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Post Info TOPIC: How to Fulltime on ONLY $1000 a week


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How to Fulltime on ONLY $1000 a week


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2AFN5cDEzU is a 3 minute YouTube video from Linescrew1, a Canadian fulltimer.  He titled it "How to Fulltime on ONLY $1000 a week" to get your attention with humor, but also to make a point.  He just spent some time in Quartzsite and must have heard a lot of horror stories of people being unrealistic financially as they went out fulltiming and got into trouble.  I think he is being realistic.



-- Edited by bjoyce on Monday 6th of February 2017 08:48:40 AM



-- Edited by bjoyce on Monday 6th of February 2017 11:27:43 AM

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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



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Is he talking about 1000 a week in Canadian dollars? That would be only 750 in US currency.  Big difference but nonetheless relevant. I'd agree that trying to execute a RV FT plan on a shoestring would require anyone to be extremely creative to get by. Not saying its impossible, but for most people it is unrealistic. His points about contingency funds, insurance, etc are well taken. The killers for those on a very tight budget, to me, would be maintenance and unexpected health issues that crush any budget without a plan to deal with them. Going into this with a solid emergency fund and no debt would be the two highest prerequistites beyond sufficient income to cover day to day expenses including saving some for the unexpected. 

JMHO, Brian



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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)



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Thanks to Bill for posting this somewhat humorous video. It does bring up many thoughts that have been discussed here over the years. A few of those discussions were a little heated and causes a little friction among those who participated. I still think it is a very valid topic because this site attracts folks that are considering a major life change into fulltiming.

The pot has been stirred, so here are my thoughts.

The other day I was reading back through some of Howard's budget posts and came across his three sample budgets (Thrifty, Moderate & Money Is No Object). As I read I wondered if the "Thrifty" budget was even applicable anymore? And I also wondered if the "Moderate" budget hasn't grown as the years have passed. It seems like everyone I read about has experienced a growth in their costs as the years of fulltiming roll along.

Certainly we have experienced raises in many areas (fuel seems to be the only decrease). Some of the increases are self inflicted but many we have no control over. Life just happens.

The biggest budget item that I have always thought was missing was the "savings" line. As the fellow in the video pointed out, it's the emergency/unexpected costs that must be covered. For us these have not been small dollar items. My best guess is that for most of us these medical/mechanical/personal glitches add up to 1,000's or 10's of thousand. If we are not setting funds aside each month those glitches could become nightmares.

Can and do some folks get by on $250 a week/ $1,000 a month/ $12,000 per year as the "Thrifty" budget suggests? I'm wondering how they can have a transmission rebuilt ($5,000 for us), a furnace repaired ($1,000 for us), new tires ($2,600 for us) and a never ending list through the years.

The point of going out on the road is to be able to continue even through the glitches in life. I don't want to be stopped for lack of planning and foresight.

The pot has been stirred. What do you think?

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Russ & Terri Ranger

6 months (Winters) in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico

6 months wandering in the USA in our Monaco 34' LaPalma Motorhome 

http://grandbanksruss.blogspot.com



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Russ Ranger wrote:

...The other day I was reading back through some of Howard's budget posts and came across his three sample budgets (Thrifty, Moderate & Money Is No Object). As I read I wondered if the "Thrifty" budget was even applicable anymore? And I also wondered if the "Moderate" budget hasn't grown as the years have passed. It seems like everyone I read about has experienced a growth in their costs as the years of fulltiming roll along.

Certainly we have experienced raises in many areas (fuel seems to be the only decrease). Some of the increases are self inflicted but many we have no control over. Life just happens.

The biggest budget item that I have always thought was missing was the "savings" line. As the fellow in the video pointed out, it's the emergency/unexpected costs that must be covered. For us these have not been small dollar items. My best guess is that for most of us these medical/mechanical/personal glitches add up to 1,000's or 10's of thousand. If we are not setting funds aside each month those glitches could become nightmares.

Can and do some folks get by on $250 a week/ $1,000 a month/ $12,000 per year as the "Thrifty" budget suggests? I'm wondering how they can have a transmission rebuilt ($5,000 for us), a furnace repaired ($1,000 for us), new tires ($2,600 for us) and a never ending list through the years.

The point of going out on the road is to be able to continue even through the glitches in life. I don't want to be stopped for lack of planning and foresight.

...


Emphasis added. When we first began planning our adventure (and we still are, come on spring 2019) I thought to myself, how could anybody survive on the "thrifty" model. Surely they were leaving out something. The "moderate" plan seemed doable to us, but as you say  the savings line wasn't there and we deemed it vital to continue to save, even when we are retired. It was also written by Howard years before we planned this adventure so I had to factor in inflation even before I got to work on creating our plan. We adjusted it to match our spending habits, added sufficient savings and voila, we had a workable plan for us. Our plan has undergone several "mods" as we have learned about FTing and tailored it to fit our lifestyle goals. Each year I adjust the numbers to account for inflation and new data.

