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Old 11-05-2014, 01:45 PM   #43
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Interesting thread. Yes, we all do things differently, save differently, plan differently, and work differently.

There are those that want to retire early and full time on a limited budget I'll designate as ($). There are the silver spoons mentioned here where money is no object, I'll designate ($$$$$).

I'm 70 years old, for many reasons worked until I reached 70, have a condo, car, truck, new AS, no debt, money in the bank, money invested, defined pension, and social security benefits as does my partner. I would classify us as ($$$).

When we bought the AS and decided to hit the road full time, I set as my goal or budget 200.00 a day average on the road. Last month actual came out to about 170.00. This does not include the condo expenses, different types of insurances, and telephone expense which includes the Internet.

As we travel around and meet or observe people camping, I think there are a number of individuals similar to us. Worked traditional jobs, worked until 65-70, saved, and retired hopefully to have a little fun until we have to hang it up. I'd like to get at least 10 years of this lifestyle before this happens.

It's the above I'd like to hear from regarding their budgets or expenses.

The big line items in my expense sheet that I can control are amusement fees, dining out, groceries, gas, and camping fees.

So for you with similar demographics or circumstances, how do we stack up?
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Old 11-05-2014, 01:47 PM   #44
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As weekend warriors, I consider camping "entertainment". It costs about the same as a movie or a dinner out, but for me is so much more enjoyable.
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:15 PM   #45
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It seems to me that....bottom line....you want to retain your quality of life.

You don't want to full time for full time's sake, without adequate funds from whatever source so that you can enjoy yourself rather than slide into a desperate struggle to survive.

There are people out there that have found themselves in exactly that situation.....selling everything to travel full time, becoming paralyzed when the economy takes a downshift and/or fuel costs skyrocket.

They find themselves in a very fragile situation, one step away from disaster, which is no way to live what you expected to be your dream.

Somene here earlier posted about finding something positive in a job that didn't satisfy you, and that was a good suggestion. Many people would give an arm or a leg for a job that wasn't very satsifying, but provided a steady paycheck and perhaps benefits.

Really, really think it through. Anything worth having is worth planning, saving, and waiting for.

When the time is right, you will know, and if it doesn't feel right....don't do it.


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Old 11-05-2014, 03:12 PM   #46
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Good thoughts Maggie, I am really enjoying this thread, lots to think about. As much as I would love to full time, I do not see it happening, but I certainly see extended trips and this info is very good in planning those types of trips. I can tell you I am done with the knick knack stage of life and living simple without a lot of stuff I do not need is becoming a reality. No sense wasting money on that when I can travel.
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:58 PM   #47
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I still believe I can full time for less money than owning a home or renting an apartment.
I don't have much experience renting, but I speak from experience on home ownership. I know around here one can own for less than renting on a monthly basis. In the same subdivision where rents are $650-950 a person can pay a $200 mortgage for a similar house. Add in property tax and insurance and the homeowner is paying $400-500 plus maintenance, upkeep, and yard work- still less expensive than renting- after 12 or so years we'll own it or sell it and walk away with equity/cash. The renter pays more per month and gets nothing when he moves.
You're gonna live somewhere regardless.
Sone full timers are campground hosts. They don't pay for their campsites. Some may get paid a very small stipend- or at least they used to. I don't know that I'd want to host, but it is a much less expensive alternative.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:39 PM   #48
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Hi jbroedlow, Thanks for your input. I think there is a difference between those fortunate enough to full time for the adventure. Your expenses might equate to $5000 per month, which would include a lot of traveling and a lot of entertainment. This is great. Enjoy your traveling in retirement. You earned it.

Some folks just want to full time for the freedom but may need to watch the budget due to limited income or savings. m hony demonstrates it can be done for less cost than my estimate of $2500 per month. When we were young and just getting started, we didn't have a down payment for a house, so we rented and saved for many years. And certainly Maggie offers good advice as usual! Don't full time unless you know what you're getting into.

