RVing On A Budget: How To Stretch Your Retirement Money On The Road
How far will your retirement money go while RVing? If RVing is in your retirement plans, budgeting for life on the road should be a priority for you. We’re going to look at ways to stretch your money and keep you on the road.
Unfortunately, this question is pretty open-ended and has no definite answer. Traveling from person to person varies greatly, as does the cost to do so.
Many think of retirement RVing as touring the country in a fancy new Class A, which itself could cost $250,000 or more. The operational costs that follow those big diesel pushers can also quickly add up. But not everyone will be living the Class A life, and much more modest RVs are also used for full-time retirement travel.
How much you travel will also make a huge difference in your retirement money and how quickly it disappears. For most RVers, fuel is the number one cost, and it can eat into your bank account in a big way.
As part of your retirement planning, you will have to determine what your RVing will look like. The type of RV you will be buying, frequency of travel, and type of stays you will be enjoying will make up most of your budget. The important thing is to have a plan for your retirement money and live within your plan.
Plan your travels wisely
One of the great things about retired life is the ability to wander freely. Roaming without a plan can be exciting; however, it certainly isn’t the most cost-effective way to travel.
Planning your routes in a fuel-friendly way can save you some major money. Zigzagging aimlessly across the country while burning expensive fuel can eat up that retirement money real quick!
Plan your trip by studying a map and choosing the most logical route. Consider your goals, such as attending festivals or visiting popular landmarks. Prioritize efficiency to minimize travel distances and save money for activities at your destinations. Use an RV trip planner like RV LIFE Trip Wizard to find campgrounds and attractions along an RV-safe route.
Give boondocking a try
If you’re traveling around and hopping from campground to campground, your accommodation fees are going to add up. Even with monthly rates, if you are on the road full-time or even throughout the winter, campgrounds become expensive.
Boondocking is a great way to save money on campgrounds and get away from the crowds. It’s not for everyone; however, if you can get on board with boondocking, you can save some of that retirement money.
Gearing up your RV for boondocking with solar power can eat up some initial money. If you plan on exploring the more remote areas and staying off the grid, boondocking can be a big money saver.
Don’t spend all your retirement money upfront
Your financial situation will determine how much you can spend on your RV. This could be a huge chunk of your retirement money if you choose a brand-new high-end Class A. If you don’t already have your retirement RV, you should take some things into consideration before buying the biggest, nicest RV.
Once you have your RV, you want to be able to comfortably travel and enjoy your retirement. If you have huge RV payments or spent a huge amount on buying one, you may not be able to do all the things you want to do. You can save a considerable amount of money by choosing an RV that fits your needs.
Just as homeowners can be mortgage-broke, RVers can find themselves in the same situation. Think about what you really need and choose an RV that meets your needs and allows you to still have the funds to travel and enjoy life on the road.
Embrace the RV kitchen
RV kitchens have come a long way in recent years; that being said, most still fall pretty short of your residential space. It can be easy to fall into the habit of ordering out or visiting restaurants while RVing. This is fine for a short trip on vacation when you don’t want to be cooking; however, not very money-wise long term.
Cooking in your RV can stretch your retirement money and odds are it will be healthier than going out to dine. Finding recipes you enjoy that are easy to make will start the daily routine of preparing your own food.
As with buying a house, you should put some serious thought into the kitchen space in your RV. Full-size residential sinks and refrigerators, as well as an oven and microwave, are things you are going to want. Upgrading these items in your current RV can make the idea of cooking dinner more tasteful!
Keep the money coming
If you’re worried about your retirement funds running out too soon or you’re just looking for something to fill some of your free time, work camp positions might be a good fit.
Although they generally don’t pay, you will be receiving your site for free as well as some other freebies at certain parks. Work camp positions can save you some money and keep you active managing the day-to-day at an RV park.
If you would like to have some income after giving up 40-hour weeks, there are lots of options. Young people nowadays are earning a very good living working totally remotely and for themselves. While your skillset might not be in the social media or digital design space, there are options.
Maybe as a retired teacher, you do some editing for an online blog, or as an experienced mechanic, you contribute to an automotive platform. It may be outside your comfort zone at first; however, there are ways to earn a little extra gas money, and it may just be something you really enjoy.
Don’t wait too long to retire
You hear it all the time: People who waited too long to retire are met with health issues or other major life events. There is no getting around the fact that you will need money in your retirement, and you can’t underestimate what it will cost you.
Waiting until you hit a certain dollar amount or reach a certain age won’t always bring the best retirement. Your health is number one, so make that your focus leading up to your retirement. With good health, you can make the most of retirement and relax knowing that the best years are yet to come!
Get tips from other RVers
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.