Cost of Living full time on the Road in an RV
What is the Cost of Full-Time Living on the Road in an RV? Surprisingly it’s a lot more (and at the same time it’s less) than we expected. Here we outline our expenses and costs for life on the road full time in our Motorhome.
Everyone has a different experience with full time travel across North America but one things for sure: We’re all trying to live the dream while saving money where we can.
We hope this information will help you plan a realistic budget for your RV travels. However, it is important to realize travel is deeply personal and each person has their definitions of what they can or can’t live without. For us, we like great quality food (organic, local, straight from the source), great experiences (we’ll spring for the hot air balloon tour) and free camping (BLM, National Forest…). If you’re curious how we make money while living in an RV full time check out our post: Make Money and Travel – Gone With the Wynns
From our experience, what ever you spend now (food, entertainment, shopping habits…) is probably what you will spend on the road. While our expenses are a little less on the road than when we had a sedentary life, it’s not drastically different, so don’t expect to save a ton of money unless you are going to be making some serious spending habit changes while traveling. We live a comfortable life on the road and we like it this way!
Two things you will not see on our expenses is the purchase price of the RV or Smart car. RV’s and tow cars can be purchased for as little as $500 all the way to millions! You are going to buy what works best for you and fits in your budget, so what we paid for our RV and tow car won’t make a bit of difference in your budget planning.
No matter how you’re traveling across North America this page is here to help you plan for the unknown and the adventures that lie ahead. Here’s what it cost us to live and work on the road full time in an RV (your expenses may be totally different).
Sometimes I feel like I’m beating a dead horse when it comes to tracking expenses. Is anyone really interested in this stuff? I mean it’s basically the same junk just a different quarter…at least that’s what I keep telling myself! Then I start downloading our bank reports and before I know it I’m so interested in the numbers. So, weather you love or hate it, here are our full-time RV expenses from July 01 – December 31, 2014.
BTW – I’m using the organization categories from my Credit Card, sometimes I wonder how it gets these topics but I’m gonna stop fighting it and just embrace the randomness in the hopes of saving myself hours of time trying to re-organize everything to make sense.
This category includes magazine subscriptions, DVD rentals, Wineries, Campgrounds, Amazon purchases, etc. The big purchases here are our new folding bikes ($1,256.00) and the few RV parks we paid for ($926)
Auto Related: $3,418.71
This category includes Fuel, truck wash, car wash and pretty much anything purchased at an auto shop. The big expenses here are 2 new tires and a brake job for the Smart Car ($681.00).
This category includes big ticket items! New Dyson vacuum ($403) and a new laptop computer ($2,400). OUCH!
Dining Out: $2,658.15
This category includes breweries, pizza joints, bakeries, chocolate shops, farm to table joints, farmers markets, coffee roasters, Ice Cream shops…pretty much everything important in life and travel. No major expenses here to note, just a few nice meals around the $100 range, but most of the bills are in the sub-fifty category.
This category includes Trader Joes, Whole Foods, local grocery stores, Food COOP, the occasional Target and Wal-Mart. It’s not a perfect system because sometimes we’ll buy small appliances, clothes, etc from the Big Box stores.
Lots and lots of bulk organic foods, the occasional small appliance, beer, wine, spirits, yadda yadda.
This category includes our State Farm insurance which covers our RV, Smart Car, Travelers coverage (for the big items like wedding rings, computers, cameras, etc) and a renters’ policy. New for December: HEALTH INSURANCE.
Health Care: $425.47
Misc. drug store expenses and our Massage Envy monthly membership…hey it’s all about staying healthy and preventive maintenance.
This category includes our Verizon cell and data plans. Big expense in this month is a new cell phone for Nikki ($160.50).
Home Repair: $99.11
Home Depot, Lowes, Hydroponic stores for Coco Coir, etc.
Pet Care: $773.62
Everything related to the cats. Big expenses here a big Vet bill for Singa ($502.06) and the yearly shots for both cats ($152.00).
Wow, what a mis-mash of stuff here. A few RV parks, city parking fees, USPS, a couple campgrounds, Amazon Prime membership, Cat Boarding and so on. I’d like to say none of these expenses are necessary but they’re pretty much a standard part of travel for us.
Why do we share our expenses of full time life on the road in our RV? To help others who travel like us. If you like the occasional splurge, fine bottle of wine, a couple of new outfits each season, and you don’t mind paying for a cool adventure then you’re expenses might be pretty similar to ours. If you don’t spend a lick on fashion or local sips and bites then your expenses will be nothing like ours.
Starting for Q2 we are sharing less info that has to do with our website expenses and trying to keep our detailed expenses very broad so it shows ONLY the travel & exploration part of our RV lifestyle. If you want more details read our older expense postings in this article. Remember you can live for a lot less than us or you can spend triple what we do, either way this is how we live and some people find this info helpful. Wanna know how we live? Check out some of our adventures and foodie reviews…we like to say we’re into affordable luxury.
Our RV Full-Time Living Expenses for April 01, 2014 – June 30, 2014
These dates take us from South Carolina into Michigan.
Dining Out – $1,416.00 Craft Breweries, Locally Roasted Coffee shops, Food Trucks, Bakeries, Chocolate Shops, Farm-to-Table restaurants, distilleries, wineries, local pubs and cafes. This might include takeaways like bottles of beer, liquor, chocolate bars or pounds of coffee. That pretty much sums it up.
Groceries – $1,174.00 Mostly Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other small natural markets
Costco – $914.00 Yep, Costco gets its own category cause we buy booze, beer, food, treats, and a plethora of other random items here.
Housewares/Groceries – $971.00 This covers Target, TJ Maxx, JC Penny, Macy’s, Wal-Mart and any of those types of places that we sometimes purchase groceries, cleaning supplies, a waffle iron, new pair of shoes, makeup, spices, hair products, clothes, and who knows what else.
Insurance – $1,220.00 RV insurance, Auto Insurance, Renters, Business Riders
Fuel – $788.00 Fuel for both the RV and Smart Car
Camping – $703.00 ($360 is a pre-payment to reserve our 12 day downtown Chicago parking pass)
Cell Phone and Internet – $564 Verizon family plan
Misc. – $215 Shipping, e-magazines, hardware store, AAA, redbox, itunes, etc.
So that’s our full-time travel expenses. Creating these expense reports reminds me how fast we travel and how we do our best to see, eat and drink everything we can as we’re passing through town. I wouldn’t change our travel style for the world.
Over the past few years we’ve received too many questions and demands from rude people in regards to our spending; so this will likely be the last time we post any business expenses or personal expenses that are not related to RV Travel. Our monthly expenses seem to be pretty similar so if you need to know our expenses in more detail scroll down to the toggles for 2013 and older.Below is a breakdown of our travel costs and expenses from January 01, 2014 to March 28, 2014. In future Full Time RV Expense posts you’ll only see these categories.
Total Spent – $10,578:
$2,272 Service – Prepare Windy (our Monaco Vesta) for sale
$1,663 Dining Out – Food and Drink
$1,525 Fuel – Smart and RV
$912 Insurance – RV, Smart Car, Renters, Business Riders
$820 Fleetwood Expenses – Decorating items for new RV (Fleetwood Roy), Install MaxxFan and MaxxAir cover, replace faucet.
$635 Costco – Mostly Food
$569 Cell Phones Expenses
$367 Smart Service – 30,000 comprehensive service and replaces Tire Valve Stem (couldn’t believe how cheap this was for a 30k service!)
$327 Wash and Wax RV
$175 – Campgrounds and RV Parks
$80 Renew National Park Pass
$33 RV Propane
$17 TollsHere are the items and categories we will no longer share in future expense reports as we feel it relates exclusively to the way we travel and doesn’t apply to the ‘standard’ costs of Full Time RV Travel. The Total Spent is $5,583:
$2,033 Website Expenses – Web development, Graphic Designer, Rafflecopter Giveaways, New Map Feature, New Website Hosting Company, Mailchimp, etc.
$1,557 New Camera Lens – Wide angle 16-35mm f2.8 L II Canon Lens
$770 Bookkeeping – CPA, Bookkeeping
$429 New Stickers – Print and install new graphics on the RV
$406 Entertainment – Video rentals, Books, Snowboard Rentals
$213 New Clothes
$185 TJ Maxx – Some clothes, spices, specialty foods, etc.
$25 USPS shippingOriginally we thought sharing all our expenses was a good idea so it would help others like us who need to work from the road, but it’s lead to more judgement and questions than we like to read. I hope our previous posts can help, and I hope our future posts will continue to help people plan for the expenses of life on the road.
The grand total for the fourth quarter (October 01 – December 31) of our 2013 RV Living Expenses: $11,971 Below is a breakdown of our expenses of full time living in our RV, if you want more details read the posts from 2011 and 2012. I’ve rounded the numbers to keep it simple.$2,014 Fuel – Gas for Smart Car and diesel for RV, we logged a ton of miles this quarter.
$1,762 Groceries, housewares and booze – Costco ($803)still being the largest, groceries also includes Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe’s, local natural grocery stores, Farm Stands and Farmer’s Markets.
$1,625 Dining Out – Small coffee shops, local restaurants, breweries, wineries, bakeries and ice cream shops! (and we wouldn’t change this number a bit! We love eating and drinking our way through our destinations. This also includes some take home beer, coffee, etc.)
$1,326 New Computer – Nikki got a new Laptop Tablet thing and a few accessories to make her office more ‘compact’ for Roy our new RV.
$1,058 Bookkeeping – With the year end expenses and tax prep this covers my CPA and my Bookkeeper which help keep us legal on the road as a small company. This does not include the taxes paid to the IRS, etc.
$807 Website Fees – These are the fees we pay to keep our website online: Email Subscription Service, Website Updates/Repairs from web developer, Vimeo Membership, Yearly Website Hosting, Rafflecopter Giveaway Widget, Music License Purchase.
$702 Insurance – Auto, Property and Renters Insurance. (No Healthcare)
$605 Phone and Internet – Verizon Cell Phone and Internet Family Plan.
$505 Camping Fees – With our Wild Camping in BLM and National Forest, along with the occasional Wal-Mart and Rest Area we’ve managed to keep our campground expenses fairly low.
$330 RV Service – Service on Generator (Vesta).
$221 Clothing – A few new items for our winter adventures.
$42 Shipping – USPS shipping for Giveaways we hosted at the end of the year.
$39 Entertainment – Redbox, ITunes Rentals, Digital Magazines, and 1 movie theater movie.
$36 Propane – We only filled up 1 time this year.
$16 Car Wash – 3 Do-it-yourself washes for the Smart Car.-MISC-
$383 Home Improvement store $100; Tolls $9; TX Auto Inspection $40; Laundry $22; New Decor and Organizing for #FleetwoodRoy $212$500 Stuff and Things – I’m sure I’ve missed a few things that we’ve paid cash for like laundry, parking meters, tips, farmers markets, etc. so I’ve added this extra cash for a buffer.
This quarter we had some free driveway surfing and a few meals paid for by visiting friends and family. Maybe a few hundred bucks worth total if you want to add it to your planned estimates.
The grand total for the third quarter (July 01 – September 30) of our 2013 Expenses of Living on the Road Full Time in an RV: $10,275Below is the brief breakdown of our costs and expenses of full time living in our RV, if you want more details read the posts from 2012 and 2011 as we pretty much spend the same way each year. As usual I’ve rounded the numbers to keep it simple.$2,477 Groceries, housewares and booze – Costco still being the largest, groceries also includes Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe’s, local natural grocery stores, and Farmer’s Markets.
$1,417 Dining Out – Small coffee shops, local restaurants, breweries, wineries, bakeries and ice cream shops! (and we wouldn’t change this number a bit! We love eating and drinking our way through our destinations.)
$1,049 Fuel for Smart Car and RV.
$668 Auto and Property Insurance.
$588 Verizon Cell Phone and Internet Family Plan
$520 Website Fees: MailChimp Email Subscription Service ($150), Website Updates/Repairs from web designer ($220) and Vimeo Yearly Membership ($60), Yearly Website Hosting ($90).
$450 RV Service – Oil Change on RV and Onan Generator.
$403 Clothing – REI, Anthropologie, TJMaxx, Nordstrom.
$325 Camera Equipment – A new ND filter and cable release.
$228 New Logo Stickers for the RV and more Business Cards.
$161 Pet Food, Litter and vaccinations.
$86 Amazon Prime Membership – signed up for a free trial and forgot to cancel in time…ooops. Now we get free 2day shipping and a few free TV shows and Movies to watch instantly. Its not a bad deal, I guess.
$78 USPS misc. shipping ($38 to ship our toilet for storage).
$27 Entertainment – Redbox, ITunes Rentals, Digital Magazines.
$21 Parking Fees (mostly in Seattle).
$0 Camping Fees – Thanks to Thousand Trails and BLM we’ve managed to skip out on paying for campground for quite sometime now.-MISC-
$1,277 Hawaii Trip – We flew to HI for a friends wedding, it’s amazing how expensive 1 week of travel outside the RV can be. Our friends paid for several dinners, entertainment, and our hotel room yet we still ended up spending this much! This amount includes Cat Hotel ($252), Food, Drink, Pedicure Spa day, and groceries. This price doesn’t even include our airfare! It’s nice to get out of the RV for a few days but the expense is hard to chew.$500 Stuff and Things – I’m sure I’ve missed a few things we’ve paid cash for like laundry, parking meters, tips, farmers markets, etc. so I’ve added this buffer.
This quarter we had a few meals here and there paid for by visiting friends, family, restaurants (because they found out we were bloggers), etc. Maybe a few hundred bucks worth total if you want to add it to your planned estimates.
Below is the breakdown of our costs, if you want more details read the posts from 2012 and 2011 as we pretty much spend the same way each year. As usual I’ve rounded the numbers to keep it simple.$2,137 Groceries, housewares and booze – Costco still being the largest ($1,088) also includes Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joes, TJ Maxx (we get some of our specialty foods here) Wal-Mart (for RV supplies), local natural grocery stores, and Cash at Farmer’s Markets.
$1264 Dining Out It’s beautiful to go back through and see where we spent our money eating out. The only chain is Chipotle which we ate at 4 times this quarter. The rest is made up of coffee shops, small restaurants, and different breweries. Of course this number is skewed a bit as 10% of these expenses likely belong in the grocery category because we purchase whole bean coffee and specialty beers from many of the coffee shops and breweries we visit.
$1,222 Fuel for Smart Car and RV.
$652 Auto and Property Insurance.
$533 Towing: $320 (ran out of fuel on a mountain and was blocking traffic) and $213 (turbo boot popped out of ‘fancy’ compression clamp on engine, tow truck responded and repaired on site with a $15 “old school” clamp).
$495 Verizon Cell Phone and Internet Family Plan
$460 Website Domain and Hosting: All Gone With the Wynns sites, Jason Wynn Photography, and The Makeup Junkie yearly fees.
$280 Website Fees: MailChimp Email Subscription Service ($110) and Website Updates/Repairs from web designer ($170).
$230 Ikea: New storage solutions and a cover for Nikki’s chair (Cleo slowly tore up the other one).
$139 Hardware stores (mostly for Composting Toilet Install).
$127 AAA Roadside Assistance for RV (yearly fee).
$105 RV Stuff: hot water tank sprayer, black and grey tank deodorizer, new fridge fan, etc.
$73 Auto parts: new headlights and wiper blades for the Smart car.
$57 USPS misc. shipping.
$29 Camping Fees (Crater Lake NP 1 night): Thanks to Thousand Trails and BLM we’ve managed to skip out on paying for campground for quite sometime now.
$25 Coco COIR for the new Composting Toilet (should last for 6 – 12 months)
$22 Misc. Parking Fees.
$0.75 ITunes: guess we didn’t watch many movies!
$3,472 *not included in overall expense* 2WynnInc Expenses – The corporate expenses associated with running our business from the road: Bookkeeping, Payroll, editing, etc. Doesn’t include state or IRS taxes. I’ve included my business expenses for this Quarter since we just posted our Make Money and Travel article. I don’t spend this much every quarter, it can vary widely depending on each project, but on average we spend around $1000 each month on the backend (i.e. not the website, email subscriptions, hosting, etc) to run our traveling business.
Below is the breakdown of costs, if you want more details read the posts from 2012 and 2011 as we pretty much spend the same way each year. As usual I’ve rounded the numbers to keep it simple, and this time I decided to list in order of most expensive (hey great idea right?).$1,567 Mostly Costco for groceries; also includes Target, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Wal-Mart, etc for clothing, housewares, and such.
$1,191 Cell phones: Jason cancelled AT&T and switched to Verizon family plan. Nikki purchased a new phone at full price $600 (she didn’t want to sign a contract and lose unlimited internet). Jason purchased a new phone under contract for $200.
$1,134 Website Expenses for hosting, stock audio, design, developer fees, email service
$1,021 Fuel for Smart Car and RV.
$709 Dining Out includes Breweries and Coffee shops.
$644 Auto and Property Insurance.
$630 Groceries – Mostly Whole Foods and Trader Joes.
$500 Mexican Dental for Nikki and Jason.
$327 Camera and computer equipment.
$280 CO trip – Rental Car, Cat Boarding (flight, ski passes, and most food was paid by family and friends: Thanks guys).
$150 Car and RV Wash + Wax.
$140 Pet food, litter, treats, toys.
$80 National Park pass.
$65 Smart Vehicle Registration.
$57 RV Resorts – only resort we’ve paid for was near the petrified forest, the rest have been paid for through our work, or a free stay overnight at Wal-Mart, Truck Stops, and Rest Areas.
$44 Propane for RV.
$30 USPS shipping.
My goal from the last report on RV Living and Full Time Travel expenses was to cut overall expenses by 15%. Question is did we succeed? One big giant FAIL! I can’t believe it! I guess there’s no way we can cut our budget any lower with the style we like to travel.
Let me get a few things off my chest from the beginning:
• This report is for 5 months (not 6, so you can’t directly compare it with the previous numbers from 2012. My thinking is I’ll post expenses every quarter in 2013 this way I can remember ‘better’)
• If you’re interested in just the numbers read the bold items only, if you want to know how we ended up spending that cash then read the long winded paragraphs.
• We are NOT living on a shoestring budget. We work on the road, so we need special items to keep our business growing, and since we’re in front of the camera we need nice looking clothes so we’re presentable and respectable. We enjoy a bottle of Champagne and a fine dinner once and a while, granted we cook in most nights but we do splurge every now and then. In our opinion we’re living modestly and we’re sharing our expenses so you can learn from our budget and hopefully it will help you project yours. Let’s call our style of living AFFORDABLE LUXURY!
