Kirk Wood

How large/small is your fulltime budget?

How much does it cost you?   148 members have voted

  1. 1. What is the typical total amount of all living expenses for a year on the road?

    • less than $10,000 per year.
      4
    • $10,00 or more but less than $20,000 per year.
      18
    • $20,000 or more but less than $30,000 per year.
      22
    • $30,000 or more but less than $40,000 per year.
      42
    • $40,000 or more, but less than $50,000 per year.
      22
    • $50,000 or more, but less than $60,000 per year.
      16
    • $60,000 or more, but less than $70,000 per year.
      11
    • $70,000 or more, but less than $80,000 per year.
      5
    • $80,000 or more but less than $90,000 per year.
      3
    • $90,000 or more but less than $100,000 per year.
      0
    • $100,000 or more annual expenditures.
      5

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72 posts in this topic

We are debt free and will stay that way in retirement since we will pay cash for the MH and toad. Most expenses are fixed like health ins, insurance, prescriptions, food, etc. the biggest expense drivers seem to be the variable expenses like fuel and campground fees. They can be managed by slowing down and not driving so much every month and staying in campgrounds for a month at at time, boondocking, plus work camping where you get a "free' site and you won't be driving much. There will always be unexpected expenses that you have to plan for and have money set aside for.

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Great info, and tells me I could make things work. I'm single 61 and $33,000 is my budget per year I could make this work, that is, if I can make the decision to do it!

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Great info, and tells me I could make things work. I'm single 61 and $33,000 is my budget per year I could make this work, that is, if I can make the decision to do it!

That is very doable if you have no RV payments. And once SS starts that will help mitigate future inflation rises. I would not hesitate to start out with that budget. But I would want to be debt-free.

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Pre 65 without on your own Health Insurance, has become a much larger slice of the budget. I know Jack mentioned that it is their single largest item, or maybe it was 'insurance' all up:)!

 

We are at $19.5K just for Health Insurance, without seeing a doctor, or paying for our medicines.... That's a pretty good size line item on any budget sheet:)!

 

I've coined us as 'Permanent Full Time Part Timers'. Due to family situations, we're what I call Hub and Spoke travelers. (Hub is our Vacation Home in San Diego, where my MIL lives. Spoke(s) are our trips away from that Hub, and then returning periodically to check on things. My wife's brother and his wife also live in the San Diego area, and both are still working. We've coordinated our travel plans with them, to be sure one of us is always in the San Diego area to monitor MIL. (She is doing great, now, but we almost lost her two years ago... So, a real ongoing concern to monitor things closely.)

 

We therefor travel for usually 2-3 months trips, before running back to the Hub. We'll be doing a month trip this year, as we'll running to see the Indy 500's 100th running, then on up into the New England states for the first time. Returning West thru the Great Lakes regions, and then onward just South of the Canadian border.

 

So our 'full time budget' needs to be factored, as with many of you here to. Our's will seem a bit high, as I include RV related upgrades to. And this list still has a few big ticket items ahead over the next two-three years. 2015, with 7 1/2 months of travel, we spent $42-45K. (The 'fixed costs' for many items carry over the other 4 1/2 months of the year. (RV/Auto/Health/Life/Long Term Care Insurance, Food, Wine, Medicines. Not included in this number, are our S&B related mortgages and insurance and maintenance costs. Nor another vehicle we leave at the S&B home.)

 

And as mentioned, much discretion in how we all choose to spend our funds on both food/wine/entertainment/etc., etc. We know we have scaled back our travel plans, stay in more National Parks and Passport America Parks. We have rented a site in Yuma for two months this year. We have gone to Bota Box wine during the week, with 3 bottles of $9-12 range glass bottle wines on the weekend. Much fewer lunches and dinners out. As we have diverted those funds from other parts of the economy, to help offset the higher costs of Health Insurance for 2015, and also this years 2016 big jump too. It is the way it is...

 

So, all of us have different perspectives from where we're coming from when sharing. Some of us are Pre 65 with no help on Health Insurance. Others are Post 65, or have full Health Insurance. That makes these numbers on the poll interesting to see, but without the additional notes by those that shared more specifics. Hard to make any conclusions from:)!

