The year is off to a rough start both at home and around the world making for difficult times for people’s lives, budgets and the financial markets. Thankfully we were busy in February and couldn’t devote much attention to the headlines or the marketplace. However, the impact is being felt throughout our portfolio.
The month started off with the markets looking to reverse course from correction levels. While I enjoyed seeing this, I felt it might be short-lived based on the Fed and the uncertainty surrounding rate hikes. Then the world was rocked when a scumbag dictator with little dick syndrome and delusions of a Soviet renaissance decided to invade Ukraine. This along with the complete failure of American politicians to take steps to combat inflation, remain energy independent and help free nations deter aggressive foreign dictators, has put our economy and our country in a precarious position. These developments have sent the financial markets on a rollercoaster ride and are showing a lot of resilience. It’s amazing they are not down another 20% during this time.
While all of this was going on, we were packing up our belongings and eventually set course for our next stop in Texas. We love Las Vegas, but after spending 3 months there, and not in a great part of town, it was time for a change. We ended up leaving Vegas 4 days early and took our time getting to our next stop. It’s nice to be in a quiet location once again and to sit outside without the hustle and bustle of the city in our ears.
Here is how our portfolio performed in February 2022:
(Our original portfolio goal was $1.5m)
Portfolio = $1,514,037
Our Portfolio Decreased By -$36,344 or -2.34% From The End Of January
Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Decreased By -7.78%
Net Worth = $1,556,424
Our Net Worth Decreased By -$35,244 or -2.21% From The End Of January
Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Decreased By -7.47%
Like January, those are some pretty ugly numbers! If we had to find a positive it’s that we are ahead of the S&P which lost 3.1% for the month and we are still fighting to stay above our $1.5M F.I.R.E. number. Going forward it’s anyone’s guess as to how the markets go. With this amount of uncertainty at home and abroad the only thing we know for sure is that volatility will be here for the foreseeable future.
In February we tried to be very diligent about our expenses knowing that we would be on the road and have to pay premium prices for diesel fuel. Despite high prices, we were pretty successful in keeping our costs down. We did this mostly by avoiding the overpriced national truck stop chains when stopping for fuel. These chain locations tack on $0.35 – $0.40 per gallon of diesel for retail customers claiming they have to charge some phony fees. It’s all bulls**t and we know this because when we stop at other truck stops the prices are magically much cheaper and in line with fuel prices at regular gas stations. It’s hard to imagine some truck stops have to charge these fees while others don’t. This means they do it voluntarily to pad their numbers at the expense of retail customers. On our drive we paid an average price of $3.99 per gallon for diesel although average prices at these truck stop chains was closer to $4.50 per gallon. When you are putting in 75-90 gallons each time you fill up that is a big difference and a significant savings.
Another good savings to note is that aside from fuel we only spent $16 on our journey to Texas. It took 4 days and 3 nights to get here and we decided to do a little boon-docking to save some money. The first night we stayed in a Camping World parking lot for free. The second night we stayed in a rest area also free of course, but very nerve-racking and not really something we plan to do again if we can help it. The third night we stayed at a KOA campground and used some of our rewards points to get a discount. So 3 nights that could have easily been a $200 expense only cost us $16 out-of-pocket.
Here is how we did on our spending for February 2022:
Monthly Budget = $5,000
Our total spend for February 2022 = $5,640
Over/Under Monthly Budget = -$640
Over/Under Budget YTD = -$1,442
February was another month where we didn’t meet our budget goal. We were expecting to be at or below budget, but with fuel prices and having to pay our vehicle registrations it just wasn’t in the cards. As a result we are now over budget by $1,400 just two months into the year. All hope is not lost as we have some things on our side going forward.
First, we have a lot of prepaid and annual expenses that hit in the first half of the year. As we mentioned last month we booked sites for the rest of 2022 which was a large upfront expense. Over time this will work out as a positive on our budget since the total cost for all of our stays is below our annual budget for site fees. The worst of this will come in May when we pay our most expensive resort fee of $1,500 for a month on the Alabama shore. It’s a pretty safe bet we will not stay under budget that month, but after that, all of our stays are below budget or free when we work-camp. This will make up for that large May expense.
Additionally, things like vehicle registrations and insurance are costly annual or semi-annual expenses that skew the monthly numbers when they are due. These are things we can’t really control the timing of and on an annual basis they are within our budget. It makes for an ugly month when they are paid.
We have built up a good amount of reward points with our travels so we decided to take those points as a statement credit to offset some of the expenses we incurred traveling 1500 miles to Texas. The trip cost us about $625 in fuel plus an additional $150 when we decided to top off our tanks before settling into our spot. The price was the lowest we had seen and with the continued uncertainty in the oil and gas markets it’s a bit of a hedge against future increases. While this added to an already expensive trip and put us further in the red in February, we are now set for the drive to the Alabama shore in May. And with our tank already full we will not have to put fuel in our RV again until we leave there in June. That gives us 3 months with no diesel fuel expenses to help get our budget back on track in that category. Maybe with a little luck, fuel prices will stabilize by June and be lower than what we are paying now. I don’t anticipate that happening, but one can hope!
We are now 1 year into our full-time RV adventure and have some exciting plans coming up. We look forward to sharing our journey with everyone here on our blog and on social media as events unfold.
Thank you as always for taking time to read our blog and feel free to leave any feedback you might have in the comments section below.
See you on the road…………………
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