Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Monthly Expenses – June 2018

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.

On the Amtrak train from Santa Fe, NM to Boston, MA

June was a bit of a different month, compared to others. Half of it was spent in the camper, exploring New Mexico and the Four Corners region of the US. Then, Mark and I traveled three days and two nights on an Amtrak train from New Mexico to Massachusetts, where I had just enough time to take a shower and rest up in a bed again, before jumping on a plane to Belgium. The latter half of the month, Mark stayed with his family in Newburyport, MA, while I was spoiled rotten by my own family. The biggest part of our June expenses are related to living in Zesty.

June 2018 Overview:

Camper (fuel: $105; parts: $142):


Health and Fitness (vitamins Mark, haircut Liesbet):

Health insurance Liesbet:

Entertainment (National Park tours and Taos Pueblo):

Drinking out:


Dining out:


Camping (1 night in Chaco Canyon, NM):

Charity (Best Friends):




















$ 737


  1. You have a zestful life and an admirable report, Liesbet. My dad, Mr. Thrifty, would applaud you, and so do I!

    • It’s a good and conscious way to live, Marian, but sometimes I think it would be nice to not “have to” be so careful, you know what I mean? 🙂

  2. Liesbet, your lack of frivolity combined with your frugal nature allows you the joy of living an adventurous life that the rest of us can only dream of. Keep up the good work. (I was laid off in 2009 and during that time my mom fell ill and I was taking care of her. I had been working for a sole practitioner labor lawyer. The recession in 2008 hit us hard and we’ve never recovered with the same amount of work as before. My boss promised he could hire me back full time. He did hire me back in 2011, but just part time. So I work from home. I try to be frugal to be able to have a part-time wage and work from home. It can be done.

    • Sorry to hear about your mom, Linda. Health issues in the family sure can throw us for a loop.

      If you work from home, I think being frugal is much easier, especially since there is no cost involved with commuting and not many distractions on the way to and from home. And, one could argue, there are savings from not eating lunch out, but that’s a place where people can save a lot of money regardless, by bringing their own lunch to work. Well done on being frugal and having the right priorities. Living like this can be very liberating and sobering at the same time.

      • Hi Liesbet – watching my mom’s medical issues and struggles makes me never take my good health for granted. Thanks to my mom insisting I put money away for the future when I first starting to work, I feel fairly confident about the future, though it does scare me watching what is going on right now in our government and I cringe if the stock market plunges. I don’t miss the camaraderie of an office environment – I’ve been there and it is nice, but being older in that environment is not so pleasant either. I am perfectly content to be here. I always took my lunch to work and saved money for traveling or long-lasting possessions. You are right about life being liberating and sobering … I hate to think life could take a bad turn despite my frugal ways.

        • It sounds like you got your priorities right and made some fine decisions, Laura. I hear you about the political situation, though. As for me, I enjoy working “from home” as well, lots of flexibility and good use of time, but I miss the social aspect, either from work colleagues or meeting like-minded people. This will change when we travel in our camper. The work environment will get harder, but we hope to socialize again. 🙂

          • After my boss and I left the law firm and went out on our own, I did miss the camaraderie at first, but after working just the two of us, and he was out of the office more than in it, I became used to working by myself for long periods of time, so working from home, has not seemed all that different to me. I am posting this message here, and just replied to another message and got a rejection. I won’t send it again, so you don’t get duplicates.

            • Hi Linda! Sorry to hear you’re still having WordPress issues… Yikes! It looks like you and I both love working from home and the freedom it comes with. 🙂

              • Hi Liesbet – Oddly enough you sent me three messages today and two of them had to be approved. I think you said you were having problems commenting as well. Neither of those messages which I just approved had anything in them that would send them to SPAM, but, at least they arrived, even if they took a longer journey to get here. However, when sending this message back, I had to hop onto your blog site as it was rejected in the “Comments”/”Notifications” area for some reason.

                • WordPress can do weird things without us changing anything. When that happens, I just hope it is temporarily, since trying to stay on top of everything seems impossible. 🙁

                  • Very true Liesbet. Today I used italics in my post three times. I have not used italics in years because I italicized something in a post and for some reason an italics code was not “closed out” and the next post I wrote was completely italicized! I looked everywhere to find the missing code and could not find it – had to ask WordPress Happiness Engineers to help … she found it embedded in one of the paragraphs.

  3. Hi Liesbet! Wow! It looks to me like June was a very frugal month for sure. I can’t even imagine how you might make it less. I hope you both had a wonderful time with family and I’m looking forward to seeing where you go and what you do next. ~Kathy

    • I’ll “see” you on the road in a couple of weeks, Kathy. Not sure how I’ll keep up the blogging with recent adventures, but we will see how it goes. Yes, the time with family and friends is and has been nice. I hope you’re enjoying your time at the beach.

