Income & Expense Report – February 2016

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February 2016 income and expense report
Hey everyone! And we’re back with the Income & Expense report for February 2016.

If you’re just joining us, here’s a little backstory about these reports. After living on the road and writing about camp cooking for the past six months, we decided to make a commitment to transparency. You can read about what went into our decision making process by reading our first post about it. We’ve also created an archive of our past monthly reports if you’re interested in seeing our progression.
Ultimately we want to shed light on two areas where there seems to be very little information:

1.) What does it actually cost to “Live the Dream”? There are so many inspirational wanderlust travel accounts out there, but how do people make it work on a day-to-day basis? What are the raw expenses? What does a monthly budget look like? We want to pull back the curtain and look at the finances that go into life on the road. We hope that by publishing these numbers, people can get a better understanding of the real reality behind living the dream.

2.) Is it actually possible to make a living by blogging about the outdoors? And believe us, the jury is still out on this one. Like way out. However, what we can say for certain is that we love what we’re doing, and really want to find a way to keep doing it. We’ve been told all our lives, in one form or another, that “every sensible person makes their living by doing what they enjoy doing.”  And that is exactly what we’re trying to do.

We’ve had the chance to connect with so many amazing and talented outdoor bloggers during our journey, all of whom want to make a living by doing what they love. But with so little information out there, we all seem to be turning to each other asking, “Wait, are we crazy for thinking this could actually work??” Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t, but either way, we plan to publicly document our experiment. We hope by revealing these number we will inform, inspire, and empower other people to pursue their dreams.

So, in the words of Kai Ryssdal of NPR’s Marketplace, let’s do the numbers…

February 2016 by the Numbers

Miles Driven: 1,763
Average MPG: 27
Nights Free Camping: 27 (read about how we find free campsites here)
Nights Paid Camping: 2
States visited: 2 (CA & AZ)
Tacos eaten: 18
Date shakes consumed: 5


Blog Income:
-Affiliate Income $87
-Sponsored Content $250

Freelance Work
-Digital Content $400

Total $737

Business Expenses: $371 (includes monthly services like Adobe CC, some website updates, and food purchased specifically for recipe development)

Net Income: $366


Notes: You’ll notice a larger than normal number next to “Car maintenance & repairs.” We cracked our AC condenser and made the strategic decision to have it repaired (our loose itinerary has us in the South in the summer months…) We typically have a Miscellaneous budget of $300 which helps us pay for car maintenance as well as “activities” like museums, parks, etc. To make up the difference, we opted to borrow from our Camping budget (by choosing free options) and Gas budget (by traveling at a much slower pace). All that goes to show just how important budgeting for the unexpected is!

Gas $150
Food $536 (includes coffee shops & alcohol)
Camping $41 (we keep this expense low by camping for free most nights)
Car maintenance & repairs $423
Insurance (auto/health) $221
Cell Phone $50
Gym Membership $35
Misc. Expenses $92 (toiletries, laundry, stove fuel, and firewood)

Total Expenses $1,548

Net for February ($1,182)

Amount from Savings $1,182
*As you can see, our earned income from our blog and freelance work doesn’t cover all of our expenses. We saved a lot before this trip, so this represents what we had to pull from our savings account for the month. We hope eventually the income from our blog and freelance work will cover the cost of the trip and perhaps some day return a profit.

If you have questions about anything we have listed in this report, please leave us a comment below and we’ll try our best to answer your questions. Thank you for your continuing support!

NB: This post was reformatted on 4/29/16 to provide better distinction between income & expenses relating to our freelance business, and the costs relating to traveling full time & living on the road. Ultimately, all numbers remain the same but have simply been re-organized.

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    1. Thanks Gunnar – we’re stoked to keep sharing!

  1. This is exceedingly cool.

    There are so many ways you can make this work.

    Advertising and affiliate stuff takes a lot of time. But it can be done.

    Best wishes!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Sage! We haven’t focused much on actually pushing affiliate sales aside from our “Shop” page, but our affiliate income has crept up over the last few months – I think our first month it was a buck or two! We haven’t started running ads on the site yet, but are planning on testing that out now that we have built traffic, so I’m curious what that ends up looking like as well.

  2. Thank you very much for giving us all those details! Happy travels!

  3. Thank you for sharing!

  4. #1 I LOVE that the all important taco stat is going to be an ongoing feature. ;p

    #2 THANK YOU. The hubbin and I have begun to seriously consider packing the kids and the cat into an RV (that we don’t own… yet) and hitting the road the day after they get out of school next year and not coming home until the day before they go back (give or take a few days on either side ;p) This series is a nice reality check and pre-planning tool. 😀

  5. I love that you guys share this stuff. We’re all just hoping that someday it will all workout and the hard work an hustle will pay off (quite literally). I know I’m in that boat! Way to score so much free camping!

    1. Thanks, KJ! Glad to hear you can relate.
      We are totally spoiled by the western US – there is SO much free camping available so we are taking advantage of it while we can! I hear it’s much more difficult to come by in the eastern US…

  6. Can I ask about the gym membership? Do you guys use it more for showers or for working out (or both)? Are there enough locations that you get to take advantage of it during your travels?

    1. Hi Carey! We originally got the membership for easier shower access – during our first six month on the road we realized how hard it is to come by “real” showers, and most of the time when we found them, we had to pay anyway. So, we decided it was worth the extra $ to have one whenever we roll into town. We’re members of the Y, so while they don’t have locations everywhere, so far it has been worth it. It’s definitely not a necessity, but since we do spend a good amount of time in cities for work, it’s been nice to be able to clean up so we don’t look like we just rolled in from the woods (even if that’s exactly what happened 😉 ) We also take advantage of the weights while we’re there since there’s only so many body-weight exercises we can do at the campground.

  7. I just found your blog through IG and this post immediately caught my eye. thank you very much for daring and sharing! not many do that, this is actually first time i read something like this, in numbers. definitely will keep on reading your blog to follow your journey, for fun and support! thank you again! keep on rolling, greetings from Germany and Spain