Full-Time RV Living – Our Launch Budget

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Our journey is an expensive one. Honestly, part of the reason that it took us a year to make our decision to actually launch is the cost that we are projected to have. We could do it a lot cheaper, but doing so would cause us to have to launch with loan for the RV, tow vehicle or both. Because we want to launch without debt, our launch budget is higher than what a lot of other full-time RV'ers have had. That is perfectly okay with me since I refuse to have a loan. Part of the reason we are making the change to full-time RV living is to increase our savings and that would just be too hard with a loan or two hanging on.

Thinking of making the leap to full-time RV living? We are and we're doing it debt free! Let me show you how to become a full-time traveler with our personal launch budget!

Because we're launching debt free, our launch budget might include things that another traveling family won't (or didn't if they've already launched). I'm a planner and I absolutely love lists. I live by the same planner from Motivated Moms that I have used since 2012. This means that when we were putting together our launch budget, I had to have my list and I needed things covered (for my own sanity) that others might not see as necessities. I'm also a frugal person who plans for financial emergencies. Again, this is why my budget will have certain things in it that yours might not.

Full-Time RV Living – Our Full-time Travel Launch Budget

When you're planning your own launch budget, you'll want to account for anything that you feel you need to have covered when you're starting out. For us, that means all of the memberships we intend to buy, a 3 month emergency fund that is fully funded, our current loans paid off and so on. If you (or I) launch as a full-time traveler with less money than you're comfortable with, you'll likely end up just as stressed out as you currently are. That would defeat part of your reasons for traveling full-time now wouldn't it?

With all of that fluffy stuff said, onto our launch budget!

  • Current Loans – $13,000
  • Tow Vehicle – $15,000
  • RV – $20,000
  • Health Insurance Fund – $2,000
  • Vehicle Insurance – $3600
  • Storage Unit (Yearly) – $1200
  • Memberships – $2,000
  • Emergency Fund – $10,000
  • Misc. Fees & Entertainment – $5,000

Total Launch Budget – $71,800

Ouch, right? That is a TON of money! See? I told you that I could buy a fixer upper!  It will be needed though. Here's how it breaks down:

Current loans – This includes our current car loan and my student loan.

Tow Vehicle – Obviously we will need something besides our current Honda Accord to tow the RV with.

RV – this one should be pretty self explanatory.

Health insurance fund – I like to keep my extra money in “funds.” These funds might only be on paper, but it lets me know that I have an expense fully covered when I need to. This fund will cover any anticipated health insurance fees including our deductible.

Vehicle insurance – Since we aren't sure exactly what tow vehicle and what RV we will end up with, this is a very high yearly estimate. I'd rather estimate high and have money left over than not plan for enough.

Storage Unit – Because we have quite a few family heirlooms that we want to keep, a storage unit is a must. We aren't talking kids art work here either. We're talking about furniture, photos and so on. Our storage unit will be based where we are currently living so that when we come back for Christmas, we can reassess if we want to keep the storage unit or move those things to a friend or family members home.

Memberships – Things in this category include discount campgrounds, organizations for full-timers and entertainment memberships. I'll discuss these more later on.

Emergency Fund – I wouldn't be a very good frugal/finance blogger (which my main blog is) if I didn't mention that I refuse to not have an emergency fund. This amount might seem like a lot but it will cover 3 months of both business and personal expenses for my family in case something goes sideways.

Misc Fees & Entertainment – Things happen that you didn't account for so those are covered by this fund. This will also include our money for the first couple of months to go out and see the sights when we hit a new area. We don't want to stay in vacation mode but part of the reason we're doing this is so that our daughter learns hands on. We can't do that without money set aside.


So now what, right? These amounts are high estimates. As I said above, it is safer financially for us to overestimate than to underestimate. Will it take us the entire $72,000 to launch? Probably not, but I'd rather have and not need than need and not have.


and now? The countdown is on! Stay tuned for our first month launch budget update at the end of October!

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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.

Click here to learn how I made over $100,000 blogging in 2016!
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  1. Sandy Harvill says:

    Really enjoying your blog. My husband and I are about to retire, so I would like to be a full-time RV’er too! So exited to follow your journey while I wait for ours to begin. Best of luck!


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