• If you live a different RV lifestyle please share it in the comments section below, no topic is more important for travelers than spending/saving $$$. Tell us how much you travel and how much you spend on the road; obviously you don’t need to go into ridiculous amounts of detail like my long winded report, but give us the cliff’s notes.08/01/2012 – 12/31/2012
Total Expenses for this time period: $18,377$1532 Fuel Cost – From the Jersey Shore, through PA, into Indiana for Service, to St. Louis for a wedding, Dallas, Cloudcroft New Mexico, and into Lake Havasu City. We logged a lot of miles across this great country in both the RV and the Smart car. Can’t really balk about this expense, it’s a lot lower than the both of us taking a few flights. If you’re curious about mileage check out the post Monaco Vesta Fuel Economy you’ll find way more info than you’ll ever need to know on our fuel economy, and how to calculate your RV Fuel MPG.$76 RV Park Camping – Camping for next to nothing: Possibly the biggest “Happy” Point for our 2012 travels across the Eastern part of North America! Thanks to our Thousand Trails membership, several nights of Wal-Mart & Truck Stop camping (if you’ve never stayed at Wal-Mart in an RV you must watch this Video Boondocking at Wal-Mart it’s actually our most popular video of all time!), and a few friendly people who opened up their driveways, we were able to stay for next to nothing the past 5 months. Also we’ve been doing a few trade-outs with campgrounds providing video and photography of their campgrounds for a small fee plus free camping. Goes to show you if you have something to offer a campground, reach out to them and see if they’re willing to do a trade (we know several people who camp for free because of a specific service they offer the campground).$982 Smart Service and Repair – This is the first major service we’ve had to complete on our little SMART car. Apparently we’ve been a little rough on this little guy, when we were in for our SMART’s yearly oil change, we were informed he sprung a small leak in the oil pan from a puncture wound. Considering we drive our little SMART off road, over mountains, and tow it behind our RV for thousands of extra miles, I’m not complaining one bit. On a happy note: We only busted 1 tire in the past 5 months (and ZERO rims) and my tire warranty paid for the replacement. Also in these expenses is a $300 spare rim and tire (our tire and rim warranty covered the replacement of a busted rim from the beginning of the year, I paid $200 to have the rim repaired, and $150 for a new tire to go on it. Now for the first time since owning the SMART we have a spare rim and tire! What a relief, now when we bust a rim or tire there will be a swap available in the RV….ahhhh the little things that make life a little more simple and stress-free).$220 RV Service and Repair – No issues over the past 5 months. We did take the RV to the “new” Monaco factory in Wakarusa Indiana for service however all our issues were covered under warranty. The TX registration sticker cost $220 for renewal to keep our plates up to date.$1034 Insurance – Carrying the same insurance coverage as the previous report minus the SAAB as I’ve now sold that….and no we still do not have health insurance. Although I did get a quote for catastrophe coverage and the cost was nearly $300 per month and we would pay the first $10,000, then the insurance would pay 80% of anything over $10k. Health insurance for individuals who own small businesses just plain stinks! Oh and if you’re like us and working from the road with expensive equipment you must purchase a ‘rider’ to make sure your gear is covered while traveling outside of the RV. Our policy sent me a check for nearly $3,700.00 when I dropped my camera into the creek. See the previous post for details.$2893 Gone With the Wynn’s Website – In case you haven’t noticed we have a completely new look! From tip to toe we’re sleeker and sexier (or at least we think so). Downside is these enhancements didn’t come for free. In order to dish out this contemporary new look we were hit with website theme fees ($100), Hosting Fees ($100), Email Distribution Fees ($120), Video Hosting Fees ($100), Facebook Fees ($120), and so on and so on! We also had to hire a website designer and a website developer to help us make the move, address all the unknown issues that came up during the transition, to help us customize the site to fit our niche needs, and for that we spent a lot more than we ever anticipated: $2353. Needless to say for a website that doesn’t directly make us any money we’re forking over a lot of dough to keep this thing going. OK, enough bitchin’ right? Let’s move on to something more fun….
$1237 Editing Software – We finally purchased Adobe Photoshop CS6 ($600), I’ve been using an old version for the past several years. We also purchased the newest version of Lightroom ($150). Both of these programs allow us to view, edit, and post our RAW photographs more beautifully and professionally. If you’re not heavy into photo editing or design I DO NOT recommend purchasing Photoshop, it’s a bulky, expensive, and difficult to understand program. Save your money and get a more consumer based photo editing program. I also purchased a great video plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro video editing software. This new plug-in suite from Red Giant ($480) allows me to make similar enhancements to my video that I can make on my photos.
$1099 Equipment Upgrades – The more Videos I shoot the more Hard Drives I need, and the faster my computer needs to be! I added a second Hard Drive to my Laptop, it’s a blazing fast hybrid drive and works perfectly as a ‘scratch disk’ for my video files (drive plus install kit $175). I had to purchase a new Wireless Lavaliere receiver due to my unfortunate accident of dropping the camera into the creek (see the previous post on expenses for the ugly details) however my insurance policy covered this cost, YEA! We bought a new “toy” it’s the Canon EOS M ($794), check my post on Secrets to HD Video on the Road for more details on how much we love this tiny camera (and what we don’t like about it). I purchased a new 3TB External Hard Drive for redundant backup ($130), you have to be prepared for a computer or hard drive to crash at any time, better safe than sorry right?
$795 Cell Phone Expenses – Nikki is still on Verizon ($432) and I’m on AT&T ($363). We both have the bare minimum talk and text plan, with (grandfathered in) unlimited internet. Basically I’m throwing my money away 50% of the time because AT&T’s coverage outside of major cities is CRAP! My contract is up in January so I’ll probably switch over the Verizon (even though I’m going to lose my unlimited internet, yes….AT&T has been that bad). Doubt we’ll be able to save any money here, but at least I won’t be wasting money on a phone that doesn’t get reception.
$1,541 Grocery – Keeping to our roots we’re shopping local when possible. Didn’t see too many Farmers Markets over these past 5 months which is pretty sad, and many times we were stuck to Wal-Mart for groceries which is basically against our “religion”! Sometime when you travel you can’t always practice what you preach (see our post on Can an RV be Green), but do know if there’s an organic version of the fruits and veggies we need you better believe we’re going to buy it vs. the conventional. We’re heading back to the West in 2013 so we should be able to get fresh, local, and regional foods again.
$827 Costco – Because we didn’t find many farmers markets or affordable natural food stores on this portion of our trip, we renewed our Costco membership. For the amount cooking we do, Costco is the best way for us to get reliable organic, natural, and affordable food items. Yes you must purchase in bulk, however we try not to over-purchase, and we rely on Costco for our staples only like tomatoes, beans, hummus, chips, etc. Sometimes we’ll even find local venders in Costco from coffee roasters, to pastry makers, to exotic cheeses made from nearby farms….and that’s why we choose Costco over Sam’s Club.
$1,399 Eating Out – As per the last reports we try to enjoy our experience in new towns through food, drink, and good ol’ conversation. The easiest place for a weary traveler to pull up a chair in a new town…..the Bar, and this tradition has been the same since the beginning of time. On average we eat out 2 times per week, typically at a local eatery that’s come highly recommended by the locals. Here and there we’ve had a few meals comped for being travel writers, we’ve had few of our online friends buy us a warm meal or a brew, and we’ve been treated to a few home cooked meals at homes along the way, and for this we are extremely grateful. Nothing better than sitting down and breaking bread with a few fellow RVers who’ve been following our journey….and then they pick up the tab 🙂 You Guys ROCK!
$792 Pet Expenses – This includes the 2 kitty’s specialty food, All-Natural Lavender litter, toys, bi-monthly supply of sardines in spring water, treats, and their medical bills. Of course the main cost over the past 5 months is we found out Singa has feline Herpes. When we returned from Spain his eye was irritated and mostly closed shut. We took him to the vet and they ran tests and thought he may have been in a fight (there was a few scabs on his head too) and his eye was scratched. Tests, drugs, antibiotics, etc and we’re lookin at $150. 1 week later he’s not doing any better, so we go in for a follow-up visit, the vet has no idea so I suggest we see an eye specialist (another $100). 2 days later we’re at a cat Ophthalmologists who diagnoses Singa with feline herpes. The doctor tells us it’s extremely common in cats, and the majority of cats carry this virus. He compares it to the herpes virus that causes cold sores in humans, and suggests Singa is showing signs due to us leaving town for 10 days and him not receiving the same amount of love and attention he’s used to. We’re sent home with a host of additional meds and what-nots and a giant bill ($250). A follow up visit 30 days later takes the eye doc 10 minutes to tell us Singa’s lookin good cost me another $120. The Doc told me to come back in 3 months and I told him to buzz off that Singa wouldn’t be back in unless he started showing symptoms again. Healthcare is such a racket, it’s like they’re printing money in that office. Forget that! We are thankful we understand what is bothering Singa, and we now know what the symptoms are in case he has another flare up. As I write this Singa is curled up in my lap after a long day of playing outside and eating smelly sardines….it’s safe to say he’s a pretty darn happy cat!
$823 Specialty Stores – We don’t shop that often at chain stores however there’s certain luxury food items, cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, etc we can only find affordable at places like TJ Maxx, Ross, Target, Michaels, CVS, Tuesday Morning, Wal-Mart, etc. When Nikki needs specialty spices for cooking, fancy truffle oils, a pack of tissue, or a random cleaning product we’ll swing into one of these places. From this amount I’m positive a couple hundred bucks was for clothing or shoes (Nikki found a sweet pair of Barefoot Merrill shoes one day) and the rest of the total amount was for non-clothing stuff. So all you who gave us a hard time for the amount of money we spent last time on clothing for the last report can rest easy, we’re NOT shopping constantly, the only reason we spent so much on clothing last report is we hadn’t purchased new clothes in quite a while, and we were running low on Summer outfits. So there…..YA HAPPY NOW? Ha
$1,779 Spain Trip – This fall we decided to attend our first ever bloggers convention, mostly due to the fact it was being held in Spain. Sometimes you have to get out of the RV and explore a little differently. Only bad part about leaving the RV is your realize how expensive typical travel really is. We visited Girona, Spain and Costa Brava for a total of 10 days – 4 days at the conference, and the rest traveling the coast (oh yea and a 16 hour overnight layover party in Amsterdam). Since we were traveling to a bloggers conference we did get some special treatments from our travel industry friends and the event coordinators and hosts: We had our flights comped but we had to pay the fees ($215), our first hotel was 50% off but still cost $400 for 4 nights (the other hotel nights were comped), several of our meals were taken care of but we still ate out on our own several days ($639), ATM Withdraw ($278), Rental Car was 80% off, Public Transportation in the Netherlands ($25) and of course there were the conference tickets ($222 for both of us). These rates also include the credit card currency conversion fees, and the 2 ATM fees. It just blows me away that we had something like $4,000 comped during this trip and yet we still managed to spend nearly 2 Grand in 10 days. For those who think RV travel is expensive…think again!
$648 Miscellaneous – Magazines for the Nook ($25), Stock Music for videos ($70), Shipping charges for mailing random stuff ($72 – Don’t ask me what I mailed, but it added up), Movie Theater *we went to 2 movies in 5 months ($24), Home Improvement Stores ($173), REI Outdoor specialty items ($63), Parking and Tolls ($85), half day boat rental for the family in Lake Havasu ($136). Also I’ve stopped putting propane as a line item since we really don’t spend much on this; in fact we didn’t even fill our propane in this 5 month period.
$1,000 for good measure – As always we pay for some things like laundry with cash, I’m sure there’s parking fees, coin car washes, a few minor café fees, tips to waitress’ and so on that we pay for in cash. So for good measure and quality control I like to throw in an extra grand of whatever expenses to keep me “honest”.
+ $300 or 30,000 Points – Credit Card Points is something I haven’t talked about before. With my credit card we get 1-2 points per $1, and sometimes we get up to 7 points per $1 during specials. We pay with everything on CC and that is what helps me keep track of these expenses, and at the end of the month we get cash back. Consider that money a bonus, put it in the bank, or go out and buy yourself something you would pay “real” money for….and that’s exactly what we do: A Splurge! It is free money right? Of course I you play the points game you must pay your CC off each month otherwise your points are pointless (HA pun intended!)
My State Farm agent Will Tweed set me up for success when helping me plan our insurance needs. Thanks to Will I just received a check from State Farm for nearly $3,700.00 to pay for my replacement camera mentioned below in the additional gear section. This brings our 6 month spending total to $19,164 that’s $1,597 per person per month for living full-time on the road. Not too Shabby.Expenses 02/01/2012 through 07/31/2012$22,864.00 Grand Total for 6 months of RV Travel for both Nikki and I to live full time on the road in our Motorhome. This is approximately $1,653 per person per month. At this rate we’re on target to spend a similar amount as 2011. This really stinks as I feel we’ve been more frugal this year on the road vs. 2011. In certain areas we’ve saved literally thousands, but in others we’ve added expenses!Here are few ideas on how we can save money: (if you have any ideas, we would love to hear them)
- I considered cancelling my phone plan to save $1,000 per year, which I might end up doing before the end of the year (for now I lowered my phone and text plan to the lowest possible offering).
- We can eat out less and when we do, eat lunch (it’s cheaper). One of the best ways to get to know a city is to eat your way through it so we won’t give up eating out, we will just stick to a weekly budget of $50.
- We can give up alcohol and coffee……YEA RIGHT!
I know, it was a short list. For now we’ll try to cut corners where possible, and keep track of our expenses for the next 6 months. My goal is to reduce our costs by 15% for the next report! Can’t wait to see how we do! See below for the full breakdown of our Feburary – August 2012 RV living expenses:
$2,319 Fuel Cost – So far we’ve put a lot less miles on the RV this year (around 5,000 so far) however we’ve been driving our Smart Car loads more (probably double last year)! Everyone complains about fuel costs, but if you look at it our fuel isn’t our largest expense, and how much really does a 10 cent increase per gallon cost? You’re either going to travel or you’re not, I’m tired of hearing people use the excuse of fuel costs as a reason they don’t take out their RV. Suck it up, put on your big boy pants, and travel….you’ll thank me later as you realize the trip only cost an extra $25 because of the rise in fuel cost. Sorry for the rant, we just hear this excuse over and over and it’s a moot point.
$600 RV Camping – The largest savings compared to our 2011 expenses. The main reason for the change in camping fees: We’ve stayed at several parks that have comped our stay and paid us to shoot a video on their parks. It’s not great money, but it’s saving us money and helping us pay some bills while extending our travels on the road. We haven’t shared many of the campground videos on our site yet, but we’ve just launched a new tab aptly named campgrounds. You’ll find the videos to be pretty happy since we were paid to shoot the parks, but in the text you’ll find our personal take on these RV Resorts (not all the reviews are paid, and we won’t lie and tell you a place is great when clearly it’s a piece of crap). Also we’ve saved lots of money by Driveway Surfing at our follower’s homes; and special thanks to my mom for fitting the bill when she joined us in Montreal Canada.
$0 RV Maintenance – We had an oil change paid for by a new fuel additive company. We’re testing the fuel economy of our Monaco Vesta as market research for the company. (If you’re interested check out the post on RV Fuel Economy).
$30 Car Wash – We’ve gone cheap this year, maybe we’re too cheap. We gave Windy a bath just before we left Dallas, a second bath after leaving the Gulf Coast, and another Bath in Canada all at no cost thanks to our friends along the way. We have washed the smart a few times at the coin machine.
$1,600 Insurance – Covers the following: RV, Smart Car, SAAB SUV (we won this for Best of the Road, but it sold in July so we don’t have to pay insurance anymore), Renters Insurance Policy for general coverage, jewelry policy, rider for camera equipment, and probably some other stuff too. This also covers the yearly fee for the AAA RV program and the monthly fee for Chase Identity Protection (although I may cancel this as I spoke with a lawyer who said it’s a load of crap). For those of you wondering if we’ve purchased health insurance: I’m sorry to say we haven’t yet….we still can’t justify it. We have not paid for health insurance in almost 9 years because as self employed adults insurance is a joke and horribly expensive. Why start now? We have a nest egg saved for any medical emergencies.
$80 Propane – The electric part of our water heater has been broken since the beginning of May so we’ve been using more propane than expected (on the other hand I’ve rarely had to run the propane furnace this year as the East doesn’t get very cold at night).
$999 Phone/Internet – Nikki has Verizon $493. I have AT&T $506. In case you’re wondering ATT works 70% of the time, and VZ works 95% of the time (on the East). So if you have AT&T you might want to switch before you go full time.
$2,500 Eating Out – Similar to 2011 we find ourselves eating out 2 nice meals per week. This amount also includes the local breweries we purchase beer from and the local coffee roasters we support along the way. This number is a little askew as we’ve had a few of our meals comped or discounted some of the time when the owners find out we’re blogging about them (approx. savings $500).
$2,015 Groceries – Shopping local and organic when possible costs a little more money, but it’s totally worth it in our opinion.
$400 Cat Expenses – Updates on shots, basic checkup at vet, Heartgard, Frontline, litter, and food. Both cats are doing well this year and loving life on the road.
$0 Festivals – We’ve been to a few festivals along the way this year, but most were free to the public, and those which charged comped our tickets for filming our experience. This savings is bitter-sweet as some of our best memories last year were from Burning Man, Coachella and Sasquatch.
$5,800 Additional Gear – Well……I dropped my 5dmkii in the water; oops. So I had to purchase a new 5dmkiii and a few other small items I needed for filming. Insurance will likely cover the majority of these costs so I’ll take that into account on the next financial post. Also we purchased Nikki a new laptop (she was using an old one and the battery wasn’t working), now she sits happily outside while working on the blog.
$450 Tolls/Parking – Seems like everywhere you visit on the East charges for parking and each road you drive on charges you a toll! I mean COME ON! Whatever happened to the term freeway? Bridges, Roads, Highways, etc have totaled up to big numbers on the East…those bastards!
$1,200 Office/Website/Shipping – This amount covers the few shipments I’ve had to send out, the website changes we’re constantly making, and the few office supplies I’ve had to purchase.
$845 Housewares – Nikki purchased an Induction Plate and she loves it….unfortunately we had to purchase 2 new expensive pans that are compatible with this technology. We also purchased a couple new knives, spatulas, bread-maker, waffle iron….but it’s ok ’cause she’s cooking up a ton of great food with these new toys.
$3,026 Clothing – It’s been a while since we’ve purchased new clothes so this number is PAINFUL! Through most of last year we slowly donated clothes that didn’t fit, items we didn’t like, or we pieces we just plain wore out! So when Summer came this year we realized we didn’t have jack in our closets. Well, now we’re stocked up!
$1,000 Misc – For Good Measure! We always carry cash with us and spend it at places such as Farmer’s Markets, Small Purchases, Personal Expenses, laundry, etc. I’ve put the 1 Grand as I’m sure I’ve left out some expenses so this will help compensate my poor tracking skills.
For this road trip we knew we would have to adjust our lifestyle a lot! We saved our money for years to take this trip across the US and we knew we’d have to be more frugal on the road (mainly because we wouldn’t be making much money during our travels).There are a few things we wont compromise on: We are passionate about supporting small local companies who are involved with the community. A restaurant that serves local farm fresh food or buying beer from a small local brewery, etc. Of course this lifestyle costs a little extra money, but for us it’s totally worth it. So here was our plan to live more frugally on the road: Eat out less, purchase less expensive beverages, shop less often, and camp off the cord as much as possible.Below is the breakdown of our expenses from our 2011 Trip across the Western Half of the USA. We’ve rounded the numbers to make it easier to calculate, but this gives us a general idea of what it cost to live on the Road in an RV.
$38,105–Grand Total for both of us to live and travel full time in Windy the RV. ($6,350 Amount Saved during our trip through warranty, club rates, etc.)
