Change is the only constant aspect of the full-time RVing lifestyle. If you can adapt to the ebb and flow of life on the road, then you’ll do great. This is especially critical when it comes to income fluctuations that occur when you choose a location-independent lifestyle. If you decide to hit the road and earn money along the way, remember that a rainy day fund is critical. Here’s why:
Whether you live in a stick home or in a RV, you’ll experience financial setbacks when you least expect them – and always at the worst possible time. For example, during April and May we shelled out a few thousand dollars for:
1. Self-employment taxes (expected, but still painful)
2. A shattered RV window
3. One new set of stabilizer jacks
4. Two truck repair bills
5. A large veterinary bill
6. Unexpected campsite rent while waiting for RV parts to arrive
What made these events more stressful was that our usual summer job at our favorite Colorado dude ranch was delayed by a month, which required us to pay for an expensive RV park that we didn’t enjoy. We lost out on the first few paychecks of the season and had to dig deeper into our savings account, which was painful – but, at least it was there.
If you choose to roll where the wind blows and earn money wherever you land, remember that the life of a RV nomad is unpredictable in more ways than one. When the getting is good and the greenbacks are flowing, build up that savings account so that the next time you decide to roll away for a new destination, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can cover your expenses if things don’t go according to plan.
Think you can’t save any money when your income is already razor thin? Think again! The full-time RVer has more options to decrease living expenses than the average person. You can cut living expenses at any given time in three easy ways:
1. Finding cheaper places to stay
2. Reducing fuel consumption by staying in one place longer
3. Taking a low-commitment workamping job that lets you trade rent for a few hours of work
Perhaps the biggest key to maintaining your financial independence while living as a working-age full-time RVer is always having multiple ways to earn money. For example, when our workamping job was delayed, my husband and I ramped up our efforts in our other income streams to help offset the losses.
Never rely on one source of income; you always want to have a Plan B and even a Plan C in place in the event that your main gig suddenly dries up. This approach goes for any modern worker but is especially true for the independent-minded full-time RVer who doesn’t have consistent, steady income.
In the full-time RVing world of the working nomad, life is often feast or famine. The adventures we have the privilege of experiencing always seem to be a trade-off between comfortable stability or excitement, but by learning how to save money while traveling full-time, those occasional financial setbacks won’t put a premature end to your journey.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.