Turning into a full-time RVer after retirement might be easier than you think. It’s really about setting a budget and sticking to it. And, if you’ve decided that RV living is for you, you probably already do this! Below, we’ve put together the ultimate roadmap to retirement in an RV.
Before we get started, you must think about if you’ll keep your stationary home. Some decide to live in their RV during the summer months while staying at their permanent home for the rest of the year. Others might decide to only be at their stationary home during the summer and camp the other months of the year. This decision is up to you.
Sell or Donate Trivial Items
The biggest obstacle here might be the fact of having to sell quite a bit of your belongings. If you decide to retire to an RV early enough, you’ll have ample time to sort through your items and decide what to keep and what to donate. Some people might think that living in an RV full time is too expensive, but it might end up being much more affordable once you begin downsizing.
Once you’ve committed, your first step is to start decluttering. You can look at websites like Craigslist or Facebook for help on this one, and you’ll make some money you can use towards your RV, motorhome or truck to tow your RV. You can take whatever you don’t sell to a place like Goodwill, and you can rent a storage space for all your sentimental items. (We don’t expect you to sell or donate all of your stuff!)
Choosing the Right RV for You
The next step is finding the perfect RV. The good thing about Travel trailers or Fifth Wheels is that they’re typically less expensive than a motorhome, and if your truck you’re towing it with has to be repaired, your whole home doesn’t have to go in the shop with it. Most repairs on RVs can be done on-site, and you can normally find someone to come to your mobile home and fix the issue. There’s a catch, though: you need to be pretty savvy with backing up your tow vehicle to your RV. You also have to drive on the road while towing some pretty hefty luggage behind you. Take time now to practice driving and parking your towable.
A motorhome might make it easier to drive, but they’re more expensive. You’ll also lose your home for a period of time when it needs repairs. Even if it’s as simple as an oil change or tire rotation, you’ll still have your home in the shop. However, motorhomes are typically roomier than travel trailers, and you’ll be able to tow your vehicle behind you.
Living in an RV vs Traveling in an RV
One of the things that hold people back from committing to full time RVing is their job. Luckily, you’re already retired or near retirement. If you need a little extras cash along the way, find something you can do remotely. Check out this blog for a few more ideas.
If you want to ease into the full-time RV lifestyle, finding an RV park or campground close to home and staying there full time is going to be your best bet. You can usually find a spot to rent for a month or so until you’re used to the minimalist lifestyle.
When traveling, it’s best to stay at places for at least a week because there’s normally a price break somewhere in-between. If you book for a whole month, you might only pay about half of the nightly rate.
It’s Time to Set Up a Budget
You’ve sold most of your things and you’ve chosen your trailer or motorhome. Now, you have to come up with some sort of spending budget that you’ll abide by while living the minimalist lifestyle. Very few people in the world enjoy talking about budgeting their spending habits, but it’s crucial to living in an RV full time. It’s great to have an ongoing worksheet of all your expenses to see where your money is going and to see if you’re staying on budget.
Creating a full-time RV budget really helps you out in planning your RV living expenses and gives you a look at how much you really need to live off of. Having a budget also relieves any stress on whether or not you can afford to live full time in your RV. There are a ton of websites that have created an RV living budget you can use by adding in your own expenses.
How to Keep Your Budget
You don’t have to be a financial planner in order to come up with an efficient budget that works for you. A best practice is to have a budget spreadsheet that will help you make sure you stay within your means.
You’ll want to keep track of everything on your spreadsheet. This includes anything from monthly expenses like repairs, food, and gas to other expenses like any kind of subscriptions you have (Amazon Prime, for example).
Keeping a budget also goes hand in hand with how resistant to risk you are. Some RVers like to keep a larger emergency fund in case something major happens while they’re on the road, but others have a smaller fund because they might have the opportunity to make money quickly if a situation arises. That’s a personal preference, but it’s something you’ll need to decide on before you head out on the road.
While having your own budget and spending spreadsheet critical, using online software is also a great option for making sure you stay on budget. Most websites or apps will pull your info from your bank account and put the money you spend in a category. From there, you can see exactly where your money goes and it gives you a quick, updated look of if you’re on track or not.
The most important part about RVing full time after retirement is keeping your spending habits lined up with your budget. It’s about living a minimalistic lifestyle and bringing only the essentials along with you.
Retire to an RV—The Road-Map to Affordable Retirement Living