 

Always enjoy these threads, as great to learn how others have done things. I know in our 'Can We Do It?' planning phase, this site's members were very generous in sharing their experience with us. Always appreciative of those that take the time to do so...

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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Oh Smitty, cutting back on wine! Please say it isn't so. :o;)

 

Barb

 

And scotch too, the inhumanity of it all...

 

(A little secret. If you let a Bota Cab air for about two hours - it still tastes like a Bota!!)

 

We're getting by,

Smitty

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And scotch too, the inhumanity of it all...

 

(A little secret. If you let a Bota Cab air for about two hours - it still tastes like a Bota!!)

 

We're getting by,

Smitty

I'd say you are "cutting to the bone" there, Smitty. My sympathies....

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Last year (2015), we came in just shy of $36,000 for the year. However, we increased the budget for 2016 because of where we have chosen to spend the majority of our time - This Summer in The Black Hills of South Dakota, and this coming Winter in Gulfport, Mississippi (with a two week stint at Christmas to Key West, Florida). Due to these geography choices our monthly campground fees increased significantly for this year. Of course, we knew this ahead of time, made the choice anyhow, and budgeted accordingly.

 

The other factor causing us to increase the 2016 budget was an anticipated rise in fuel pricing from last year's lows. January and February of this year saw fuel prices continue to fall. However, they have steadily risen since then.

 

Looking ahead to next year (2017), we will need to adjust the budget once again - but downward this time. Although we expect fuel prices to continue to rise in 2017, our campground fees will be cut to next to nothing (again do to our geographic choices).

 

BTW, Great thread!

 

Good travels to you all!

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Last year (2015), we came in just shy of $36,000 for the year. However, we increased the budget for 2016 because of where we have chosen to spend the majority - This Summer in The Black Hills of South Dakota, and this coming Winter in Gulfport, Mississippi (with a two week stint at Christmas to Key West, Florida)

We had a very inexpensive summer in the Black Hills in 2014 by serving as campground hosts at Angostura State Park. We got free RV site and free entrance into nearly all of the attractions in that area. It was great!

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Interesting to see that only 3 people are spending less than $10k. (I'm one of them). I must almost always find free campsites! Have been full-timing for 17 months, mostly in AZ (winter) or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in summers.

 

Janis www.LittleBittyLiving.com

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Wow Janis, that's great. You are an inspiration. I currently have an Aliner too, a 2006 LXE model, but I don't full time in it. My DW and I will be retiring in a couple years and plan to FT in a medium size MH, as my Aliner is a little too cramped for two people and a bird on a FT basis. But If I were FTing by myself it would be my home till I die, as I don't think you could have a more economical camper. We like to boondock too, when we can, in very remote areas.

 

I tow mine with a little 4 cylinder Chevy Cobalt. What do you tow yours with and what kind of gas mileage do you get? Even now I get low 20's mpg towing and low 30's when not. I've been very lucky with my little car and plan on taking it with me as a toad when we go FT. It just turned over 350,000 miles on the original engine. I had to replace my transmission at 300,000 miles (about 40,000 of those miles towing) but other than that, the repairs have been minor. It's amazing, since my Aliner is 1,700 lbs. loaded and I'm towing at 170% of the Cobalt's 1,000 lb tow rating (though I do have some towing mods to keep things together.) I've towed through the mountains many times with no problems overheating or stopping. When the engine finally dies (It's overdue) I'll drop another gently used engine in her and drive it for another 2-3 hundred thousand miles - if I hold up that long. ;)

 

Chip

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Well, I'll put my 2 cents in (pun intended) ! Now, we have NEVER rv'd, but we are getting ready to go to full time in April 2017. We are both pretty good with budget and we like to have fun, so we kept in mind our lifestyle. We have sold our house(no house expense, but that $$ is in a CD and will not be used). We wiill be pulling a 5th wheel. I have prepared a budget based on our current living expenses and adjusted for the items unique to being on the road. I went by 2-3 other budgets I found on-line and adjusted for inflation. The total doesn't not include a truck or RV payment. We won't have a truck payment and IF we have an RV payment it will be around $100, but we may not carry a payment. Now this is not a tried and true budget so it will be interesting to see how close I am. Right now we put everything on a credit card and pay it off every month. I am able to go on our card and get a breakdown of where our money has gone and that is what I used as the basis for my numbers then I added a little "fluff" just to make sure. This number does NOT include donation to church(as I backed that out) or repairs, but there is plenty left for that. It DOES include every insurance, including life. All the necessities to live. Some fun stuff. Having said all that...we came in at $40,032. We are hoping that we will come in a bit under and can toss that extra in savings, even though we have budgeted an amount for savings. I hope my thought process is right. If anyone sees flaws, please advise.

