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Sample Full-timing Budgets

Below I have assembled three different possible budgets - Thrifty, Moderate, and Money Is No Object - based on our discussion of what it costs to live on the road on the Financial Considerations page. It is on that page that the expense categories are explained in more detail and our moderate budget is set.

Most full-timers will cross over the lines on various expenses, so this is just a guideline. Every single full-timer's situation is different.

The point is that you can get by on much less than it takes to run your current household or you can spend as much as you can afford to maintain the good life on the road. Take a look at the budgets, and then review the explanatory notes after the table.









Discussion Of The Sample Budgets

So what do you think? The annual expenses for each of these budgets is:

Thrifty $12,600

Moderate $36,396

Money Is No Object $99,660

Now, these budgets do not take into account expenses such as tuition for kids in college, maintaining a stationary home, or savings, investments, or income taxes. If these or other expenses are part of your life, obviously you will need to make adjustments.

And, once again, there is no provision in the Thrifty or Moderate budgets for RV or Tow/Towed Vehicle payments. So you are on your own if you need to tweak things for debt payments.

Okay. So, that Thrifty budget is really, really, really tight. It would be more for a single person that may not travel much or for a couple that boondocks a lot (low campground fees) and also stays in one place a lot. Occasionally, we run into those that make a game out of living on as little as possible. So, though $1,000 a month is way too tight for us, there are people that do it.

At the other end of the spectrum -"Money Is No Object" - I have trouble imagining spending $100,000 a year full-timing. And I doubt there are many that do. However, I have seen surveys showing many full-timers are not comfortable unless their budget is at least $60,000 per year, $5,000 per month. It does not take much manipulation of the "Money Is No Object" budget to get it down to that range. Cut out the RV and vehicle payments and cut down a few other expenses, and we are there.

Most resources I have read say that full-timers tend to spend what they were used to spending before they went on the road. I agree that is probably true IF the income stream remains the same.

However, I foresee many more people going on the road like ourselves that will have a drastic reduction in income. Therefore those people, like us, have to either figure out a way to generate income or cut to the bare bones on expenses or a combination of both.

For those of you that will need to generate a new income stream, take a look at the

Earning A Living page.

As for us, we do a combination of workamping/volunteering and traveling. So far, our Basic Living Expenses, which is what is contemplated in the Sample Budgets, have averaged about $28,000 per year. See our 2005 - 2009 Full-Time RVing Expense Averages.

Now, we have to admit that we have spent more than that over the years as we've improved our set-up - what we call One-Time Expenses. Those expenses have taken us up around that Moderate budget total in our first few years. Those expenses were mostly discretionary and not "necessities" (although some were), so we like to keep them separate. And they are available for your review at Our Major One-Time Expenses

Okay, to see our actual budgets click on the links below.

Our 2010 Budget

Our 2009 Budget

Our 2008 Budget

Our 2007 Budget

Our 2006 Budget

And to see how we did against our budgets, click on these links.

Our 2009 Actual Expenses

Our 2008 Actual Expenses

Our 2007 Actual Expenses

Our 2006 Actual Expenses


If you have any questions or comments about our assumptions for these budgets or other general questions, please go to our Contact Us page and send them to us.

We are happy to answer any questions and we love your input. Your input helps us learn and helps us help our visitors. Your correspondence is always welcome and appreciated.