How we saved $1900 in 3 months while traveling full-time

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I thought Labor Day would be a good day to talk about money. Most people think travel is expensive. But we’ve gone everywhere we wanted to, seen amazing things and really haven’t worried about money at all. Not only that, but we’ve been able to save more than we did when we weren’t traveling!

If you look back at previous posts, I mentioned what we’ve spent and what we’ve saved. August was our biggest month with expenses; we spent $929 in RV park fees $860 in groceries, and $211 in fuel. Yet, when my second August paycheck came in, I had $750 “left over” from my last paycheck.

I’m going to try to analyze how we were able to do this, because honestly? I’m not quite sure! Especially for August, when we stayed in seven different RV parks. That means we didn’t receive much in the way of weekly discounts, and no monthly discounts.

1. No sales tax in Oregon

This meant our park fees, groceries, gas, entertainment…pretty much everything was tax free. So when we spent more money, we were spending it on actual things…not on tax. More value for our money.

2. The Bay Area is more expensive

When we stayed in a single place in Marin, we averaged $950 per month for space rent and electric. In August, our most expensive travel month, we spent only $930 for similar accommodations (i.e. a space with access to electricity, water and sewer). Not to mention that it felt like we bought more groceries, and dined out far more while traveling than we did when we were stationary, but were able to do this while spending less money. And many of the places we stayed had much nicer amenities, such as heated pools, laundry rooms where the machines actually worked, and nicer views and surrounding neighborhoods.

3. No electric bill

As I’ve mentioned before, when you stay in an RV park for less than a month you don’t have to pay for metered electricity. However, the parks offset that by charging more per night, but depending on personal electricity usage we might be saving a lot (on days when we had to run the air conditioners constantly, which was the truth for most of Oregon in August). So we probably got our money’s worth there, too.

 

What has stayed the same?
  • Income
  • Recurring monthly bills like student loans, vehicle insurance, pet expenses
  • Spending on personal items such as shampoo, laundry detergent, etc (those come to us through Amazon)
  • Spending on clothes, bike stuff–we’re not spending any more or less on these. I try to find us good-quality items that last a long time, so we rarely make new purchases
  • RV remodeling, maintenance and repairs–we’ve actually had more of those expenses than before we left
So here’s the bottom line…

I track all of our expenses on Mint.com every month. We don’t really buy anything with cash, so I know exactly what gets spent where. The 3 items above are the only things we can think of that have changed.

San Francisco was a great place to grow up, and it still has a lot to offer, including being the place where we still have a lot of friends and family. But the cost of living there prevented us from not only spending whatever we wanted having fun ($347 on things like exploring caverns at Lake Shasta, ziplining in Oregon, kayaking in Fort Bragg and $468 on dining out), but also traveling to some beautiful places, and overall having a wonderful time. And we’ve done it all from the comfort of our own home, with our precious pets and loads of freedom.

It’s also been done while I put in hours at a full-time job and met (and sometimes exceeded) any expectations put forth by my employer.

And all while spending less and saving more money.

This blog began as we were getting ready to leave, but all the planning and organizing that it took to get to this point started long before. I strongly believe that this is something that almost anyone can do, given the motivation and guidance.

If you have any questions at all or would like some assistance in starting on your own journey to living your dreams, ask! We are happy to help!

5 thoughts on “How we saved $1900 in 3 months while traveling full-time

  1. Financially, it looks like your travels have been a wonderful experience, except for the brakes issue. Have you settled that with Mr. Schwab?

    • We needed a brake job and the brakes are done. Getting money back would be nice but the most important thing to me is that incompetent people don’t continue to work there and possibly kill someone with their carelessness. That was the point of reporting them to the BAR.

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