We wrote a blog post in early 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.
Monthly Accountability Report
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 just over $56,000 to go. We managed to pay off $3,000. All of this 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 $204,528. Here is the breakdown.
This month our net worth increased by approximately $4,000. Three quarters of that went towards paying off our RV.
One thing that allowed us to save money this month was 3 weeks of boondocking (dry camping) in Wellington, TX with no payment for an RV site. We do not typically boondock, but we were there for the filming of the RV Nomads movie. Julie did not really enjoy boondocking, especially in the heat of Texas, but it really saved us a lot of money. Click here to read about our first boondocking experience.
An item that really has helped add to our investments so far this year is the Fidelity credit card. I started using this card for most of my monthly expenses this year. It gives the reward of cash back in to a Fidelity investment account. Since we pay off the balance every couple of weeks, we never get charged interest on the card. The reward cash gets deposited in one of our investment accounts and goes directly to a purchase of an index fund that follows the S&P 500. It has done fairly well this year and we are benefiting from the rewards.
One significant expense this month was our oldest son’s wedding. We did budget for it, adding to our savings, but this month we’ll have to take it out to cover the expenses. The only cost that came out of the May budget was fuel. It was a long drive from Wellington to Northern Virginia. In those three days of travel, we spent well over $600 in fuel!
It is always a good idea to plan ahead for large expenses. This will prevent having to use emergency funds or credit, both bad ideas, to pay for these items. We will talk more about the wedding and related expenses next month.
More Changes Ahead
One thing that will affect us going forward is that Sean has decided to retire from his current job and focus on Chickerys Travels full-time. This will put a dent in our income, but with hopes that we can generate more income through the business with both of us focusing on it full-time. We still have our pensions related to our military service, which are really the blessing allowing us to live this amazing journey.
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.
It has been easier for us to work towards this goal since we also both agreed on a “Why,” meaning that we had a reason to get out of debt and increase our net worth. The why for us was the flexibility and freedom to travel without having to work. We want to be able to live on our pensions without worry. The other “Why” is being able to put a large down payment on a house when we are done traveling in the RV.
This is the second month of publishing our road to debt freedom. Again, 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.