I honestly don't remember where we had to pay for parking but the best news is that we were able to score free parking at the conference we were at which was normally $20/day! We scored free parking by volunteering for a few days beforehand. We slept in the van so we also avoided the $150/night room at the hotel!
Business Income: $678.44 - We sold out of our first run of mug cakes! We got an awesome review by Keto Connect on YouTube. If you are interested in Keto check out our Keto Baked Goods - Primal Noms
Dividends: $33.97– I still haven't fixed the link between my 401k and mint so again I think this is a bit low!
Interest Income: $8.82- Thanks Savings accounts!
Primal Noms: $741.45 – We sold out of all our inventory so we made another run of product to keep on selling!
Align With Alli: $20 – We paid for her LibSyn subscription for her podcast
Hope you've enjoyed our monthly download on our September van life expenses. Look for next month as we settle into our home base in Colorado.
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!