So we have some full timers that can do it for less than $2500 a month, and others who like to do it for considerably more. Full timing without an income can drain a savings account pretty darn quick.

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Old 11-06-2014, 03:35 AM   #49
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If we ever make it to full timing, we should be retired and our income will be more than it is now, but our expenses will be less. Hopefully inflation won't eat up that edge. There is practical reason why many around here either full time in an RV or live in a house trailer or a middle income subdivision. Our kids have more than we do in the way of stuff- houses, cars, etc., and that is OK. I don't want stuff, or the burden of stuff- money and freedom are way more fun and stress free.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:58 AM   #50
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Lots of expenses vary by state or geographic region. Property tax and insurance, vehicle registration, tax, and insurance come to mind. There may be other expenses that vary, for instance health insurance- do health insurance premiums vary from state to state? Camping fees are les here than in other geographic areas. Gas is less here than in other geographic areas.
Some expenses may be higher here than other places. I always thought if we were retired, full timing, and on a fixed income we would stay in one campground per month. We would put has in the tank and move to a different campground at the first of the month. This way we could see 12 places per year. If they were great, we could go back next year. If not, we could visit a new location. Snowbirds seem to have a regular flight pattern- wintering in the same RV parks year after year- I guess there is comfort in a routine or familiarity. Planning is half the fun.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:32 AM   #51
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:58 AM   #52
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SBB,

Yes, I am done with the Knick Knack stage also. You really summed up this feeling!
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:14 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
Lots of expenses vary by state or geographic region. Property tax and insurance, vehicle registration, tax, and insurance come to mind.
Some places have property tax, some don't. When I lived in Va. Beach, VA not only did I have to pay the state the usual fee's for registration each year, but I had to pay the city property tax on my vehicle.

It's nice not paying property tax in FL. But the registration is way higher here, but we don't have income tax in this state either, like we did in VA.

So you are absolutely right, your choice of address can even effect your phone bill, different localities impose fees on the telecoms based on where you get your phone number from.

We recently changed our phone numbers to match with our Florida address and where shocked when our bill dropped by $9 because were where still apparently paying those regulatory fees to VA because of our 757 area code!


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There may be other expenses that vary, for instance health insurance- do health insurance premiums vary from state to state?
Not only do they vary by state, by they vary by age, number of family members and your health.

Most Americans are in poor health. If you are taking any kind of medications, your insurance is probably higher than someone not taking meds.

I'm honestly blown away by the absence numbers for insurance in this thread. We don't pay that. Thank goodness. It's one of the biggest worries I had when I got married and had kids. But we have been blessed there.

Quote:
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Camping fees are less here than in other geographic areas. Gas is less here than in other geographic areas.
Get this, I've been mad becuase it's so hard to find camping spots in Florida right now. Our goal is to camp once a month till we go full time. We're going full time in March 2015. Well in Florida, peak snowbird season is Nov ~ Apr. And the state offers a "Golden Age" pass. We pay $29 to camp, but if you have the pass you pay $15 a night. No wonder the snowbirds flock here. I just wish they offered a resident pass.

Two of the folks we follow on instagram frequent the Arizona state parks this year. The temperatures are right and they alway rave about the low rates, $12 a night.

Quote:
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Some expenses may be higher here than other places. I always thought if we were retired, full timing, and on a fixed income we would stay in one campground per month. We would put has in the tank and move to a different campground at the first of the month. This way we could see 12 places per year. If they were great, we could go back next year. If not, we could visit a new location. Snowbirds seem to have a regular flight pattern- wintering in the same RV parks year after year- I guess there is comfort in a routine or familiarity. Planning is half the fun.
I don't have the math with me this moment, but it turns out it's cheaper to live on the road than in our house with me commuting to work. Even driving a Prius I would spend more on gas living here, commuting to work, than living full time and driving around.

