We often hear the same thing when we meet new people throughout our RV travels—You guys must have saved up a lot of money before taking off.
The truth is...we didn't. We didn't save up a lot of money, although in hindsight we probably should've. But in the spirit of financial transparency, which we do believe is important, we wanted to share with you the truth of the matter. Primarily because we don't want you thinking this trek is all because of some elaborate planning process. We want you to understand that we just did it—plain and simple. So that maybe if you're getting the itch to do it too, you won't be dissuaded not to.
First things first, we don't live lavishly. Nor do we live this dreamy existence where we're picking fruit off trees for breakfast and bathing in hot springs every time we need a shower. Social media has been perpetuating this van life/small RV lifestyle that is extremely dreamy and attractive. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that isn't always the case. Taking beautiful photos is part of the journey in sharing experiences, of course, but it's not always desert dunes and sunsets.
Although, okay, sometimes it is.
But just because at times it isn't easy, doesn't mean it's impossible. I truly think that anyone can travel full-time if they really want to. It's not difficult. Part of the reason why we didn't plan 10 steps ahead before we hit the road, is because that left for a lot of time to back out. Often times when people are in the heavy stages of planning something, they tend to end up talking themselves out of it. We didn't want to do that. Vanessa and I are mostly dive-in-head-first kind of people, and when we made this decision to travel full time, we didn't want to weigh the pros and cons, talk about the negatives, or focus on anything but just doing it.
So, we did. And it was the best decision we've ever made.
Financially though, it hasn't been the easiest. We have run into issues here and there, as most people who aren't retired and travelling do. That's par for the course, we feel, and as always, it's temporary. For those full-time travelers who have an abundance of savings because they thought it through and planned and saved and scrimped—kudos. More power to you. You're able to travel freely without the burden of bills or money nagging you.
But, we didn't do that. So we wanted to share with you all the cost of living on the road for one month, to show you that it is possible. You can do it if you want to. It's not difficult, even without a huge savings account, to travel full-time and make it your life.
Now, at first you may think that's a lot of money. Granted, it is. But when you split it in half, Vanessa and I are only paying $558 to cover necessities PLUS more. Do we need to spend that much money on groceries? No, we don't. Can we get rid of one cell phone? Probably, yes. January was a huge travel month so our gas was VERY high. Normally it's half that amount.
So think about it...Your bills amount to $558 a month, give or take. We still have a credit card or two that we pay separately, so it's a bit more sometimes. Realistically though, these are the numbers we're looking at. So when people say, "how can you afford it?" It's very simple. We don't need to make half as much as we did when we were standing still. Our rent alone at the bungalow in Fort Lauderdale was $1300. JUST FOR OUR RENT. This is why we needed to have full-time jobs, because our bills plus the cost of living was just too high. We needed to make more money to pay for more things.
Making money on the road isn't the easiest for most. I'm lucky to have a background in writing and copywriting, so freelance jobs make working remotely a lot easier for me. But we still like to pick up gigs here and there for extra income. Not only is it exciting to learn new trades and grow as a person, it's also nice to have that money coming in. But making money while traveling is another blog for another time.
Our goal in sharing this information is to empower you. We want you to know that it isn't impossible to travel full-time.
We look forward to fielding any financial questions you may have about full-time RV living. Leave them in the comments below!
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Marisa & Vanessa have a whole "About Us" blurb that they are dying for you to check out.