Want to know how the heck we spent that much money? Us too! We have outlined the majority of our expenses in a little more detail here:
$5,525 Fuel Cost: We drove nearly 15,000 miles in the RV and 6,000 miles in the Smart Car. This includes fuel costs for the Smart Car too. We used a phone app that directed us to the cheapest diesel fuel in the area, this came in handy saving us as much as 15 cents per gallon. (est. savings $100)
$3,530 RV Camping: Includes RV resorts, State Parks, National Parks, etc. We purchased a National Parks pass that granted us free access to all National parks (approx. savings $300). We lived off the cord at BLM, National Forest, Rest Areas, Wal-Marts, Friends Driveways, etc. for 1/3 of the year. (est. savings $2,500)
$3,800 Camping/RV Supplies: This includes the towbar system, tire pressure monitor system, Camp Chairs, pretty much all the accessories we purchased to make our trip from camping world, REI, Scheels, Home Depot, Ikea, etc.
$1,000 Coach Maintenance: We were in the shop a few times along the road, but our warranty took care of most of the costs. We did pay for 2-RV Oil Changes, 2-Generator Oil Changes, 1-Wiper blade, 1-Fuel Filter, 1-Air Filter.
$500.00 Carwash: Includes 1-Hand Wash/Wax/Detail 4-Truck Stop Washes 3-Do it yourself wash 4-Smart Car washes. We were able to wash the RV a few times and the Smart Car several times at RV parks. (est. savings $150)
$700 Smart Repairs: Includes 1 oil change service, 2 rim replacements, 1 tire replacement. Because our Smart Car is the Brabus edition it has low profile tires and 17” rims in the back (BAD IDEA). We hit a few potholes along the way bending rims and shredding a tire. We purchased a tire and rim warranty and we have AAA for towing (est. savings $2,500)
$2,500 Insurance: Includes RV insurance, Car insurance, Life Insurance, Renter’s Insurance (to cover our belongings at home), Jewelry Insurance, and a Rider policy for camera/computer gear. We switched to State Farm Insurance halfway through the year and it saved us nearly $75+ per month vs. Geico and Progressive. We do not currently have health insurance, I know don’t yell at us… (est. savings $900)
$125 Propane: We only filled our propane tank a few times during our 2011 travels. We’re pretty frugal with our propane heater, but Nikki does cook a ton on the stove.
$2,300 Phone/internet: Nikki switched to Verizon when we hit the road. Jason’s still under contract with AT&T. Price includes the minimum voice plan, 250 text messages (so stop sending us texts for crying out loud! Ha), and unlimited internet. FYI – Verizon has better coverage across the US, and receives 3G more often than my AT&T phone.
$4,000 Eating Out: We made a rule, we eat dinner out once per week at a quality restaurant recommended by the hip locals. Sometimes the bill would be cheap and other times not so much. Of course we would eat lunch out, or purchase a coffee every once and a while. This includes all expenses spent at a Restaurant, Pub, Bar, Happy Hour, Cupcake Shop, etc.
$3,555 Groceries: We shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and if available local natural food markets. What’s most fun is trying to purchase local at each place; trying a new salsa, hummus, fruit, beer, etc. The ULTIMATE shopping experience comes at local farmers markets where you can purchase the most plump heirloom tomatoes ($2/lb), the brightest strawberries ($1.50/lb), and the best natural foods offered in the area. Best of all shopping at a farmers market supports the locals, and saves you money vs. buying at the grocery store. (est. savings $200)
$2,070 Cat Expenses: For safety we had to board our cats for several days during the festivals we attended, and for 3 weeks during our Best of the Road competition. Singa had to visit the vet for a cut in his eye from chasing lizards into the brush, and both cats got caught up on their shots/vaccinations. This price also includes their Food, Litter, and Wild Caught Salmon from the grocery story (yes they’re a little spoiled)
$2,000 Festivals: Coachella, Sasquatch and Burning Man. One major goal in our 2011 travels was to experience concerts and festivals like we’ve never done before. Worth every penny these festivals helped shape our lives in 2011, and give us a new perspective for 2012.
$4,000 Additional Gear: I purchased a new laptop, Video editing software, Carbon Fiber Tripod, GoPro all weather camera, Point and Shoot camera & a Camera Backpack. I also had my camera and lens professionally cleaned after Burning Man.
$2500 Misc: clothing, Laundry, RV accessories, movies, music, business cards, website hosting, etc.
Whew! So there it is. Of course there are some expenses we won’t have in 2012 but I’m sure others will pop up. So far 2012 is proving to be less expensive. We have settled into the lifestyle and become even more frugal (or cheap). We hope this helps you plan your budget.
What are your average monthly travel expenses? Do you have any money saving tips other travelers need to know about…by all means, don’t keep all the secrets for yourself! 🙂
If you have tips feel free to share in the comment box below, but PLEASE remember everyone travels their own way and budgets can be wildly different, so don’t be rude, this is a place for sharing and helping, not for judging. For all you weary travelers out there, keep it between the lines! Till next time….we’ll keep spendin’ and trackin’
Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.
I agree with you
Hi The Wynns n I luv ur videos. I didn’t see video on ur transition from rv 2 boat, that would answer the questions on what u did with ur rv and car? Did u store them or sell them? Do u plan to go back to Irving and if so, would u get class C or B rv? Thank u. Roxanne Bond
Hey Roxanne. That info is in a couple of different videos. The RV was leased and the lease was up, so it went back to Fleetwood. Just Catamarans bought the Smart and it’s now their service car. More RVing is in their future but who knows when or where.
Thanks for the financial breakdown, it’s very instructive. I appreciate your honesty! while I may think you spend some more than I may spend, I fully see the needs, that you guys have considering your particular circumstances. I am also a full time RVer. 32′ ’84 Itasca WindCrusier I love the old aerodynamic body style, but it’s nowhere near as roomy as the newer boxier models w/ slideouts. Because of it’s age and condition I’ve had to rebuild or repair or replace: Transmission, brakes, powersteering pump (includes power brakes), batteries, gas gauge sender, damaged ceiling from too heavy of a factory ac unit, Fridge. yet to repair: Fridge again, (gas side), furnace motor, cab heater to floor control (defrost works just fine) At this time in my life I do handyman work, currently doesn’t allow much full timing on the road. although I have taken time off between jobs to travel all over the Pacific Northwest from my base in Auburn, WA to Coeur d’Alene, ID, to Mountian Grove near Grant’s Pass, Or to Corvallis, to Portland to Windward near Goldendale, WA and back to Auburn for most of last summer.
I’m sorry that poor quality people write disparaging judgmental things regarding your expenses. I strongly suspect they have no viable life of their own and so don’t have anything better to do than try to demean others to their meager level.
Thank you for having fun and enjoying your life as much as you can and sharing with the rest of us!
My husband are both retired, and he wants to live the RV life. I sincerely appreciate you sharing your expenses. It makes our decision-making process much more realistic. My biggest concern is the unexpected (well, actually I DO expect this!) mechanical repairs the RV will likely need. Again, my thanks to you for sharing.
Thank you so much for all you share. I love your blog and videos! If you have stringent budget requirements, and even if you don’t I would recommend Bob’s website cheaprvliving.com- There you can learn about how many people live richly, safely and comfortably on a very tight budget.
What do KOA campsites cost? Are they a good idea? I’m buying a 15 foot travel trailer and plan to travel for a few years. I’m older and traveling alone. Plan to stay in the Southwest and Oregon.
Hello Marilyn, bravo to y’all! Re/the KOA: I’m closing in on 70, and to me the KOA is just a glorified trailer court. As such, some try to make more of this, but most are just metal boxes packed in there, with their rules/regs/kings & queens. When I travel in my 14′ class c, I make a point of stopping at the local ‘cop shops’, no matter how small the town. Give yourself time (talk with them about 2pm) to maybe even drive the 10miles to the next town (and they’ll probably even call your destination to help you out). They know the beautiful, inexpensive or even free, small town parks you can use. Most have elect/water/dump spots. And trees, and creeks, and lakes, and within walking distance to small town amenities…bakeries, drugstores, restaurants, who are all happy to have your tourist money.
Really interesting article thanks, RV`s are massively popular over here in the UK too and they are not cheap to buy but well worth the money and the effort and a great way to get out and explore the world.
Hellow . I live in Georgia and get SSI . I have been disabled ,basically my whole life . Tried to hold jobs but I had very many Panic Attacks and didn’t know what they were . Felt like dying . Anyway I get only 800.00 a month . I feel that I need to get to Colorado for my health . But I am not sure that 800 dollars may not make it . I live very cheap ,you can say . Try not to spend much because I don’t have much . I have to move from the weather here . Lived in Wyoming for two years . Colorado we just drove down and looked . I fell in love with it … Anyway I’m just trying to live as long as possible . Grandkids is one of the best reasons . Long winded ,sorry . Just wanted to know what I need to do . I live in a Camper that I can pull with my truck . Can pull it anywhere ,just looking for the best spot and the lowest rate . Thank you . If you can help I would be in your debt for a very long time !!
There is a blog post about finding free camping spots if that would help. Good luck! https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/boondock-free-camp
Thank you for replying . And I will check into that . Thx again .
Dude, CO is not affordable for anyone unless you were smart enough to buy a home before 2011.
Hi Jason and Nikki. I personally love your channel, and I watch it almost everyday! I do have a question though. Are you ever going to be RV’in again? I miss the RV series and I was hoping for it to come upon me and your fans again. Get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you, and good luck!
Well thanks for watching! We love RV’ing and it was our full time life for 6 years. So, we definitely want to rent RV’s to travel inland as we hit new countries (no rving in the Bahamas where we are now). So there are more road tripping adventures in our future but the boat is our base camp and where we will spend most of our year. As for what the distant future holds…we have no idea. Maybe a hot air balloon?
The map showing where you are now is a nice touch. Lends realism for those like me who want to know if the RV lifestyle is really possible. Just asking –
how workable do you think it is to slowly accumulate a group of websites of whom you’re an affiliate (rv’ing stuff?) to help or maybe even completely pay your RV’ing costs as you traverse the country (sounds like a doable niche in itself to me) ? I’m a retired programmer and on SS now, but would like the security of knowing I wasn’t completely dependent on SS while travelling. I love your site, BTW. Thanks – Bob
My husband and I are planning to transition to full-time RV living in the next 2.5-4.5 years once our oldest kids graduate high school (youngest will come with us and homeschool). We are concerned our biggest expense will be self funded health insurance. In your financial reports you say you haven’t purchased health insurance. What about now that Obamacare penalizes you on your taxes? Have you still chosen not to purchase health insurance and take the penalty or have you found a more affordable option? We have some medical expenses so likely couldn’t go completely uninsured. Hubby is considering a remote work job with benefits for this reason but really we’d like to travel for 1 full year without huge work commitments then do something like seasonal park ranger half the year and travel the rest of the year. Any advice or insight in this area would be awesome! Thanks for sharing your financial information. It is very helpful!
Insurance coverage with links is covered here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/insurance-affordable-rv-healthcare Definitely check out the link to RVer Health Insurance. Good luck!
Thanks for posting your Rv travel expenses, that’s really a generous thing to do and it really helps those of us in the planning stage to get a better idea of how we can achieve this lifestyle change. I can’t understand why people are being rude about it. No one would ask them what they spend in their lifestyle would they? It’s a bit hopeless that people can’t be happy for others generous and brave enough to share their lives! I know I couldn’t do it, so thanks!
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Hey there, I think your site might be having
browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog
site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet
Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to
give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!
Thanks for the heads up! I will take a peek.
My son is on a fixed disability benefits income and is exploring the possibilities of living in a TV. Do you have any links that show the absolute CHEAPEST way to do so?
Check out Bob Wells info at cheaprvliving.com it’s great for low income folks.
This is my first stop on doing research to see how I can make this work for my family. The next step is trying to figure out which RV is best for us. I’m scared but excited!!! Our plan is 3 months on the road, traveling west starting in Alabama.
I would love to see an update about living on a catamaran. Best wishes from germany, love you guys 🙂
Love your blog, as my wife and i prepare to travel full time. I tried to click your links for the breakdown of your expences, and they seem to be broken. (Im on mobile, using safari.) keep up the great work, and happy travels-
– nevermind –
After leaving a coment i can now expand the expenses. ? Probably an issue on my end.
Good to hear it fixed itself. Thanks for the update.
My wife and i,along with our red Aussie shepherd and 2 cats just sold our 10 acre spread in tx…horses ,tractor, chickens,any thing that we couldn’t take in our 38 ft.redwood 5th wheel. We did buy into coast 2 coast membership,before discovering other free or 1/2 price deals.we are only moving about 250 MI. Each move, so far we only pay 100.00 per month to camp,granted we do have to be on the move but that’s the point of RVing rite?we are really enjoying ourselves so far and the people we meet are great and we learn Tons of rv tips as we go.what do yall think about the newer toy haulers? We have a golf cart and a harley as well.we currently pull the cart behind the 5th wheel on a 10ft trailer,and we had to store the bike…your thoughts on this please!
We’ve featured a few toy haulers in some of our videos and they seem to be nicely equipped. Here’s the last one we looked at: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/best-new-rv-2015-ca-show
Just wanted to know if you could share the free, & 1/2 price deals, and any other deals you are referring to, like $100.00 a month to camp, that sounds amazing. We are very knew and not sure where to begin our ventures, as full time RVers. Retired and would love to learn from others.
Thank You, & Thank You to the Wynns for a wonderful place to learn, & share.?
I love that you broke down the expenses like this – thanks so much for doing this! Helps a lot. And next time I buy makeup I’ll be doing it through Nikke’s portal/link. Thanks!
I think it’s awesome you guys do this! I would love for me and my husband to do the RV for awhile just to try it out. I also wanted to let you know that I wrote a post on Low Cost Housing options and linked to your post here! Thanks for the great tips! Here’s the post if you want to check it out: http://www.tidyandteal.com/low-cost-housing-options/
– – Rachel @ Tidy&Teal
We are researching RVs and I have a dilemma concerning an RV vs. a 5th wheel. The reason is, what do you do if your RV breaks down or needs service and you’re living in it fulltime? Do you rent a room somewhere or can you stay in the RV – how does that work out? I would really appreciate any insight available.
Most of the time you can stay in the RV while in service, some even have mini campgrounds. In all our years of RV’ing I think there was only twice we had to get a hotel room while the coach was in service.
just wondering if my wife and I can live the dream traveling around the states on a fixed income
You can do it if you don’t have payments on your RV and vehicle. We are selling our house and will pay off our bills. We are on SS and are wanting to get on the road. We have sold almost everything and are just waiting to sell the house. You can do it if you really do your research. Good luck
Hello, I am a female, 50, and am on disability due to my spine being fused from my shoulders to my tale bone. I am very interested in living in an RV. I would sell my personal belongings to enjoy the adventure. i already live a very frugal life style. I want to see the world our Lord created. i am very nervous but still desire the adventure. Have you found it to be safe traveling? How often do you travel from one location to another? Are the camp sites dog friendly? Do you recommend any RV groups to travel with?
Pay no mind to the ignorant few; the rest of us really find value in the information you share. We’ve been transitioning away from the “american dream”, sold our house, are doing some major downsizing now and learning to live on less than half of what we made before. We are putting all our time/effort into selling our stuff and inventory from our micro inventory-based business (i.e. Ebay/Etsy shop) and transitioning to multiple streams of revenue that allows us to travel lightly. We only pay for essentials right now so we can save the rest. People just don’t know the whole story and like to play the victim game when they hear of people leading fulfilling lives and assume you are loaded; like you we are choosing to empower ourselves and our dream, not be stuck in fear and everyone else’s view of what life should look like. Bravo Nikki and Jason!
Wow…Too bad only millionaires can do this…
That’s funny…we’re not millionaires and neither are any of our other full time RV’ing friends. RV’ing is just another form of living which means it can be done on all kinds of different levels and budgets, just like living in a sticks and bricks house.
Hi there, Just stumbled onto your site while looking for info on the best small motorhomes. My husband and I are in our 60’s and want to get our first motorhome. We have hesitated before because I was afraid of taking on the task of driving something big at our age. Then a friend showed me their little Winnebago and said it drove and parked beautifully, and we are thinking that could be a good compromise to a big RV. We will spend extended times at our children’s homes, and travel around California mainly, and perhaps to a few surrounding states. Do you have any advice on purchasing a smaller unit, perhaps other brands, or what we should look for?
Enjoyed your videos and blog.
In the process of buying an RV and Excursion 33d is on the top of the list which makes your Roy very interesting.
Thanks for all the great info!!
We have just decided that we are going to plan a 6 months tour of the US in an RV! I have been looking forward to this moment for years and years! I was born in the US and have lived the the UK for most of my life but feel the need get back, something keeps trying to pull me back and now I’m a coming!! I also was separated from my brother when I was 2 years old and never met, I search for him through adoption agency for years and guess what HE found me!! So we are coming over in September to meet my brother and his family after 47 years!! holy moly! My bother and I are super excited…. So, I need to ask a question what type of RV should we purchase for me and my partner and we also have 2 dogs? I have been looking at the Thor Ace but not sure if this is a good choice or not, any advice would be much appreciated.
this is also interesting. we own a 20 year old fore travel that has just over 100K on the cat diesel engine.our goal is to get it to700,000 miles before we trade it in. we started out slowly with trips from Florida to Mass yearly last year we expanded to go into Canada usually 6 weeks at a time. this year we are taking 6 months and going west then across Canada and back to Maine and down the east coast. i budget $5K per 6 months and keep a $5K contingency budget. my expenses look very similar to the wyns.we do all our own repairs; thankfully. We are now renovating the inside of our home. i say we are practicing for retirement. WE should be really good at it by the time we actually retire. we also maintain a home base in Florida and a condo in hawaii.
Marissa + Ty
Aloha! My husband and I are both disabled vets trying to spend the most time with each other and our children before our children no longer think we’re fun. I’m trying to get a better understanding on how much we’d need to make to be full time rvers with a family of 4
I am considerating selling my house and getting either an RV or Log Home or an A-Frame or getting a Tiny house which is the big thing now . After doing my research all a tiny house is an RV with wheels. No truck to pull it with though . That would be extra . I thought the cost of a tiny house would be great because they are less expensive but they aren’t . After looking at several of them I’d rather just get an RV . But where would you get mail? How long can you stay at one camp ground? Since your always moving do you pay taxes? Please tell me how do I find these answers . Thank you very much and one more thing . If I did want to go to Paris or somewhere else over seas do I have to leave my RV somewhere else? Thanks again . I look forward to hearing from you .
Joanne, we have an article about this that should help send you in the correct direction: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-questions-residency-mail-health-insurance
Here’s another vote for you to keep it up. I’m 65 and preparing to stop working. I don’t want to just sit in a house and wait to die! Looking for a coach and preparing to hit the road. My wife is less than enthusiastic (so far) but I think once we get into it, the light bulb will turn on. We have always enjoyed traveling together, even our camping trips. Thinking about all the changes of scenary makes me all the more enthusiastic. I can cook a meal and clean a floor just like anyone else so that we can both enjoy our time seeing the country.
I like to read how people manage to live ‘on the road’. I (woman) am bussy now with an old Volkswagen LT and an old caravan Fendt Baronesse/Comtesse to prepare for long trips with my husband. I really like to read everything that you have done till now. I do have an suggestion; eventhough I am living in France I would like to offer help for travellers like you if you are in need because of engine-failure or something like that. The benefits are that you can park on our property and we know all the garages etc. in the neighbourhood. Also we have tools and friends who are mechanics. Share a meal and a cup of coffee with you will not make us bankrupt. I hope that other people will do the same. Enjoy your tour!
Sounds like a fun project! So nice of you to offer up a parking spot. There is a website called boondockers welcome that offers parking spots from fellow travelers. Check it out as it might interest you.