I drive 18 miles one way to work each day, that's 36 miles a day, 4 days a week. (Work from home one day a week)

144 miles average a week. 576 miles in a month. Just driving back and forth to work. What about all the extra miles we drive to the store and other things?

To put that into perspective, from our house here in Clearwater, FL to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park Headquarters Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 ~ is 630 miles.

So believe it or not, you are not going to travel or spend nearly as much on gas as you think unless you plan on driving across multiple state all the time.

I know gas varies when towing vs not towing. But you'd be surprised. I think we will spend the most gas when we leave Florida. We want to head out west, but I suspect once we hit certain areas, we will be staying put for 2-3 weeks at a time.

This is why CONTEXT IS IMPORTANT along with someone's budget. We look at others budgets, and then try to understand their driving habits, health, and stay habits when planning our budget for ourselves.

Some of the folks we follow like to stay in really fancy RV parks and spend close to $1000 a month in camping fee's and others spend closer to $300. But without context, you can't understand why.

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Old 11-06-2014, 08:21 AM   #54
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Have you looked at the National Forest sites in Florida, B/A?

We found that a) looking inland and b) going for NF sites, made it much easier to find campgrounds in Florida.

No hookups, but you have everything you need in your Airstream.


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Old 11-06-2014, 08:45 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post

This is why CONTEXT IS IMPORTANT along with someone's budget. We look at others budgets, and then try to understand their driving habits, health, and stay habits when planning our budget for ourselves.

Some of the folks we follow like to stay in really fancy RV parks and spend close to $1000 a month in camping fee's and others spend closer to $300. But without context, you can't understand why.
When we first started to travel, I kept track of every single expense on the road...really, because we wanted to be sure we didn't outspend our income. After a few months, I stopped doing that, finding that it was much less expensive to travel than we initially thought.

Travel expenses in the Interstate, when we were really moving around, seeing everything we could (one year we put 30,000 miles on) , ran $1200-1500 a month......just for fuel and campsites.

As the years went by, and we began going back to places we found that we loved, staying for a week or more, those expenses dropped.

The biggie is the fuel, of course. That is a fixed cost, if you are moving, but everything else comes down to a lifestyle choice.

We love poking slowly around old towns and back roads, which keeps the mpg up. Campground expenses can be cut drastically, as you gain experience, if you don't need resorts and 4-5 point hookups.

Our inherently frugal selves naturally drifted to spending less, whenever possible, splurging when we felt like it. We did what we wanted to do, and had a blast. Sometimes, what we wanted to do was pull into a river access area and spend the night listening to running water.


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Old 11-06-2014, 08:54 AM   #56
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I'll try to address only one or two of your points:

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Site rentals at $30 per night, 30 nights is $900 per month

Propane cost at 20 pounds per week at $2 is $40
Site rental will vary a LOT, and a good deal of it turns on two factors: Where you are, and how long you stay. In these parts, for instance, the daily rate for site rental can run anywhere from around $20 to around $40 or more, so you can save or spend, depending on which place you choose.

And those are daily rates. If you stay longer, you generally save. If you take a monthly rate, it'll typically be anywhere between 33% to 50% of the daily rate, once you do the math. Note that monthly rates often don't include electricity, but that's also something that you can control.

Propane is also one that involves a lot of variability in price, depending on your location and on the dealer. You can save quite a bit by doing some shopping, but, for example, in these parts, nobody at all sells propane at $2 per gallon currently. (By the way, your figuring is a little off there anyway. Twenty pounds of propane is basically what's in one of the standard BBQ cylinders; run-of-the-mill RV cylinders contain 30 pounds of propane. Filling a 20 pound cylinder ought to be in the broad neighborhood of, say, $15 to $20; a few places will be even more or less. Filling a 30 ought to be in the broad range of $20 to $30, again with outliers.)

Of course, propane usage depends a whole bunch on temperature. You can't expect your winter usage to be the same as your summer usage if you run your furnace at all.


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