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Author Topic: Range of costs associated with Full-timing  (Read 3373 times)

Lindesu

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Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« on: January 15, 2017, 03:11:55 PM »
I asked this on a different subject board, and so far haven't gotten any responses. Let me put it a different way here. Planning to go Full-time for at least a couple of years.  I realize there are many variables, but wonder how far our retirement budget will stretch.  We expect to do some boon docking but not 100%  Wondered what full-timers are finding monthly costs are associated with this lifestyle, not including the cost of the rig itself, which hopefully would be paid for in advance of the plunge.   For those of you who keep track, could you share your monthly costs, and how much time you actually spend in parks vs. free camping.

Dickie125

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 04:32:48 PM »
Depends on a lot of variables.  Do you prefer resorts with dinner delivered to your door nightly.  Or are you more oriented toward state and NF campgrounds eating out maybe once a month?  There is just no right answer.  What is your retirement budget?  Many people can survive on 2K a month. Others 6K is barely making it.
Food, fuel, insurande camping fees add up in a big hurry.  Camp hosting for 6 or 7 months a year can reduce expenses considerably, but your still going to have to pay for food, propane, fuel for your vehicles, vehicle and medical insurance, etc.  Life on the road is not cheap no matter how you slice it.
I think what you really need to do is sit down, look at your projected income and start subtracting expences at the worst case.  RV parks 600 a month, food, medical insurance, RV insurance, maintenance and repairs, fuel based on maybe 2K miles a month.  See where you come out.

Dreamsend

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 04:35:53 PM »
You may not find this response helpful, but this is how I have approached a fulltime budget for myself, although I am also not on the road yet.   As I've seen many, many people answer this question with "it all depends on how YOU live".

Figure your fixed costs that you know -- health, car, RV insurance, medications, doctor/dentists, vet bills and the like.

Depending on your RV you may want to include a maintenance cost as well.

Your grocery or food bills will likely not change, unless you change your habits of eating out more or less than you do now.  Included in this would be cleaning supplies, soap, detergents.  You can estimate laundromat costs by how many loads you do now.

Fees for overnights will vary from free to $65+ per night depending on what your choices are.  You can boondock on BLM or FS land for free (usually 14 days and then you gotta move at least 25 miles) as well as Wall Mart and casinos occasionally.  Campgrounds at natl parks, BLM, FS, COE, generally are between $10 and $30 per night (14 day limit) depending on hookups and location and I have found state parks average about $20.  With an America the Beautiful Pass, you can get a 50% discount at fed sites not run by a concessionnaire generally.  Private campgrounds will generally run $30 and up and up depending on amenities etc.  You can get monthly rates too I think generally about $350 and up.  So it all depends on where you choose to stay and for how long.

You can view public and private campground fees by simply searching on the web in the areas you will be in.  Google is your friend.

Your fuel cost will depend entirely on whether you move a lot or stay in one place longer.  Your propane costs will depend on your habits and what kind of climate you're in. 

Then there are fees on admittance to various attractions--museums, galleries, train rides,
river floats, which you may or may not spend.  And maybe souvenirs or gifts you'd buy.

While people can share their costs with you, and their are lots of posts on the web and YouTube about this, there are just too many variables to know whether they would apply to you.

I found I got the most peace of mind by estimating as accurately as possible what my own costs might look like for what I think I may do then and determining if they fit within my budget.  The other key for me is to make a budget and stick to it.  If I spend more one place I gotta try and cut back in another.

Linda

Linda with kitties Sarah & Samson
2017 Ford F250 Lariat aka Gypsy Rose

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 04:49:26 PM »
Thanks for the input, and it is not unlike my own mental planning. I expect that once we retire, the fixed income will be about $6000 per month. We hope to spend about half our time in national forest or BLM land. But, even so, we will need to come out, find dump stations, and would like to have a few long showers and some TV!  My estimates, doing much as you suggested Dreamsend, is also about 2,000.  But wondered if others have found that to be a full-blown pipe dream, or what. We won't stay in super cold temps, or super hot. Expect to spend the summers in the mountains and the winters south somewhere.  Pretty conservative in our park choices.  No real need for amenities other than full hookups plus cable and Wifi, when we are in an actual park.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 04:57:14 PM by Lindesu »

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 04:53:00 PM »
I already have the Senior Pass, but just got it this summer and haven't had a chance to use it yet.  We have Good Sam as well. Have other discounts been particularly appealing or helpful to those of you doing this full time?  I investigated the Thousand Trails, and that sounds like a time-share scam to me.  Went thru enough nightmares with a time-share that belonged to our parents. We were still getting calls from them several years after they both were dead! 

casehulsebosch

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 05:00:14 PM »
Following this topic as it has some relevance on our 6 months trip to the USA later this year.

