Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why or why is the month so long and the dollar so short???

Alright, I’m fessing up.  Here is my budget.  What can I do to make my money go farther, other than NOT buying gas for the van?

Monthly Expenses:

Car and Trailer Insurance $  70
Dental Insurance $  34
Hospitalization Insurance $  38
Verizon Internet Service $  64 (essential)
Ancestry.Com $  30 (generates some income)


One time only:  
New Hard Drive $  65
New checks     14


$  79

Social Security $853
Sketches     90


Expenses (8/22 until today):  
Gas $105
Food and misc. $100



Balance today


Out of that balance will come September’s bills due prior to 9/21 totaling $72, leaving me with $122 for gasoline and food and emergencies between now and 9/21.  A tank of gas will cost about $90 or more as prices go up again… leaving me less than $30  or so for food and emergencies.  So, I’m stuck at a nephew’s house in Indiana (rather his yard) until I can get more income from sketches or my social security check arrives.

If anyone can think of ways to trim the budget or generate more income, I’d appreciate the ideas.  Internet access is my life line… can’t cut that.  Ancestry.com is my hobby and sometimes generates a little income from doing genealogical research for others… so I SHOULD NOT cut that.   Insurance… I don’t think I should cut… I usually get the value for my $ there… and besides, I do have military health coverage which covers any other medical expenses.

I spend little on fast foods, just an occasional sandwich from a dollar menu, seldom eat out, carry a supply of ham, cheese and bread in my 12v fridge, have a supply of canned meats on hand, keep some cereal on hand and buy soy milk about 1/2 gal a week.  Don’t buy candy or ice cream often… maybe once a month.

So, HOW can I have more money for gas so I can keep on going down the road.  I plan to pretty much just “park” from Oct – Mar… so things should be a little better then.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for any ideas (or photos to draw).  I am also available for photo retouching and genealogical research.

I feel like a caged wild animal when I can not keep going, driving, reaching my goal… and I scare myself.


  1. Hey Charlene, Budgeting is tough for sure, but you are smart to put yours out there like this and get some other thoughts on it. Sometimes others, not so connected to the situation will have a good perspective for you. I have been looking at the numbers and figure the first group are locked in monthly for sure at $236 Also, figure the only income you can consider trustworthy is the SSI on a monthly basis so that is just the $853. The $90 from sketches does a nice job of canceling out the one time expenses of $79 leaving a little extra I won't consider rather, just leave as "cushion". $853-$236=$617.

    That $617 is what is left for food and gas basically every month right? You took September's bills out of that balance too, but doesn't that double charge the available balance and skew the numbers a little? I just want to make sure I have the right basic available monthly income to start with so I can see if I have any ideas for you. Let me know if that makes sense. I bet with a few collective brains offering ideas, something will come up that helps.

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  2. Hello Swankie, I'm here from the vandwellers list.
    Today it's either sell something or work more. You have a month to go to a park or flea market or farmers market and do some art work.
    Long term is more art and save enough in the parked months (Oct-Mar) to help with the gas.
    Advertising for your art & family history to get you more business and/or sell art on e-bay?

    I'm not on the road yet but that time of the month between the money running out and the SS check coming in is something I have thought about.

  3. Well, grrr.... just typed long answer which disappeared all on it's own as I was in the middle of the final sentence. Hope it went where it's supposed to but if it didn't holler and I'll redo.

  4. I wish I could help you with some ideas on how how to make more income but, alas, I cannot. A very wise woman once told me the best thing I could do was to get one check ahead. It was really hard to do but I finally got two ahead and it really took a load of stress off me. I was barely getting by at the time and it was so difficult. You might try yard sale stuff for resale.

  5. Charlene, have you tried food pantries or applying for food stamps? I would think that with your income you would well qualify. Best to you. :) Gail

  6. Em.... if you will email me at charlene.swankie@gmail.com I will answer your questions about my budget.

  7. Thanks for all the suggestions for to some for doing math for me. Probably part of the problem I have with budgeting is I can't do math. Some good ideas here. One comment... I didn't spend $100 per week on food...that was shopping some of which would last a couple weeks or more. Resupplying. And on the van insurance... I won't carry only liability. That insurance covers both my van and my trailer and all the contents. Worth it to me, since that is everything I own.
    I have been selling a lot of sketches and may try that on eBay as well. Doing sketches of things I enjoying sketching... and then selling them on ebay instead of doing commission work. I am now completing the "Veiled Lady" for a nephew's wife. Another person here in Indiana wants a drawing of his daughter as a wedding gift. I may have those photos tonight. I really think this would work for me, if I just market myself better. It would also help to have my other nephew's wife as my manager... boy is she good at striking prices/qoutes. Wow!!
    So, I'll get out of Indiana one day... soon.

  8. Monthly Expenses:

    Car and Trailer Insurance 70
    Dental Insurance 34
    Hospitalization Insurance 38
    Verizon Internet Service 64
    Ancestry.Com 30
    TOTAL $236.00
    One time only:
    New Hard Drive 65
    New checks 14
    TOTAL $79.00

    Social Security 853
    Sketches 90
    TOTAL $943.00

    Expenses (8/22 until today):
    Gas $105
    Food and misc. $100
    TOTAL $205.00
    Balance today $423.00

    William (from VanD's)

  9. I saw the suggestion to sell your sketches on eBay. Selling online is a great idea, but eBay is no longer the selling venue of choice with their ever rising fees and impossible seller requirements. There are many FREE online market places that will let you keep all your earnings, or charge very little by comparison. eCrater, WebStore and Bonanza are just a few that I use and and have had great success since leaving eBay. Of all, I think you may even do better at Etsy.com. Esty is an online market place specifically for the artist and crafter. The buyers are much more likely to be looking for items such as your artwork.


Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on https://www.facebook.com/swankie.wheels. In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.