April 24, 2015 (By Jimmy) – A lot of people have been curious about what it takes to live this nomadic lifestyle. How do you get your mail? How does your TV work? – there are many questions – but one of the biggest curiosities is how much does it cost to do this? I know a lot of people who would like to do this but who are worried about the cost. Before I get into the figures, I just want you to know your experience and mine will be different, but what I present, I hope, will give you at least an idea about how much it costs to live on the road. I also want you to know that I have never heard of anyone who began the nomadic life that complained about how much it cost over living in a stationary home.
Now before we started, Angela and I had built up a six month buffer so that if I didn’t have a job we could go for six months before I would need to be at work again. I say this because there were some people we knew who when they heard we were going to live full time in an RV just knew we had gone broke. Our financial condition is very sound; I am presenting this only to assist anyone looking into this lifestyle.
I know a number of people who present their numbers on a monthly basis. I don’t plan to do this monthly, so I am taking my numbers as a monthly average. The monthly average for this presentation is from January 2015 through April 2015 (I know April is not over yet, but its close enough for us to know pretty much how the month will end). If you follow the blog, you know that I didn’t work in January. I was on a Colorado Project in February, a Boston Project in March, and a Mississippi project in April. Wow, I didn’t realize how mobile I’ve been these first four months. Also, I have ended my W2 (employee) work and have started my 1099 (personal business) work. So if there are any specific one-time issues with the numbers that would significantly change the presentation, I will mention them. First let’s look at Income in terms of the monthly averages for the four month period:
- Net Business – My business income less self employment tax, insurance, and specific business supplies.
- Net Salary Related Inc – Gross salary less taxes withheld
- Total Other Income – Travel reimbursement less the related travel expenses, and other income (this period included our income tax refund – without that this section would have been $365).
- RV Expenses – RV payment, Lot Rent, Storage for family heirlooms, RV Insurance, Major maintenance or upgrades (none this period)
- Auto and Truck Expenses – Auto and Truck Payments, Fuel, Auto Insurance, Service and Maintenance (bought new tires for the car)
- Utilities Expense – Cell Phone, Electric, Propane, Shipping, Laundry
- Household Expenses – Food and Dining, Shopping (Walmart), Pet Expenses (not including Mental Anguish), Walking around Cash (when I travel on a plane, I normally carry more cash than when I’m at home so this was a bit high)
- Health and Medical Expenses – Health Insurance, and Medical and Pharmaceutical Expenses.
- Other Misc Expenses – Retirement, Donations, and other Misc (this period we had a payment in support of Clarissa’s Education, without that this would have been $970).
You see that the net loss is $30, pretty much break even. Since I worked 12 of the 17 weeks, and we were able to stay at breakeven, we did pretty well. I am now on a project that will keep me employed until at least July 2016, so it will be interesting as to what the next four months will bring.
I am a big advocate of having a budget no matter what your living arrangement. But as you see here, there will be things that come up that you have to deal with, not unlike the things that come up when you live in and maintain a stationary home. So please don’t use cost as a reason not to be nomadic. It really comes down to risk. Would you rather risk identifying ways to raise more money or reduce cost, or would you rather risk that you will be healthy enough at retirement when you could be travelling now? Until later… Later…