Just curious, did you receive my comment regarding El Paso and Juarez? Glenn
Hey Glenn. We did but just hadn’t had a chance to respond until today.
My wife and I just purchased our first travel trailer. We bought it as a way to allow our two newly adopted children from China to see their new country and create some amazing memories with us. I am sorry to hear people are judgmental and rude but we have really appreciated all the information (including personal) you have shared. I am certain for every jerk there are ten “newbies”who you have really helped and I am sure that’s why you started this site in the first place! Thanks again, keep up the great work and we look forward to seeing you at a campground in the near future!
As soon as my house sells, I will use the proceeds to pay off all my remaining debt and my wife and I are planning a one year sabbatical traveling the country. We aren’t getting any younger and while I have had the luxury of traveling all over America with my previous jobs, my wife was raising our kids and not able to go with me often. This time we will travel together all over America and plan to write a BIO blog of our journeys. I am excited to start such an adventure before I am too old to do it. Sites like this one have been my inspiration to taking the leap of faith.
Thanks Chris, but be careful as your story starts like many “full-timers”…we’re taking one year…five years later… 🙂
Dan and Sharon Griffin
Thank you so very much. this information has been most helpful. We have been looking into the possibility of full motor homing in the next year or so and this gives us a lot of helpful info
Paul & Joanette
Thank you so much for sharing your expenses…it helps a lot and we really appreciate it!
You asked if any one read or cared about the expense reports, I do. We are in the downsizing mode and it will be 1 1/2 years til we full time. ( We just bought a fifth wheel that is in storage and have no truck at this point) I have visited several other sites and keep returning to yours. I think I could write a blog on preparing and down sizing but have no idea how to start one. Please keep up the expense posts.
T C Spencer
Are you going to post your expenses for 2015 which would include Alaska?
Alaska would have a higher cost of living than the lower 48 United States.
You mention Amazone Prime… How does Amazon Prime work when you’re on the road? To what address do you ship packages?
This actually might get easier once you’re cruising (sailing) full time, as you’ll be able to use the local harbormaster’s office as the shipping destination if you’re staying in a harbor. Not so easy if you’re picking up moorings or anchoring out (sailing equivalent to wild camping).
We do love our prime! Here is a post about mail and such: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-questions-residency-mail-health-insurance
Love your website and blogs! I just discovered it a few days ago and have been “binge” watching and reading all weekend. I am about 5 years out from retirement and your blog is inspiring and informative. Keep living the life!
Thanks for the kind words Jim! Glad to have you on board!
I will be headed out fulltime next fall and I am looking at what I will need for inusrance. I saw your expense for insurance mentions renters. Can you explain what this covers? Thanks!
Have enjoyed your site. Your postings/videos are what convinced me to buy a composting toilet!
If you have an insurance agent it’s best to talk with them about your options, costs and understanding the rules applying to RV travelers. I wish I could provide more assistance but each case is completely unique.
How did you know what size would work for you?
We didn’t know for sure, we just like the layout and thought it would work…thankfully it did.
Maik and Horst from Germany
Hello and thanks for all the infos and inspiration you two gave us for taking some time of the regular 9 to 17 job in the near future. We are planning to buy a spacy Coach in 2016. Now we are travelling 4-6 times/per year with our 32 feet trailer and our two Labradors. We are a married (in Germany “partnered” ?) couple since 2002, Horst 38 yo, me 47. I found it really a “sign”, that my situation with blood cancer in 2002 and 2005 has so much in common with RVgeeks that took the same conclusions for their life and attitude how to spend their lifetime in a responsible way. Could talk very long about the thoughts Horst and I have…
For now just again let us say thank you for all the relaxing time we can spend reading and watching your homepage and videos!
Greetings from your two German friends
I absolutely love you guys and have been following you for awhile on Youtube, but now I just started writing my own blog and its about the process of getting ready to go fulltime and I was hoping maybe you guys could check out my blog and maybe give me some pointers for getting started with Fulltiming.
It would be awesome to hear back from you.
By chance have you encountered anyone heading hard south, meaning to the tip of So America from the US? Perhaps adding further, from Brazil, by 20′ container of their RV to Europe and then onwards to the Balkans, ie Crete?
One way to go fulltime and cut expenses is work camp. We have met many people that do this and save a lot of money. Food,insurance,any rv repairs,health insurance are really your only large expenses. Only con is if you still have a lot to see or do not want to work at all this will not be an option for you. And thank you for all the work you put into site very informative.
So true Fred! We have a story in our Make Money and Travel series about a woman who has spent a good portion of her life doing just that. She has worked all around the country and has some amazing stories. Her name is Judy Kerns and her story can be found here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/make-money-travel
Hi, My name is Dawn and my husband and I are looking to sell all and become full time rv living. I would so appreciate to be able to find some couples who do this and that would be willing and open to talk with my husband and I over the phone so we could ask questions and get their perspective since they have been doing it. I have been on a few web sites to try to find some people to talk to and not been successful. What would you suggest. My husband and I want to get out from a house payment and be free to travel some mostly back and forth to see our children out of state and spend time with grandchildren. We don’t want to be foolish and just jump out there with out doing our home work first. Thank you for any insight you would be willing to give us.
RV shows are great places to meet fellow RV’ers, the forums like irv2 are great for chatting and asking questions and membership groups like escapees are there to help people through the process. Then of course there are blogs like ours where we try to share helpful information and a general glimpse into the lifestyle. Blogs are a fantastic resource and if you spend some time watching videos and reading through you will learn a ton.
Very informative site, thank you for all the work putting it together. My wife and I have a small rv and are intending traveling from Fl. to the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area and would like to know how much hard cash we should carry. We are not trying to skimp, we don’t need to(thank God) and besides we want to enjoy ourselves, but feel we should have some cash with us but not too much.
Thanks again for a greast site.
Mark and Lauree
You guys are terrific. Your details of showing your budget is incredibly helpful. Both with business info and now without (thanks to mean people) I love watching yalls videos. Been telling my wife about your adventures . I email her lots of rving videos and she watched the 2 bike Chicago videos and she is now hooked on watching your adventures. I have been talking full-time for 4 years, she kept saying no. Now she is quickly seeing what we could do fulltiming thanks to The Wynns. If ever in Houston Tx area yall can park on our back 1 acre with 110 plug, sorry no 30 or 50 amp. Better hurry tho, full-time might be coming next year for us. Fingers crossed. Thanks again for yalls openness and for sharing.
Thanks for the love and I really hope we run into you on the road before we do in Houston!
O really DO appreciate how you have listed your expenses, especially the “before” posts that listed everything, because we are just in the PLANNING stages of a full time, 3+ month, RV trip. We haven’t even bought an RV or trailer yet; still going through the pro’s and con’s of which way would be best for us. Since budget is a huge concern, we needed to know all the nitty-gritty “small stuff” that still adds up. I’m sorry you have had to deal with the culture of “rude” from people hiding behind a keyboard. I’m sure some questions may have been relevant, but some judgements could be held. You’re just human beings, after all. Not a major company required to do meticulous research with charts, graphs, scientific evidence and everthing else these people seem to require. It’s obviously anectdotal. Thanks again! I truly appreciate it!
Thanks for sharing these details. Just signed up for your newsletter to get more helpful tidbits as you post them. We are planning on downsizing from our SF Bay Area home to a full-time traveling RV and need to work from the road. It’s especially helpful to us to see connectivity costs, which we were thinking would cost us quite a bit each month. Thus it was shocking for us to see folks being able to spend only $600 total per month. We will be lucky to keep our expenses to $2k/month! Looks like a $3K monthly budget could work even after eating out and buying quite a bit of booze 🙂
Tom and Beth
Thank you for providing so much good info. Sorry to hear the internet trolls have been critical. Ruins it for the rest of us that want to learn. It appears your average cost of leaving is ~$10k per quarter. Really appreciate you both share what your doing. Don’t know if you have posted this, but would be interested in what each rig cost. Feel free to email direct if you like. The way you live / travel appeals to us and we are trying to figure how much it will cost initially to start the RV life style. Thanks again and safe travels 🙂
Ditto to Doug’s comment. You guys are awesome!
I forgot to check the follow box below to hear the reply from current message. Thanks Rhonda
I’m looking at buying a small rv (r pod) and live and travel in it. I’m retiring in 9 months and I want to live cheap for a while until I’m ready for a house and mowing a lawn again…UGH! You have truly helped me on the dos and donts from your former videos. I’d like to continue my research for the next 3onths and be sure…1-I can afford this…2-which rv is best for me…3-and no regrets. I’m open to more help or advise. Thanks! Rhonda
Sounds like you have an adventure on the horizon! Its really hard to give super personalized suggestions without having a chat session to fully understand your wants/needs but I will say: if you want to save a few bucks, travel slow, book monthly at campgrounds (much cheaper than daily fees) and visit farmers markets and cook in the RV.
Joe the computer guy
Pay no attention to the the few who want to rain on your (and our!) parade. We appreciate all the work you guys put into putting all this information out there. It’s not easy tracking all the info and then putting it out there for the world to see. Again we appreciate it. I am an Amazon fan and shop there all the time. I hope you get a nice little stipend from them. 😉
There is a reason for my post beyond saying thanks. In your numbers for insurance it is pretty high compared to what I am planning on. I am hoping my auto insurance will be staying the same as what it is now. I also know what my class A costs. Any ideas what the increase (if any) there might be once I go full time and sell my stix and brix home? My countdown has begun. 79 weeks 🙂 I started purging my stuff on CL and eBay. It’s rather liberating (and I cannot lie, a bit scary). Hope to hear back and also love following you adventures in Alaska.
Thank you so much for sharing all the details. It really helps so much…
Thank you for your posts regarding cost. We are family of 4 who would like to do the same, but had absolutely no idea of monthly expenses. This gives us a great deal of insight on how to plan our budget and I appreciate all your information.
I’d like to comment to all the judgmental people out there, but I would be no better than them if I did leave my thoughts. I just want you to know what you did gave people like me with a dream, an idea of what the cost would be and a sense of security no going in totally blind. It makes the dream more attainable. Thank you:)
Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know you found this helpful. If you have not already, you may want to check out the group fulltimefamilies.com as there are lots of other families out there roadschooling and having a great time. Good luck and I hope we see you out on the road!
Just wanted to thank you for all the really helpful info here on your website- We just recently have made the decision to sell the house , take an early retirement and dive into the rv life full time. Problem was we didn’t know didn’t know diddly! We have a 5 year plan to get all our ducks in a row to full fill this dream but need to know so many things before hand.and you both are a goldmine of useful experiences and information- if you don’t know something you lead us in the right direction and that is all one can ask.
Thanks so much again for the time and experiences you share!
Happy trails you crazy kids!
Aside from the money for the vehicles and a tow, can you give a projected gross monthly budget for two adults in their 60′ ???
I believe that would held everyone trying to make the ultimate decision and then they could make their equipment decision with that in mind.
I am really scratching my head as to why you would not include the cost, finance, and depreciation of your RV in your calculations. I understand that everyone’s RV values will be different but by avoiding those calculations all the other calculations you’re are giving just gibberish. For example that $100,000 RV will only be worth $50,000 in five years. Just the depreciation alone over 5 years would be $833.00 per month! Then there is DVM fees, insurance,
maintenance, finance and principle costs. These must be included in anyones “true” budget.
You got it, those should be included in everyone’s budget, but there are a ton of variables. Some people go for a trailer or van they pick up for $1000 while others could go for a brand new motorhome at $300K. No matter what our expenses are, yours will be different. We decided to share our general monthly expenses to help others. If you think its gibberish (poo on you), fine but there are plenty of others who appreciate the information.
Nikki, Thank you for your reply. I meant no disrespect by using the word “gibberish.” I appreciate all your videos and valuable information: So in your case, If I may ask, what was the cost of your current RV, the taxes, and the documentation fees? Did you purchase an extended warranty? What was the cost? Did you finance your motorhome? If so, for how many years? what is the interest rate? What is your current monthly payment? How much of the interest can you write off as a first or second home on your taxes? as a full time RVer is there a particular state I should be setting up a fictitious residence so I can save on taxes? For example in Oregon they do not have sales tax on cars or RV’s (that’s about a $10,000 savings on a $100,000 motorhome). Any idea what your current motorhome will be be worth when you sell it in 5 or 10 years? 25% less, 50% less. Once again I want to thank you for all your valuable information.
Nikki & Jason, Thank you for posting your expenses. The two of you have been an inspiration to me. Pay no heed to the rude me monkeys, if we had it their way we’d all be alike in lockstep on our way to Lowest Common Demoninatorville. Keep doing what you are doing. Thanks again. -Doug
Hi, folks! I just finished a 2-week car trip with my dog, Monk. It was fun! Such freedom! I’m retired and considering hitting the road permanently in an RV. This is more than a bucket list thing, it’s a dream. I’ve spent years flying back and forth over America and, although I’ve been in every state at some time, I haven’t stopped to smell the roses. Your article is a great resource for expenses. I don’t plan on doing this without checking out the realities. Because I moved around for my job quite a lot, I enrolled my dog in the Banfield Pet Hospital Wellness program. It’s a flat rate each month ($41.00/month, includes an annual dental cleaning), which covers most of the things you mentioned in your article for your furbabies (wellness checks, vaccinations, x-rays). There are some things that happen outside of the plan, but there is a discounted rate for scripts and other procedures not covered. Banfield is associated with Petsmart, so there are many across the country. In a 2300+ mile journey, I researched at least 8 along the way. All pet needs met in one spot. Just a suggestion
Thank you for taking good care of your pets! All you advice and cost to travel are well appreciated, I can not imagine why anyone would be so rude as to scrutinize your $ numbers, I found your cost facts very helpful. Thanks again!
I would guess that you did receive several negative comments on your life style. But it’s great at a young age your able to enjoy life and all it has too offer.
I will be retiring next year and looking forward to traveling. I was curious, in your expenses. But why you have renters insurance?
I have RV insurance, repair on RV insurance, and road side assistance. I have AAA on cars, but went with another for roadside.
Taking this year to get things in order. Deciding if I will keep/rent out or sell house. “Shake down” RV trips. Finding out about Veterinary services and travel documents for taking dog on the road, etc.
Love your inputs. Likr anything in life, you have to think about your goals and limitations. Then adapt!
I’m definitely not ready to sit inside and play cards! But a few beers and conversation. ..excellent
The start of a new life chapter, everyday!
P.S. have you checked out the “Bernie”? Just got mine for a portable fire pit/grill.
Thanks for sharing! Hoping to hit the road as soon as we sell our house so it really helps to see some real numbers. Especially from a younger couple, most I’ve found is retired couples which doesn’t (unfortunately) apply to my situation. Keep on being fabulous on the road! 🙂
Amanda @ Sprouted Wellness
Thanks so much for sharing your expenses! I came across your blog a year ago when I was wishfully thinking of full timing and now we’re getting closer to that reality so I”m researching expenses. I appreciate your detailed spreadsheets and while I know it varies family to family, it’s very helpful to get an idea of what we might expect.
I’m a health & wellness coach and my husband is active duty military. I’m looking to retire him and do my work full time from the road. It’s time for freedom!
Love following your travels on Instagram 🙂
So glad you came back and that you are getting closer to hitting the road! Your line of work is perfect for this lifestyle! Hope to see you out here and thanks for the kind words.
Can you elaborate on the “12 day downtown Chicago parking pass”? We want to visit Chicago and are curious where we can stay while there over the summer.
Thank you for sharing your life’s adventures and the cost of living on the road. We will be heading south April 1 for six weeks. I have been doing some budgeting and looking at your numbers have been helpful as well as places you have visited along our intend route.
You videos are so enjoyable to watch and informative. The series on the composting toilet has convinced us to put one in our 1965 Airstream Tradewind that is in the process of having body work done before we put her back together for longer future trips. For now, we will head South in our 19 foot Airstream Globetrotter with our three border collies.
We are big fans of solar and the videos on solar and related equipment was very informative. Since my husband works in the solar/wind business we already have panels, but not the flexible ones.
Thank you again
Nancy from Vermont
While all of us full-timers meet great people on the road, there will always be rude and beyond people. I’m sorry they touched you two and pray you hear no more from them! You two are so giving in sharing your lives like open books-i hate it that you’re censored over their thoughtlessness…more than likely it’s just jealousy!
We’re about to create a budget as we’ve been living large and now want to upgrade to a Class A diesel, used. So we’re just cutting expenses but can’t wait for boondocking and dry camping experiences. We’re paying dealing for full hook ups in “resorts” where we basically just sleep and eat!
Thanks for another great post!
PS we’re probably eligible to be called blue hairs but you’re only as old as you fell!!! Haha! We prefer diversity, too!
We are a family of four and are saving up to travel for 2 yrs or maybe more! I am a cancer survivor and I want to see everything I possibly can due to my new outlook on life. My kids are excited about it (my husbands getting there ;). It was his idea to go camping in 2 wks & go look at Rv’s next week so that’s a good sign lol. I will read your blog through & through …I’m going to need a lot of good tips 🙂 Thank you.
Congrats and may the trip be everything you dream and more! You’re in luck, this week we plan to launch a new “RV shoppers series” that should help answer a lot of your questions.
Hello Jason & Nikki,
Thank you for your time, gifts, and all your helpful blogs. I wanted to apologize for all those that were judgemental and critical. It’s really an unfortunate way to live. I really appreciate your words and insight. I have found it very helpful as I am preparing to hit the road. Thank you!!
I see someone asked a similar question, but maybe you just missed it. My girlfriend and I are nurses and we’re about to travel. We’re thinking an RV is the right move for us and I’m trying to figure out what its going to cost. We don’t have much money saved for something like this, we pay student loans of course! It appears you’re not financing your RV, is this the case or do you keep your payment to yourselves? I just dont know if its crazy to think that people are financing say, a 150k RV over 10 years at 1500 a month. Is this what a reasonable couple does? Or is that wacky?
our first RV was financed, the cost was around $900 per month for a $100,000 RV. We saved up before we hit the road, but we’ve talked to many people that do it completely different than us.
My husband and I are also travel nurses (we are retired, but going back to work). Just bought a $100,000 fifth wheel and used 2013 Ford 350 dually. Taking the plunge in May 2015. Life is short.
ps: We rented our home , so it’s an even exchange.
I have been following your blog & youtube videos for awhile now and thoroughly enjoy them. In fact your video on the composting toilet has convinced my sister & I to get a natures head installed in our rv as soon as spring comes along. We plan on fulltiming early 2016 & can’t wait. Too bad you have encountered negative people, you two have been wealth of information for people exploring fulltiming in my opinion. Please keep putting out the great content that you do, it is much appreciated here!
Thanks for the love Carol! I am always so happy to hear people are finding what we do helpful. Most everyone is really is so great, appreciative and supportive like yourself and we realize not everyone is going to love everything we say and do. We won’t let the few grumpy pants get us down. Hope to see you on the road!
My husband and I have been researching in-depth the cost of full-timing with 3 kids (3 and under!!! YIKES!) and a dog, so we appreciate people like you who are willing to share what works for them.
It’s funny that several of the blogs I’ve come across with budgets have talked about judgment on expenses and what a commenter feel is an excessive expense. Everyone has priorities in their lives and budgets. I’m sure if you looked into the finances of these commenters, you could find spending that you may think is excessive to you, but to them it’s a necessity. People need to LIGHTEN UP! 🙂
Either way, thanks again for sharing, we are hoping to hit the road full time early next year so your tips and tales have been added to our ever-lengthening wants, do’s, and don’ts list!
