Can you afford RV living? It is one of the most elusive answers that we all seek when making RVing plans. Will you be able to save money as an RVer? Can your current income support fulltime RVing? Due to the weight of the decision, and our own desire to assist our readers in achieving financial freedom and reaching their goal of RVing; we decided to take our answers a step further and provide you with some real tools to enable you to make a real RV living budget and confidently answer these questions for yourself. In other words, we got your back!
Shall we give ourselves a quick pep talk first?
Self, today we are tackling our budget. I know we hate to do it, but Chris and Jen said we have to. So, we will not be afraid of the scary blank lines we see. We will conquer this budget worksheet. We promise not to be mad at Chris & Jen for making us face our financial situation. It is for our own good. We will persevere. We are disciplined. We are Penn State. (oops, not sure how the chant got in there)
Follow these simple steps to make your RV Living budget…
(we also have a video below to help you see this in action.)
Step #1 We need to establish your current budget in your home, so take out a calculator and your current budget. What? You don’t have a budget??? Don’t worry, we won’t judge. (We fall in to that category a lot of the time, so don’t judge us either.) In Step #2, we will help you build one.
Step #2 Print & Fill-in this worksheet: RVer Budget BEFORE RVing Fill-in the budget column either by using your current budget from Step 1, or by taking the time following our worksheet to create a current budget. The instructions for creating your current budget are on the worksheet for you, but you are basically listing your total income, then using your knowledge of your expenses and the percentages we give you (based off of a lot of research) to fill-in what your budget expenses should be. A key step here is knowing that your total income MINUS your total budget expenses should equal ZERO. Meaning that you will have a ZERO balance at the end of the month, and all is right with the world. Then, at the end of the month, you will fill-in your actual expenses column. This is the moment of truth. Again, your total income MINUS your total actual expenses should equal ZERO. If you are over, great news, you can budget more in your savings. If you are under, still great news, you now know that you can no longer give your budget no attention, instead you need to put some work in to your budget to make sure that your expenses do not exceed your income either by decreasing expenses or increasing income.
Step #3 Now that your current budget is complete, it is time to create a RV living budget. This step will be trickier, as you will have to make some guesses. But, to help you to make informed guesses, we are providing our actual fulltime RVing numbers for you to use. I took our first year on the road numbers and divided them by twelve to provide you with a monthly average for informational purposes. You want to begin by printing the following worksheet: RVer Budget ON THE ROAD. Now, fill-in your total income and the budget column with the numbers that you already know from your current budget – food, health insurance, life insurance, etc. Then, take a look at our numbers and the notes I provided. For example, you will see our monthly total for campgrounds is $1013.00; but I made a note that these are full hook-up spots and you also know that we cover a lot of ground. If you are planning on doing a lot of boondocking/free camping each month or know that you will be staying put longer to take advantage of cheaper monthly rates, then you will be able to lessen our number for your own budget. Use our actual numbers and the percentages we provided to help you fill-in the rest of the budget column. Once you have all of your anticipated expenses in your budget column filled-in, then it is time to take your total income MINUS your total expenses and see how you did. (Some of you have asked for it, so here is a second version of the RVer Anticipated Monthly Budget 2 worksheet that does NOT include our numbers.)
Step #4 Review your new RV living budget. Have you been realistic? If your budget only works if you are free camping 20 nights out of the month, then you may want to rethink it. Scrutinize your numbers and be honest with yourself. A dishonest RV living budget on paper will not serve you in the long run.
Our video with precise instructions to walk you through these steps…
Congratulations! You have stepped up and taken your financial situation in hand. Either you have found out that RVing is a good fit for your budget and may even save you money, or you have discovered that you are not quite there yet. If you fall in to the latter category, then take heart, my friend, there are a lot of ways to help you save money RVing. You just need to do a little more research and maybe even find another source of income. We want you to rock RV living, but more importantly, we want you to get out of debt. So, we hope that our worksheets and this assignment has helped you to see where you stand currently, so that you can move forward in pursuing your goals.
If you do have debt holding you back, then we recommend Dave Ramsey’s website and basically everything about him to help you.
Questions??? Leave a comment.
ready for the next step? Click here to Learn how to take your budget and use it to figure out what you can afford to pay for campgrounds.