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The Impact of Change on Money

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We’ve been on the road for a while and, as expected, it threw everything into upheaval.  Physically, I slowed down.  I stopped running. Some days the temperature dipped into the 20’s and my California skin is much too thin.  I don’t even own a jacket warm enough.  My diet was destroyed.  I regularly eat healthy and I don’t drink alcohol more than 2 days per week.  Travelling has meant more unhealthy convenience foods on the road.  Generally, when we camp, we eat hot dogs and smores.  I have beer.  It’s a rare treat and I enjoy it.  The problem is, every day is ‘camping’ and I need to establish new eating and exercising habits.  It’s not that I don’t know how, it’s just… I’ve been lazy.

 

How’s the budget?  Let’s just say it’s pandemic level mess.  We’ve travelled more than we thought which means a lot of gas.  It also means we are stopping for oil changes and truck maintenance.  At home we rarely drive so this isn’t a budgeted expense.  We also have been getting a lot of food lately.  Expensive food.  There are local dairies and meat markets.  Yes, they are more expensive than the local grocery store but the food is absolutely amazing.  I’ve never tasted cheese this good. Don’t even get me started on the great local beers.  In the moment, I justify the spending saying I’m supporting small, local businesses who are struggling in a pandemic but the reality is, I can’t afford it as often as I’ve been getting it.

 

There’s also a lot of random spending.  One of the local dairies offered to spend a couple hours showing us around the farm for $50.  The kids got to spend nearly an hour petting calves.  They learned how cows are milked, how alfalfa is grown, and all about making cheese.  They got to climb all over tractors.  Did we really need to spend $50 on that??  No!  But my kids learned first hand that milk doesn’t show up magically at the grocery store and they have a new respect for the hard work that goes into that.

 

I have to train myself that this isn’t a vacation.  This is our life for the next few months.  Spending, eating, and exercising all need to be managed.  We’re headed home in a few weeks to tie up a few things.  We’ll be home for a bit and then we will hit the road again.  If we keep spending like we’ve been spending, we won’t have enough saved to make it through the next trip so it’s vital we get it under control this week.

 

Change is always difficult for me.  Responding more quickly these days is important.


9 Comments

  • Reply Ann |

    Oh, Beks, I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. I think the $50 for a day at the dairy farm was money well spent. When my kids were young we spent a few days on a dairy farm and they still talk about that — and they are in their 30’s now!
    It is great that you are are now realizing that you can’t keep spending in a ‘vacation mode’ when you are not on vacation. You’ll find ways to create healthy cheap meals that are easily available so that you can spend your money on the more important stuff.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  • Reply Klm |

    I think this is a good example of the mindset around being debt free. It’s not that you should then throw money around, but you concentrate on where you spend it. $50 at a local dairy? Cool. $50 over a week in gas station snacks? Eeee. A beer at a local brewery? Cool. A six pack of bud? Hmmm. It’s hard to accept that most of us can’t have it all, but focusing on the quality of the experience helps me not feel as deprived (not that I am in any way actually deprived, even if I sometimes feel like I am.

  • Reply Jen |

    Maybe you need to re-tool your budget a bit and add a line for “educational expenses/experiences”? I’m assuming your kids are doing remote learning or home school, at least for now. A trip like that to a farm isn’t just fun, your kids learned a lot (and I bet you did too)! It’s a field trip, only instead of a school providing such experiences, you are.

    In fact, now that you’ve lived on the road for a few weeks, it would probably be a good idea to re-tool your budget so you can line up your cost expectations to cost realities. There may be areas where you are overspending, but there are also going to be expenses on the road that either don’t really exist while you’re at home, or are different than their normal amounts.

  • Reply SMS |

    I agree that $50 for all your kids to have a fun learning experience was not a waste at all! But you can definitely cut down on convenience foods, which are expensive to boot. You can do this.

  • Reply Angie |

    Are you keeping an expense log? I think it would be cool to see your spending for the trip tallied and broken down at the end of all of this. Miles traveled, gas, truck maintenance, fun spending, CA home fixed expenses, etc. It would be a good resource for any families looking to embark on a big trip like this.

    I would keep in mind that you’re putting tons of miles on your truck. So when you do get back into “normal” at home next year, you’ll want to ensure you save a little extra for maintenance or replacement to make up for the extra years of use put on it.

  • Reply SHanna |

    You hit the nail on the head…you aren’t on vacation, it is a way of life right now. I think just that change in mindset will help you adjust. I have done long term “trips” that are more trying out a new area and have to remind myself I am “living” in that city, not vacationing.

  • Reply T'Pol |

    Hi Beks! May be it is time to consider the time you had so far as vacation and go back to good old discipline which you are so good at. I would sit down and calculate the “damage” and start a new budget that includes oil changes and things you have not anticipated before. I am sure, you will find more delicious food and beer on the road but, if you build them into your budget as occasional treats, you can keep things under control. Enjoy your time on the road! I am sure you are making wonderful memories with your family.

  • Reply Lindsey Ralston |

    Girl! I understand! When we were building our debt-free dream home, we were always on the road between the new build and the house we were living in. We were doing a lot of the work ourselves to save money while bringing a 4 year old and an infant with us. Convenience foods became a must…unfortunately. I’m a homemaker and homeschooling mom and convenience foods aren’t something I lean on very often. I cook three homemade meals a day! In fact, the first time we pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot after a long day of working at our new house, I had to explain to my 4 year old daughter what it was! It took us a little while to get in our groove. I had to remember to plan ahead and have something waiting for us at home when we came back exhausted.
    You’ll get back in your groove too. But, remember to enjoy this time!! We had a blast building our dream home (even though we were exhausted all the time) and our daughter still talks about all the memories from those “hard” times! 🙂
    Have fun!

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