Many people have been curious to know how we can afford to up sticks and travel as we are. John had wanted to travel for a while but I was the one dragging my feet. There was always something else going on, along with the thought of not having a guaranteed income made it all that more daunting. You find yourself asking lots of questions. How expensive will it be? Can we really afford it? At this point it would of been easy to become overwhelmed and not bother.After looking at what income we could get from renting our house, selling our cars and things we no longer needed meant we had money in the bank and a very tight monthly budget, you realise it might just be achievable.
So here I will try and give you a little insight into how we are managing. We have a budget of £436 per month, which isn’t a lot. The current exchange rate is around €1.13 = £1, so once changed its roughly €491.27 per month, €15.84 per day, but this can change daily.
What isn’t included in the budget is motorhome insurance, MOT, tax and personal insurances for the first year. John had accounted for this before we left.
Food – This is for supermarket shopping, markets and pharmacy. Grocery shopping in France isn’t cheap, meat, in particular, is more expensive. Super U is our favourite shop at the moment we think it’s reasonably priced and good quality. The countries we have been to seem to eat seasonally so we are making the most of all the fresh veg, fruit and salad.
Fuel – Diesel, mostly bought at supermarkets, it is normally cheaper there. We found diesel cheaper in Spain and Portugal compared to France.
LPG – gas for cooking, heating and hot water in the motorhome, is relatively cheap and a bottle goes a long way.
Eating out – Coffee shops, restaurants, entry fees. While the occasional beer and meal aren’t going to break the bank, we only eat out if it’s somewhere special. We have had just as much enjoyment from sitting by the river bank with a cup of tea and a beer bought from the supermarket.
Stopovers – Aires, campsites and parking. We try to wild camp where ever possible. Then make the most of filling up with water or top up electric when we have paid a fee.
Tolls – We try to avoid toll roads, making the most of the scenery and villages. If you put ’ no tolls’ into the GPS hopefully it takes you on an alternative route.
Motorhome repairs – We have purchased break down cover and minor repairs we should be able to do within the budget.
Housing sitting – has been a way to have free water, electric and wifi. We can catch up on our washing, cook and freeze meals in advance. A couple of the house sits have had vegetable plots so we were allowed to use some of their produce, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and butternut squash, all lovely and fresh, also saved us some money.
Walking and cycling is now our transport into towns and villages.
And souvenir purchases are kept to a minimum, if we bought something at every stop we wouldn’t have room in the motorhome.
John set up a spreadsheet for our finances this way we can keep an eye on our expenditure. To me, this is a priviulege to be able to afford to do this and it’s important that we will be able to reflect on how and what we spent the money on.
It’s nearly 6 months since we started travelling and yes, we have had to make sacrifices but you don’t have to deny yourself. We were used to eating out most weekends or having a takeaway, surprisingly this is something we don’t really miss. You start to realise how much money we were wasting and the need to have or want is very short lived.
So far we have gone over budget each month, food and diesel are far more expensive in France than Portugal or Spain. And the opportunity to try different food and drinks comes at a cost. We have had such a fantastic experience so far, so neither of us has any regrets. It’s allowed us to explore so many beautiful places, to meet so many interesting and lovely people and there’s never any rush to be somewhere. You soon realise a trip like this enables you to have time, something I don’t think either of us fully appreciated. You start to realise, Time is something you cannot buy.
So to date, this is what we have spent.
Miles travelled 4877
Site fees – €388.55
Fuel – €1388.00
LPG – €106.00
Eating out – €1197.10
Shopping – €1890.34
Tolls – €57.00
Vehicle repairs – €98.50
Ferries – €26.00
Total spent €5097.49