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View Full Version : Considering becoming full timers!! Is it doable financially!!!



Sunset4k
10-05-2014, 07:17 PM
OK Heartland full timers, we are considering full timing!!! While we aren't asking for personal financial info, could some of you give us a bit of insight as to the monthly costs we would be looking at?? We don't have a clue where to start lol. We are thinking we would travel to an area, stay two to 3 weeks and move on. We would still have a place here in Texas to come back to in the winter, and we might even consider southern Texas too. Is that what most of you full timers do?? Stay in an area and move on?? Do some RV parks offer long term rates??
Any insight would be appreciated.

MCTalley
10-05-2014, 08:59 PM
Everyone travels and lives a little different, so our situation would not be the same as some others, but I'll give it a go:

Our largest expense is fuel. However, we move a lot. We average about $1,000 a month in fuel costs. I work part-time in an office in Nashville, so that means a lot of our trips are round trips. I'm working on changing that and having them let me work remotely more often. That would lessen our fuel costs dramatically.

Our second largest expense is health insurance. It was in 3rd place until we sold our house in Alabama and declared Texas as our home (via the Escapees mail service giving us a Texas address). Our insurer (Golden Rule) doubled our rates (from $500 a month to $991 a month), indicating that Texas requires more coverage than what we had signed up for. Looking ahead on the government insurance web site, we can lower our rates back down to around $650 to $700 a month through a silver level plan through BC/BS of Texas. We have to wait until open enrollment on November 15th for next year's coverage, though.

Camp sites are our third major expense (was 2nd - see insurance, above). Yes, most campgrounds will have weekly (usually 6x the daily rate) and monthly rates. The latter typically don't include electric, which is usually metered and paid for separately. This varies from campground to campground. We budget an average of $30/ night for camping, which comes out to $900 a month. We can typically get by for less than that.

Aside from that, there are groceries, vehicle maintenance and repairs, trailer maintenance and repairs, tags and licenses and mail forwarding costs from our mail service. Most of those are variable and can't be pinned down exactly, but mostly should be estimable on your end.

After posting this and re-reading it, I almost forgot. Our biggest expense this year is actually the co-insurance and deductibles we paid on top of our health insurance premiums. My wife had gall bladder surgery early in the year and I had an appendix removed in May. Our plan has a $5,000 per person deductible, then pays 70% above that. Between our two hospital visits, we ended up paying around $11,000 more in medical expenses. This would come in the "emergency fund" budget column. As it is, I have the flexibility to work more hours if I want, so I did that this year to pretty much offset those costs.

Sunset4k
10-05-2014, 09:10 PM
Thanks!! I kinda thought that the camp fees would average about 30 per night. We are lucky in that we have very good health insurance at a low cost. Fuel expense is variable of course depending on travel...We do want to travel!!! I'm thinking we can figure this out and budget accordingly... Time to start planning!!!
Thanks!!

TravelTiger
10-05-2014, 09:54 PM
Diane, since we have had the job change for Tony, we are sort-of full-timing, but not moving around. For us, we found our cell phone bill will need to increase to have more data-- when just "vacationing", 10gb was enough. Full timing, not so much. Also, anticipate a change in your vehicle insurance costs. Full timers insurance is different and more costly.
Mail service is also an expense. We opted to do a temporary change of address since we are stationary, but look into mail services that can get your mail to wherever you are... they can vary in price depending on how much "handling" you want them to do.

If you keep your home, I am sure there are related costs to upkeep while you're away that have to be taken into consideration. For us, having someone check for mail, and mowing the lawn, as needed.

We're lucky in that our park has electric, cable and pretty good park wifi, all included for a monthly cost.


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Sunset4k
10-05-2014, 10:03 PM
Thanks Erika!! We have an opportunity to sell our farm which is prompting us to consider this now. We will still have a Texas address as our son lives next door to our place, and we will hook up and winter here with him. He has a big workshop that we will build an apartment in for winter months. Thanks for the insurance info, we will check that out, along with the cell phone. Our plan has 10 gigs of data. I will have to look into satellite TV service.. Hope yall are doing well!!