"You can boondock on BLM or FS land for free (usually 14 days and then you gotta move at least 25 miles) as well as Wall Mart and casinos occasionally"

Question: what is BLM and FS land? not familiar with these abbreviations.

cheers, Case
Aotearoa, the Land of the long white cloud, better known as New Zealand.

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 05:07:06 PM »
Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Also free or reduced rates for Corps of Engineers and other Federal wilderness lands. You can go to this sites, https://www.fs.fed.us to see the Forest Service lands across the United states.  You can purchase and American the Beautiful Pass for $80 that allows you free entry to these sites. 
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 05:14:59 PM by Lindesu »

SeilerBird

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2017, 05:20:06 PM »
I am staying in a nice RV park with full hookups in central Florida for about $400 per month which includes water, electricity, trash and lawn care.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Life list of birds:
https://goo.gl/photos/xuP9zPD2KP2swN1g8
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Dreamsend

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2017, 05:20:26 PM »
Hi Case

BLM is Bureau of Land Management. 

FS is Forest Service.

There are a dizzying array of state and federal government agencies that manage public lands in the U.S.  Each agency also has regions they oversee and policies can vary from location to location, such as length of stay, whether fires are permitted, pets on trails policies, and more. These lands are managed for multiple purposes and are therefore, pretty highly regulated, especially in areas with heavy recreational use.   

If you are interested in camping, here is a handy tool listing designated campgrounds for these and other public lands owned by the government.  There are other such tools on the web as well as printed guides and apps.

http://uscampgrounds.info

Enjoy your trip to the USA.

Linda
Linda with kitties Sarah & Samson
2017 Ford F250 Lariat aka Gypsy Rose

GR 'Scott' Cundiff

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2017, 05:26:32 PM »
Over the past few years we've averaged from just under $3000 over a year to just over $3400.  I post my expenditure amounts along with other budget related information to our blog.  http://pastorscott.com/travel/tag/budget/
2008 6.4L SRW F-350 Diesel - 2007 Hitchhiker  - http://travel.pastorscott.com

ArdraF

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 06:41:14 PM »
Quote
We have Good Sam as well. Have other discounts been particularly appealing or helpful to those of you doing this full time?  I investigated the Thousand Trails, and that sounds like a time-share scam to me.

Good Sam and Passport America are two of the memberships that provide campground discounts.  Their advantage is that you can renew or not renew your membership at will.  Thousand Trails is a buy-into-it situation where you have a home park.  I don't know that I'd call it a scam but it IS difficult to get out of TT once you're a member.  I think it's best for young families who are still working and can use a nearby campground on weekends and short vacations.  We've known couples who love TT because it's convenient and their kids make friends they see visit after visit and year after year.  That's fine in their case, but it never appealed to us.

You also can belong to Escapees which has a well-regarded mail forwarding service.  It was started by fulltime RVers as a means of communicating with one another via their newsletter.  That was many years ago and today the Escapees address in Livingston TX is the domicile of many fulltimers.  That is, they are Texas residents and vote there as well as register their vehicles there.  Escapees also has campgrounds around the country and you "can" buy lots in those campgrounds (co-op) for the day when you hang up your keys.  There are even Rainbow Parks with a care facility where members can stay when they have health issues.  As an Escapee member you can use their campgrounds even if you don't buy into the co-op campgrounds.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Jeannine

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 06:48:21 PM »
As others have pointed out, it depends on your choices.  Many of us find that we spend about what we spent when we had a house in a fixed location.  We just spend the money on different things.

Jeannine
2009 HitchHiker 37CKRD
2014 RAM 3500

ronniebellie

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2017, 07:16:42 PM »
I am staying in a nice RV park with full hookups in central Florida for about $400 per month which includes water, electricity, trash and lawn care.

What is the name and location of this park in Florida? Is there a web site?

SeilerBird

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2017, 07:33:14 PM »
What is the name and location of this park in Florida? Is there a web site?
The Floridian
5150 Boggy Creek Road
Saint Cloud, Florida 34771

No real web site and there are no vacancies right now. There will be in March when the snowbirds pull out. It is rather empty in the summer.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Life list of birds:
https://goo.gl/photos/xuP9zPD2KP2swN1g8
Grand Canyon photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7

herekittykitty

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  • Birch Bay, WA
Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2017, 10:05:42 PM »
If your retirement income is really going to be $6000/month, IMO you'd have to work HARD to make your expenses exceed your income. I'm jealous.  :D

My primary reason for living in my RV was to save on monthly costs and still have my own home, so I bought a couple of campground memberships up front so that my monthly space rent and utility costs would be $0.

