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We’ve lived a life of travel for almost a year now. A lot of things changed in the past year, but one thing we always do is have a budget. It’s very possible to fully enjoy life while still having a budget. So today I’d like to talk about living within your means while travelling.
Living within your means when you buy an RV
As I mentioned in my previous post about how to buy an RV we live in the third RV we owned together. Over the past 7 years we owned a 40-foot travel trailer for about a year, a 36-foot 5th wheel for about 4 years and our 35-foot motorhome for over 2.5 years. We bought each RV after doing countless hours of research and looking at hundreds of RVs. We never just bought anything; we thought about it carefully, checked the market and went home to talk before we made any final decisions.
I can’t say that any of them were “the perfect RV” but they all worked very well for what we needed at the time. Also, each time we bought what fit with our budget. Our budget is cash-only, because we don’t want to go into debt to buy an RV. However, that does not mean that we ever go without what we need, are uncomfortable or can’t afford necessary maintenance and repairs. There are many previously owned, affordable RVs out there to buy for cash.
Living within your means while travelling
It seems like the average nightly rate at a typical RV park is increasing. These days you can see prices for $40, $50 or even $100 per night! Multiply that by 30 days in a month and you are spending a crazy amount of money for a parking spot.
There are plenty of ways to travel in an RV while staying with a budget. They are:
- Stay longer at a park. They tend to give the deepest discounts for a month or longer.
- Stay at less expensive places. This might be state or national parks, mobile home parks that have RV spaces, fairgrounds, marina campgrounds, or Army Corps of Engineers/Water Management land. Also, some parks offer discounts for spots that don’t have full hookups. If that works with your rig, take advantage of it.
- Stay places for free. Wal-Mart, casinos, public lands (Bureau of Land Management), highway rest stops and driveway surfing at a friend or family member’s house are free options. Just make sure you have permission, follow any rules from the property owner and city ordinances, and be a courteous guest.
- Drive less. Instead of driving hundreds of miles between each destination, drive 50 or 100 miles. It’s far enough for a change of scenery without burning through a bunch of gas. When you live a life of travel, each trip should be about the journey, not the destination, so take your time.
Living within your means for necessities
It’s tempting to try every restaurant in a new area, but try to pace yourself. If you travel full-time, remember you are not on vacation. This is your life. Eating out 3 meals a day will quickly drain anyone’s bank account. So cook at home, bring snacks with you, and save eating out for rare occasions.
It might also be fun to pick up a hat, t-shirt or other souvenir from each place you travel to. But you will quickly run out of room in your RV while making your wallet thinner. I prefer to make my memories, digital pictures and videos my souvenirs. They don’t take up any physical space, and I get to share them with everyone else through this blog.
The longer we are on the road, the less clothing we really need. For many years I’ve used a “capsule wardrobe” for my clothing needs. This simply means I have core pieces I can mix and match, and very few of them. At this point I have 3 pairs of shoes, and all of my clothes fit in less than 3 feet of closet space (both warm weather and cold weather clothing). I wear things until they don’t fit or are so worn out they can’t be mended. And all of my clothes are my favorites, too–there’s nothing sitting in my closet that I don’t wear because I hate how it looks on me or I don’t feel comfortable wearing it.
You can easily live within your means and still travel
You just have to make a plan and stick to it. Don’t run out of money by ignoring your budget and over-spending. The better you manage your money and continue living within your means, the longer you can travel!