I am on a trip around the USA, I am just starting, and budgeting and prioritizing uses too much bandwidth in my brain.
A piece of paper never forgets...
I create "systems" to manage my life, whereby I do not need to budget or prioritize, the system manages my life. This relieves me of stress or thinking, and I am much happier.
For example, I have carried index cards and a pen for over 30 years, when someone says something I want to remember, I write it down. I use one idea per index card, then later I enter the data into my computer, the card remains until I know how to file the information.
What does this do? The job of remembering is delegated to the piece of paper.
Food Budget System: I like to keep my food budget to around 5 USD per day, this is easy enough, when I enter a store or restaurant, I only buy one dollar worth of food each time. It is difficult to enter stores or restaurants more than five times per day. And, when I go out with friends to eat, this is part of my entertainment budget and not my food budget. I do not have to calculate my budget, there is no need to add up money, and try to constrict or conserve, my budgeting and prioritizing is done in the store..
USA Road Trip Prioritizing and Budgeting
I have only been on this USA Road Trip now for about a week, but it feels like I spend al my time thinking prioritizing and budgeting. Gas is today at 3.66 here in Franklin, Indiana. I would like to keep my gas budget to around 10 dollar per day, but have yet to create a system Generally, for 10 dollars, I can only drive about 40 miles per day, which is close to impossible if move daily. Therefore it appears I need to stay in one location where I do not need to drive my van.
Can I park my van, and not drive to save money? Maybe this is possible in a state park, but then I would need to buy more food, it would conflict with my food budget. I have yet to find anywhere in the USA that does not require me to drive, opposite of when I live abroad, I can live in 85 percent of countries and not even drive a car.
List of things I need to prioritize or budget, until I create a system.
1. Battery use on my computer.
2. The amount of time I watch movies on computer in a day.
3. The number of miles I drive in a day.
4. The number of times I enter McDonald's, I do not want to get kicked out.
5. The length of time I am in McDonald's, I hope to figure out a way to find and use libraries quickly.
6. Showers, I need to prioritize my travel path so I can take a shower. I am looking for boondocking locations, presently I am planning all my trips so there is a Walmart close, whereby I can park my van at night and sleep.
7. I need to study the map continuously, to arrange the location of what to see, where to shower, and where to sleep.
Generally, when I am overseas, i just find a hotel and stay a week, that is the heavy lifting. I can find room for around 10 dollars in the USA, but I need to live for a month in each location. Generally, I have no desire to live in any one location in the USA for that long, except for close to my home.
I like to spend my whole day asking myself, "Where can I go to have fun, where are some fun people for talking?"
Generally, people who get married solve this problem, but cannot travel, because one of the two people refuses to budget or prioritize.
Generally, I believe that humans are incapable of prioritizing or budgeting, they use all their time or money, and when it gone, they complain. Humans need to pay the rent or mortgage payment first, to hold hostage their place to live.
It is easier to save money, then to earn money. I know one thing, I am extremely rich in time, there is no need to say, I am too busy. But, I am greedy with my time, I do not want to become like 90 percent of the people around me.
The have a grimace on their face, you can tell they are thinking too much, they are prioritizing continuously in their heads.
Andy Lee Graham in Franklin, Indiana
And for sure, I do not need to eat more than one dollar per day, I can get fat on that much money, it is amazing.
Why not get a bicycle? You could mount it to the top or back of the van. Then park the van and explore the area on bike, saving fuel. You will expand your exploring distance and meet different people at the same time.
Ever thought of getting a bicycle? It easy to observe things around you with one. Faster mobility than walking.
Food is an expense you can elimiate totally. Just go to a food bank in your local area and stock up your van with food so you won't need to buy any food. All you money should be going towards gas and van upkeep not food.
Then when you go into McDonalds, keep the previous cup and refill it from the drink machine. Don't worry about getting kicked out from McDonald's it will probably never happen. Showers should be at a gym. You can print out a free pass for 24hour fitness gyms or golds gyms. Or just go to a truck stop for $12.
Ok, I will think about the bike, I am going to put solar water shower on the roof of my van soon. If I can get a bike cheap, it would be a good idea.
Be sure and break yourself in carefully with a bike or you may have huge problems with your back. This would ruin your whole life for a period of time. I know a person who swims and walks and they decided to add bicycling to the game and ended up with huge back problems and because the docter said they did too much all at once for several days.
Solar water heater = 40 more + pounds on your van, more wind resistance+ no sun some days, the hassles of filling the damn thing=lower gas mileage. If you really need a good amount of hot water get a 20 pound propane tank and a turkey fryer high pressure burner, less than 80 dollars. You can have 3 gal of boiling water in less than five minutes bath water in 3 min+ 5 gal paint bucket and tabo. For a bicycle and rack for the van check out garage sales. Make sure you check out the shopper type newspapers for coupons and deals.
The USA is the cheapest place on earth for consumer goods. As long as you don't have to get caught up in paying taxes and insurance.
I can go work out at the Anytime Fitness gym, then take shower but will use the solar thing in State Parks.