I'm not the boondocking sort - I like my electricity.

After a year of snowbirding up and down the west coast, I decided where I wanted to stay, and now go back and forth between two recreational RV parks that are 3 miles away from each other. My monthly space rent and utility costs (except for propane, which I don't need much of except in Dec and Jan) are less than $100, which is the amount of the annual maintenance fees for both parks, set aside monthly.

Because they are recreational rather than residential parks, electricity is free. I use a space heater and bought an induction cooktop, so I never use my propane stove or oven.

I set aside $100/month for RV maintenance and repairs (when they hit, they can be big).
I have one cat and don't feed him cheap food, and I set aside money every month towards possible vet bills.
When I was traveling, except for my semi-annual relocation weeks, I was only moving every 2-3 weeks and had no toad, and I budgeted $90/month for gasoline, which evened out over the course of a year.

After the loan payment on the RV, my biggest single expense is actually for Verizon data - since I'm not stationary, my internet usage all comes through my Jetpack. But I don't use satellite TV (I stream/download everything with a computer hooked up to my flatscreen), which it seems most RVers do have, so I suppose that cost goes into my data plan. It's just something to think about that isn't a large expense for a sticks-and-bricks, but can be for people who aren't stationary.
Karen and Teddy-the-Kitty
Mostly stationary for now in a 32' Class C (2013 Winnebago Access Premier)

kdbgoat

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 06:51:28 AM »
Another great place to get some budget ideas is the Escapees forum. The have a full section just for fulltiming budgets. Good reading there.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

NY_Dutch

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 07:46:19 AM »
My wife and I spend 10-11 months a year living in our motorhome, with the balance of the time in our vacation cottage in upstate NY. In the 11 years since retirement, our average monthly expenses have never exceeded just our monthly SSI income, including the ongoing cottage expenses. We have drawn on investments/savings a couple of times for one-time major expenditures though. We love state and national parks, and use our Senior Pass, Escapees, Passport America, Good Sam, and KOA VIK cards frequently while traveling. Our month long winter stay in the Escapees owned RV park near Bushnell, FL this year, for instance, is just $340 plus electric for full hookups on a nice roomy site.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2017, 09:44:39 AM »

You also can belong to Escapees which has a well-regarded mail forwarding service.


We do plan to use a mail forwarding service, and would like to have home base be Texas because of no state income tax.  I have a question about this however.  How do you get the mail sent, and what do they do with all the junk mail?  Do you have to pay the shipping on that extra bulk?

SeilerBird

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2017, 09:57:40 AM »
We do plan to use a mail forwarding service, and would like to have home base be Texas because of no state income tax.  I have a question about this however.  How do you get the mail sent, and what do they do with all the junk mail?  Do you have to pay the shipping on that extra bulk?
I don't know how Escapees handles it's service but I can tell you how Mail Link Plus in Las Vegas handles it's mail. Anytime I would get a piece of mail they would send me an email telling me about it. I had the option of having them throw it away, send it to any address I wanted it sent to or opened, scanned and posted online.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Life list of birds:
https://goo.gl/photos/xuP9zPD2KP2swN1g8
Grand Canyon photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2017, 10:01:38 AM »
Thanks Karen and others! This helps a lot in estimating the budget.  I was hoping to keep the budget monthly to about $1500 to $2000 over and above the cost of the RV itself.  We pull a 5th wheel, and then boogie around in the Truck. Right now, we think we will boondock a couple weeks a month anyway. DH likes to fish, canoe and we love the outdoors.  We will have  Social Security and each of us will have a pension also.  We have some investments as well, but they are tied up in 401K.  Our current plan is to sell the big house, and store the basic furniture, after we have pared it down to essentials.  The house isn't paid for, and too big for the two of us.  So, we really don't want to continue to eat up a big chunk of our retirement income each month on this mortgage. Plus, we have so many places in the country that we want to see  and haven't had enough time during working years to adequately explore.  That's our reasoning for going full-time. 

SeilerBird...What do they charge for this service? 