Thanks to both of you for this relevant information and thank you for all the great work you do on your site.
I’m also working on getting out of the house for good 😉 and info like this helps a ton in figuring out what I’m in for.
My apologies for the idiots of the world, lol.
Keep on having a great time and a great life.
Thanks for posting your expenses, it helps those of us who are in the planning phase of our travels. While it is unfortunate that people feel compelled to comment (and advise) on your expenses, it is not a suprise that they do. People have all sorts of funny ideas.
My wife and I really enjoy the material you share, particularly the “don’t do it this way” videos. Having done many home renovations I can relate.
Keep up the good work, we are hitting the road in a little over a year from now, who knows we may bump into each other sometime in the future.
Kent and Doreen Youngman
Thanks for saying hi Kent…and yes I hope we see you out there soon.
Dear Nikki and Jason,
Thank you very much for all the useful and practical information; especially from a personal and real-world perspective.
As I checked out your cost accounting information, I noted that there was no mention of which RV was used when, nor what the fuel mileage actually was.
I also did not see any mention of what one can expect for financing an RV, if that is what you did.
This info would be helpful.
Thanks so much.
Jason & Nikki,
I just recently came across your blog and I am now obsessed with it! I love the information you share, your videos and just the overall wealth of information it is. I am a special education teacher and my husband is a graphic & web designer. While we don’t plan on selling our house (we love it!), we would definitely consider renting it out long-term so that we could travel the country. Like you, we <3 craft beer, wine and amazing local food, along with the freedom and adventure of a childless life. 🙂
It makes me sad to see that you have to stop sharing things on your site because of the judgement you get from people, but I completely understand. While we currently do not have an RV, our hope is to buy a sound used RV in the next few years and begin to travel as our schedule allows. My dream would be to travel full time for at least a year while working along the way. Until then, I'll just have to live vicariously through you guys while we get our ducks in a row. Great job and don't let the internet trolls get you down! You guys rock!
Thanks AJ, so happy to hear from you…keep enjoying that craft beer and good luck with the RV purchase.
My family consists of myself, my husband, and two toddlers. We are hitting the road next summer for a few months of slow cross country travel. My question is, do you have any campground memberships, and if so, which one do you think would be best for my young family? We prefer to be in more of a campground setting than an RV resort, and we would also like full hookups and bathroom facilities if possible but we would be willing to forgo the bathrooms to save on price. We want to spend a lot of time reconnecting with the outdoors and visiting some national parks. Your budget and all of the wonderful work you do has really helped me begin to plan our trip and I can’t thank you enough.
Welcome Bethany, glad to have you here! We have documented a lot of campgrounds and they call all be found here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/category/campgrounds
You will want to spend some time on our RV’in page: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rvin
And here is our post about camping programs and such: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/free-camping
My wife and I are joyously offloading our excess stuff (which is pretty much all of it…) in preparation for selling our FL waterfront home and hitting the road next year. We love what you do here and find the information you provide to be absolutely priceless. We are successful creatives who will continue to work our business while on the road, and we have no intention of eating twigs and nuts topped with cat food just to save a few pennies. People are curious and questioning because your lives are interesting, but please don’t let a few self appointed “lifestyle Nazis” get to you – unfortunately whenever you put yourself out there they always come crawling out from under their rocks. Just remember that for every one of them there are a thousand of us fans who know how hard you work, celebrate your success and hope to meet you someday when we both are enjoying a fabulous dinner at some legendary local restaurant. Cheers!
We’re (planning) to head towards FL this winter, maybe we’ll bump into one another sooner than you’d expect?
Let’s plan on it – we’re buyin’. Email me when you know more.
Just wanted to say that my husband and I are considering transitioning to this lifestyle and we appreciate you laying out the details of expenses so we can get a good picture of what it will cost us and what’s feasible for us. I’m really sorry to hear that some rude people have driven you to have to censor what information you share. What is it about the internet that makes people think it’s okay to spew judgment at anyone for anything? Anyway, thank you for sharing and know we’re not all jerks!
Thanks so much for the kind words Kelly, we don’t let internet troll bother us much. We will continue to share our main travel expenses as we know it’s a curiosity and helps give newbies and idea of what it costs us to live and travel.
Just like anything in life, you can’t please everyone and everyone doesn’t have the same amount of money Which makes this country great. In the US you can work hard and succeed. And those that don’t have nobody to blame but themselves and government that takes so much from those that do work hard. I just found your site and am hoping to find out the cost of going full timing. My hubby and I have no idea what the costs would be or how to determine how much we will need to live our life on the road. I’m hoping reading your site will give me more insight. What would be really nice is a book that gives a good idea what to expect. We have our unit already, after many tries I think we found the one that will serve us the best. If anyone knows of any books on this matter please let me know.
David and Angie Brayfield
You guys rock. Love the expense detail. I’m a director/producer myself and my wife is an actress/spokesperson. Have talked about living full time in an RV, but mostly within the state due to business, clients, elderly parents, etc., – with the occasional road trip. Can’t tell you how much you guys have helped us plan. Your videos are excellent too, and I know what I’m talking about!
Thanks guys! That’s exactly why we put this info out there, to help fellow travelers out. So, its always rewarding to hear that its doing just that. Hope to see you on the road someday!
David and Angie Brayfield
Just read all your cool info about your visits to Cloudcroft, NM. Actually visited there many times as a kid when my dad was stationed at Holloman AFB. Lived in Alamogordo too. I remember the artesian wells, horseback riding and camping. Took my wife through Alamogordo many years ago on our way to live in LA. Can’t wait to do it again in an RV. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Odd, why on earth would anyone snub their nose at you for showing all of your expenses? I personally believe that you have done a wonderful thing with all the work you put into this blog of yours and people can simply add or remove what doesn’t apply to them! You both found a way to still bring in some added income by running a small business on the road and believe this is valuable for many who may want to free themselves from the reigns of a 9 to 5 career who may have some retirement to be self supporting, yet want that little extra to enjoy a lifestyle full timing it on the road that’s a little more comfortable and not too limiting.
It’s unfortunate that in spite of one’s best efforts to educate others based on one’s personal experiences, there is always one out there who’s own jealousies and selfishness will create an atmosphere of criticism instead of praise and support in what it is you are doing!!
I’d say 99% of people who find their way here are extremely courteous so its not a big problem…but for some reason this particular post seemed to get the most negativity. Oh well, we’ve nipped the issue in the bud and we’ll continue sharing the expenses that are necessary for Full-Time travel.
My first post said I’m new to your site. So not sure if you have this already. Wouldn’t it be great to have a section on your blog for what people do to make money on the road? I know I need some ideas. I don’t want to rough it along the way. I want to enjoy life. *S*
We have a whole section dedicated to make money and travel! https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/make-money-travel
Thank you but I found it I should have explored the site first. Very nice site you have.
No worries! Glad you found it. Let us know if you have trouble finding anything else you think we may have covered.
HI, I checked the details on the expenses and they seem quite high. though you’re not spending in anything extravagant.
I think the cost of website maintenance is too high, you could cut there for sure.
The dining out and groceries seem also too high, at least for my own estimates…just caught my attention. Thanks for sharing!
Hello. My husband and I are thinking about buying a used class C RV.. We plan on living in it for possibly a few years.. We really don’t want to tow a car but fear we may end up at some point wishing we had one. What do you suggest? We don’t have a lot of funds and plan on living very frugal.
Any advice would be apriciated.
I would consider a motor cycle with a side car or something small tht save gas. And still gets you where you need to be without taking the whole rv with you
I agree. Pulling your house everywhere you go isn’t an easy task. I’d find a second vehicle of some kind. We went for a smart car that fits in our toy hauler. Driving the the truck costs too much and is a pain to park in parking lots. It’s an eight foot bed dually. Big truck.
So I’ve noticed you folks had 3 different motorhomes, with the last one I saw was a Fleetwood Excursion, I didn’t get its name? So I was wondering what the thought process was for the changes? I’m playing with the idea of going to a fulltime status, selling my house, divorcing, and having ten more years of work, what RV will be best for ME. I’m a avid outdoors person with a custom built jeep and motorcycle. I first thought just get a Gas RV to use, pay cash for a used one. But now I’m thinking maybe get something to have for twenty years, make payments for the Home Owner tax benefit, and a strong RV? When I retire I would be in Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, western U.S outdoor living. I was looking to hear your feeling would be?
Also I was wondering what the advantage of the “composting Toilet” is?
You two are so very lucky with this life style at the level you are able to live it, don’t look back, just keep rolling!
Also when looking for as you say “dry camping, Boonedocking” it is also referred to as “Displaced or Dispersed Camping” in the Sierras here in Calif. And is my favorite way to camp.
Very thankful of your post
Hello Rasta Papa,
Here’s a few helpful places to start, if you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section of that article:
Fleetwood RV: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/roy-the-rv
Why we switched RVs: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/new-rv-adventure
Composting Toilet: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/all-composting-toilet
You’ll also be interested in seeing our article that will go live next week about Diesel vs. Gas; so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter.
See you on the road.
Hey Wynn’s, very cool to see the video on YouTube and read these post.
I was wondering if you had any direction for info on living in a RV while I still work at a brick and mortar office? I really can’t wait to leave so. Cal., but have ten more years to go before retirement. Just me and my dog.
Anyhow, thanks for your time,
ooooh, I’d say purchase a small RV as soon as possible and see how you like it. Then go bigger before you hit the road full time.
We really appreciate the transparency you have provided in your blog posts, detailing expenses. We have found it useful for our own budget planning. Such a shame that some people find the need to project their own issues around how and where you spend your money and live your life. I totally understand why you are not sharing that detail anymore, but do appreciate what you are willing to share. I guess if people want more detail they can book an hour chat session with you! Anyway, it’s good to have this awareness as we might think twice about the level of detail we are willing to share in our posts too.
Good Call Julie, if you wanna know the whole scoop book a chat session! Can’t wait to see you guys on the road.
Greetings, I so enjoy your blog and love the perky and positive style. It’s so fun to read. You guys are very adventurous. I know because we are “nomads” too, having sold our house in Hawaii almost 2 years ago. Now we are part time USA-RVers, part time international travelers, carry-on bags only, thank you. We just spent 5 months in 7 countries in Asia. This life is super! I love how you share so much about your life, including the details, and encourage you to keep it up. To hell with the grump-sters. But as a blogger myself, I understand how criticism dampens the spirit….Keep it up and write more. I love reading it! You can check out the tales of our 2 years of adventure on http://carolsuestories.com. Roll on!
Thanks for the pep-talk CarolSue! US and International…I’m clicking over now 🙂
Nikki and Jason,
I really enjoy reading your website and watching your YouTube videos, I find your vidoes and website extremely helpful. My only child is now 19 and on the road to self-sufficiency via college. As a soon-to-be empty nester, I plan to keep a small townhouse for my young adult child to live in but I am going to travel part-time in a RV. I have the ability to work mobile in my employment and I am only 42 years young.
I want to thank you for sharing your expenses so far as it gives me an idea of how much I might spend on the road. Many of the negative comments and rude feedback comes from individuals who might be a little green eyed. Unfortunately, it is very upsetting for some people to see such a young couple living so comfortably on the road and sharing it for the YouTube and internet world to view and read. I encourage to not allow the “haters” to keep you from sharing your blessing. There are many of us who look forward to your helpful videos showing your mistakes, great adventures, purchases, and campground tours. Your solar videos are 100% helpful. I will not hit the road until I have solar installed.
Bottom line thanks for all the work that goes into creating, editing, and posting the videos and maintaining your website. Continued blessings and safe travels.
Lillian, you took the words right outta my mouth. I don’t understand the haters, but I know they’re out there. I, too, appreciate the expense breakdown of full time RVing. I’m 6 years away from making the leap myself, and it’s nice to see in black and white where monies get spent, and it might be in some areas that I hadn’t considered. People can always adjust accordingly. Reading Nikki and Jason’s posts and watching their videos has convinced me that when my wife and I pull the trigger, we’re going solar and installing composting toilets. I wouldn’t even know they existed if not for this website. Thank you, Wynn’s!
Does this expense include the monthly payment for RV or is it already paid off?
We paid for our RV upfront and do not make payments. Also we don’t include RV costs because everyone has a different RV with different payments (or no payments at all). These expenses are exclusively our costs of living on the road.
HI there! I’ve just discovered your website and I’m very excited to start reading your posts. We are still about 5-7 years away from retirement but are planning a full time RV life, at least for a few years. I just booked 10 days at a campground in Old Orchard Beach for our August vacation and the $900 price tag almost gave me a heart attack! I started to worry that the full time lifestyle might be out of our reach so I thought I better do some research. Your’s is the first website I’ve found – hoping what I read doesn’t burst my retirement bubble!
Some campgrounds offer monthly or even seasonal rates which are drastically lower than daily rates. Also there’s plenty of free places to park the RV if you want to get out and Wild Camp. Read these two article to lift your spirits:
Hope this helps!
Thank goodness you have the finances and securities to afford the RV lifestyle you two are able to enjoy. You do not need to apologize for that. You guys do a good job of keeping the RV community informed. 2015 is my year for transitioning to a RV lifestyle. Gathering all the information I can to aid in my search and the transition itself. Looking at a nice used 33 ft. Class C that I can support with my SS check and small retirement income.
Helen, I bet 2015 can’t get here fast enough! Thanks so much for the kind words and we are looking forward to having you join us on the road.
My wife and I enjoyed your website originally as a passing entertainment phenomenon. Then we decided it made a lot of sense for us. We are in our late 60’s, have a huge old house filled with antiques that the kids either don’t want or cannot handle. So we are following your suggestion. We are selling it all ourselves; dividing the spoils, and buying an Excursion (a light color combination we think) then hitting the road.
We listed our three story Second Empire house (like the one in Addams Family) a week ago and are in the process of uncluttering it so it can be shown.
You two are the inspiration behind our great escape. Plus this way, when it comes time to liquidate our estate, it will all be in cash, securities and one (hopefully) well worn RV.
Drake & Elizabeth Ferguson, Trappe, Maryland.
Well Howdy! I am so glad to hear you will be joining us! You’re gonna love it (if you don’t, blame Jason)! The house sounds awesome (too bad it doesn’t have wheels) but nothing beats the freedom and ability to change neighbors and scenery whenever you feel like it! Thanks so much for taking the time to say hello and let us know when you hit the road!
RV’ing to grand destinations can cause children to visit more often…
Just came across your Intro to Roy. Fantastic!
I really enjoy the website, tho I’ve only been a “fan” for 15 minutes so it will take some time to go through it all. I am considering a roving lifestyle after my daughter graduates.
Welcome! have fun poking around and let us know if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
So sorry about the negative feedback you’ve encountered in regards to your spending habits! There will always be nay-sayers, and only you know what’s best for your situation, so just move right on past ’em 🙂
Haha, thanks Ambra. We do our best to stay positive and answer as many questions as humanly possible…but at some point we realize sharing certain information just adds unwanted questions over, and over, and over… So we decided to nip it in the bud and simply share the necessities from here forward in regards to our expenses. Hope you still found it helpful.
No health insurance???
Nope, see this post: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/mexico-medical
We’re picking up our new RV today! Got a big one month long trip out west planned. A little concerned about budgeting gas expenses, especially if we run the generator a lot during wild camping. Any tips or advice for an RV newbie family?
Go Slow! That’s the biggest piece of advice. Don’t rush in or out of your camping area, that is when mistakes happen. Other than than spend a lot of time reading our RVin page. Good luck.
Awesome blog on full-timing with the quarterly breakdown of expenses.. I’m retired military, but have a few more years to go with a civilian job before saying I can do this.. Hoping in the coming few years my wife and I can do some extended trips as a way of working into it once we are synchronized with our work schedules…
So I am curious. Why can you talk about the cost of the RV? You mention you aren’t allowed to discuss the cost of the Windy, and you only suggest you are leasing the new one. My concern is that it may be false representation of the life style. I am sure many people would like to do what you do and can. However, not many people under 30 years of age can drive around in a 200K RV doing what you are doing. I tend to think the RV’s are discounted to you or even loaned to you as part of financial agreements with companies you work for. If this is true, this isn’t something the average person can do. Can you please be more transparent if you are in fact trying to promote this life style. (I am not trying to be a hater, i just want to better understand how you are doing this).
Also, I didn’t hear you mention anything about paying state income taxes. When you are traveling and producing money in states that have income taxes, are you exempt from this? If so how?
It does not matter if you travel in a $1,000,000 luxury bus or a $1,000 used trailer, this lifestyle is for anyone who wants to do it and we’ve documented many stories in our Make Money and Travel series.
As for transparency this is a personal blog about our travels where we share whatever we decide we want to share (read our disclaimer and see this blog is for entertainment purposes only). Nobody is paying us to keep this blog and website going, in fact it cost us a small fortune and endless hours of time to keep it all up and running.
We paid for our first 3 RV’s including the Monaco Vesta and we’re leasing our Fleetwood Excursion as a test unit.
For state income tax we have a CPA in our home state of TX who advises us on what to pay and to whom, I trust his recommendations and we do as we are told to stay legal with the IRS.
Bottom line is if you want to travel like us then read our blog and we’ll do our best to inspire and provide entertainment from our experiences on the road.
I’ve been daydreaming about purchasing a 25′ Airstream trailer and hitting the road full time, and have enjoyed many of the posts on your site. Of all the posts across the blog, this is the one I’ve come to the most times as it’s rare to find such detailed and thorough listing of expenses, which is incredibly useful for a total newbie! Our lifestyles and spending habits seem similar, so I find myself returning to this page frequently while planning my would-be road finances.
Today is the first time I’ve wandered down through the comment sections, and I have to say I was shocked with some of the hostile responses! Kudos to you guys for handling the negativity well, and know that for every Negative Nancy shouting off in the comments about your personal spending habits, I’m sure there are dozens of unvoiced happy readers delighted with your candid and thoughtful post. Keep it up!
We do know there’s hundreds of “happies” to every “unhappy” but it’s always nice to hear it 🙂 Glad our post is helpful to you, we thought it would great info for all who are planning to hit the road full time…either way it’s also great for us because it forces me to take the time to sit down and see where all our money is going!
It is incredibly kind and generous to share your private information in order to try to help others. Thank you! 🙂
Very cool Jason and Nikki! My wife, 6 year old daughter and 6 month old soon are looking into going for it like you guys did!
I notice in your expenses you did not have the rv cost itself? Assuming you purchased outright before your journey started? Cool setup!!!!
I am sure we will have many questions that come up. I too am going to be taking my business on the road. I am 34 and my wife is 30. Wish we would of done this 10 years ago haha. Luckily we have the ability to work anywhere so currently we camp a few times a month. But we wanna do more and figure I can potentially grow my company on the road too. So why not go full time? 🙂
Anyways cool site I just wanted to let you know.
On a side note, I ran into my high school basketball coach on our camping trip today. Told him about what we have been thinking. Low and behold he met you guys here in San Luis Obispo, CA. He owns the flip flop shops where you bought some flops haha! Small world.
Totally small world! The Flip-Flop Shop took so much care of us, cool guys for sure.
I agree, if you can work from the road why wait to start your adventure!?!
As for my expenses, we did purchase our Windy outright with cash, and we’re “leasing” the our #FleetwoodRoy so it’s not included in our expenses either. The cool thing about RV’s is you can purchase it like a house, and if you have a good CPA you write a good portion of the RV and the depreciation off.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments of our website, we do our best to read and answer every one!