MTPockets
10-05-2014, 10:09 PM
Add to the budget, "future costs". We put aside a fixed amount each month to cover future replacement tires for the truck and trailer, estimating three year life for truck tires and six years for trailer tires. Also, a monthly amount for future maintenance such as slide & patio awnings, bearing relube, radiator flush , transmission fluid change, and any other future expense. When the time comes, that money is already accounted for. Any other annual expenses can also be handled in this manner. Eg. Insurance, storage, Christmas gifts, etc.... This method works well for us.

olcoon
10-06-2014, 12:28 AM
One thing to consider to make campsite fees more affordable it work camping, and or volunteering. Doing this, as part, of all (volunteering) your "salary", is a campsite with FHU. So far we've done this twice, and have loved it. The first year we work camped at a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in CO. We were provided our campsite for 20 hrs. work, and anything we worked over that we were paid something like $8.00 an hour. We worked about 3 days a week, and in our off time got to really explore that area of CO. The next year we volunteered for the NSF in the Medicine Bow National Forest in WY. I'd say that we enjoyed that the best. We were camp hosts at a 16 site campground, and monitored 2 rental cabins. Very little work and we were in a beautiful area, and had a lot of free time, and the "work" was next to nothing. They even provided propane. We weren't able to do anything like this for the past 2 summers due to family commitments, but are planning on doing it more in the future.

Birchwood
10-06-2014, 04:29 AM
We find the cost of fulltime RVing similar to house living except we find it more fun because we follow the warm climates.
If you are into saving money don't fulltime as its an extravagant lifestyle.

azbigfoot
10-06-2014, 08:31 PM
We've been full-timing since April 1st, 2013. It is certainly doable but remember if you plan to stay at/near destination locations the cost of everything is higher. Think about things like what you plan to do when you are in one place for three weeks. For example, we enjoy hiking, rafting, fine dining, plays, and concerts. That means we are often driving the truck around to get to these locations. We budgeted $500 per month for gas and that probably isn't enough. Then there are incidentals that add up such as fishing licenses, park passes, boat permits, museum fees, etc. We budgeted $425 per month for entertainment and $425 for dining out. Redbox is a moneysaver and some campgrounds rent or have free DVDs when the weather is not cooperating.

The thing that is good is you can adjust your monthly budget ... less entertainment or dining out. Also, instead of paying weekly rates at $250 per week which is $1082 per month you can stay one month and get a $600 to $800 rate. Unfortunately we like state parks which often don't have monthly rates and only 14 day stays. There you are typically looking at $30 per night for full hookups and $7 per night for a vehicle ($37 total). So for a month your are over $1100. Now you can do things like buy annual state park vehicle permits, for example $70 per year in Colorado. Then you don't have to pay the $7 per night vehicle fee if you stay in Colorado often.

I've got a pretty liberal budget. More than I thought I needed. We run over budget more often than not (not by much but if sustained we will run out of our surplus too soon). I'll probably do some part-time software development or workcamp on occasions. We are early retirees but don't object to working some if necessary.

aatauses
10-07-2014, 09:51 AM
We have been full timing since 2009---we literally have no home or home base. We declare FL as our domicile. Our expenses are similar to above, and we do volunteer/workamp about 8-9 months/year---the rest of the time is traveling. A good web site to check out is rv-dreams.
al
currently in Gulfport, MS

