Full-time RV Living Budget – How to Really Save Big for Full-Time Travel


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If you’ve landed on this page, you want to travel. Pretty smart of me to figure that out, wasn’t it? If you’re here, you’re probably also pretty discouraged at the amount of money that it seems to take to be able to travel full-time. After all, taking a look at our Full-time RV launch budget can be pretty overwhelming. Take heart, because even my own launch budget has been adjusted twice since I originally posted it and is considerably less than it was. Saving money to travel full-time doesn’t have to be hard, but it can be – and often is – easy to miss ways to do so. Maybe I can help with these ways to save money for full-time travel. Maybe I can’t. You’ll never know unless you keep reading though.

Trying to plan your full-time RV living budget but having trouble finding the funds? These tips will help you save BIG as you do your planning!

The biggest thing that people misunderstand about saving money is that it is impossible to do if you currently live paycheck to paycheck. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that saving when you’re barely making it is all roses and sunshine – but I am going to tell you that it is 100% possible to do. Sure, it’s harder to do than it would be if you had a disposable income or a seven-figure net worth, but nothing worth doing is easy. If you really want to travel full-time, you’ll find a way.

Full-time RV Living Budget – How to Really Save Big for Full-Time Travel

The biggest thing for you to remember is that you aren’t financial comfortable. That means that you need to not only look for extra ways to save money but also to look for new ways to save money. Sure, the old ways that you’ve been using to save money will continue to work, but if your budget is tight and the money just isn’t there, you’re going to have to buckle down and get serious about it. If you don’t, you’re never going to fulfill your dreams of full-time travel.

Harsh? Maybe.

I’ve never been accused of sugarcoating anything.

The tips below might be new to you. Then again, they might not be. Either way, they’ll help you with your full-time RV living budget and your full-time travel launch budget. Put them into practice in your personal budget and you’ll be a whole lot closer to traveling than you are right now.

Re-think your Facebook groups and apps – 

How many Facebook groups are you currently in? How many of those are groups that tempt you to spend money? Buy sell and trade group, homeschool curriculum groups, LuLaRoe groups or whatever floats your boat are all sending your travel savings right down the drain. The same goes for buy/sell apps on your phone. If you don’t have the willpower to pass on a “deal,” leave them. They’re doing you more harm than good.

If you do have the willpower to turn them down, keep a handful of buy/sell groups so that you can use them when you need to sell something. Do yourself a favor though and turn off notifications. Doing so will remove the temptation to shop but will allow you to still have them when you need them.

Replace cash in your budget –

My family has Netflix and Hulu. I love to buy groceries on Amazon because I can save money on them. I buy other groceries at Walmart.  My daughter’s homeschool curriculum comes from Amazon most of the time. I don’t pay cash for any of it though. What I do pay with is gift cards. No, I’m not buying gift cards to pay, I’m earning them. There are quite a few ways to earn free gift cards that you can use for yourself. While it doesn’t actually save me money in the sense of getting a discount, it does allow me to free up more cash in my own budget that can be saved for traveling. If it sounds silly, I urge you to give it a try. It might just surprise you at how much extra money you can bank.

Really learn to let go – 

Getting rid of almost every posession that you own is hard. Honestly it can be really hard. As you go through the process, you’ll find yourself wanting to keep things that you never expected you would. For me personally, those items have been books. I never expected that I would find it hard to let go of books, but sometimes, it is. With that said, I want to travel more than I want that book that no one is going to read anyhow or already has. By forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and getting rid of those things that your gut screams to hold onto, you automatically boost your travel savings since you’ll be selling more than you’re keeping.

A penny saved –

There is a common misconception among people who are looking to save money that some things aren’t worth it. Let me tell you something; as someone who was once homeless with a child and built a six figure business afterwards; every single way that you can save money is worth it. Every penny matters, every dollar matters and every single one that you save gets you closer to your travel goals. If you can’t understand that, you’re going to be in trouble not only when you try to save money for traveling but in your personal budget as well.