So I’ve decided that I’m definitely going to get an rv and travel for a year. I currently have a couple options on rv’s, one that gets low mpg (8 ish) and one gets 15 mpg, but the second can’t tow a small car. Is the toad super important, or would the awesome mpg on the motorhome make up for the lack of a second car?
We say get the tow car with good MPG. With the 3+ years we had Windy we put 30,000 miles on the RV and 30,000 miles on the smart.
Check out my MPG posts as well, I updated the last few posts with the RV and Smart Car MPG: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/vesta-fuel-economy
Remember it’s just our opinion, but we can’t imagine travelling without a tow car.
I wish to emulate your experieince. My wife is coming along slowly but I’m woking on her. I am a retired teacher with SS and a pension. She will have SS and a small pension from a 401k. A couple of questions come to mind.
Where and how do you bank?.
How do you hjandle income taxes? Any extra deductions?
Since you have no permanent address, how about state income taxes?
Good luck on convincing the wife, we love it out here!
Bank – I use Chase as I can make deposits from my phone, there are branches everywhere, and my Credit Card gets decent points (I pay it off every month so the points are like free money).
Income Taxes – We are incorporated, and we work from the road https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/travel-money-wynns, so much of our travels and expenses are a write off. I have a CPA and a bookeeper back in Dallas. Read our make money and travel article, I’ve included a portion about write offs in there.
State Income Tax – Texas doesn’t have State income taxes. There are other states out there like South Dakota, Florida, and others that many RV’ers claim residence to save on insurance, income tax, and vehicle registration. We are actually from Texas so I cannot help you with this info, but I do know there are several locations to find it…you can start with searching the escapees program.
Hey Bill, keep working on the wife! As for your questions, please remember we are travelers, not banking or financial experts and definitely don’t feel comfortable advising anyone on the subject. So, what works for us, may not be best for you. We have a permanent address in Texas (our home state) and have a CPA that handles our taxes. There very well could be some deductions for you, but you will need to talk to a CPA to find out.
First, I want to say, I love what you do, I am an avid rv person as well. If given a choice between an rv or a car, the rv wins hands down. It has been my vehicle, storage domain, home, and vacation location. I normally live where I work rent free in property management and when not house/pet sitting between jobs, rving is sweet!
There is something that I had issues with though. The cost of the rv was overpriced and the depreciation once it was driven off the lot was not an issue that I have yet seen discussed.
It is the one cost that wasn’t mentioned (depreciation of the rv).
If you paid $208,000 plus taxes and fees and have posted your rv for sale for $109,999 a year later, that is an additional $100,000 cost added to your budget of $38,105 for at total of $138,105 or $11,508 per month.
Most of us can’t afford a $200,000 rv let alone the thought of losing $100,000 within a year.
I have to admit, I am thrifty. My first fv was a 1972 Class A Dodge Concord 29 feet I purchased for $1200.
My second was a 1975 Dodge Class C for $650
My third was a 1977 Ford Vanguard for $500
After adding the cost of repairs and paint (an additional $500-$1000 each) they served their purpose.
I intend to sell the ones I am not using for almost the price I paid plus repairs.
They are not ideal, granted, but I am love renovations and am a pintrest addict so for so little, I get to experiment a little.
The gas mileage is about 10-12 miles per gallon. I keep in mind the weight issues when I make purchases.
I liked your composting toilet, solar panel, battery needs and converter issues and plan on adapting it to them.
The point I am making is that most of us have a much smaller budget and try to live frugally and authentically.
The losses in capital investment must be honestly discussed. That same $100,000 could have been used in investment into something that would be income generating (i.e. business, nonprofit venture, real estate, lotto tickets) (the last was a joke).
Thanks for your comments Maria. It’s easy to get confused as there is a lot of misinformation floating about. You must have seen the HGTV episode. We didn’t pay $208,000 and we owned our Monaco Vesta for 3 years. Everyone’s budget and spending habits are different. We list our general costs of living, not the cost of our RV (all costs are variable per person, especially RV’s). Yes depreciation is a factor when purchasing an RV, as with anything.
My apologies if I misunderstood. For a lack of any other information, the cost of the rv was based on your HGTV segment. If spread over 3 years, then the depreciation would be approximately $2777 per month which is more reasonable if still high.
Although it was not covered in your overall budget, it should be noted especially if “investment” is used to describe the rv purchase.
An RV is a depreciating asset just like a car, the “investment” would be having a better life through travel…more of an investment in our lives where the RV is just our vessel.
We are not at liberty to discuss the purchase price of our Monaco
Vesta so any numbers that you may come up with will simply be guesses. During our travels we saw Vesta’s similar to our selling new for $140k, so I guess if you want to run the numbers for your sake you can use a $30k depreciation.
That said you must also take into consideration the fact we are an incorporated business and we received many tax benefits and write-offs by purchasing a new RV and offsetting the depreciation over 3 years.
Any major financial decision should be discussed with a CPA in advance of purchase, but for us buying a new RV was a better deal for our needs and for our company’s needs.
I hope this makes sense, we realize that everyone has unique needs and goals for their life on the road, and this post is simply to share our experience to help others. If you have not read our post on How to Make Money on the Road please check it out.
Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
for something unique. P.S Apologies
for being off-topic but I had to ask!
This is a wordpress site.
Hi, I’m new to posting and forums. This is my first one so please excuse me if I put this in the wrong place.
I am a new construction safety specialist (Just me and my small pup) and in this career picking up and moving at the drop of a hat is the norm. I just missed out on a great opportunity because I needed time to pack up my small apartment and put stuff in storage before I could go.
So my situation would be a little different. I would go somewhere, stay for 10 weeks – 2 years, and then go somewhere else. I know of several people in my field who do this and it seems a lot more feasible than staying in a hotel ($250 + per week) especially with a small dog. I guess what I’m trying to ask is: what do you thing the difference in cost might be and can you recommend any website for this type of Living? (I.e. less sight-seeing, more of just a place to live.)
Kimberly, sounds like an RV (5th wheel or Trailer) could be a great option for you. You should start by going to look at a local dealer to see if it is something you might like.
There are lots of long term RV Parks that run anywhere from $350 a month to $1500 a month depending on the park and location. Could be more comfortable (less expensive than hotels) and easier than packing up and dealing with storage units often. As for finding an RV park, that is as simple as a google search once you know the area you are headed. You can look at sites like rvparkreviews.com to read what others experiences have been.
Thank you. Did I put the post in the correct place?
I notice nobody here says anything about health insurance, vehicle insurance or camper insurance if you are pulling one. My wife and I were talking about this but can not seem to see a budget where we can afford to live like this with part time jobs where ever we end up,any advice?
Dave, please read these posts for the answers to your questions:
How to Make Money and Travel:
You’ll need to flip down the toggles to see our expenses. I only pay insurance every 6 months, so if it’s not inside one toggle it will be inside the next.
I am considering living full time in a small RV or van within the next year to 18 months, so, I am in the process of researching the subject.
I am an RN & will be hoping to incorporate nursing with travel, therefore, earning a decent living while being able to see more of the US.
I will be travelling alone.
Do you offer any pearls of wisdom for someone like me?
Theresa first let me say YOU GO GIRL! Lots of women travel alone, so you won’t be the only one but many women are too afraid to travel alone, so yeah for being brave! I would join a group like NuRvers and/or fulltime families. There are lots of great people to meet up with along the way so you will feel a part of a community and it gives you a broad group of people to reach out to if you are having any issues or questions.
Hi! I was reading your blog, and my husband and I are hitting the road in June. What are the prospects for finding work and being a full timer? Where can I work? He is a pro musician, so he can play something and put out a hat, me, no, I need a job.
You’re in luck Lisa, we have an entire section of our website about ways people are travelling AND making money. Check it out: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/category/make-money-travel
I have something bugging me. I use to work on differents states , all over the country. I think that in some way, living in the road , without a residential address is imposible. I mean , driver , license , plates, registration need a physical address.
My English is not so good. I apologize….:(
We do have an address (we have a physical address where our mail goes, others use a P.O. box or services like escapees). We are addressing the whole address and getting mail in an upcoming post. Hang in there!
I enjoy your blog a lot but I have a question. One of the ways you save is by staying at various Thousand Trails campgrounds. Just curious. http://www.ripoffreport.com has over 1,000 complaints against it. Now most are 2012 and earlier. Just curious as to how your experience has been?
Rodney we love the Zone Camping Pass from Thousand Trails which they introduced just a year or two ago. You pay for the region you’re visiting and that’s it! We’ve even seen Buy One Get One Free, so for $500 you could visit over 40 parks on the west! Do the math and you’ll see just 10 days stay and you’ve paid for the membership.
Now, the caveat is TT will attempt to sell you a lifetime or 10 year membership…this is when it gets shady. Think Timeshare!!!! They sell you something for whatever price the salesman can get you to pay, so what you pay $10,000 for your neighbor might get for $7,000. Super shady, and that is the way TT did all their memberships prior to 2012.
On the other hand there are lifetime memberships that are floating around out there which you can purchase used for a fraction of the price.
So the takeaway: It can be a rip off if you are not informed, but if you do your research it’s a killer deal.
Hope this helps!
Thank you a summary of your “road” costs. What folks generaly believe is somehow life is cheaper doing something else then what they are doing now. But we have a perpensty to do what is always do no matter what. Just because you are on the road dosn’t mean you have changed your personality. My wife and I are more like you folk so I’m guessing my expenses will be more in line with your summary.
We are not full timers but we do spend many weeks on the road. We tend to use the rv as a rolling hotel room.
Thanks for sharing TF, it’s true: habits don’t just change when you hit the road (unless you force them to). We like nice things and we buy nice things, it’s as simple as that!
You can’t include business expenses in the cost of RV living. You would have some of those costs no matter where you were living, since that’s the nature of your business.
Also, a lot of the money you spent, including a crazy amount of eating out and trips to IKEA, etc. has nothing to do with what it actually costs to LIVE in an RV (for someone who lives that lifestyle and knows how to keep costs down).
As we travel we realize organization is extremely important, thus trips to Ikea and Target. Your “crazy” amount of eating out might be a frugal amount of eating out to someone else.
Our business expenses are directly related to our life on the road, that is why I included these expenses for the most recent updates.
Your comment seems awfully back handed “for someone….knows how to keep costs down”. Are you implying that everyone must travel just like you, and that we do not “know” how to travel in an RV?
We share our experience so that it may help others plan. I do not doubt that we could live on the road for less money, but we enjoy the way we travel and we like to experience some of the luxuries that each place we visit offers. Travel is deeply personal and wildly different for each person, thanks for taking the time to share yours.
I like the enthusiasm and the life venture you all are on. My wife and I will be joining the ranks in the near future as we get ourselves set to cut ties with the world as we know it.
BUT, I have a concerns when your discussing the costs of living full-time in an RV. What I see from your expense reports is this. SINCE your a blogger it seems your expenses are kept down by getting stuff for free or HIGHLY discounted. That will not be the case for the MAJORITY of people following your blog. I would like to offer a suggestion.
How about posting your financials as you do but add in a second part showing how many things you got for free or at a big discount and show what the actual costs would have been. Then maybe try and help teach people what they can do to get these perks and benefits. Everybody loves things that are cheap and/or free.
With that said it is time to research more sites of the great adventurers of the open roads and to get ready for our own.
Jay, you have made some very big assumptions here and they are wrong. As for our expenses, they are very accurate and contrary to popular blogging beliefs we don’t all get everything for free. Our meals, fuel, insurance and all of our day to day expenses that everyone else has, are not free. We pay for everything, including our RV. We have actually gotten very little for free over the years and when we do get something in exchange for review, you’ll see it noted. Expenses vary greatly per person. Even within these comments you’ll see others spending way less and way more. We blog, because we like sharing our experiences and helping others. If you don’t find that we are doing that for you, then you are correct, time to move along.
I apologize if I seem off base but I did quickly see how you were able to get some things at a discount and that sparks my attention immediately as I am a disabled vet and will be working off of a set or close to set budget and I would love to know everything about how I can keep within that budget and if at all possible save some money along the way. The biggest fear for me is the unseen expenses that I either can not find or have not learned about yet going through all of the bloggers sites.
I did not intend to insult but after reading my e-mail It did sound a little rough. I love to see that people are “successfully” doing something that I dream of doing in the near future and I want to ensure I got as many tools and tricks of the trade when I make that leap. I have checked off the debt free box which everyone recommends but it is the other stuff that still has me nervous about this adventure. Trust me, from what I have read about I wouldn’t be amazed if you and a few others see us at your events so that we can keep on learning from the folks that have been there and done it. I look forward to watching your blog for updates and new tricks as we get prepared to change our life for the better. I hope!
I look forward to continuing to learn about the open road through your and other bloggers as your adventure continues.
Jay, glad to see you decided to write back! Maybe you are referring to the sponsorships we get like our solar from Go Power or our Thousand Trails membership? We do a lot of writing, testing and documenting in exchange for those sponsorships…so it’s a lot of work, not freebies. As for the different ways we have found to save money or great discount programs we do write about those. For example: how to find free camping, fuel saving tips, mexico for dental and the list goes on. If you haven’t already, spend some time on our RV’in page and you’ll learn about a lot of the ways we keep our expenses down. If you can think of some specific questions, please ask away. We are happy to help put you at ease or help prepare you for those unexpected expenses.
Thanks for the information. It’s funny but I was just contacted by a friend I haven’t heard from in 4 years and they recently sold everything off about three years ago and are enjoying the RV lifestyle. They just spent the summer in Alaska and currently my friend is playing Santa Claus here in Las Vegas. We are getting together tomorrow and I am sure we will have a big discussion on how things have been going so far. He has already recommended I grow my beard in for next year and play Santa. Of course I will have to die the beard as I am not quite white yet. LOL. I will keep on searching your site and thanks again for the update…
Full time RV living can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. You really just have to settle into your own budget and determine what you can do and how far you can go in a given month. My family and I have been on the road for about two years now and our pace changes dependent upon that month’s budget, and that’s one thing I love about this lifestyle!
I am about to retire and have been reading your site. But when reading about expenses, you don’t list the $50+ campsites that enable you park and hook-up.
Am I missing something?
We wild camp often, from BLM to National Forest, to Wal-Marts, Truck Stops, and of course Rest areas. Read this post on “how to wild camp”: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/free-camping
We are members of Thousand Trails as well, you pay a yearly fee and you can basically camp for free at many popular RV destinations across the US. There are other programs that are similar, TT is just the one we have a membership with.
Hope this helps.
I live in L.A. Cali and the rents are expensive, try buying a property-forget it!.. Specially for an average Joe making less than 35k a year. I got be a 1997 30’ft. RV that I live in it full time and I pay 400 dollars a month rent to the homeowner of the property to let me camp on his empty back yard.I know I tried to live on the public streets,but it’s too much of a hassle because that RV can’t be just put on one location of public street, the city parking enforcement will cite you, as well gang bangers would vandalize your home/RV.So one day I decided to post on craigslist and a man replied to let me park and live on his backyard for 400bucks a month which he kindly let’s me use his side house restroom (keep my RV restroom clean and unused) and electricity for general purpose ,Except for anytime I need my AC (I USE MY GENERATOR).Im just a basic Joe, I cut on renting small rooms for the same price, but I have more space and better independence. I usually ride my bicycle to work and public transportation (I hardly spend on gas).. Also, I have WiFi internet I get from his home, which he charges extra 20 bucks. I have a laundromat couple feet away from this property, so I just walk with my cart basket on Sundays. Life is great and inexpensive. Yea, renting an apartment in a bad/ghetto area of L.A. COULD cost around 800 to 1,000 a month. Im better off renting on a private property in a Nice safer neighbor hood.
Thanks for sharing Paul! This is awesome you found a more safe and more happy way to live on a budget in LA. Best part is you can pick up and move your home whenever the opportunity arises.
It’s really encouraging to me to see how much less it is to live on the road than in a home! And you are having a great time, living life to the fullest.
I’m a photographer and web developer. My husband and I plan to take to the road in an RV at the end of 2014. I hope to work some on the road, but mostly enjoy traveling. I really appreciate you guys and all he information you share. Thanks!
what about full time rv’ing, but not traveling… family may need to live in an rv, but in our current area… lots of year round campgrounds. I am wondering about cost? is it cheaper? without mortgage, taxes, etc. all the forums seem to be about cost of traveling… our cost needs to be about surviving… any advice would be appreciated..
This is something we cannot advise you on. Our experience is life on the road is a little less expensive than sedentary life. I do know there are several people out there living extremely inexpensively in an RV, but I’m not sure where to direct you. I would think living in an apartment would be less expensive and more comfortable than trying to live in an RV. The one piece of advice I can offer, don’t purchase a motorhome (RV with an engine) if you’re going to leave it sitting, purchase a towable that does not have an engine.
I recommend a blog written by Glenn Morrissette called To Simplify…Life on the Open Road. He actually travels in a customized VW van…..and very inexpensively.
Thanks Sue. I know there’s plenty of ways to save on the road, its amazing how inexpensively some people can live and travel!
I am so glad I found this website.. My husband and I will be retireing in 10 months and we will be in a 40 ft motorhome full time.. we both lived on boats and so we understand the limits that an RV may have.. We are looking forward to seeing some of you on the road..
Angela &Dave Duncan
Welcome guys and congrats on going fulltime! If you need anything please don’t hesitate to comment on any post, we do our best to answer each and every question! Have fun on the road…hopefully we’ll bump into you (not the RV).
Bonnie & Kevin Kappler
Wow! What a learning experience we are having when it comes to finances on the road…. We have been on the road 3 months and I have been amazed at how expensive things can be if you are not careful. It is not a matter of denial of experiences but rather choosing wisely to enjoy the same things that keep our expenses manageable. An example would be eating lunch out instead of dinner. Usually 1/2 the price.
We are both foodies and people watchers and in our first month we were doing lunch and dinner in nice restaurants and a Starbucks to use he wifi almost every day. We went over our food budget by $2500.00!! the first two months…. Now we have found that we can go to “coffee shops”. Have a lite snack without liquor or expensive beverages and then go home and share a great bottle of wine over a wonderful campfire dinner. Third month is under budget! So I would have to say food and drink was our biggest expense surprise.
The other huge and unexpected expense was for internet access. We have been very disappointed at how difficult good service is to find in campgrounds. We use the lodges as much as possible but still need a hot spot with smart phone / ipad etc…. We are now up to $300 on this item just to have backup hot spot. We are thinking about a second service such as Millicome (sp) so that will add another $100 month. Our wifi ranger has made a huge difference but it is still only as good as the router it picks up. Our Wilson has helped with the phone connection. Once again here was another big expense we hadn’t expected.
Memberships have helped also. We had a 1000 trails for west coast that helped a lot, but this winter we will be doing Florida for 5 months that will be min. of $1000/month. This is a necessity not a choice at this time but may be offset by being more local and having more park potlucks and home cooking.
Thanks again for all your work and sharing of information. It helped us so much in the planning stage. Hope to see you on the road!!!!
Thanks so much for sharing! It’s extremely difficult to find that balance of eating in and eating out when you’re first starting with a new adventure. I’m sure the pot-lucks in FL will be loads of fun, we saw so much great food and friendship in AZ last winter while we were “snowbirding”.
Our pleasure to share and let us know if we can do anything else to help.
