Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Monthly Expenses – December 2017

Expenses - image

Every month, I post a report of our expenses to show that it is possible to live a comfortable, exciting and relatively adventurous life without breaking the bank. The less money you spend, the less you need to make. 🙂 That being said, Mark and I seem to manage one big expense a month for some reason, whether it is camper, plane, travel or computer-related. Luckily, we live totally rent-free, wherever we end up.

This report includes ALL of our expenses, in US$, for the two of us. Under groceries we incorporate all the food, produce and non-alcoholic drinks predominantly bought in supermarkets. Toiletries belong in that category as well. Dining out means eating at a restaurant/event or purchasing take-out food. The health category covers non-prescription medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements; medical contains prescription drugs and doctor's visits.

Health insurance and costs are related to my health care as a permanent resident in the US. Mark is still eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts as of today. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of that state, it will be expensive! For check-ups, we both return to the East Coast. I still pay a small quarterly fee in Belgium for health care (required to retain citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

The expense categories that "hurt" us the most in December were our camper (car), gifts, and dining out. The mechanic in Northern California who "solved" the most urgent issues when we first bought Zesty in July, did not do a good job with the transmission service, so we needed to get the fluid drained and refilled again, and a plug replaced. Not cheap. Our goal to only spend $25 a month on diesel while in San Diego failed, because we decided to drive all the way to the desert (Joshua Tree National Park) and back for the New Year's weekend.

Congratulations, Amy!

As far as dining out goes, we wanted to treat a friend to dinner to celebrate her graduation as a zoologist. And, in regards to that gift category, well... it was the holiday season. We bought personalized photo calendars for family members and a shiny, ultra-modern, multiple-use radio/GPS system for the camper. So, while we went "way" over budget, it was all money well spent! 🙂

Mark's - I mean, Zesty's - new toy...

December 2017 Overview:

Car (repairs: $345, fuel: $115):


Gifts (Christmas/New Year's presents):

Dining out:

Health & Fitness (vitamins Mark):

Health insurance Liesbet:


Miscellaneous (Mind My House membership) :


Charity (Best Friends):




















$ 1446


  1. Well, as much traveling as you do, you deserve that shiny, multiple-use radio/GPS system. You two make a great team. Nicely done!

    • I keep thinking that a lot, Jill, that we are a good team. We kind of have to, after living 24/7 since the day we met. 🙂 Thanks for the compliments. We are excited about that radio! (Oh, and about the new speakers Mark bought as well…) We can even talk to Google Maps and ask the friendly, obliging lady where we want her to bring us. Crazy times!

  2. Hi Liesbet! Still a GREAT job considering it was December. And I’ll bet most of the rest of us didn’t even come close!!! Stay warm and I hope to see you again soon. ~Kathy

    • Trying to stay warm. Luckily, indoors it is comfy everywhere and usually warmer than at our house sit in San Diego. Plus, now that it isn’t in the single digits anymore, we have enough clothes for comfort and protection. December wasn’t too bad as far as Decembers go, but we definitely need to do better in January! Hoping to put together my 2017 year report soon. We’ll have to see about meeting up again…

  3. I with Jill! Enjoy that sparkly new GPS. I hope that January hasn’t put you through the roof with your unplanned travel…but it would also be worth it regardless.

    • Yep… family comes first. Or, should I say, health comes first, whether it is for us or our loved ones. Luckily, we could travel east on miles, so the fees were bearable. And, despite Mark having to move his ticket forward for $125, we hope to get that money reimbursed with a note from the urgent care facility. We’ll put that GPS to good use later in the year. 🙂

  4. That’s still rather cheap compared to living in a house. And way below what we spend in December!

    • The biggest savings when living “on the road” or the water, is not having to pay all those utility bills. Plus, as house sitters, we don’t pay any rent or mortgage fees either, which is huge (and we couldn’t afford it). As more general savings, we are “non-consumers”, so our expenses to for materialistic goods and random “stuff” remains very low. Apart for that radio/GPS, of course. 🙂

  5. Wow Liesbet, that is absolutely amazing! You two truly have an understanding of what’s important in life and it isn’t STUFF! – Congratulations! ~ Lynn

    • Being careful with expenses allows us to keep living a lifestyle we feel comfortable with. You’re right, we don’t care much about stuff and prefer experiences and memories, but, we could try and have some more fun once in a while! 🙂

  6. Well done, Liesbet! Enjoy your new radio/ GPS when you get to use it.

    • Hopefully soon again, Natalie! Zesty is parked on the street of our house sit in San Diego, while we are back east. Good thing is that we won’t be spending much on diesel this month. 🙂

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