July 2023 Financial Update

This is not where we expected to be when we started writing our July 2023 financial update! We were sitting in a beautiful campground in South Dakota. The owners of the campground are amazing people. Not only do they maintain and manage the campground, but the rest of the property is a working family farm. We were on the list to purchase farm fresh eggs once a week and Mrs. RVF was taking rides with the owner out to the pasture to help feed and water the cows.

They were also gracious enough to share fresh vegetables from their garden with us and other campers at no cost. Each evening we would sit outside and watch the sunset. Some nights the campers would gather around the community fire pit and share stories. This and the surrounding scenery reminded us of why we chose to live this lifestyle.

We were very happy and it was exactly what we needed after leaving Montana and the sadness that came with it. Unfortunately most nights, just hours after sunset, when life should be at it’s most peaceful point, it seemed like all hell would break loose.

About a week after we arrived we experienced our first hailstorm. At first it started raining then grew into a heavy downpour. Moments later our phones and weather station suddenly started buzzing and ringing. Within in seconds of those alarms we were being pelted with golf ball size hail. The sound of this would be bad enough in a house. In an RV, terrifying is the only way to describe it. For over 30 minutes the sound was deafening. We feared that our home and our Jeep were suffering major damage.

Once the storm passed the entire campground seemed to run outside, flashlights in hand, to try assess any property damage. We inspected our RV and Jeep in the dark and again in the morning. After climbing on the roof to look at all components we couldn’t believe escaped disaster without a scratch. We were the fortunate ones.

Our neighbors were not so lucky. The brand new truck they got to pull their 5th wheel was dimpled like a golf ball. Other campers all around the campground suffered a similar fate. In town, less than a mile down the road, cars and buildings suffered even more as they took the hardest hit. Softball size hail broke windows and made vehicle exteriors look like the surface of the moon.

Little did we know this would be a reoccurring theme and each night would bring fear and uncertainty. We tried to put a positive spin on the situation because we loved the area so much. The owners, the farm, the garden veggies, the fresh eggs and our neighbors all made this a wonderful place to be. But after three weeks and storm after storm pounding us we could no longer take it.

We woke up one morning and there it was. Severe thunderstorm warning today! That’s it! It was time to go, no matter the cost. We could no longer risk our home and press our luck. We packed up, wished the owner and our neighbors well and got out quickly.

So here we sit in eastern Nebraska writing our July 2023 finance update at a place we feel lucky to be at. Sure Nebraska can have moments of really with bad weather, but hopefully fewer, farther in between and much less severe. As a matter of fact the day we arrived we had a huge thunderstorm pass. Almost two inches of rain in an hour and then it start hailing. “Just our luck”! But, the hail was tiny and lasted about 30 seconds. Nothing major and nothing to worry about.

That same night our phone alarms and weather station started going off. “Here we go again”! Turns out, in our flight to safety we never reset our location from South Dakota to Nebraska. As we looked at the alert there was a massive storm barring down on the campground we just left. Severe Weather Alert; Tennis Ball size hail; Seek shelter; Life threatening to people and farm animals; Property damage likely!

We can’t describe the feeling of relief that we didn’t have to experience that again. The cost to leave the campground was a good size hit to our budget for July. But, being financially free and mobile allowed us to make a quick decision and get out of harms way. There is no price tag on safety and freedom and we are grateful to have both.

Now onto the July numbers!

Here is how our portfolio performed in July 2023:

(Our original portfolio goal $1.5m)

Portfolio = $1,477,869

Our Portfolio Increased By $35,574 or 2.54% From The End Of June 

Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 153,242 or 11.57%

Net Worth = $1,539,534

Our Net Worth Increased By $69,596 or 2.60% From The End Of June 

Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By $159,707 or 11.57%

After the nice run we had run in June we had low expectations for July. However, the markets had other plans and continued to zoom higher.

There is a lot of talk about this being a new bull market and that would be great news if it is. The old Wall St. adage is that bull markets climb a wall of worry. If that is true then there is one mighty wall standing in front of this one. The fed inexplictably continues to hike rates, the economic data is troublesome at best, our corrupt government continues to spend us into debt oblivion and the employment numbers are questionable.

There have always been revisions to the labor numbers and there always will be. But every month continues to be revised downward which seems odd. Maybe it’s just my distrust of government, but I don’t recall a time when this happened. These revisions are either never mentioned or are glossed over on the finance channels. So far the employment numbers have been revised down by 245k through June. And aside from healthcare the most job openings are in government, not companies. Color me skeptical on the economy for now.

Here is how we did on our spending for July 2023:

Monthly Budget = $5,000

Total spend for July 2023 = $5,667

Over/Under Monthly Budget = -667

Over/Under Budget YTD = -$2,380 

Less Prepaid Site Fees = $19

Net Over/Under Budget YTD = $2,361 Over Budget 

We were on a decent track with our spending for the month right up until we had to make a quick exit from South Dakota. During the month we did a lot of driving and site seeing so our vehicle gas consumption was very high as was our leisure adventure category. We expected to be close to or right on budget for the month, but that obviously changed with our situation.

On the expense side their are two parts that came along with the quick move out of South Dakota. First, the amount we are out of pocket on our budget and will not recover. This would be the amount related to securing a new spot to cover the timeframe until our next reservation. This expense totals about $350.

Second, the travel expenses that we would have incurred in August when we were going to move anyway. These are expenses that were pulled forward into July, but will no longer impact us in August as originally planned and really have no impact on our overall budget. These expenses include things like diesel fuel and DEF we incurred as a result of moving early. This expense totals about $275.

As a result of our move we incurred an additional $625 in expenses in July that we would not have otherwise. While we are still over budget for the month, we would have pretty much ended up exactly where we planned had things gone smoothly.

For the year we are now $2,361 over budget. While this might seem like a lot it is actually $900 less than where we stood at the same point last year. And since we pulled forward $275 of travel expenses in to July it sets up for August to be a decent month where we can make up some ground.

Overall we are comfortable with where are at on our budget. Baring anymore unforeseen circumstances we should be able to make up enough ground the rest of the year to break even or maybe even better. But, there is a long way to go and you never know what will happen in this lifestyle.

Thank you as always for reading our blog!

See you on the road!


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