  4. Happy family times, Liesbet. 🙂 🙂 It strikes me that you’re not a dressy-up kind of woman but it’s nice to dress up now and again to go out, isn’t it? Almost halfway through July now- have a great weekend!

    • We rarely go out, Jo. I have a few “dressy” clothes, which I am now storing here in the house of my in-laws. No use for them in the camper. That being said, I have found myself wearing comfortable skirts instead of shorts these last few days. It is nice to mix the wardrobe up a bit, but I usually don’t really care about what I wear, as long as it’s comfortable. I have favorite clothes, which means the other ones barely get used. And, since I only buy new clothes out of necessity, that expense category is low to non-existent. 🙂 Have a fantastic weekend as well!

  5. Even with the camper costs, that was a slim month.

    • Imagine if that camper expense category goes down… 🙂 We hope to do better, once we are on the road full-time. Although, I think the fuel expenses will go up.

  6. That is definitely a month below budget! I’m hoping you both had wonderful visits with your families. Hopefully a good break after the stress of those windshield repairs!

    • If only it was just the windshield causing stress, Sue, we would be having a blast. 🙂 Soon, we will be able to relax more, though. Seeing family and friends, while hectic, is always nice. We’re looking forward to returning to Zesty and starting the next chapter in our lives.

  7. Wow you know how to budget Liesbet and still enjoy life. Lovely for you to catch up with your family as well. Have a great July!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    • Thank you, Sue. And, it sounds like you sure know how to live a fulfilling, varied and sizzling life as well. 🙂 Enjoy the rest of summer!

  8. Hopefully you got my reply – unfortunately Word Press is acting up a little tonight and not “taking” my comment, or it is not visible anyway.

    • Your reply arrived (twice). 🙂 WordPress acts up often, lately, on this blog and on a few I have been following. I don’t think we can do anything about it, though. Things will restore at some point.

  9. Impressed. Amazed, and Inspired by you. You are the new “Thoreau” couple in this age of excess. I love reading your blog and look forward to hearing about more adventures. Newburyport is a great town to visit – hope your husband enjoyed while you were in Belgium. You deserved to be “spoiled rotten” by your family but truly, you were obviously raised well. xo

    • Hi Pam! Wow, you overwhelm me with your compliments and positive attitude. Big smile on my face right now!

      I’m glad to read you are familiar with Newburyport, MA. This is our residency address and “home base”, and I love it as well. My in-laws live right in town, so we can just walk out the door and into the cute center of town or along the river whenever we please. I’m still here for another week, before Mark and I take the Amtrak train out west again to continue our camper adventures.

      • Ah, so you’ve had every single bit of NE summer weather: sun, heat, humidity, immense thunderstorms and rain, and now, it’s perfect again. Enjoy every second!

        • You got it! 🙂 When it’s beautiful, it is incredibly enjoyable to go for walks. Let’s hope I can fit one in along the waterfront this afternoon. Enjoy your summer as well, Pam! We’ll be out of here before the rains next week.

  10. Wow! Looks like a cheaper month for you two while you were at your respective native homes. Glad you got some back home time my friend. 🙂 x

    • When I’m in Belgium, my parents pay for about everything that has to do with my survival. They let me use their one car, and even do the cooking and laundry. Just like when I was a teenager, but with a tad more freedom (and a driver’s license). It’s awesome! Back in New England, we chip in, and we are treating a lot of family members to meals in celebration of important events: graduation, wedding, … This month will be pretty bad, expense-wise. But, it’s worth it. 🙂

  11. It so lovely of you to share this with us. I’ve been on a tour recently but blew my budget!

    • Thanks for your visit and comment, Kelly. Being on the road seems to have a bad effect on expenses. But, I hope you at least made some money on tour as well! 🙂

  12. Nice to spend time with family. Nothing better to recharge the soul. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • I hear you! Especially when we are socially deprived the rest of the year. We take it in overloads, to have reserves for later. 🙂

  13. J.H. Moncrieff

    July 24, 2018 at 23:28

    It’s truly amazing how you manage to keep your expenses so low.

    • I’m glad you think so, J.H. It sounds like you’re doing not too shabby either. I hope you get to make some money downsizing your belongings. It is liberating and provides more freedom, I think. 🙂

  14. It is amazing how little you spend! I am a constant saver – but this summer we are spending so much money in Atlanta – but then again we are making money too and definitely saving more than spending.

    • Saving more than spending certainly is the spirit! 🙂 When you work a lot, it is easier to splurge once in a while. Good for you that you are a saver. If we would make more money, that would be our attitude as well. 🙂 This month is quite expensive again, but in August things should finally slow down.

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