SeilerBird

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  • Everything I state is my opinion.
Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2017, 10:26:21 AM »
SeilerBird...What do they charge for this service?
Ten dollars a month plus postage or a dollar a page for scanning.

https://www.maillinkplus.com/
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Life list of birds:
https://goo.gl/photos/xuP9zPD2KP2swN1g8
Grand Canyon photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7

johnaye

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2017, 04:19:43 PM »
One thing to start thinking about is where you are going to "live".  As a full timer you can live almost anywhere, but you will need some form of address for vehicle registration, taxes, voting, etc.  We are just starting this process, but I have already ruled out Texas.  While Texas has no income tax, I have read that you need a CD license to drive a motor home weighting over 25,000 lbs.  My motor home is a 40' DP so I plan to avoid being a Texas resident.  I am also going to avoid CA due to the high income tax. Right now our list of states is down to two, FL and AZ.  FL because no income tax and AZ because we are here now and will not have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get our vehicles registered.  The need for a periodic smog inspection is also an issue since you will probably have to go to your home state when inspections are due.   Good luck on your pending retirement.

John  Alfa See Ya.
John and Becky
2004 Alfa See Ya DP
2008 Honda CRV

henkelphoto

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2017, 04:55:33 PM »
For the most inexpensive way to look at full-timing, take a look at this young lady's expenses:

http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2017/01/16/2016-full-time-rving-cost-of-living-income-report/

Dodge Ram 1500
Keystone Hideout 177lhs

aprs

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2017, 10:12:59 PM »
FWIW: Better put away a couple of months worth of retired pay in an account for emergencies. Especially if you decide to get a diesel pusher motorhome. Repairs are not cheap and neither are maintenance costs. Be prepared to be displaced during repairs and no, the estimated repair times are never reliable. Get good towing insurance for your RV like goodsams, coachnet. Don't be relying upon your auto/RV insurance to be covering your tow. As far as discount clubs, I had them all but ended up not being able to use them enough to make it worthwhile for renewing. If you can get extended warranty, buy it as it will only help ya if something breaks, however, make sure you know what it covers before you commit. Keep in mind that expectations and reality will be different.
-Boz-
2000 Ultimate Freedom 40JD

NY_Dutch

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2017, 08:43:16 AM »
As for being out of your motorhome during repairs go, over the years while traveling with various motorhomes we've had an engine replaced, a transmission replaced, and an entire rear end replaced, yet we slept in the coach every night during each of those events. The only time we elected to stay elsewhere was for two days while the coach was being repainted to avoid the strong odors. Even then we stayed in a "Kottage" at a nearby KOA. We did have to be out of the coach during some of the actual repair work of course, but that just meant going sight seeing, shopping, etc, for several hours.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2017, 03:15:25 PM »
We have a 1 Ton PU and a 5th wheel, so, Truck maintenance will not impact a place to live, but may require us to rent a car temporarily. We do keep Good Same towing service even now. 

jims94vmx

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2017, 01:57:38 PM »
Great info here.  Learning a lot from you all. We are looking to downsize and see the country.  Just have to get the right 5th wheel. 

dcbinvt

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2017, 07:18:07 PM »
Full time from May to Nov. 2016. New mid-size Class B. Just dog & I. 50% travel & 50% destination camping (Campgrounds). Total miles travelled = 14,000. Travel was more than 50% free camping (Overnighting, Boondocking, etc). Holder of Passport America & Good Sam club. Also have Fed/Nat. Lands pass.

Total cost was $5,541 - did not include camper cost or camper ins. Did include minor maintenance such as oil changes. 6 months @ $922 per month.

Have Fun.

Bobtop46

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    • Work Camper
Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2017, 09:41:51 AM »
These folks also post their info, a bit on the high side.  I used the spreadsheet and looked for areas where I could save.  One example is they have a truck, jeep and 5th wheel.  I was more interested in the categories.

http://www.rv-dreams.com/financial-information.html
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
2006 Mini Cooper S

Lindesu

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Re: Range of costs associated with Full-timing
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2017, 01:00:16 PM »
Good Info, dcbinvt!  That's about what I hope we can do, part-free, part-time in a park.  And about what I anticipated as far as cost. We will have diesel expenses, because we want to see things. But, also hope to set the 5th wheel down for 2 to 3 weeks at a time to adequately explore the region.  And Bobtop46, this is a great site for estimating costs! Thanks for sharing!

This was a difficult question for people to answer, as there are so many variables. But you guys have given exactly the info I hoped to obtain. I just needed a range of people's experiences with cost. Thanks a bunch!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 01:06:49 PM by Lindesu »

 

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