The Price Of Our Freedom: The Five Fixed Costs Of Our Year-Long Road Trip

8 Nov
2011
Posted in: Adventure How To, Money
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We’ve talked about downsizing our possessions. Our next behind-the-scenes topic is fixed costs — the things we have to pay for every month outside of food, campgrounds, gasoline, etc.  We don’t have many.  In order of size, they are:

Car Loan + Insurance: $430 per month

We bought a certified pre-owned Toyota. That means we get a 100K powertrain warranty and a few other perks. And we were able to finance our loan at 2.9% — a pretty good rate for a used car. We were going to register it in Missouri, but Illinois ended up being easier. We’re just sort of between addresses.  If we’re mailed a ticket, I’m not sure what will happen.

Health Insurance: $260 per month

We have a high-deductible HSA plan plus dental from United Healthcare. We don’t have vision, but we both got new glasses before we took off and had our eyes checked. With our HSA plan, we’re 100% covered after we spend $5,000 in a year. Until then, we pay out-of-pocket for everything. Technically, we can put money into an HSA account pre-tax, but we don’t have any eligible income at this time. I still have a few hundred dollars left in an HSA checking account that I setup a few jobs ago — this should hold us unless we go after that $5,000 limit.

School Loans: $140 per month

Lisa’s got a student loan hanging around. The balance isn’t too high, and at 2.25%, we’d rather have emergency cash than no debt. We don’t carry any credit card debt, so this means all our debt is financed under 3%.

Cell Phones: $110 per month

Lisa’s plan is the mega-deal, Virgin Mobile smartphone plan — $25 a month for unlimited data, texts, and 300 minutes of calling time. It’s now offered for $35, but it looks like she got grandfathered in. Mine’s more expensive — I’m on Verizon and I have both unlimited data and the tethering plan so that we can get internet in more remote spots, like the boons of Wisconsin and Kansas and outside Alamogordo. We’re both Android users.

Storage Unit: $90 per month

So we don’t have a couch, bed, or much other furniture, but we still have an 8’x8’x8′ storage box of stuff stored in Chicago. In our storage spot, there are at least two people living in their boxes. It’s a little weird. Hopefully they’re harmless.

All In: $1,030 per month

That’s what our freedom costs.  And then there’s food, campgrounds, booze, etc.  And that’ll be another post.