Hi Bonnie and Kevin,
Within the last month I moved out of my apartment, purchased a new tow car and a 21′ travel trailer (monthly financing less than what I was paying for rent, and I will own them). I was really excited and didn’t quite think things through about where I was going to boondock. I work for Wal-mart and made arrangements with my store manager, but it is an awkward experience. Now to the point, I can’t be without internet. I use non contract boost mobile and pay $50 a month, this includes “unlimited” call, text and date plus my phone has hot spot capabilities. It allows for 2.5 gig a month of data and then when you reach the limit it slows your speed but you still have access to internet.
If I need more I also purchased a Wal-mart item called Internet on the Go. Device is $79 and a $45 card allows for 3 gig of download. The interesting aspect to this particular item is that it isn’t monthly. The 3 gigs lasts until you use it all, and as long as you use it once a year it stays active.
I can watch netflix, browse internet and do most anything as both devises act as hot spots. Hope that gives you an idea.
And don’t forget to read our post on Staying Connected on the Road for great tips on cheap internet: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/mobile-internet
I love your site and all the insite you give. We are planning on going on the road in 3 to 5 years and getting all our ducks in a row to do that. Down sizing is hard do do with our hobbies and family pass downs as well as tools that we may need.. We are planning on an older Class A in a price range of 30k so we have no payments. We will keep following your blog..Thanks, Jack and Diane Indy
Good luck guys! If you have any specific questions don’t hesitate to ask, if we can’t answer I’m sure we know someone who can.
Downsizing seems extremely difficult but once it’s done you’ll breathe a sigh of relief. Have fun planning.
How safe is it for a single girl and two dogs to live a motorhome lifestyle?
I wouldn’t worry about it you have 2 dogs. Get a gun.!!
Sandra, we’ve seen many single women on the road, from young to old. Keep your wits and don’t park it anywhere that feels ‘wrong’. Stay at state parks or national parks in the beginning, or even a membership program like Thousand Trails, you’ll be surprised how many people just like you are out there exploring in an RV. Have fun!
I am so very excited I found this site! I Googled costs and you were on the front page. Consider this day one of my research into living out of an RV. I will absolutely be living on a smaller budget however this is all fantastic information. I have 10 months until my lease up. In this time I am researching making an RV me home. Feeding a wanderlust I have been fighting for about 8 years now seems appropriate. If you were on a much stricter budget, where would you suggest someone purchase a RV? I am currently slightly hung up on owning “a fifth wheel?” because I own an SUV with a hitch already. However both are options. Thank you in advance! I am going to watch all your videos! It’s cool, I have a very long 10 months to get through them.
You cannot pull a fifth wheel with a SUV. You must have a truck bed to attach the fifth wheel hitch to.
I recently heard from a fellow dreamer who just purchased his RV at a Bank of America auction for pennies on the dollar. Seems like a perfect option for you to check out.
You will need to look for trailers if you want to pull with your SUV, a Fifth Wheel requires a truck bed to tow. Also make sure you know your tow rating before you purchase a trailer, many SUV’s are not powerful enough to pull a large trailer.
Please feel free to ask us anything, good luck, it’s an exciting journey.
So excited to have found your website! My husband and I own a website design and marketing company and have been working towards the goal of going half the year on the road.
I can’t wait to read more of these posts! Sounds like you have answers to all of my specific questions – even for our industry! Thank you!!
Thanks for sharing, its our goal to help inspire people to start their own adventure. Glad you’re feeling one step closer 🙂 See you on the road soon!
We are a Navy family of 6 (+3 cats) just starting out in a 34′ trailer. I am so excited to have found some families living a “full timer” lifestyle. We will mostly be tethered since my husband is still in the service, but we are thrilled that it will make traveling and changing duty stations MUCH easier! WalMart parking lots are fantastic for pit stops, it was a relief to know that I could just pop over to the grocery store if we had forgotten anything! Just wanted to say thank you in advance, since I am already brain-storming ways to organize our limited space, and figure out exactly how much we want to take with us! Best wishes on your journey…
Good luck on the road! If you haven’t seen our Wal-Mart video make sure you check it out: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/free-camp-walmart
Also our organizing video might be helpful: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-organizing
Have fun, and train those cats to walk on a leash!
I can’t tell you how empowering and informative your website is -specifically about purchasing a RV for the maiden 6 months-long voyage which Carolyn and I are about to take. I have spent what seems like a lifetime clicking/reading/bookmarking to educate myself but I always come back to your site to get grounded.
My burning issue: What do you recommend internet connection-wise? Smart phone with Verizon for all the basic information gathering/dispensing? Would it also be possible to use our laptop much as we do now for streaming and extended writing. Would we have to subscribe to a satellite service?
Thanks for fueling our ego Bob! Now that you have us all buttered up, lets get to it! 🙂 Look into millenicom it’s no contract and they have a true unlimited plan way less expensive than anyone else. as far as we know its the best bet for solid internet on the road. Stay far far far away from satellite!
Use your andriod phone for internet service it’s extremely cheap if you have a prepaid cell plan. you pay extra $10 for hotspot unlimited cell and net service.There’s a device called autonet which can provide 4g speed to for asmall fee.The device it self seela for under $300but, it’s worth it cause you move from the rv to the house.The best part is with autonet you can access any tv shows via the net.
We usually suggest Millenicom to people for internet and phone.
My husband and I are thinking of living in a 5th wheel camper RV on our in laws land while we build a little house. But the toilet is the issue. Is there another way other than driving it to a RV site to empty it?
Yep, take a look at a composting toilet. That would solve your problems! We have the natures head composting toilet and love it.
Fantastic info Nikki, You guys are doing what we hope do do eventually. Love your honesty and willingness to share. Nikki and Jason you guys are awesom 🙂 Martin Blair
Can’t wait to see you on the road Martin!
So glad we found this site, and although I did not see the previous incarnation, this one is fantastic!
We’re in the planning phases for our new full-time adventure. We’ve been blessed to travel across country 4 times in our RV, and spent almost 3 months on the road during one fo the trips … so we do have a small taste of it.
I am curious about your input on connectivity, mostly. I will need solid access to the internet as I will be working full time (project management for a tech company). I notice you mentioned an ‘unlimited data’ plan through Verizon, but what do you recommend for those who do not have such access?
I am grandfathered in for AT&Ts ‘unlimited data’ plan, but they don’t honor that, sadly, and already once slapped me on the wrist and threatened to throttle my speeds for hitting a 3GB threshold…. something I can see happening very easily if I’m working daily, streaming shows for the kids, etc.
Thanks for sharing your grand adventure!
TJ you need to take a look at millenicom. So far the best solution for phone and internet that I have found.
We are a family of four (kids were 8 & 10 at the time) with one big dog. We spent Jan – Dec of 2010 traveling the U. S. in our motorhome. We saw every state except Alaska and Hawaii.
At the end of the year, including all bills like health, auto, rv insurance, rv mortgage, etc., we spent $96,000. We packed a lunch just about every day. We only took one or two days a week to do nothing. The rest of the time we were seeing the country. We rarely spent more than a week in one place. We only ate dinner out once a week or so.
It was an amazing trip that none of us will ever forget. I love reading about your adventures!
Thanks for sharing, seems like your travel style is pretty similar to ours (without the costly camera and computer gear).
I can’t think of a better way for a family to explore, I hope your kids will take those precious memories with them for lifetime.
Bob and MaryAnne Feeney
We wondered how many miles per gallon do you get?
Thanks for sharing your experiences to help others.
Here is the overly detailed info on our MGP’s! https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/vesta-fuel-economy
Julia and Roger
Hello Wynn Family! Roger and I just saw your TV episode. Happy we did! So we will devour your blog and dream of finally making the same thing happen for us. We are older at 49 and 60, so I will see how you guys are doing and find a balance that suits us. Very happy travels and stay well!
Julia and Roger Murphy
Fantastic post, Wynn Family! I’ve been inspired by this post and have compiled the best 15 tips for saving money whilst RV’ing on my blog: http://greenminimalism.com/2013/06/03/the-ultimate-guide-of-cutting-rv-expenses-15-quick-tips/
You seem to be spending in some unnecessary areas, you might find it helpful!
Thanks for sharing Eric, we’re doing our best to cut expenses where we can…I think we’re doing pretty well this quarter!
A Ford Transit ?
I could go onebetter by suggesting that single persons could rent a seat on a cross country truckers rig, but that would be just as silly.
Devour away…and let us know if you have any specific questions as we’re happy to help.
Hi Jason I did ask this earlier but no details:
Love your website! It is so much information and fun to read at the same time. In all your expenses we have not seen any costs for RV registration every year or primary residence. How does that work?
oh good question Cherianno. The cost for registration varies greatly between states, model year, weight, and a few other factors. In TX its fairly inexpensive (like a few hundred bucks) but other states charge a lot more. Check out the Escapees Club for info on this, since I’m from TX it was a no-brainer for us to register in TX.
Love your website! It is so much information and fun to read at the same time. In all your expenses we have not seen any costs for RV registration every year or primary residence. How does that work?
You two are amazing! My fiancé and I just saw your “house hunters” episode today and wanted to check out your blog! We are seriously amazed at how you are making this amazing experience work. We are both “tied down” with jobs and such, we looked at each other and said “how refreshing!” Now, we haven’t made any serious life-altering decisions or taken any steps yet but there is no doubt both of our wheels are still turning! Just wanted to share a thank you for a reminder of the beauty in our world, you are super inspiring, and good luck in your travels!!
Katie, glad you found us! There are lots of ways to explore this world and still make a living. If you ever have any questions, let us know!
Where do you do your laundry? Are you looking at w/d combo as one of your options for new rv? Do you have one in rv now?
I am also curious. I see some rv’s with $90000 for msrp and discounted almost have price. How much of a % off do you expect to get on your next one?
Pete, the ugly truth is: RV MSRP is a joke. Most people end up purchasing a new RV for 20%-30% off the MSRP. If you purchase a unit that’s new and last years model you can expect to get 35% – 40% off MSRP. Of course everything depends on supply and demand, and how long the dealer has the unit on the lot. If you want the biggest discount purchase a used RV that’s 2-3 years old, and buy an extended warranty.
A little homework for you – watch these videos:
Laundry is never an issue as we carry approximately 2-3 weeks of clothes with us inside the RV, so we only are required to do laundry every 2 weeks. Most campgrounds have a laundry facility, and if they don’t there is typically a Laundromat in town. Cost ranges from $2.50 – $3.50 per load to wash and dry.
Carrying a washer and dryer is an option however they take up a lot of space so if you’re planning to go small (under 35′) you might not have space for one. There is also the option for the ‘All-in-One’ washer and dryer which washes and dries your clothes in the same unit however we’ve had many RV’ers say they dislike this as it takes 2 hours per load and the loads are very tiny.
The good part about a Laundromat is you can do multiple loads at once only spending 2 hours total.
Hope this helps.
My goodness. You spend A LOT. Some of your expenses I can’t comprehend. They are or should be one-time expenses, and why the large expense for the website? Hosting is $10 a month. There are free websites. Do you pay for SEO or advertising? I am not understanding. And the cell phones. My Lord. I pay $98 per month for mine; my fiance pays $55, because with mine being a smart phone, he doesn’t need anything fancy. There are family plans, too, with most carriers. Your grocery expenses are a bit over the top, too. Do you or would you use coupons, buy red tag items, etc.? All grocery stores have clearance items, and since your space is limited, this would be ideal. You likely don’t freeze things. If you buy red tag/orange tag/yellow tag/whatever color tag items, and then you use them in the next two days, you could feed your family on as little as $10 a day. And you’d eat well. Gas costs… well, gas costs!!! A lot. No getting out of that one. There are other expenses we wouldn’t have, and I’m thinking your RV is a lot nicer and newer. Anyway, good for you for living on the road. That’s a great experience for you kids. And the Mexican dental is brilliant! People may not know that they can get great dental work done on the cheap in Mexico. That’s why there are travel medicine groups springing up.
Sandra, you are not the first to think we spend too much or too little. Everyones lifestyles are different and we don’t live on a shoe string budget, nor do we post our expenses for any reason other than to help others get an idea of what it costs us, with our lifestyle to live on the road. We buy local, fresh and organic food as much as possible. We like good all natural food that doesn’t come in a box or can and that isn’t something we plan on changing if we don’t have to. We work from the road (not retired or independently wealthy) and our websites are not just your average wordpress sites and we do a lot to keep them secure, backed up and so on and so forth. Our phones are a huge part of our business and we have to have smart phones with internet and such. Sure, if we didn’t work and didn’t have to have solid internet, this would be a lot less. Just not an option for us right now.
Fair enough, it’s a good comment that everyone’s lifestyles are differenct. Too many people make the assumption that RV’ers are all minimalists, when in fact we get into this lifestyle with different motivations.
Agreed, my wife and I need very fast internet at all cost, because of online marketing biz. Rv full-time living, doesn’t denote modest living 100% of the time. Also to the OP, a website that receives any substantial amount of volume or traffic, usually requires more bandwidth, along with dedicated server. Hey, great videos…you two would make a great show on a travel channel.
Little help required.
We’re looking to rent an RV for a month when we come to America in September.
I have found some good prices. But am concerned about unlimited mileage packages. Do these mean you don’t have to pay for fuel? If I opt out and it includes 0 miles do I then pay for fuel myself?
Dan, you have to pay for fuel regardless. The unlimited mileage is best and can save you a lot of money if you are planning on traveling a lot of miles. Check out this article from camping road trip http://www.campingroadtrip.com/tips-and-articles/top-tips-to-rent-an-rv-in-the-us
Love you guys! You have such great energy and enthusiasm and are ready for an adventure! We have been on the road for a year now and have discovered Corp of Engineer’s parks. They are lovely, well kept and reasonable. (for us older folks they are half off too… usually have elec. And water and run $14-20 a night. We do have solar and AGM battery so have boondocked on BLM land too, which is definitely a money stretcher. You probably know all this already. Best to you, Cathy
Thanks Cathy for the tips. We do “Wild Camp” often, you can find some details about our Boondocking experiences here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/free-camping
We’re baby boomers heading out in an rv in Aug. Want to stay for a few months at a campsite or two for about a year. Any help would be soooo appreciated!
Hi Dave! we are happy to help. Where are you wanting to go?
Wow, You are being thrifty imo.
We spend $5 to $6 thousand a month and another one thousand in cash roughly based on reviewing our statements.
We do drive a 10,000 mile loop in 6 months to get back home and average $40 – 50 +/- per night for camping so they likely explain a lot of the difference.
Bob, thank you for sharing. After dozens of people telling us we’re way overspending it’s nice to hear there’s other people out there spending as much or more than us.
We try to save money where possible, but when you’re working on the road and constantly trying to experience new adventures you simply spend more.
We live five months a year in our motorhome spending 7 months in our Mexican casa down in San Felipe, Baja. This has been our life style since 2005. Looking over your expenses have you every shopped on eBay for software products? You can save bundles. . . . I buy a ton of our “needs” on eBay with great savings and success just shipping it to where ever we are staying. Also, I am a thrift store junkie. I love nice, expensive (brands) clothes and kitchenware but don’t like paying full price. I find great bargains in Goodwill and Saver stores. It makes it fun to seek out these stores in all the different stops we make. I “cleaned house” this summer back east in their Goodwill stores. Just a thought. . . I enjoy your website very much. . . you’re having a lot of fun in your travels. I also would rather stay at a Harvest Host site versus Walmart!
eBay is a great place to shop…and we often forget about it! Good call on software, I’m sure there’s plenty of people selling this stuff cheap!
And for Harvest Hosts we agree, only issue is the farms or wineries aren’t always near the highway. We mainly stay at Walmart between destinations, or if we want to visit a city for just 1 day.
Hi guys! I was just wondering, what do you use for WiFi on the road? Any recommendations?
Great question as we have just made some changes in this department. For the past 2 years we’ve been on contract: Me with AT&T and Nikki with Verizon. My phone only worked 70% of the time while hers worked 95% of the time. Now we have just upgraded to Verizon 4G and it’s literally 10x faster than our old 3g phones. Nikki is still grandfatherd in on an unlimited plan with Verizon so we both share her phone and tether it to our computers for internet. It’s a bit of a hassle considering it’d be nice to use the wifi hotspot, but that would be another $20 per month.
From our research Verizon is the only network that offers such great coverage across the USA. There are 1 or 2 other budget pay as you go plans that sometimes share Verizon’s network however the speeds are throttled back for those customers (i.e. the cheap phone plans you buy at Wal-Mart, Target, etc). We’ve made it work for 2 years now, and let’s just say we’re happy to be joining the rest of the 4G world.
Did Verizon let Nikki upgrade her phone without changing her Internet feature? We’re also wondering what you use to tether your phone to the computer – other than buying Verizon’s $20 hotspot feature, I found an article that says iPhones can tether without this feature using the phone’s web browser and tether.com for $30 a year. Thanks so much for your advice!
congratulations for your site….
sorry , je ne parle pas Anglais. Je voulais vous dire que je trouvai sympathyque que vous diffusiez votre experience avec autant de détails.
je lis vos commentaires car je souhaite acquerir un RV US et me renseigne si mes moyens me le permette.
D’ou le fait de savoir combien consome votre RV par miles.
Et encore bravo pour avoir la chance de pouvoir profiter de votre RV toute l’année.
Approximate English Translation: sorry, I do not speak English. I wanted to tell you that I found sympathy that you release your experience with as much detail.
I read your comments because I want to acquire a U.S. RV and tells me if my means will allow.
Hence knowing how your RV consumes fuel by miles.
And congratulations for having the chance to enjoy your RV throughout the year.
Approximate French Translation: Je suis désolé, nous ne parlons pas français pour vous aider. La raison principale pour laquelle nous garder ce site est de partager notre expérience de vie dans un camping-car et nous espérons pouvoir inspirer d’autres personnes à se joindre à une belle vie sur la route. Bonne chance avec votre propre aventure.
I am sorry we do not speak French to help you further. The main reason we keep this website is to share our experience of living in an RV and hopefully we can inspire others to join us in a beautiful life on the road. Best of luck with your own adventure.
Thanks for sharing your Full Timer expanses but I’ve been travelling (alone in a Lance 1191 Truck Camper & a brand new 4WD 3500 DW Ford truck) for 3 years in Canada and US and never spent more than 8,000$ per year. Your seam to be spending a lot… but these are your choices… and I respect them.
But personally, I wear jeans, shorts and tee shirts in warm weather and its fine with me. Didn’t buy any or very few clothing. I ain’t got no cat either. The Truck/RV insurance in Quebec cost me 1200$ and personal insurance 700$. I do not eat out once, no fast food ever and I make my one food so it’s good and healthy. Groceries cost : 2,125$ including fine wine every day in the evening.
I do not use a cell phone, I use Skype with an incoming # or Google. Fuel & Propane for the truck and the Camper: 1,750$, Licence and registration in Qc : 235$ Repair: under warranty ± 200$ for oil change… and 2,500$ of Campgrounds (incl.: WiFi and services) and State Park sites. Lots of boon-docking as well with free WiFi. Count a 1000$ for misc expenses and it’s about it.
I use a Excel spreadsheet to keep close track of all my expanse… daily!
Serge Lacombe, retired from Quebec Can.
