Income & Expense Report – March 2016

Fresh Off the Grid's Food and Travel Blog Income Report - March 2016
Hey everyone! We’re back with our Income & Expense report for March 2016.

If you’re just joining, we’ve been publishing these monthly financial reports since January 2016 as part of our overall commitment to transparency. You can read more about our decision to go transparent here. We’ve also created an archive of our past monthly reports if you’re interested in seeing our progression.

The goal of these reports is to shed some light on the financial realities that go into living and working on the road full time. While many people have been inspired by our photography, writing, and recipes, we felt compelled to share the other side of the story as well.

With these reports we hope to explore two main themes:
1.) What does it really cost to travel full time?
2.) Is it possible to make a sustainable living by blogging about food & outdoor travel?

While we’re getting a better handle on the first question each and every day, we’re still very uncertain about the second question. However, we’re commitment to documenting our journey forward and sharing what we find with all of you.

When we speak with each other honestly and sincerely, we believe we’re all better off, and that by revealing our personal numbers we will inform, inspire, and empower other people to pursue their own dreams.

March 2016 by the Numbers

Miles Driven: 1,617
Nights Free Camping: 10 (read about how we find free camping here)
Nights Paid Camping: 1
Nights Off the Road: 20
States visited: 2 (AZ, CA)
Countries visited: 2 (US & Cuba… plus a layover in Mexico)
Number of trail mixes and jerkies sampled at Expo West: 23


We landed a few big gigs and took on a few smaller gigs, which helped buoy this month’s income. We also had to navigate our first professional refund, which we’ve noted below.

Blog Income
-Affiliate Income $26 (we use Amazon and AvantLink)
-Sponsored Content $400

Freelance Work
-Digital Content $1050
-Print Content (Magazine) $737
-Recipe Collaborations $1845

Refund (250)*
*We received product and payment from a company in exchange for a sponsored post on our blog. However, after using the product for a little while, we didn’t feel it was something we could vouch for. So we returned the money and the mailed back the product.

Total Earned Income $3,808

Business Expenses: $721 (includes monthly services like Adobe CC, some website updates, and food purchased specifically for recipe development and food photography projects)

Net Income: $3,087


The big scheduled expense we had this month was our trip to Cuba. While we won 1 ticket through a contest hosted by video-sharing app Facet, we were still responsible for covering the price of the second ticket. We also had to cover the cost of our meals while we were over there, which was not as inexpensive as you might imagine. So while we wouldn’t say we got a “free” trip to Cuba by any means, we would say it was heavily discounted. And to everyone who helped play a part, we’d like to say thank you.

Other big expenses for the month included replacing the radiator on the Focus. At this point, car repairs should come as no surprise – after all, the car has 221k+ miles on it.  Nevertheless, it still stings whenever misfortune strikes. But there’s a lesson to be learned here. If you’re planning an extended road trip and will be using anything less than a brand new vehicle under comprehensive warranty, then you should be allocating money towards a dedicated Maintenance & Repair fund. Money that you set aside every month for “unforeseen” mechanical issues. As far as budgeting goes, our advice is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Gas $145
Food $711 (includes coffee shops for work, alcohol, eating out for a week in Cuba)
Camping $20 (we keep this as close to $0 as possible by seeking out free campsites)
Car Maintenance & Repairs $328
Insurance $167
Cell Phone $50
Gym Membership $35
Travel $1950
Misc. Expenses $98 (toiletries, laundry, stove fuel, and firewood)

Total Expenses $3,504

Net for March ($417)

Amount from Savings $417*
*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.

  1. Way to land some solid deals this month!!! And also way to go on returning a product and the money, instead of endorsing a product you didn’t like! Takin’ the high road! The income couldn’t have come during a better month than March to help cover your Cuba trip!

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