Edited by Nomad Hikers

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@Nomad Hikers I use the same methods to track my spending and I agree with most of your approach, so I surely can't call this a flaw, but there is a basic difference in philosophy between our approaches. I'll try to tell you as briefly as I can, about the eye opening event for me.

 

Around 1980 I had a good job making $75,000 per year and my wife also had a good job earning $25,000 per year salary. We had 5 children, a mortgaged house, 2 cars with car payments, a little credit card debt and all the other usual expenses. Every month we ran out of money by the end of the month, had nothing in savings and always had problems when an unexpected bill like repairs would show up. I worked a part time job/business and banked all earnings from that and built up enough nest egg to perhaps open my own business.

 

I got the family all together and told them that I would like to open my own business because in the long run it would provide more security for the family. The business would not be able to pay me any salary for an estimated 2 years. So for the next 2 years instead of around $70,000 of take-home income we would only have around $20,000. I had worked up a budget including payments, food, clothing, insurance, utilities, etc., etc. It appeared to me that it would be possible to make it, if everyone in the family economized. No more pizza delivered, no going to the movies, no unnecessary car trips, no designer clothes, our standard of living would have to drop drastically. We would have to live on pasta, hamburger helper etc., - did everyone in the family think they could do this, given the future rewards of the family owning a business? I got a resounding YES and all family members insisted they would cease all unnecessary spending without complaint and that we would do this.

 

So I quit my job and started the business and didn't draw any salary from it. But nothing changed in our standard of living. NOTHING! We still had steak as often, the kids still went to movies and bought popcorn and sodas, new clothes nothing changed except $50,000 per year of take-home income disappeared. And there was no indication anywhere of where it went. There was no change at all in the way we lived, we could have been putting that $50,000 into savings or investments all along. It seemed crazy.

 

I really learned from this that you don't have much real control over income. Work hard and earn as much as you can, but what people are willing to pay you for your services or product is up to them, not you. What you actually need to live is also pretty much out of your control. If you need expensive medicine to live and have no insurance, again, you don't really have any control over that. What you do have control over is how much you want. With effective advertising being pushed at you from all sides by very smart capable marketing people, it is very easy to fall into a trap of not being happy without this or that. That is their mission - to make you feel unhappy unless you have the stuff they are selling on the cable channel. If they are more skilled at making you unhappy than you are at relaxing, enjoying life and pursuing happiness, they win.

 

I certainly am not advocating people live at such a miserly level that it makes them unhappy. I am trying to convince you that happiness has nothing to do with acquiring or owning things. Basing a budget on what you have been spending without examining deeply what really makes you happy and what is unimportant to you is, IMHO a mistake.

 

I live full time in a 5th wheeler because I got tired of spending my time, energy and resources maintaining a big house full of stuff. Life is so much better without all that stuff that used to own me. My income is approximately $26,000 per year social security. I have no debt, everything I need, in fact everything I want and wind up saving around $6,000 to $8,000 per year from that income. I spend my time doing whatever I wish, in an attempt to make the world a better place.

 

I can assure you that living in an RV will require less resources than living in a house and therefore money shouldn't be a problem. If you were happy living in the house you sold, you have discovered what makes you happy and living in an RV won't change that. It will, in fact, give you more free time to enjoy being happy.

