Gap Year Spending Month 7 – $1,605.04

Another month of adventuring around the country is in the books and we’ve once again broken our record for lowest amount of spending!

We started the month with friends and family in Indianapolis before making our way north to Minneapolis for another amazing CampFI!  We finished the month making our way through Wisconsin on the way to Michigan and eventually Canada as we trek towards the east coast.

Similar to the previous two months, one of the reasons we are able to keep costs down is thanks to generous friends and family hosting us for several days at a time.  It was always part of our plan to spend the warmest, busiest months in this fashion as we both grew up in the Midwest, but lodging expenses should kick back in full force for September and beyond.

Let’s break down the details of our ~$1,600 in spending for the month of August below:

Lodging – $0

We managed to avoid spending any money on places to sleep this month with one exception I’ll explain below.

Lodging Breakdown by Nights:

  • Hotel nights booked with points – 4
    • See below for breakdown
  • Nights spent with Friends and Family – 24
  • Nights spent at CampFI – 3

The “exception” I mentioned above is CampFI which did cost us money, but will be written off as a business expense.  As I mentioned in the first couple months of doing these spending reports, I’m leaving all business profits and expenses out of the totals.

For the same reason I’m not subtracting out any profits from the blog on the monthly basis, I’m also not adding any of the expenses related to the blog, including CampFI.  If you want to keep your own separate running total for our expenses, this particular CampFI cost $800 for the two of us.

Speaking of which, if you have any interest in hanging out with a bunch of like-minded money nerds over a fun weekend of games, drinks, and thought-provoking discussions, the tickets for 2019 are on sale here.  Having attended a handful of these events together, we couldn’t recommend it enough.

Points Spent by Brand:

  • IHG – 4 Nights – 45,000 points

We only booked a single hotel this month and took advantage of IHG’s 4th night free on award bookings to get 4 nights for the price of 3.

Points Earned per Brand (excluding credit card spend/bonuses):

  • IHG – 5,000 earned
    • 4,500 from 10% points rebate via the IHG credit card
    • 500 from a welcome bonus

Likewise, the only points we earned this month were from the welcome bonus and points rebate on that one award stay.

Transportation – $150.34

  • Gasoline – $120.34
  • Tolls – $30

We did manage to drive more miles in August than July, but no car maintenance or other routine expenses means our transportation cost ended up very low.  The $30 in tolls was topping up our iPass/EZPass account for all of the toll roads in Illinois as well as the ones we expect to see once we get to the east coast.

Driving Stats:

  • Miles Traveled – 1,300
  • Gallons of Gas Purchased – 51
  • Average Miles per Gallon –  25.51
  • Average Price per Gallon – $2.36

The total miles traveled since we started this trip is now up to 14,760 and our miles per gallon average has stayed right in the 25-27 range since we started the trip.  In September and beyond, I expect our miles driven to return to the 2-3k range per month, matching the earlier months of the trip.

Food – $911.92

  • Eating Out – $633.26
  • Groceries – $278.66

Our food spending seems to remain fairly constant regardless of where we find ourselves in the country and this month is no exception.  Despite it being our largest spending category most months, we’re okay with the cost associated with being able to go out to eat on a regular basis and try new places as we see fit.

Entertainment – $222.03

  • Attractions – $0
    • Starved Rock State Park
    • Amazon Fulfillment Center Tour
  • Bars – $176.03
  • Mini Golf – $29
  • Movies – $17

Our largest entertainment expense of the month was bars, specifically various bar trivia events we attended in both Indy and Minneapolis.  Even though we usually don’t win, we have a ton of fun testing our wits with friends and family.  If anything, I would be happy if this expense category increased if it meant we could attend more trivia nights!

Other entertainment included a couple free attractions as well as mini golf and a trip to the movies.

Everything Else – $320.75

  • Shopping – $90.48
    • Portable hard drive
    • Flip Flops
    • A book
  • Mail/Package Forwarding – $18.13
  • Gifts/Charity – $54.49
  • Storage Unit – $57
  • Health – $4.65
  • Cell Phone Plan – $96

August was an interesting month as far as our technology is concerned as we managed to send both a fitbit and our laptop into the manufacturer for repairs.  While both items were covered under warranty, it’s a fairly big hassle to both ship and then eventually receive the fixed product while traveling on the road full time.

We managed to pull it off thanks to some help from family, but did incur some shipping expenses in the process.  Related to the laptop repair was also the purchase of a portable hard drive in order to back up everything just in case the laptop was unfixable or had to be wiped during the repair process.

Everything else this month was fairly standard recurring expenses.

The Total After 7 Months

Just over halfway into our year(ish) long adventure, we’ve spent a total of $21,468.41.

We prepared for this trip financially by setting aside about a year’s worth of expenses in cash and still have over half of that pile remaining, so we’re confident that we’ll be able to complete this trip without dipping into any of our investments.

While these summer months have been on the lower end of spending thanks to a few different factors, I expect to return to the $3-4k level of some of the earlier months on this trip soon.  With September nearly over already, I can confidently say we won’t be seeing another month of record low spending anytime soon.

We’re heading towards the east coast now to take in some of the beautiful fall colors and visit many cities for the first time.  After that we’ll start making our way south to find warmer weather for the winter months before traveling back west to start our new lives.

There are plenty of decisions to be made related to where we settle down, what kind of work we’ll do, and more, but we’re in no rush to answer those questions now.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see the best pictures from our cross-country adventure:

6 thoughts to “Gap Year Spending Month 7 – $1,605.04”

  1. Have you had any banks reject your traveling mailbox address and won’t allow it for your physical mailing address? I’ve now had Amex and BOA not allow my TM address in TX since they see it as a commercial mail aggregator. So I have to use a friend or family member’s address which kind of defeats the whole purpose of paying for a virtual mailbox.

    1. Hey Ken, it’s been hit and miss depending on the bank. For both Amex and BoA, they did require a physical address but allowed me to have an alternate mailing address for the purposes of receiving mail. We just kept our old address as the “physical” one and I was told nothing would be sent to that address.

      I think the physical address thing is some kind of government requirement that is inconsistently enforced across banks. We’ve successfully received mail from both BoA and Amex (among other banks) to our traveling mailbox without any problem.

  2. I look forward to your emails. I did the Food Tour in Nashville with Christina. What a wonderful lady she is. Thanks for your blog. Best wishes.


    1. Hey John, that’s awesome you took the food tour with Christine! So much great food and history wrapped into a neat package.

      Thanks for being a reader!

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