During our first month as fulltimers we were in all-out vacation mode. Speeding from park to park, we burnt through miles and money. We bought snacks and drinks at every gas station, we ate out often, and we even bought shirts and hoodies in tourist towns. This frivolous living was definitely not aligned with our original mission.
We enjoyed the month-long vacation, but we knew it was time to create a budget.
Our budget goal is pretty simple: don’t spend more than we make. As the average monthly income from our Etsy store is $2000, we decided to create a livable budget around that.
We have minimal fixed costs (insurance, phone & internet subscriptions, bills) – these expenses are $370 a month. Leaving us $1630, we created our monthly living budget.
- Camp Site: $750 a month ($25 daily)
- Food: $600 a month ($20 daily)
- Gas: $200 a month ($6.67 daily)
- Post Office: $80 month ($2.67 daily)
We created a color-coded budget calendar and detailed budget book to help us achieve our goals.
We spent the entire month of November in southern California – home of expensive gas & campgrounds. We camped in Tecopa Hot Spings, Mojave, and Piru. We toured Hollywood, Malibu, and Santa Monica. Even though we were living by the budget, we had many enriching experiences both in nature and the Big City.
Here are our November budget results:
- Camp Sites: $528 ($17.60 daily average)
- Food: $369 ($12.30 daily average)
- Gas: $196 ($6.53 daily average)
- Post Office: $289 ($9.63 daily average)
- Other: $264 (propane, Etsy supplies, spark plugs, parking, etc)
November Living Expenses: $1,646
Fixed Expenses: $370
November Total Expenses: $2,016
November Income: $2,164
We were thrilled to end November in the green. We actually saved $148!
We’re headed to Arizona in December where the cost of living is much better. Our budget will remain the same, although some adjustments will need to take place. We spent a lot more money at the post office than expected. This isn’t an awful problem since it means we’re selling more items on Etsy. Overall, it was pretty easy to meet our goals without missing out on experiences.
Save Money RVing By Discovering Free Camping
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:
Thanks for the info. I will have to do it on considerably less but it’s just me. Can’t wait to go.
That’s awesome! We are full timers too. But we’re not moving right now. We want to get the truck and RV paid for first so our fixed bills are just phones & insurance. While my husband works a full time job to do that, I’m building my own business from the RV. We knew that it was possible have this lifestyle before retirement, but your budget has given me a little bit more of an assurance that it really can be done with a good budget. Thanks for sharing!
Seeing your budget book is a reminder of what my wife and I do for our bills. She came up with the idea several years ago and it has been wonderful. We are not fulltimers but are planning on buying a fifth wheel shortly after paying off some bills. We will use this system to maintain our house expenses along with managiing our travel budget. It takes a little tweaking but it is a great tool.
thanks, i’m following as it sounds cool, but how realistic is it?
In November it was reality for us. What part seems unrealistic?
Do you guys have health or dental insurance? Or any other bills such as student loans, credit card loans, tithe, or anything like that? Just wondering.
looks and sounds awesome, we are full timers also and live on a fixed income. we own our 2014 fifth wheel but the 2014 dodge ram 3500 isnt paid for yet. But we just relocated from san diego to south coastal town in oregon. let me tell you its awesome and cheap.. we are parked right on the rouge river in Gold beach, oregon. we pay $250 space rent, around $65 for propane, $33 for electric. I even have washer and electric dryer, wash 3 times a week. I love it, very peaceful and good energy flowing.