I will say for the record as of this date that $3000/month( H&Ls proposed "moderate budget"as originally written) in 2017 dollars doesn't seem so moderate anymore for the general population, especially if you add in a line for savings. Even if you review H&Ls own published "budgets" you can see "expense creep", some of it you can ignore as they are specific to them, others not so much. So it would be for any budget.  

One just never knows when something will come up. Sure as S#!T, Mr. Murphy would show up and throw you big curveball at exactly the wrong time... now you're screwed. Being in debt or having to go into debt because you don't have any alternative options... sucks. Being able to pay for it on the spot because you can, gives one such a "peace of mind" feeling. It still hurts to cough up a huge wad, but psychologically, it reinforces the need to be in a position to be able to do just that. In my younger days I totally failed to see this. Now older and, hopefully, wiser we have made the necessary mindset adjustments to be orders of magnitude more prudent. The biggest change was switching from "we can afford the payments" mentality to "we don't have enough at this time to pay cash". Once we did that, the things we wanted became part of the plan rather getting it now and then figuring out how to pay for it later.  Being prepared for such things lessens the impact of those disruptions. Gratification delayed now is gratification rewarded later... in spades.

I, too, don't want to be stopped by lack of planning and foresight. That includes an inevitable plan to come off the road in the future. (perish the thought, but plan anyway)

FWIW, Brian



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We had no debt - paid cash for the motor home new in 2004 - and got along quite nicely on $36,000 per year/$690 per week.

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Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (wife), Katie, Kelli (cats) Full timed for eleven years in a 2004 Sightseer 35N. Snowbirds for one winter and now settled down in CO.



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I think it depends on your FT definition. You can cut a lot of expense by volunteering or workamping. Therefore, you are traveling less and staying at a free site with utilities paid and/or discounted. In a sense this could keep less miles on the RV bouncing around, less miles on tires, etc. I do believe wear and tear on the highway, frequency of breaking camp and heading out, more starts and stops, wears out equipment faster and is costly. Somewhere there is a mid point of running too much and not enough. A trade off so to speak. Some equipment works better just being used, other equipment not so much. I agree with budgeting for maintenance and emergencies, replacement plans, and other items in a present to 5 - 10 year outlook.

I think the cultural "must haves" and social networking has increased costs. Do we need cell phones? I said need. Do we want them and are they great just in case? Sure, but what did FT'ers do 15 years ago? How about satellite TV? WIFI? Our culture, society and lifestyles have changed so much it has had a large effect on our budgets. Some us seek the simpler life from the corporate, fast passed stressed life old, but how much of that are you willing to give up? I realize some have income based on the necessity of WIFI and internet connectivity and that is great and then it is a "must have". The mass majority are not running an internet business.

We live in an insurance driven society too. Insurance costs are sky high for just about everything from health to RV's and trucks. Everyone has to weigh their options. Types of coverage, deductibles, ect. can be changed to help reduce operating costs but may generate taking more risk.

If someone is fortunate enough to have retired with medical benefits from a company or the service then that is a big savings right there.

Howard has done an excellent job of explaining all of this in his journal entries. So much has to do with "Your" personal situation and "must have" list.

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Full Timers - March 2017



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I don't want to tell someone who does not have a lot of money not to go on the road, since many are successful. But they also have to be realistic and keep their spending and expectations low. I tell people with little money to buy really cheap, under $2000, and if it breaks dump it and find another really cheap RV. There are a bunch of infamous YouTubers who operate this way and you will find them with a search. It gets really tough if you are not single, since you can be more brazen and reckless when you have only yourself to worry about. If they don't have enough money to pay for insurance and other things I think are essential, that is probably true if they don't go on the road. Quitting a job that pays for a nicer lifestyle to go on the road is probably not a good idea. But who am I to judge?

Sorry that was a bit of a ramble.

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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
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Full-timing since July 2003



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Clay L wrote:

We had no debt - paid cash for the motor home new in 2004 - and got along quite nicely on $36,000 per year/$690 per week.


 Clay,

I have no doubt that you were able to live and enjoy your lifestyle on $3,000 per month.  I don't know if we could get that low, but we could certainly do it on less than we currently spend, which is a bit over $5,000 per month.  I consider this a generous budget and includes an expensive DIRECTV package (including the NFL package), generous phone and data plans with both AT&T and Verizon (these are discretionary areas that we could easily cut if the need arose).  We eat out, play golf, go to "touristy" places. We don't workcamp and we don't boondock ... ever.  I would describe our lifestyle more like tourists who travel in a fifth wheel, and not people who camp in a fifth wheel.  I doubt you'll ever find us anywhere near Quartzsite.  We're not in the "money is no object" category but probably spend a little more "average" .... whatever that means.  We just started fulltiming in November 2016, so we only have two months of closely monitored and documented expenses, but we're "on budget" so far.  We paid cash for the 5er and Truck and have an emergency fund set aside.  We save money every month and do not take money out of our investments.  Our RMD gets reinvested, not spent.

