Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Monthly Expenses – January 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 being rich. Or even without owning/earning a lot of money. That being said, Mark and I seem to manage one big expense a month for some reason, whether it is car, 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 (100% orange juice, oat milk for Mark and organic 1% milk for me) 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. Utilities are always Skype-related, since that is how we make phone calls. 

You now see health insurance and costs related to my health care, since we are not in the lowest income bracket anymore and I am not a US citizen. As a matter of fact, I owe the government $1500 for health care insurance in 2016 (and a lot of taxes!), because our income was a bit higher than anticipated. 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 (we are currently in California), it will be expensive for either of us! I still pay a small three-monthly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

Here is an overview of our expenses in January. Fuel is higher than usual because of our drive to Southern California, and we took some friends out to dinner, but we finally succeeded in spending less than $1000!

January 2017 Overview:


Dining out:

Car (fuel: $52; windshield wipers: $57; toll: $5):

Health & Fitness:

Entertainment (Point Reyes NS, whale watch tour):

Health insurance Liesbet:


Drinking out:


Charity (Best Friends):



















$ 857


  1. So awesome you were able to spend less than $1k for the month! Hopefully you can keep up your spendthrift ways for the rest of the year.

    • And we actually make too little money to qualify for Obamacare- we fall into the income bracket that should be covered by Medicaid but our Florida governor refuses federal dollars for this gap, so people with a very low income pay more for insurance than people with a medium income. Health care is an important and expensive cost!

      • Wow. That is awful! I know we lucked out being residents of Massachusetts (very low income means free healthcare), but I had no idea that Florida was this bad… Soon enough, though, people will have to move based on the state laws, that are changing in a drastic way under this new government! 🙁

    • This being our general goal, we were happy, but we know it won’t last! Looking at electric bikes and plane tickets for later in the year, right now… 🙂

  2. Health care seems so complicated and expensive. So glad we still have our NHS. So far anyway.

    • In the US it certainly is, Anabel. Belgium is straightforward and affordable (but the taxes are extremely high), but the States… I don’t understand a thing about it! Because of our new income bracket, I needed to get a new health care card and new providers that work with this new insurances and so on. New paperwork, more stuff to apply for and fill out… Very complicated, indeed. And, I know that next year, I will have to change again, because our income this year will be lower than last year, all because last year, we received a check that was supposed to have come the year before. Confusing???

  3. Healthcare is such a nightmare here. You tax bill must sting 🙁 I just filed our taxes. My least favorite time of the year.

    • It does sting! It’s like all the extra money we made this year went to taxes, and my health care bill goes up. Makes you wonder whether it isn’t better to make less and feel like you lose less… The silver lining is that we are finally saving a little bit of money now – not having a boat anymore helps. 🙂

  4. I’m so jealous! This is the most expensive time of year for us because we spend part of it travelling from Washington to Kansas (fuel!) and, honestly, land-life can be so boring that we spend money on things we normally wouldn’t like movies, going out to eat, having a beer or two with friends. It all adds up and it isn’t pretty!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • To be honest, we are still surprised at how much we do spend every month, because we live on land, like you mention. Daily living costs when we were on our boat were much lower and not having as many distractions, attractions and choices around did help on that front. All that being said, I’m sure we won’t keep it up… Beautiful songs never last long, is a translated expression from Dutch that comes to mind! 🙂 When are you going back to Cambria? Did David join you in Kansas, or is he still plugging away on-board?

  5. There isn’t a month when I look at this and don’t gaze at the numbers in wonder. I don’t know if you would ever be interested in doing this but I would find it very interesting to see how you manage to feed two people on $285 a month. “10 Recipes That Don’t Break the Budget”. Perhaps the groceries there are just cheaper? We don’t eat much meat but still our grocery bill is much higher. Anyway as if you don’t have enough writing to do here I am leading you to starting a frugal food blog. 🙂

    • The $285 a month for groceries is low for us as well, Sue. The reason for this is that we have been hopping from short house sit to short house sit and therefore only buy the bare essentials for breakfast, lunch and dinner as to not have to carry too much extra “baggage” with us in terms of food we do not finish. So, our meals the last month have been pretty basic and “plant-based” as usual. And, there is always a little bit of food left in the owners’ fridge that we (and they) don’t want to go to waste. 🙂 Once we get to our next two month house sit, we will have to stock up on toiletries, spices and staples again. And, buy some more “spoils” like snacks and chocolate chips for cookies. And, ingredients to make more extensive or exquisite meals. 🙂

      I hope to write some “frugal posts” in the future, but I have been saying that for a long time. Spending less money is not that hard if anyone is willing to change some habits. Like, the supermarkets to shop (we always find the cheapest ones with the best deals :-)). And, this doesn’t have to mean eating less decent or having less fun when on day trips. 🙂 I do want to write more posts like this. Thanks for the suggestion!

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