CAMPSITE # 113 - How to budget for a trip around Oz.

The other day, I was flicking through some Troopie paperwork in the glovebox and stumbled across a budget I wrote out before we started the trip. I estimated that we would spend an average of $645 per week which was broken down to ...

$150 - Groceries per week
$70 - Campsites per week
$300 - Diesel per week
$50 - Luxury fund per week
$20 - Personal & Medical per week
$5 - Postcards & postage per week
$50 - Buffer per week

Since we first arrived in Tasmania in February, we've been tracking every dollar spent on the road. While some may say that we're mad and that it's so depressing to watch your money disappear, we both decided it was a very valuable tool to use for budgeting & forecasting.

Our ledger has been broken down by each week from Sundays to Saturdays. Each time we spend money, we record the date, what it was and what category it fell under.
The categories are called -  

--- Camping ---
--- Diesel ---
--- Groceries ---
--- Alcohol ---
--- Troopie ---
--- Camping Supplies ---
--- Tourists ---
--- Luxury ---
--- Medical ---
--- Other ---
During the day leading up to our night at Campsite # 113, we spent just $11 in total thanks to a naughty Ice Cream we treated ourselves to at Busselton Jetty. Ice Creams, not surprisingly, fall under the "Luxury" category. A few days prior however, we spent - 

--- LUXURY Category - $22 At the Denmark Chocolate Factory
--- TROOPIE Category - $6 For a Troopie carwash in Denmark 
---TOURIST Category - $20 At the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk 
---CAMPING Category - $20 At the Quinninup Eco Tourist Park 
--- LUXURY Category - $75 At the Quinninup Tavern

As you can imagine, the "Luxury" column is the naughtiest column although the "Diesel" column is the one that really kills the bank account. Last week, on the 2nd week of May, over a course of 7 days, we spent the following total in each category - 

--- CAMPING ---
$139. This is more than usual, thanks to our 3 night stay in Esperance, 5 out of 7 nights were paid for camping (we normally try to average 3 days a week at paid sites and then the rest at either free camps or Rest Areas). The 7 day average spent on camping was $19 per day.

--- DIESEL ---
We spent $299 in one week on diesel at an average of $1.57/L. We paid for 191L of diesel (plus the fuel already in the tank from start of the week).

Week's Total - $44. This was quite a cheap grocery week (probably because of all of the free calamari we ate). Grocery totals from the 4 weeks proceeding (excluding our time working at Mungerannie) were $115, $46, $69, and $60.

--- ALCOHOL ---
This category is for booze purchased at a Bottle-o. Any alcohol purchased in a pub goes under the Luxury column. Week's total was - $11 for two bottles of wine. My mother would be so proud but would then continue to ask why the wine was even necessary.

--- TROOPIE ---
This category includes any mechanical repairs, parts, services or maintenance of the Troopie. Weekly total was $6 for the carwash.

Category for postcards, stamps, phone and internet. Weekly total - $6 for 4 x postcards.

Any camping related purchases i.e. new utensils, gas bottle refills, fishing tackle, BBQ coals etc. Weekly Total  was $52.

--- TOURISTS ---
Any attractions or sightseeing expenses. This week's had a total of $20 for the Treetop Walk.

--- LUXURY ---
I have a love/hate relationship with this column. Love the experience / hate adding it to the ledger. Total was $122. That's considerably higher than usual (really, it is, I swear!!)

--- MEDICAL ---
We like when this column's empty, which thankfully, it is more often than not.

The total weekly spend was $699. Considering our initial budget was $645 a week, we were slightly over. At the start of the trip, we were hitting an average of $450 per week but that was because we were driving a lot less distance so the dreaded diesel column rarely went into triple figures. The week's daily average was $99. Tom and I have calculated that we need to aim to get that figure down to a daily average of $75 per day, giving us a weekly budget of $525.

Given the distance we need to travel over the next four months (Perth to Darwin to North QLD and back to Brisbane), I'm pretty confident that we can expect our diesel bill to be at least $250 per week. Which doesn't leave us with much flexibility with the remaining $275 once you factor in camping costs, groceries and of course - alcohol.

Something tells me we need to have a little chat with that luxury column :(

We stopped in at the Busselton Jetty - at 1.8km long, this jetty has a little train that you can pay $10 per adult to take you to the end and back. We, being fit & frugal, decided to pay the $2.50 per adult entry fee and walk along the jetty. It was quite an overcast and miserable day that felt like it was right on the brink of a massive storm all day. The camera stayed in the car that day but I did manage to find a great photo from  that pretty much sums up its beauty better than we could ever do.... great photo!

When driving through Margaret River, most people would stop at some of the many lovely wineries. We could count on two hands how many wineries we've visited on the trip so this time we thought we'd mix things up a little. Instead, we paid the Colonial Brewery a little visit. We paid $15 and shared a beer tasting rack consisting of five beers. Toms favourite was the dark one - called the Porter and I love the first one The Witbier.

Scuba Cow out the front...

Site : Belvidere Campsite, WA
Rating : 5 / 20
Facilities : I took 2 points off thanks to the emotional swing. The "Mosquitoes in the area carry Ross River Fever" sign was a real turn off. Fires allowed. Drop dunnies. Supposed to be a 'pay the ranger when he turns up site' but he never came. That'll help the budget ;)


Andrew said...

Paying an entrance fee to walk onto a jetty seems strange. Maybe it is a private jetty.

Oz Troopers said...

Hi Andrew,
I know, I thought it was a little strange but I looked into it a little further and apparently the Busselton Shire Council hold the license for the jetty but the cost of maintaining it is far too high to rely on donations so they've turned it into a 'tourist attraction' and can therefore get away with charging!! There's been an entry fee since 1989.
Have a read of the history here if you like , it's actually quite interesting... the jetty itself was almost completely destroyed all of it bar the skeleton of the jetty in 1978 and would you believe, they're in the process of adding yet another 92metres in length onto the end of it! Because 1.8km just isn't enough apparently!

Ben said...

Hi guys,

Love your blog. very well layed out and informative. I am planning a similar trip for next year and the average costing you provided has really helped a lot in my planning. Even noticed a few things that I had left out from mine :)

Enjoy your tripped and I looke forward to reading more.


Red Nomad OZ said...

Love that scuba cow!!!

When we're on the road, having a budget makes you actually try to stick to it!!

Have a great day!

Toni said...

DAMMIT I hoped to be able to say, call in for a cuppa when you hit Busselton but I've been too busy the last few days for blog reading, so I missed you.
RE the jetty, yeah they have to charge because of the high cost of re-building after a bunch of idiots set fire to it (it WAS all timber) and also it goes out so far because the bay is very shallow.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your tour in the SouthWest, I moved here from Qld years ago and I just love it.

Explore Australia said...

Great blog post and amazing budgeting!

Mmmm beer. We love the Colonial brewery too;

It might be bad for you Luxury account but, you can make sure you don't miss any great breweries on your travels -