My point to all this is that the question of "how much does it cost to Fulltime" is almost unanswerable.  It can cost whatever you want it to cost.  The beautiful part of it is that you can actually CHOOSE how much you want to spend ... within limits of course.   You can boondock or spend $100 a day at a resort.  You can eat at McDonald's or at an expensive restaurant.  You can have unlimited cellular data plans or you can use free WiFi, you can have satellite TV or watch over the air on your antenna.  So these choices, and hundreds of others, allow each of us to live on the amount WE choose.  It's an amazingly flexible life style that can be enjoyed by many, each in their own personal way, with no one to judge.  You can change your neighbors or not, as you wish, with no need to explain anything to anyone.  We are loving it.



-- Edited by RonC on Monday 6th of February 2017 05:03:59 PM

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Full Timers class of 2016



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As with others, we have seen costs go up over the years. We have always had a generous repair/maintenance/upgrade budget and move money into a separate account EACH and EVERY month. We initially funded it with 10% of the purchase price of the motorhome. We also do that with things that are annual maintenance costs (insurance, memberships, etc.) so that when the bill comes due we move that amount into the checking account and pay the bill. It is important that things like tires and batteries are planned for - a little set aside each month cushions the sticker shock for 2 or 4 tires on the motorhome when they 'time out'.

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Ron, you filled in all the things I thought add to my previous comment but left out for brevity. Thanks. Bruce and Robin... I concur with your sentiments also. Bill, your ramble also needed to said. Barb, spot on... on this subject as usual.

Brian

 



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Anything to do with Budgets when it comes to Full Time RVing always tends to generate considerable interest, so thanks Bill for posting this interesting link. I wonder if you would be kind enough to share what differences you've seen in your average expenditures over the years. IE: Year 1 to 3 we averaged $X,XXX per month or Year 1, was high being first year because ..... and Years 2 to 5 were an average of $X,000 Years 5 to 8 were $X,XXX and Years X to X were $XX,XXX per month.

Barb, prior to buying your winter place when you and Dave were travelling full timers you have quite a few years that would be interesting to see what percentage of change you maybe saw for others coming behind you. You've always shared such sage advice to so many over the years :)

Likewise Clay L, didn't you spend 11 years on the road before settling down again? Again be interesting for many to see if when you started you were at hypothetically say an average $2300/month, that became $3,000/month in the last 2 or 3 years maybe???? You have the experience many of us would love to have before heading out FT :)

TwoGypsies - 16 years full timing before settling back into your more permanent abode = again along the above lines it would certainly be interesting to hear how you saw your expenses change from the early to middle to later years on the road, if you'd be so kind.

Appreciate all the above is subjective to health issues, slowing down on moving, giving up smoking/drinking/gambling (or maybe even starting these habits!) etc, and many other things, maybe a little comment in that regards that could have caused a huge change other than general increased inflationary costs over the years. Of course as we all know some periods of years have higher inflation than others that need to be considered.

Without question I'm sure many others here besides myself, have found Trace & Lee (CamperChronicles) monthly up to date and annual sharing of their budgets/expenses and detailed explanations most useful. One of my favourites of all is Dave and Diane (HDRider) who've so kindly shared their annual expenses with a breakdown and thoughts YOY, and whose blog I've followed since they started. We'retheRussos did an awesome job as well up until about last September IIRC?

In the past PastorScott, H&L and several others that have contributed some useful info on budgets/expenses. PastorScott referenced a document not RV specific about average expenses coming in around $41K IIRC, which seemed in line with several RVing budgets on that specific thread a long while back. It's probably the No 1 issue and concern for any and all intending to full time, irrespective of the obvious that it can be done on any budget = It certainly all helps with adding and subtracting to suit any individuals own budget/plans as one relates to others ahead of them. I'm also sure that some already out there FT, find others expenses experience useful when wondering how they are performing in relation to themselves maybe.

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We're among those who have slowly seen our costs going down slightly each year, but part of that is our style of travel. We have decreased the miles traveled each year which results in less fuel costs and at least 3 times a year we pay a monthly RV park fee vs. the more expensive nightly or weekly charges. We've also slowly increased the number of nights we boondock, reduced the Dish services and our dining out expenses. Of course reducing dining out increased our grocery bill, but we're also eating healthier, so a good trade off.