MTPockets
10-07-2014, 10:11 AM
One thing to consider to make campsite fees more affordable it work camping, and or volunteering. Doing this, as part, of all (volunteering) your "salary", is a campsite with FHU. So far we've done this twice, and have loved it. The first year we work camped at a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in CO. We were provided our campsite for 20 hrs. work, and anything we worked over that we were paid something like $8.00 an hour. We worked about 3 days a week, and in our off time got to really explore that area of CO. The next year we volunteered for the NSF in the Medicine Bow National Forest in WY. I'd say that we enjoyed that the best. We were camp hosts at a 16 site campground, and monitored 2 rental cabins. Very little work and we were in a beautiful area, and had a lot of free time, and the "work" was next to nothing. They even provided propane. We weren't able to do anything like this for the past 2 summers due to family commitments, but are planning on doing it more in the future.
Work camping is a great way to have your cake and eat it too. We completed our third year of full timing and volunteered three months each summer in four different State Parks. The word Work should be removed, as we found all our volunteer experiences just great! Someone above said "We find the cost of fulltime RVing similar to house living except we find it more fun because we follow the warm climates.If you are into saving money don't fulltime as its an extravagant lifestyle." ....... We certainly find the only thing that may be considered Extravagant, is the benefit of travel and new experiences... Certainly not the cost.

TXTiger
10-07-2014, 03:07 PM
Many of the expenses mentioned are normal even if you do not full time. Costs such as health insurance and health care co-pays and deductibles are not related to full timing but are normal cost of living expenses. Fuel costs and camp ground costs are a part of RVing. If you stay for longer periods of time at a location you can reduce both of these costs. Maintance costs such as tires and oil changes will be incurred even if you do not full time. Again if you stay longer at a location you can reduce these costs. The question is really how much do you want to travel. Fulltiming can be cost effective or expensive depending on your lifestyle. As mentioned work camping or volunteering can reduce your costs.

rumaco
10-07-2014, 06:58 PM
We have been doing full time for a long time and IF I was not retired Military, draw Social Security and have a Disability Compensation of 100% from the VA coupled with no bills I would not even CONSIDER it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We work camped and that sometimes is a rough road to hoe..........most full timers look for work to allow them to do this.................I full time to travel. WORK IS DONE!!!! Many have lost a great deal by not planning this out. Be very careful!

rumaco
10-07-2014, 07:01 PM
BE VERY CAREFUL about using a relatives address as yours!!!!!!! Can get you in a lot of trouble..........................legally and finacially.

jassson007
10-07-2014, 08:51 PM
BE VERY CAREFUL about using a relatives address as yours!!!!!!! Can get you in a lot of trouble..........................legally and finacially.

You have said this before but never backed it up. Tell us how and why YOU know this?


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TXBobcat
10-07-2014, 11:19 PM
I have been fulltiming since 2007. I don't have a house or land so I am on the road all the time. I started out not wanting to travel like I was on vacation so I came up with the idea to travel on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with some exceptions. I also try not to travel more than 250 miles at a time. Less is good but more is the exception. This gives me time to see the area where I stay and enjoy the life better.

I will stay a week at special places and will order my mail to be sent to me. I am a member of the Escapee RV Club. This is where I get my mail. I would suggest you join the Escapee Forum. It also has a lot of good information. The Escapee forum and this forum to me are the best around.

If you consider that you might travel 200 miles 3 times a week that would be about 600 miles. If you get 10 mpg that would be about 60 gallons of diesel (I hope you have a diesel truck). Figure $4.00 per gallon that would be $240 per week. Average 4 weeks per month that would be $960 a month for diesel.

I like to stay at State Parks, Corp of Engineer parks, Passport America when I can. I also have a Golden Age Passport for National Parks and it is honored by CoE parks also usually half price. So I if you considered $30 average per night for 30 nights that would be $900. If you stay a week or a month at a park usually the daily cost is less. The cost for monthly can be anywhere from $250 to $1200 depending on where you want to stay. I would call normal to be in the $400 to $550 range and the cost of electricity which can be anywhere from $0.12 to $0.18 per KWH.

Groceries and such will depend on how much you eat out and eat in. Things you buy such as gifts and such. Cell phone cost, Internet cost if you have any. Campground, some are good and some are not. I don't rely on them. I have my own internet modem.

You should always have a good emergency fund and an emergency road service package. Being an Escapee I get a discount with Coach Net. Good Sam also has an emergency road service.

