GoRVing asked Michelle from the finance and lifestyle blog Making Sense of Cents to talk about the affordability of the RV Lifestyle.
Here are the 4 steps they outline in the article:
Be realistic about your budget
Create a monthly travel budget
Find ways to save
Earn money on the road
Russ and I went through the list to see whether or not we are on track.
Be realistic about your budget. We took this as “be realistic about the budget for our RV”. This was our first big task and one not to be taken lightly. We poured through the options available to us. Do we pay cash for an older used RV or do we finance? Could we do a self-build conversion? We really had to identify want vs need. Our Little Guy Max is the first RV we have ever owned, so we were truly unsure what we needed. What did we really need if we went full time?
Create a monthly travel budget. Okay, we failed miserably at this one – at first. We had a rough idea to start, but we picked the absolute worst time to start our new lifestyle. With the open road available to us just before the holidays, we had a mile-long list of places we wanted to go and people to see. If you feel that you need to ‘get it out of your system’ and travel like crazy at the beginning, that is fine….but budget for that. In addition, if you haven’t experienced this lifestyle before, it is hard to really know how to accurately budget because you may not truly be aware of your expenses. That is not an excuse to not have one, just know your budget for the first few months will constantly need to be reviewed and adjusted. Just about 4 months into our new lifestyle we are just now getting a good sense of what a realistic budget for us should be. Check out our latest budget update HERE
Find ways to save. As we mentioned in item 2, we are just now able to start thinking about our true expenses. We can also now see where we can make adjustments to cut back. In the beginning, we relied heavily on staying at campgrounds and eating out. We have learned to boondock more and take advantage of discount programs that fit the way we want to live. That is key. There are a lot of discount programs out there. At the beginning we were overwhelmed and signed up for far more than we will be able to use. 4 months in, we have a much better sense of the places we are comfortable staying in and finding programs that complement our style.
Earn money on the road. Alright, here we did a bit better. Arrangements were made before we left our sticks-and-bricks lifestyle behind to work remotely. We are also finding that there are so many ways to earn money while you are on the road, which we will cover in a separate blog post next Thursday, but a few ways are seasonal workcamping like the sugar beet harvest or Amazon, camp hosting, digital services, consulting….the opportunities are there if you look!
We should have done more prep on the budgeting, but overall we agree with these four steps. If you are considering the RV lifestyle, you should definitely keep them in mind as it will make your transition much smoother and ensure your success!