Brexit busts our budget – Our Europe

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Brexit busts our budget

I am allergic to spreadsheets.

The formatting brings me out in a cold sweat, and the only calculation I can manage is an auto-sum, which I double-check with a calculator, just in case.

So when it comes to keeping a track of our spending I use old fashioned pen and paper, then Nigel puts my daily spending lists into his spreadsheet to work out the bigger picture, i.e. are we overspending, and if so on what?

We have only fallen out twice in our first month over the numbers, so our system must be working.

But is our budget?

It’s not bad actually, which comes as some surprise, as we are not known for our financial management skills.

We have a target of a daily spend of 50 euros, which is 18,250 euros over the 12 months we are on the road.

That is to cover everything: fuel for the van, as well as gas for cooking and heating; food and drink and other essential expenses like laundry, campsite fees, and the all encompassing “other” which includes eating out, museum fees and lipstick!

Our internet costs are separate, and getting consistent wifi has been one of most challenging aspects of our trip so far, but more of that later.

Our biggest expenditure this month has been food and drink, which was what we expected.

We stock up every five days or so at Lidl, where we can get all the basics we need, from kitchen roll – essential for clean living – and red wine, essential for, well, living.

We try and buy our fruit and veg at local markets, where it is much cheaper, and of better quality than from supermarkets, and I am collecting a range of startlingly good extra virgin olive oil in plastic bottles.

We have spent more on campsite fees than we had anticipated, mostly because we are now in Greece, where there are fewer cheap (or free) comfortable camper stops than in Northern Europe.

We can sometimes stay in car parks in Greece – the one in Nafplio is particularly attractive – but we have tended to pitch up in sites across the Peloponnese, and the cheapest of these so far has been 10 euros a night, with the average 15 euros.

Museums are more expensive than we had anticipated. The Greek government, desperate for revenue, has put up the prices of its historic sites, but we are happy to pay. It is not every day you get to walk on a road that is more than two thousand years old, as we did in Ancient Corinth.

We don’t eat out much – saving our cash for cups of coffee instead, as long as the double espresso comes with access to a nice warm loo and free, fast wifi.

Our biggest unexpected expense to date has been the cost of our euros.

When we started thinking about our adventure in May 2015, according to the mid-market exchange rates at, we would have needed £13,035 to fund our year.

On 20th June this year, before the infamous Brexit vote, it would have cost us £14,150.

Three months later, on Tuesday 20th September, the day we left Edinburgh, we would have had to spend £15,720.

Today, we need £16,445 to cover our costs for twelve months, an increase of £3,410 (26%) since the idea first took root, and £725 (5%) more than when we set off.

Oh well, as the saying goes, it’s only money. And what goes down, usually goes back up…eventually.

Perhaps I should have “hedged” our euros, or whatever it is that financial whizz kids do.

Or maybe we will just sleep in more car parks, starting tomorrow night.







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