Going from a regular house to living full-time in an Airstream trailer our expenses are changing considerably. Gone are the days of multiple bills for water, sewer, garbage, cable, mortgage, etc. I cannot wait to simplify in this department! While we’ve done a lot of research and have a fairly good idea of what to expect in terms of expenses, we won’t really know until we have a few months under our belt.
You can read more about how we can afford to travel full-time here.
Budgets are very personal things – and are largely dictated by personal choices. We are giving ourselves what feels like a generous budget in terms of RV travel.
Keep in mind – we intentionally paid cash for our truck and trailer – so thankfully this is not a monthly expense for us.
Camping fees – $900
These fees include electrical, water, dump fees and state park passes. We expect this to be higher during the summer when rates are increased and our options are more limited due to crowded campgrounds. Some families spend considerably less by staying at Thousand Trails campgrounds (must purchase membership) but the real savings is staying somewhere 3-4 weeks, which we don’t think appeals to us at this time.
Also, many people opt to boondock (find free camping spots off the grid) but I think initially we’ll be staying in National Parks and campgrounds – until we become more comfortable with this new-to-us nomad lifestyle. Private campgrounds, in particular, can be expensive – and I imagine we’ll stay at these more in the early part of our travel until we become more confident in boondocking or venturing out on our own.
Gas – $500
Average 13 MPG towing
$500 = 166 gallons
166 gallons x 13 mpg = 2,158 miles/month
Groceries/toiletries/household – $600
This is more than our current grocery budget. Limited pantry storage for food, smaller fridge, tiny freeze (no chest freezer) means we’ll be shopping more frequently and due to a lot of remote locations I expect food prices may be higher.
Cell phones, internet – $235
This includes hefty 10 GB data so that can we connect online
Truck and trailer insurance – $200
Note: We have an extensive insurance policy, perhaps more than the average person would choose. When it comes to things like insurance – I’m not a risk taker. We’ve sold our house and everything in it – putting a lot of eggs in this basket of adventures and I don’t want to risk losing that in the event of an accident.
Propane – $50
Laundry – $25
Mail forwarding – $25
Recreation – $200
TOTAL = $2,735/month
For those of you considering full-timing and trying to factor in ALL the costs associated, this simple monthly budget does NOT include things we have pre-paid or are coming down the road:
- Tow vehicle and trailer – Paid cash
- Start-up equipment – Trailer hitch, generators, solar panels, back-up camera, truck canopy, etc.
- Homeschool curriculum – We purchased the complete first grade Book Shark curriculum and some elements of the Kindergarden curriculum
- Camping memberships – Good Sam, KOA
- Private health insurance – We don’t need this until October, we should have a better cost estimate as we get closer to fall.
Also not included is emergencies and repairs which are a part of life on the road. We have a savings for emergencies, repairs and trailer or truck upgrades.
When it feels like a good fit, I’ll be working with campgrounds and businesses to provide reviews and/or sponsored posts as we travel. This should reduce our budget a bit. If a review or post is sponsored I always clearly denote that within the post.
What do you think of this budget – which allows full-time travel!?! How do you think it compares to the budget of a living in a regular house?