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Can an RVer Live on $500 a Month? This Nomad Says, “Yes”

Rising housing costs drive many to consider embracing RVing and the nomadic lifestyle. Many nomads find they can live on much less than in a standard sticks-and-bricks. One YouTuber recently claimed that an RVer could live on only $500 per month. 

Is this realistic? Let’s take a look!

Who Is Minivan Lee’s This Nomad Life?

Minivan Lee is the content creator behind the YouTube channel Minivan Lee’s This Nomad Life. She’s been a nomad for over half a decade and provides a variety of educational content and entertainment to the community.

She inspires many in the nomad community, especially women who want to adventure. However, whether you’re a man or woman, her content can help you to prepare to make the most out of the lifestyle.

How Did Minivan Lee’s This Nomad Life Make Money?

Minivan Lee stated that when she first hit the road, she relied solely on the survivor benefits she received from the passing of her husband. She received approximately $500 each month and needed to make it last.

Minivan Lee eventually funded her adventures by setting up camp in areas and finding work. She worked at an Amazon Warehouse and Wendy’s for some time. However, her channel is now her primary source of income. She releases content on her channel every single day.

Like most content creators, she uses affiliate links with Amazon and other online retailers that give her a small commission for sales that result from those links. However, this isn’t her only source of income. She also has an online retail store selling various products, including fashion accessories and exercise videos.

Can an RVer Live on $500 a Month?

According to Minivan Lee’s This Nomad Life, it’s possible to live on $500 per month. In one of her videos, she shares with viewers a budget that allows RVers and nomads to live on only $460 per month. Will it be easy? Absolutely Not.

Lee breaks down the budget with $30 to $60 for car insurance, $80 for fuel, $140 for food, $80 for non-food essentials, $20 for laundry, and $60 to $80 for cell coverage. As we said, it’s not easy.

Lee encourages viewers to switch their vehicle insurance plan to liability insurance. While this may be a way to save money each month, it could set people up for a financial disaster. Having liability coverage on your vehicle, which serves as your primary residence, means you could be one accident away from being homeless.

Friends sitting in camper van
Some RVers can live comfortably for just $500 per month.

Budget Tips for Nomadic Life

You need money to fund your adventures and the basics of living. However, there are some things you can do to make every dollar count. Here are some budget tips to help you enjoy the nomadic life. 

Choose Your Spot Wisely

It’s no secret that some areas are more expensive than others. As a result, you must pick your spot wisely. This means you’re likely not staying in RV parks and campgrounds if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Boondocking – camping on public lands – is one of the best ways to RV on a budget. These sites are typically free, but some require an inexpensive permit. Depending on the area, you can typically stay anywhere from five to 14 days. However, Long-Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) allow you to stay up to seven months for $180.

When selecting your spot, you want to consider how far you’ll be from stores and other sources of entertainment. You could find yourself spending more money on fuel in some spots if shops and other retailers are a considerable distance away.

Shop Around for Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle insurance is one area where many people can save a few bucks each month. However, the most important thing is ensuring you have the proper coverage. Shop the various insurance providers and see who offers the best rates and coverage.

Switching to liability coverage, typically the minimum legal standard in most states, can save you hundreds of dollars each year. However, if you experience an accident or damage to your vehicle, you could be on the hook for footing the bill for all repairs. This would quickly negate any savings.

Make sure you consider all of the circumstances and possibilities when selecting your insurance. You could make a major financial mistake and find yourself in a tough position.

Minimize Fuel Consumption

With the price of fuel these days, you don’t want to waste a single drop of it. Living frugally means minimizing fuel consumption as much as possible. To avoid wasting fuel, you’ll need to plan your trips to town or retailers. Making multiple trips back and forth can quickly eat away at your budget.

A great way to do this and stay organized is to keep shopping and to-do lists. This can help you take care of any errands or purchase any items all in one trip. It may take you an entire day to do your shopping, laundry, and other errands, but you’ll make the most out of your fuel. 

Pro Tip: Save money by following these 7 Strategies for Frugal RV Living if you want to live on $500 per month while RVing.

RV driving on highway
While frugal living isn’t easy, it is possible to save money by RVing.

Use Food Banks When Possible

Food banks often serve people with no strings attached who need assistance with food. However, some food banks are only available to local community members. As a result, you’ll want to call or check with each food bank to see if they can assist.

While many people may feel it is unethical for nomads to use these services, Minivan Lee’s This Nomad Life proved otherwise.

She stated she talked with multiple food banks during her adventures to ensure she wasn’t taking food from others who had a larger need. The workers said she wasn’t and that the more people who use the services, the more money donated to the food banks. This means there’s more food available to help them meet their needs.

Look for Free Entertainment

Keeping yourself entertained while living the nomadic life is important. You don’t want to just sit in your RV all day with nothing to do. However, entertainment can get expensive. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, you must look for free entertainment.

You can spend hours exploring the area’s libraries, parks, or hiking trails. In addition, take the opportunity to connect with other nomads. You never know what you’ll find yourself getting into with them. When you’re not swapping stories of your adventures, you might be able to find a game that the group enjoys playing to pass the time.

Save Money for Unexpected Events

Nomadic life can be incredibly unpredictable, and unexpected events happen from time to time. Those events can be expensive, whether a mechanical issue, speeding ticket, or hospital bill. If you don’t have some money saved for these events, it could completely derail your adventures and put you and your future adventures in a bind.

We suggest having a healthy amount of savings sitting in the bank when you hit the road. This can help you to absorb the impact of these expenses instead of panicking. In addition, you should save as much money as possible each month.

Pro Tip: Save money by spending the night at one of these Top 20 Free Camping Sites in America.

Nomadic Life on a Budget Is Possible

While the nomadic life can allow you to make some priceless memories, most people need to stick to a budget. If you’re not careful, you could spend much more money on the lifestyle than in a sticks-and-bricks home. It may take some planning and a bit more thought, but enjoying the lifestyle to the fullest and sticking to a budget is possible.

Do you think you could live on $500 per month? Tell us your budget thoughts in the comments!

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