With no unexpected expenses I would say you can stay on the road fulltime for under $4000/3000 per month depending on how you want to travel. I have heard of some that spend only about $1,200 by boondogging and such. I always have stayed in a campground of some type. Each to their own. You can get a lot of good ideas here and on the Escapees forum.

In my opinion always use a credit card for your expenses, a debit card to get cash and carry an extra credit card in your truck or trailer incase you have a problem with the one you normally use.

I hope this has been somewhat of a help to you. Have fun travel safe.
FWIW
BC

mobilcastle
10-08-2014, 07:39 AM
We fulltime and do not have a home base-it is a great way of life for us. If you are going to sell your house you might want to think about an exit plan. Good luck.

lynndiwagoner
10-08-2014, 10:39 AM
Here is a good site for you to visit. The guy goes into all aspects of full timing. http://www.rv-dreams.com/

rumaco
10-09-2014, 11:08 AM
Depends on the State which you choose to use a relatives address to obtain benefits/licenses/license plates and or pay taxes. Some States let you get away with it some do not! Oregon for example will not allow you to use a relatives address for the purpose of obtaining plates. Some States require a residence that is purchased and maintained by you. The point is to do your research prior to deciding which state to try this. BACK IT UP? I would have thought most were able to understand my comment, guess I was wrong.

jassson007
10-09-2014, 11:15 AM
Depends on the State which you choose to use a relatives address to obtain benefits/licenses/license plates and or pay taxes. Some States let you get away with it some do not! Oregon for example will not allow you to use a relatives address for the purpose of obtaining plates. Some States require a residence that is purchased and maintained by you. The point is to do your research prior to deciding which state to try this. BACK IT UP? I would have thought most were able to understand my comment, guess I was wrong.

Does Oregon not allow renters or people to live in apartments. You are the only person to have ever said this and I have read many people who write about full timing and living on the road for several years and have never seen this. This is why I asked you to tell me something that quite a few people don't know. I am willing to learn but I don't accept blind information either.




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lynndiwagoner
10-09-2014, 03:52 PM
Where's the OP?

jmgratz
10-09-2014, 05:04 PM
Here is a thought for traveling full time. If you want to make some money on the road and stay for free check into Southeast Publications.com We have been 'working' for SE Publications for 4 years now. They produce the Guest Guides you receive when you check into an rv park. We sell the advertising inside the guides and while working a job at the park you stay for free at that park. There is no territory so you can travel to where you want and although you do have a minimum of 8 jobs a year you must work that is only 16 weeks. This also allows tax benefits since your RV is your office. To find out more check out www.southeastpublications.com Or you can PM me and I can tell you more. We do still have a home although we stay on the road most of the time. I just personally prefer to have a safety net of a place to go to when the traveling days are over. We also are a member of Thousand Trails which allows us to stay for free for up to 21 days (28 days twice a year) with our level of membership. This has been a blessing for us and by having the level of membership we have we can stay at all of the Thousand Trails Preserves nationwide. Some Thousand Trails charge $3 a night for 50 amp and 30amp is free but 3 a night certainly beats 30-40. There is even a Thousand Trails Preserve in Claremont Fl within 30 minutes of Disney World. Cool. Good luck and Happy Travels.

Seren
11-07-2014, 10:55 PM
Wow, reading this is enlightening as to the difference on how much money people budget to fulltime. We have been since June and are still getting our hands around our budget, but I read once that if you want someting enough, then you will make it work. I believe that fulltimers can spend anywhere from $1,000 a month, to $10,000 a month. It all depends what you want to do and spend money on. For example, we budget $60 a month to eat out, because my wife loves to cook and makes awesome food, even when we lived in a stick and brick we hardly ever ate out. For us, we love hiking (no cost) and have some fantastic pictures of the Appalachians especially this time of year. Anyway, a budget is extremely important, along with relaxing, slowing your pace of life down and having fun together.


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