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Hi Legendsk,

Thanks for the info. I understand and agree with what you are saying. I opened my own business at one point too, but fortunately had the luxury of having a husband with a full time income - also an engineer! I'm and R.N. and I was self-employed for several years as a medical case manager, making about $75 K /year. At one point we decided I would not work so we positioned ourselves financially for me to quit. We never skipped a beat! I eventually went back to work and wanted to try my hand at real estate and it was profitable. I did that about 5 years before my husband transferred to CA, I did not pursue real estate here. Never missed the $. Now, with my husband retiring, we will be cutting our (his) salary in half. The one thing we learned a LOOOONG time ago..."the more you make, the more you spend". We really aren't high maintenance people. When I mentioned taking the items from the credit card to determine our budget, I was referencing cost of food, entertainment(which I cut in 1/2), fuel(which I increased) etc. When we sold our house, we moved from 2400 sf to 1000, without even one look back. We sold a lot of stuff and plan another downsize after the 1st of the year. We are only keeping a few of our nicer pieces of furniture for now. It doesn't take much for us to be happy...a good hiking trail and a sandwich and we are in heaven! Having said that, perhaps our projected budget is lofty! I hope that is true, but if its not, then we won't be shocked! :)

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Well, I'll put my 2 cents in (pun intended) ! Now, we have NEVER rv'd, but we are getting ready to go to full time in April 2017. We are both pretty good with budget and we like to have fun, so we kept in mind our lifestyle. We have sold our house(no house expense, but that $$ is in a CD and will not be used). We wiill be pulling a 5th wheel. I have prepared a budget based on our current living expenses and adjusted for the items unique to being on the road. I went by 2-3 other budgets I found on-line and adjusted for inflation. The total doesn't not include a truck or RV payment. We won't have a truck payment and IF we have an RV payment it will be around $100, but we may not carry a payment. Now this is not a tried and true budget so it will be interesting to see how close I am. Right now we put everything on a credit card and pay it off every month. I am able to go on our card and get a breakdown of where our money has gone and that is what I used as the basis for my numbers then I added a little "fluff" just to make sure. This number does NOT include donation to church(as I backed that out) or repairs, but there is plenty left for that. It DOES include every insurance, including life. All the necessities to live. Some fun stuff. Having said all that...we came in at $40,032. We are hoping that we will come in a bit under and can toss that extra in savings, even though we have budgeted an amount for savings. I hope my thought process is right. If anyone sees flaws, please advise.

 

Your approach of using your current expenses as a base is the one I used. Granted, some things, like eating out and sightseeing (entertainment) will likely increase so you have to take your numbers with a grain of salt.

 

Another thing to think about is what I call "Second Wave Expenses." These are generated by things you started off with that begin to wear out or need to be upgraded. For us, this has been a year of such expenses. It worked out nicely for us because we ended up taking an interim position and traveled hardly at all. We took advantage of the unexpected savings from not traveling to update several things on the rig. I wrote about it here: http://pastorscott.com/travel/budget-second-wave-expenses/

 

Anyway, good luck on your adventure. I hope you enjoy the lifestyle as much as we do.

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Thanks, GR Scott Cundiff - I read your link with interest. I feel like a sponge absorbing all I can. We are fortunate that we are starting off with a new 5th wheel and we plan to get an extended warranty. We feel the need for these extra insurances since we are new to this and while we are handy to a point, we know where that point is! We have already been replacing personal things we have that are showing a fair amount of wear/tear so we won't have to replace them for a while. We figure it's easier while we have a bigger income than when we are living on retirement. We will sell or donate the stuff we are replacing. I have 2 budget items one for eating out and one for entertainment. We have never had an entertainment budget. While we eat out a fair amount now, we plan to curb that some. We plan to use the extra we save for some of those unexpected or 2nd wave expenses. Thanks fo your input.

Edited by Nomad Hikers

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Everyone should say if they are 66 years or older. Starting 2017 my health insurance will be over $15000 a year. The budget just started with one line real big. Good luck everyone!!!!!

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Very interesting reading here. Reference article of Kirk's very good reading. He tells it like it is...you live on what you have...

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Well, we've not even started yet, but I know from hiking, you can go on the cheap or on the top of the heap! Depends on your lifestyle. We have our budget made, but have not excercied it yet other than we have started makeing our reservations. We budgeted $1200/mo for campsites and so far we are coming it about $700/mo...whoohoo for us!

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Everyone should say if they are 66 years or older. Starting 2017 my health insurance will be over $15000 a year. The budget just started with one line real big. Good luck everyone!!!!!

That is only part of the issue. I retired at 57 with health care insurance from my employer to cover us to Medicare. While that is getting less common, my former employer is one company that is still doing this. But it is important to take a hard look at that issue when you are planning.

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