Automate –

A very easy way to build your travel savings is to automate it. If your bank has a program where it automatically rounds your charges up, use it. Sign up for a microsaver like Digit. We have used Digit for well over a year and love it. I don’t even have to think twice about saving money since Digit does it automatically. In fact, using a microsaver has actually made keeping our money in savings easier too. How? Because it isn’t in our main savings account and instead is kept in an FDIC insured account with Digit. This means that any savings we have is out of sight and therefore out of mind.

Find groups that understand – 

I know that I said to leave Facebook groups earlier in this post, but there are some groups that can actually help you on your journey. Groups like my Six Dollar Family Blog Group, The Six Dollar Family Facebook PageThe Frugal Navy Wife Money Saving Group and more can all help you save money rather than spend it. Even joining an email list like mine from Six Dollar Family can help.  It’s just like anything else in life. If you surround yourself with people who understand and have the same goals that you do, you’ll be much more successful at what you’re attempting to do.

Cut everything –

If you’re trying to save money for travel, you shouldn’t be spending money. No, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t pay your bills, but you absolutely should not be out spending money on stuff that isn’t considered a necessity. Your rent or mortgage, your utilities, medical expenses, car expenses such as insurance and gasoline and groceries are all legit expenses. Friday movie night, sporting or concert tickets, or that new toy are not.

With that said, you should look at what you’re spending on your regular expenses too. Cutting your household expenses should be one of your main priorities if you’re really trying to make a go as a full-time traveler. If you’re unsure where to start, Pinterest is a great resource. Again, signing up for email lists can also help since bloggers like me often give you a free e-book for saving money when you do. While my Unsettled Hearts list doesn’t offer a freebie currently, my Six Dollar Family list does. New subscribers receive my e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Cutting Your Household Expenses, totally free just for signing up. These books can be a huge wealth of information for folks who are looking to save.

Re-think what you really need –

We live in a society that needs a lot. We need the latest technology. We need the newest fad. We need that amazingly designed outfit. We need that new book or to see the latest and greatest movie even though it’s only a really bad retelling of one released 20 years ago. Here’s a newsflash for you: You don’t need any of those things. What you and your family need is simple. Food, water, clothing and shelter. By redefining your needs, you’ll free up money to travel with.

Replace your habits – 

Some habits can help you to save money, but most will cause you to spend it. If you are trying to save money to fulfill your dream of traveling, it may be time to quit them. This is one of those situations where you will need to ask yourself which you want more. Do you want to travel or do you want to go shopping? Do you want to travel or do you need that new outdoor “toy?” Replacing that money in your budget will only help you reach your goals quicker than if you continue to waste money.

Go no-waste –

Are you really aware of how much waste your family puts out? Probably not. That waste though is killing not only your full-time travel launch budget, but your personal budget as well. Even small changes can help cut back on those costs. Start by making your kitchen no-waste then move onto other rooms of your home. Once your home is as no-waste as you’re comfortable with, you’ll start to see the savings add up in your accounts.

Learn something new –

There are a number of skills that you can learn that can help you save money and as we discussed earlier, a penny saved really does matter. That’s why learning a new skill and replacing one that you currently pay for really can help boost your travel savings fund. This can include learning to do your own car maintenance, making things homemade so you can stop buying them, learning to cook if you eat out often and more. The more that you can do yourself, the more money you’ll have to put aside for your journey.

Say no to debt –

I left this one for last for a reason. Debt will kill your full-time travel journey before it even starts. Paying off debt is never easy and the more than you owe, the harder it will be. While you can pay off debt while you’re traveling – and for some, that is their reason for launching – you can’t do that if you continue to take on new debt. If you are really serious about taking your own full-time travel journey, make a commitment to yourself and your family right now that you will not take any new debt and that you will work to pay off all of your older debt.

You’ll be glad that you did.

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Stacy

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

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