Our first year also had a large number of "one time" expenses, solar install, tool boxes for the truck, trading out furniture, new bike rack for the trailer, replacing some of our previous weekend/vacation camping gear with more durable / practical full time gear, buying Dish satellite, etc.

Health insurance was one of the biggest expense components that I don't think Howard's thrifty or moderate budgets account for if you are not on ACA and trying to maintain nationwide coverage.

Since we're still working we've tracked our expenses but didn't really have a real budget, we knew our expenses were lower compared to home ownership, we were aggressively saving retirement funds. However, when I lost my job and it took 3 months to find a new job, we cut out a lot of the extras including our savings contributions and charitable giving. Personally these were 2 really difficult line items to cut out of our expenses.

Another consideration is vacation trips, or what we refer to is "out of rig" trips. We enjoy taking a cruise or a flyaway vacation to somewhere fun each year and it's part of our budget. Family visits where you choose to fly because you don't want to take your rig due to distance, weather, etc. are an annual expense we budget for that I don't see in the "thrifty" budget plans.

I will say that new spending habits can be learned, you can learn to get by on less than you thought you might need, we cut over 2K out of our monthly expenses out of our budget during the 3 months I was unemployed and only some of that has crept back into our budget once I started working again. And once again, we're back to saving aggressively.



-- Edited by NWescapee on Tuesday 7th of February 2017 09:03:40 AM

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Ruth, your comment on the ACA had me going... "We can relate" even though we're not on the road yet we continuously "adjust" our RV budget plan as new data comes in. Since we are working off a variation of H&Ls moderate budget (adapted for our plan). Squeezing in healthcare options into the budget was the trickiest to overcome. Since we'll have to have a couple of years of ACA or its future equivalent/replacement until we hit full Medicare (fingers crossed) eligibility those options were a mighty big mouthful to get digested. So much had to be rebalanced at first until we came up with the formula that worked for our comfort zone. Glad to read you are making it work.

 

 



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When we began our planning the ACA hadn't been envisioned so healthcare was our biggest stumbling block to early retirement. COBRA coverage cost us $1,800.00 per month so we we're happy when we began ACA after finishing the 18 months on COBRA. My wife still has 18 months to go on ACA coverage before she turns 65, so we are wondering what will happen during that time.

All I can say is that we are so HAPPPY that we are enjoying the RV/Travel lifestyle. Life is so unpredictable. We have seen family and friends that have passed during the last four years and it has changed our outlook. Whatever sacrifices or challenges we have faced during our time traveling are worthwhile to get to enjoy this life.

We feel blessed to be where we are in life. Life is good.


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Russ & Terri Ranger

6 months (Winters) in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico

6 months wandering in the USA in our Monaco 34' LaPalma Motorhome 

http://grandbanksruss.blogspot.com



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Healthcare is one of the primary reasons that I chose to look for and accept a job that enabled me to remain a remote employee, thereby not having to quit traveling, but enabled us to maintain healthcare that my employer contributes to, hoping one day that may not drive my decision. But, since I'm a "youngster" compared to many of the FT'ers we meet, having just turned 50 at the end of last year, I'm still waiting to see what happens over the next 5-7 years as we plan for early retirement.

So we continue to evaluate and re-evaluate our finances, not being sure of what the next few years will bring, but hoping somehow, someway, a little more common sense is found in the healthcare system.

And at the same time, I truly appreciate and am enjoying the fact that while I work a M-F job, I can do it from the RV. The view out of my office window in the RV changes regularly and I must say this week it's nice to see the Saguaro cactus while our former neighbors are posting snowy pictures of our old neighborhood.

We spent Sunday visiting a wildlife refuge with a couple of Dreamers, had dinner last night with other Dreamers in Quartzsite, happy hour planned for later this week with a few more Dreamers before we depart Quartzsite for the last time this year, just to head to Tucson where we're meeting up with more Dreamers!! Yep, life is good and we're blessed to be living it mobile even while having to deal with pesky work commitments and budgets.

Which reminds me, when you're planning / budgeting for the future, take into account the busy social life. Seriously, our social life is much more busy now than when we had a house!! When we're in Q, or our one month stops for the months of May & August as we return to locations where we have friends, family and other FT RV'ers to hang with, our social life takes over the grocery budget as I try new recipes for appetizers and dishes to share at all the happy hours and potlucks. We were just reviewing our actual expenses a couple of weekends ago and saw the grocery costs spike for those specific months, but happily offset by lower dining out costs because we were too busy to go to restaurants. Ah yes, what a problem to have!!

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Dale and Ruth Travelling with Tazzy Kat!

 

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Believing now that it was a Blessing in disguise that I had to get off the road in August of 2012! I used to make do on about $600--800 a month. More like about, $7500.00 a year! Sure couldn't afford it now! LOL!

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