We wrote a blog post in January about how we were able to pay off $91,000 last year while living full-time in our RV. We are happy to be on our way to debt freedom because, as Dave Ramsey says, “the borrower is slave to the lender.” It took us several years to see this and with us both in our late 40s, we feel the pressure to work quickly to pay off our debts so we can feel comfortable about retiring. This is the third is a series of financial accountability reports.
We write this monthly blog post about our finances from the previous month. Mostly for our own accountability and also for encouragement to others on the same journey as us. I think the main point I want to make first is that we are not bragging by blogging about this. In fact, we are ashamed of the debt we accumulated and find it embarrassing to admit. We are sharing our story to keep ourselves accountable and hope that it may help someone else.
We are continuing our journey to becoming debt free and have $55,000 to go. We managed to pay off another $3,000 this month. This brings our grand total paid to $108,500 since we started tracking last year! All of this remaining debt is our Heartland Cyclone. We bought it new in 2014 and hope to have it paid off no later than next year.
May ended with our net worth ended at $204,793. Here is the breakdown.
This month our net worth increased by approximately $180. We knew we would either barely increase or would, more likely, decrease our net worth in June. The main reason for the minimal increase was that our oldest son got married in June and that cost us $3,748. Luckily, we knew about the wedding long in advance and were able to put a set amount aside every month to cover our anticipated wedding expenses. We budgeted almost exactly and did not have to pull any money from other budget line items.
We had two big maintenance costs in June. We had one of our Level-Up jacks blow a seal and it needed to be replaced. The jack cost $490 with shipping and we managed to install it ourselves. This saved the cost of an RV technician and only cost us about 45 minutes of time. The other maintenance expense was more of a luxury than a necessity. We are upgrading from lead acid batteries to lithium. I spent $1700 in getting ready to install these batteries and getting the electronic system ready for solar. It was such a good deal and we could not pass it up after our boondocking experience in Wellington, TX in May. Both of these expenses were covered by our maintenance budget and we did not have to dip in to our savings.
In June, we received $50 in our investment account thanks to rebates from using our Fidelity credit card. We also received $204 in dividend income from our investments. This was all reinvested and we never carry a balance on our credit card. Since we are focused on paying off the RV, we have stopped putting additional funds in to our investment accounts, so these reinvestments really help keep our investments growing.
Our side hustle, Chickery’s Travels, generated $1254 in June. This money is being put back in to the business. We hope to keep growing and, at some point, be able to take some money out of the business as payment. Besides our pensions from the military, Sean is also still working part-time as a research consultant to add to the income streams.
The main thing that has helped us in keeping a budget. We use YNAB (You Need A Budget) for our monthly budgeting along with the Every Dollar app to track our daily purchases. Seeing where the money goes is definitely eye-opening and when you assign it at the beginning of the month, staying within the budget is much easier.
We’ve created monthly budget worksheets that you can download free here to help you itemize and track your income expenses. Click here to see our itemized full-time RV budget.
Future Plans and Projections
We do not plan any major purchases in July and plan on putting a larger chunk of money toward the RV debt. We reworked our budget projections in our recent budget meeting (yes, we have a monthly budget meeting!) and now project to have the RV completely paid off no later than March of next year.
This is the third month of publishing our road to debt freedom. This is more accountability for us to make sure we stay on track with our goals and do not stray too far off. It has really made a difference in our purchases over the past month. I find myself thinking about publishing this post when making a purchase. Do I really want to show a decrease in net worth for this thing? Do we really want have to publish that we made poor decisions? This blog really helps!
Thanks for reading this month and please follow along every month to see how the debt free journey is progressing.