Serge, thanks for sharing your experience / expenses. This is the great thing about travel, it can truly be done on any budget. It’s all about your personal style and what your travel goal is. We are living an affordable luxury lifestyle now but when we transfer to the sail boat in 2014 we are going to try out a super slim buget. It’s going to be all about living off the land (or mostly water). Thanks again for sharing!
Sege I value your input and need advice. I am in the process of buying a rv.A 3 year old rv with payment vs 10 year old paid infull.My mind says 3 year old rv with less issue vs any problems a 10year old rv has.I am retired I live on 40k a year.I am purchasing the things I need before I begin my rv life.What’s the one thingI need more than anthing.
Barb & Garry
Thanks for sharing your personal info with us all. One thing about this lifestyle is that you live it and learn as you go. What you did last year will not be what you do next year. Goodwill and other such places across the nation now have right much of the items we started out with. Pretty sure we aren’t done donating yet. See you out there someday.
Eating lunch out rather than dinner is a solid tip, but hardly a new one. The reason seniors line up for all those early bird specials is for the savings, not because they goto bed at 6pm:)
Steve aka the Cheapskate – Good call, I always thought the 6pm buffet was to get back to the house and watch golden girls then hit the hay by 9! Ha ha. I will say it’s a good thing Nikki’s a cooker and a looker so we eat in a LOT and save a ton of cash by doing so.
Where is the line item for mail forwarding? You must still own a home someplace? How do you pay bills, registrations, titles, etc?
Slim, we don’t own a home and have no home base. We have a mailing address in dallas (jasons mom, gotta love moms) helps out with our mail.
Address in Texas our hometown of Dallas. Special thanks to our mom for always viewing, opening, and filing our mail. If you don’t have a super family member willing to do this I know Escapee’s Club, and FMCA offer similar services.
Gosh young folks! This may sound critical:-) You don’t seem to have enough good ideas how to live frugally or even inexpensively. You could do fine for half the amount you spent. Just look at your clothing expenditures or the $845 for houseware? D-oh! Hey we find Columbia sportswear and other sick stuff at Goodwill and ARC. You just have to make it a habit to check em out and go to the ones in the nice part of town! Learn to horsetrade and to borrow and lend use of things like kayaks, bicycles and sporting goods or cars. Don’t buy everything! Buy hardly anything brand new! its fun! Add an extra fuel tank and always fill up when in the cheapest regions. Saves a lot.A new laptop battery could be bought online for very little for most any model including MACs. Our phones with limited web access and unlimited text are only $30/month. Always stay at least on model behind the latest and greatest high tech gear. It costs half the price. I am typing on a MB Pro that is not quite as thin as the latest model:-) Who cares?
I was scanning quickly down the list of spending categories and at first glance I thought ‘car wash’ was ‘craw fish’. I thought the two of you had it all going on with a separate spending category for seafood!! Ha.
Mike | Homeless On Wheels
You spent more on CLOTHES than any other category . I just can’t imagine spending over THREE SHOUSAND DOLLARS on clothes!
Mike, I know it seems crazy but we hadn’t spent money on clothes in a really long time and we repalced 2 peoples wardrobes! It was something that needed to happen. We won’t spend money on clothes again for a long while.
Enjoyed your posts and input from others. We have a 33 Ft 5th wheel with 3 slides and a F350 Diesel Dully. We use electric heaters when plugged in at the RV parks. We got two at Sams. Most of the time one keeps us cozy. Saves a bunch of propane and the electricity is included in the cost of the space. We have 30amp service on our trailer so many times our spaces are cheaper than the 50amp spaces. My number one requirement for a RV is that it must hold a recliner. I have a bad back and a recliner is a must. Advantages of a fifth wheel over a motor home and a car. Wind and eighteen wheeler’s do not blow your rig around. When you are in a camp ground the truck is much safer for local driving than a small car. I learned that most RV’s do not have proper wheel alignment from the factory. I have blown several trailer tires because the wheels and frame were not aligned properly. Took my 5th wheel to a big truck frame shop. They aligned both axles and the frame. Now my tire blowing problem is gone. My preferred RV repair shop in Oklahoma City, AAA Fiber Glass, arranged for the alignment then added supports to the frame and tandem axle setup. They say that nearly every RV they look at is out of line. It takes all wheel alignment to make everything work right. They work mostly on large motor homes. Farmers Insurance sent me to them to get a problem fixed. The slides give you room to move around. Two of ours are opposite each other in our living and dining room. We regularly feed six large people in our trailer without anyone being cramped. We camp with several different RV buddies. The women get together plan the meals before the trip. The evening meal is at a different RV each night. Breakfast is usual optional and lunch most of the time are sandwiches at a picnic table. Still working 4 days per week Most of the money goes to the grand kids and camping. I am 74 and look forward to retiring and full timing it before long.
I didn’t realize Windy was just 32 ft long, she looks much larger in the photos. We were initially thinking 36-40ft and decided that was way too much rv for 2. Other than the obvious reason of saving, what other reasons made you decide to downsize to an even smaller rv?
Roberta, we will have a write up this week explaining all of the reasons for downsizing! Keep a look out!
My husband and I are retired and are full timers that drive back and forth to Alaska each year. Our obvious largest expenditure is fuel. We use diesel, propane and gas. We seem to be spending similar to when we worked minus the saving part…..lol. We have our savings and dip into it only when helping our children in this economy. I guess I should start a log on how much we spend….but we are pretty frugal and wouldn’t change what we do until we can’t physically.
your budget seems very very low to me….
are there any payments on that $150,000 miniture german motorhome?
What about health insurance?
Our is around 4400 per month…..
Jim, this doesn’t include what we will pay in taxes as that number will be so different for everyone. In the post we discuss that we do not have health insurance and talk about why we don’t. We paid for our coach out right so no payments. (i love the miniture german motorhome, one of the best yet)
I used to spend a lot of money on internet service and full package cell but this last few years I’ve changed. Now I bring a cell phone for emergencies but it is not activated as 911 does not require activation. I use the kind of phone that can be used by purchasing a card just in case but have not yet needed to do so. In almost every town the public library allows you to use their computers for doing business and just finding were to go can be fun and a good way to see the place. I use Google chat to talk for a few minutes to special people and download a few pics to face book. Our philosophy now is to travel shorter distances per day, travel slower, and see more. Pretty near all of our budget goes to restaurants and gas.
you might what to throw ups some adsense ads to make some additional income from your website.
A suggestions to lower your costs. 1. Passport America 50% camping and/or America the Beautiful Pass. We average about $8-$10 a night camping at these parks, while camping in some of the most beautiful locations. As well as hitting many free camping locations. State parks can be obscenely cheap and nice. 2. Plenty of farmers markets on the east coast, you just have to look for them as many of them are in small towns outside the cities you have traveled to. 3. I forget the name right now, maybe one of the other Rvers can chime in, but there is an alternative to Verizon that uses Verizon infrastructure that gives you unlimited phone and internet. We don’t full time right now so it’s not a concern. 4. Stay longer which lowers your fuel and camping fees. 5. REWARD POINTS, pay with everything with a rewards credit card.
Curtis, thanks for the tips. We don’t spend much on campgrounds now and have not signed up for Passport America becuase the campgrounds have not been on our route yet. And we do shop at farmers markets frequently and love them! We have been looking into some alternatives for phone plans. If you run across something that looks great, let us know. And as for the reward points we use the heck out of those things! We agree they are super awesome and we almost never pay cash for anything.
Hi Wynns. Have you been able to continue earning any income from your chosen professions? I mean specifically…outside of the obvious (great) effort to manage your blog and separate from any barter along the way?
Amy, we do shoot videos and photos along the way for pay that we don’t show on our blog; that is Jason’s chosen profession. As for me (nikki) I knew I would not be a makeup artist on the road. It’s impossible to do exactly what I did from the road. I was always on location for production/advertising work that would require me to be in a central location. So now, I market myself as on camera talent, writer and edit photos.
RE: Your $2015 for groceries: I meant that the amount you spent sounded way too low! I do agree that eating mostly fresh veggies would save a lot of money. We are such carnivores here!
Sharon, sorry I misunderstood. We follow others who spend half of what we do and I am not sure how they do it! We are trying to figure it out!
Wow! What blew me away was the $2015 for groceries! The 2 of us spend that in less than 3 months! And we aren’t overweight and thought we were somewhat frugal! But we are in California…..
Yes, it is a lot but we are veggie lovers and eat 95% fresh food and almost no processed or boxed foods. When we were in California we found that fresh foods were cheaper, here on the east groceries have been more expensive. We are excited to get back to CA and it’s farmers markets!
Your post regarding the expenses is exactly what I want to know. Thank you so much for sharing. I have one more year before I retire and the plan is to sell the house and get rid of as much stuff as possible. My husband and I will be living on 2 social security checks, 1 pension check and our 401k savings. We still need to sit down and crunch the numbers. I’m thinking like one of your other responders that I am hoping it will be cheaper living and traveling in a motorhome than a house that comes along with a mortgage, taxes, maintenance and heating, electric and water. We were also thinking we would need a 36’+ motorhome but are also rethinking much smaller and of course used. Thanks again for all of your info it is most appreciated and good luck with your downsizing and continued travels!
Roberta, you are so welcome! We do find that living on the road is less expensive and you can most certainly find ways to live for even less. We are working on being really responsible this next report and showing everyone that you can have your cake and eat it too!
Wow! Bold, informative, funny, truthful, your on to something. All your information from the Cats to your cell phone service. I feel very blessed to have watched HGTV that day. You are living our dream and at such a young age. Your showing a very young generation that you don’t have to wait till retirement to see the world. Oh I am not old by the way or retired but admire your budgeting skills and dedication to balance life experience vrs $$$.. You guys are getting it right. Ok so medical expenses. What people don’t know is when you pay cash for your medical care you can negotiate with the doctor because they save by not having to bill your insurance and all the clerical and bookkeeping costs. So lets say the cost of a physical is $500.00, well I think we all know that is crazy, but that is what they bill the insurance co. but if you tell them you are paying cash, ask for a discount. Good doctors that care about patient care are happy to do it. My parents do it all the time. Dentist, Eye Doctor.. You can monitor and care for your health with out medical insurance. Sorry so long.
What a shame that you dropped your 5D MkII in the water; however, I’m surprised that you could not return it to Canon to be repaired (unless it was salt water). The new MkIII — easily the finest full-frame semi-pro camera in existence and one of the best cameras ever made — is $3500 for the body alone, so it isn’t inexpensive. But for what you do, and your imaging requirements, perhaps the MkIII camera is a practical investment even though you guys are trying to save money! Good luck on your new travel plans!
I dumped my txt plan on my iPhone and use Google Voice instead. It offers free text messaging and has much more features than a regular telco text messaging plan. Probably not much of a cost savings, but it helps.
Mark, it’s definitly worth looking into! Thanks!
Thank you for this. We are just starting out as full-time RVers and are wondering about how to budget our expenses. This helps a lot.
Anne, Glad it helped!
Wow..we have been following your post since we saw the special on TV. Was hoping to get some information on RV-ing, but did not know you would provide great detailed information. We hope to start traveling in about 5 years and the cost have been on our minds alot this year. Your expense details really help us. Hope to see you on the road sooner than 5 years. Thanks for the posts.
Ken, glad it was helpful! We are working on making our site easier to navigate and there will be a huge overhaul in a month or so. It will make it much easier for people looking for specifics and how to’s to find the info. If you have any questions we can help with, just let us know.
Just to be perfectly clear Nikki and I don’t need an intervention. We share a beer or glass of wine most nights….that’s right I said Share and One! If we decide to get wild we may split 2 beers, but that’s pretty rare! This should put to rest the worries of friends whom have sent us private messages. Thanks for caring guys.
Enjoyed reading about your expenses. We have been trying to cut down on eating out too. It adds up quick with two growing boys.
Read your about page. It looks like we have quite a bit in common. We’d love to meet you sometime down the road! We also have a TT membership so it’s likely to happen. Where are you spending the winter?
Jenn, glad you came over to say hey! We will spend part of our winter in Colorado being snow bunnies and the other part in Arizona to thaw out…how about yourselves?
How have the Thousand Trails parks been? We stayed in one in Indio, CA which we disliked so much that we decided to speak no more of Thousand Trails. About the only money saving thing I can offer is monthly rates, rather than daily or weekly. But then, that sort of defeats the purpose of having an RV. I’m with you on coffee/alcohol! I’ll give up something else.
Allison, the Thousand Trails resorts have been mostly great campgrounds. We have really only visited one that we would never want to go back to. The amenities were nice but the rest of the campground was a bit rough. There is a TT in between Savannah and Charleston that was great and we also really liked the parks in PA. I will get it together soon and write some reviews.
tiffany of camp1899
favorite part…. give up coffee & booze YEA RIGHT! haha.. we laughed and laughed! it is so much more expensive than people think, i know our travels so far have been pricey!
Sounds about right, not to mention personal expenses like student loans and taxes in our case, you are also paying for the experience of seeing amazing places – each visit to a state or national park is a donation towards preserving it for the future, each meal you eat in a kitschy restaurant is a memory to share that saving money can’t replace. Once you get away from the east coast, you might see things get a little cheaper as well. The smaller the town, the less chances to eat out and more BBQ memories you can have, also if you buy gallons of liquor for mixed drinks rather than wine or beer, you can save. We spend a lot on gas to get to the cool stuff in our truck because it’s a 350 diesel, but for us, it’s a full time lifestyle that we wouldn’t trade for anything and the extra costs are just part of the awesome things we get to do and see.
Love when fellow RVers share their expenses, as so many people ask!
I totally concur with you on the fuel costs. We did the math, if fuel went up $1/gallon and we drive 10k miles – at our fuel economy, that’s a $1500/year increase. Heck, when I owned a home I had an insurance bill that went up by that much in one year. With the fuel, you can at least move at a slower pace to cut the expenses if you need it. Or cross a state line and save a few pennies.
We’ve kept our monthly expense log online for the past couple of years if folks want another comparison point:
Hey Cherie, Thanks for sharing the link to your expenses! It is always interesting to see how others are doing.
David and Gia Barnes
Well obviously no new gear and goodwill shopping would have saved you $8,000.00, and then if you learn to split meals when you eat out that would save you another $1,000.00, and walla $25,000.00 a year is a realistic goal. Good Luck!
David, we shall see! We have some strict budgets for the next 6 months to see if we can make it happen!
You may be in much better shape than you think. About 42% of your spending for the last six months is in just three categories (Gear, Clothing and House wares). These are areas where you can typically cutting spending almost completely for a good long while. I’d try to cut down on spending here long before I gave up the alcohol and coffee.
Brian, trust me, we are stocked up and don’t need to shop for a good long while! (and now we cant afford too)
Great post! Nice job on the campground expenses–those added up fast for us. I think for us, life was cheaper on the road but our home expenses prior to RV life were outrageous…so it was easy to beat. We learned we don’t need 3600 sq. ft. Of living space. Never ever again!! 🙂
Lani, free or cheap camping on the east has been really hard to come by…no BLM and not many National Forest lands…those were our saving grace last year!
Thank you so much for posting this info! It is exactly what I was looking for. My husband and I are considering taking our “working from home” arrangement on the road and we’re inspired by your appearance on HGTV. This info will greatly help our planning process.
Thanks so much for the response! I have one more question, sorry! Where do you have your mail sent to? Just something I thought of the other day in preparation for our travels : )
Hey! My husband are possibly going to buy an RV next year as we both work from home and just got married two years ago! One question, when you talked about staying in your friends driveway, can you explain more about that? Did you not plug into their house? Thanks!
Hey Rachel! We would run a regular 120v extention cord to power our laptops. That’s about it. We cooked and showered in the house (so make sure they are good friends or family). We have our cats so we always sleep in the RV. It’s like dry camping and just using a bath house…
With our retirement within 5 years, your blog is a continual source of information, inspiration, and encouragement. Thank you so very much. As far as saving money, have you read “Retire to an RV” by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz? It’s an e-book that I found on-line and downloaded (PDF-format). It seems to be a great source of “living in an RV” information including how to save money. Thanks again. Neal
Money means freedom to do what you want. Hard work pays off.
Heres my cheapy tips. Casino camping is usually free or close to it. Many give coupons if they charge for discounts in resteraunts. We recently paid 1.00 for a nice breakfast for 2! (2.99 x 2-$5.00 coupon.
And don’t forget to wander Costco ! You can walk out of there stuffed on the freebies!
Thanks Randy! We have not stayed at a casino yet but we hear they are great!
tiffany of camp1899
great post!! what so many dreaming of getting on the road want to know about, and we too found it more (much more in some cases) expensive than we thought.. not as a discouragement of course, but better to know than find out later! (; t.
Well we just closed the deal. We have our new 2012 Monaco Vesta 35PDB. We will pick it up at the end of this week. They need to prep it and I am having them install solar panels and a satellite dish. I do have a queston on tire pressure monitor system. I have been reviewing them on Amazon and not sure which one to go with. I never had one on our 2001 36′ Winnebago but I would like to get one for the Vesta. What do you have and how do you like it?
great story. Just wonder how do you keep the cats from wandering off. Are they leashed?
Keep up the great stories.
We leash them when we have to(state and national parks) but they are really good and follow and stick around the RV. They have always been indoor/outdoor cats so the transition was really easy.
I am curious. Do you guys belong to any discount camping programs like Passport USA, Good Sam and/or KOA?
Tom, We are members of Good Sam and this year Thousand Trails. So far our Thousand Trails membership has saved us a ton. Keep your eye out for a post on Camping discounts soon!
Thanks for your honesty in sharing your expenses! We full time as well….but we have not logged our expenses as well as you guys. I like that you guys try to support the smaller family businesses on the road. Those are the things that are interesting to experience anyway. Best wishes with your travels!
If you don’t mind me asking, did you two have any income for the year? If so from where and approx. how much. We are working/saving our way to a similar adventure real soon………….just trying to get all our ducks in rows. You two are an inspiration.
Tawny- Captain and Clark
This is really great information. Chris and I will have to pick your brains about your smart car. It’s something that we’ve been considering for a while and would like to hear what you like/dislike about yours. Thanks for this post. We’ll be sure to pass it around! 🙂 You guys ROCK.
David & Gia Barnes
You did’nt add in the 30lbs of Hibiscus Tea for Nikki’s addiction! 😉 Just had dinner at Provisions and Jodi wanted us to say Hi from her, and she is looking forward to the post. Thanks for doing the leg work on the budget and I figure we can just buy all your used supplies at a huge discount!!!!! Happy Trails, and be Safe!!
Big thanks for showing us the costs… I really thought fuel would have been a lot more. I’m inspired!
Great info. Pays to keep records and then reflect on them….seriously. You both have very good heads on your shoulders! Thanks for sharing, it really does help. We have made a generous budget and know that the first year will be kind of “filling in the blanks”. You have to start somewhere. Happy travels to you.
Hi guys, as we are planning our trip across America with our 8 year old twins this information is priceless! We know ours will be more expensive but it gave insight. We too, have decided to purchase the Vesta 35ft. Your blog’s have inspired us to say “Yes We Can!” Thank you tons, Allie
Thanks for the transparency guys. It really helps those of us still off the road in preparation for the road. BTW…I’m pretty sure we spent more than that living at home! lol We better get on the road, we could be saving money!
My husband & I have talked so much about “hitting the road” in our Class A, but I am still attached our house. Money wise your budget is way over what our fixed income is, sad. What do you all do for banking and mail while you are traveling?
My website is not up yet, but should be soon, hope you visit it. I have enjoyed your blog.