Camping in the desert of southern California is easy on the budget!
On the second day of November, the crew and I leave Owl Canyon Campground ($3, BLM) and move south of Barstow to Sawtooth Canyon Campground (free, BLM). We stay until the fourteenth when we visit Joshua Tree National Park (free entrance with senior pass) and camp at Belle Campground ($10 regular/$5 senior pass) for one night.
Our next camp is at Salt Creek Primitive Camping Area ($10 regular/$8 senior pass) at the Salton Sea. For four days I enjoy watching the shore birds and taking photos of sunsets across the Sea. However, Spike discovers the Salton Sea is pretty to look at, but not so good to soak in.
On November 19th we drive to Slab City (free), a few miles outside Niland, California, and discover a friend we met in Williard Springs, Arizona, is camped there. We camp at the Slabs through Thanksgiving weekend, leaving on Monday, the 26th, for Anza Borrego.
After a one-night stopover along Route 22 west of Salton City in an area called the “Badlands” (free), the crew and I move further along the same road, stopping a few miles short of Borrego Springs. We make camp in the Clark Dry Lake dispersed camping area (free, private land) in the Anza Borrego Desert where we happily remain until December rolls around.
Notable for the month of November is the savings that resulted from living on less than half our monthly income!
Click to read November adventures.
Financial Summary (Avg. daily expenditures: $25.15):
Camping fees: $40.oo — Avg. daily camping fee (30 days): $1.33, “Zero camp fee” days: 24
Dump/water fees: $10.00
Gas: $136.93 — Avg. daily gas expenditure: $4.56
PTV and BLT Maintenance/Repair: $0
Equipment/Household furnishings: $37.52 (includes $8.99 PVC pipe and $7.99 squeegee)
Sundries: $20.06 (includes $12.25 laundromat)
The Crew: $29.98
Entertainment: $10.99 hummingbird feeder
Are hair cuts included in the Sundries? The wife needs a hair cut every two months. She cuts my hair with a $29.00 hair cutting kit and usually I just get a buzz. Also my wife read that Humming birds map where food is, so depend on that food source at that location.
I haven’t been getting haircuts. It’s been months!
Hummingbirds do map out a food source but if it isn’t there they will move on. They would not be in that area already if there had not been another food source already. So if you only bring out the feeder after you have already see a Hummingbird they won’t be looking for just your feeder they already have another source.
I am amazed how little it cost to live on. That must be nice knowing you have a good reserve for emergency’s and what not if you need or want it. I know you see a lot of beauty everywhere but do you ever get board? I would love to RV for a few years, in-fact would LOVE to do it for a few years, but not sure I could make a completely steady diet of it.
Bored? I haven’t had one boring day since the crew and I hit the road. When I lived in a stick house, the days, weeks, months, even years, ran together into one stream of predictability. When you can move to a new place on a whim, boredom never comes! Life stays fresh and interesting… at least that’s how it’s working for me.
I have to say that it thrills me to see the savings you are able to put away by living simply!! Will you be posting your July and September financials?
Yes, I’ll do July next. The figures are already on a spreadsheet. As for September… I can’t find the receipts so I have to “reconstruct” everything from my checkbook, bank statements, blog, etc.
Thank you for listing your camp grounds and price.
Now I know where to look for free or low cost.
I was told not to use the word cheap, however, I like cheap.
More money for fun things.
I like cheap, too, as evidenced by my choice of camps. I certainly haven’t suffered by choosing the campgrounds with the cheaper rates . . . Most of them are beautiful!
(Note my location has been added!) You are rubbing off on me in a very positive way Sue. I am now on the hunt for less expensive campgrounds here in ridiculously broke, but ridiculously expensive California. I’ll still pay a premium for beach view sites, but no longer for my state’s so-so, but still expensive, inland sites. The municipality owned campgrounds, and federally owned campgrounds are much better deals by far these days here, as are many of our private RV parks.
Shoot . . . OK, now it has been added!
Do you ever camp at Carlsbad State beach. I love camping there. It is a bit costly but I only get to go camping once every few years so I don’t mind. I love waking up at 4 am to sound of crashing waves.
WOW – low cost on the groceries. I’d be curious to know what you eat day to day…how you cook it, etc. I just love FOOD so struggling how I am going to make all of my favorites on the road.
PS So thankful to you for sharing this….and all the ways to make boondocking so affordable. SIx months and a tad and off we go!!!! I can wait to not be bored anymore…I can just feel myself riding my bike down a desert trail…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I love food, too, but I’m not crazy about cooking. I eat very simply so I don’t have the need to stock my cupboard with a large variety of items and spices. Some would probably say I have a plain diet. It’s not unusual for my main meal of the day to be a can of soup. It helps my budget that I don’t eat much meat, usually only chicken and not every day. Periodically I go back on the Dukan diet (when I feel weight coming back on) and that’s mainly Greek yogurt, fat-free milk, oat bran, and lean meat… So you can see why I don’t post photos of my meals!
November expenditures for groceries are low because I spent almost twice that much in October and probably had stocked up.
Sue, I’d like to know more about your solar system.
Can you run your ac off your batteries?
No, I only use AC when I have electric hookup at a campground.
Ok. I figured as much.
How often do you pay to park in a rv park?
Been reading your blogs and it seems u boondock alot.
I’ve never paid to stay in an RV park (private). I do boondock a lot, especially in winter. In the warmer months I move around a lot more so I sometimes take advantage of inexpensive National Forest and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds, simply because they’re easier or more attractive. The half-price senior discount is wonderful.