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Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2023

Affording fulltime RV Life on Social Security can be challenging, but don't worry, we will show you how!

Many retirees dream of buying an RV and traveling full-time. Sure, it’s a great way to spend your golden years if you’ve managed to save a lot of cash, but what about if you live on Social Security?

Can it be done?

The simple answer is YES! We know lots of couples who do this.

For some, it makes more financial sense than living in a house.

Don’t get too excited just yet, though, because, at times, it’s not an easy feat.

Before deciding that full-time RV life while on Social Security is for you, there are some things you should know.

Is there a minimum budget for fulltime RV Life on Social Security?

Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2023 1
Yes, if you plan right and live frugally, you can afford to enjoy Fulltime RV Life on Social Security

Of course! Isn’t money always a consideration?

I would suggest $2,000 per month on average as the absolute bare minimum. Even though you’re not paying rent, per se, full-time RVing does cost money. 

But you should be aware that if you only earn $2,000 per month from Social Security, living on the road will be challenging.

Here are a few tips that will help:

Start Saving ASAP for fulltime RV Life on Social Security

If you’re still a year or more away from retirement, then you still have time to save.

Stacking as much cash as you can ahead of time helps tremendously. The larger the nest egg you can collect, the better. It will come in handy for unexpected repairs or other costs.

Create a Conservative Budget for fulltime RV Life on Social Security

Living on a fixed income is challenging, regardless if you’re living in an RV or a regular home. The best favor you can do for yourself is to create a conservative budget and stick to it!

Be sure to account for every dime of the money you spend. The sooner you can perfect this, the better. Here’s a list of expenses to include (but is not limited to these items):

  • RV payment
  • Fuel
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • RV insurance
  • Utilities
  • Campsites
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Medical expenses

Research Free or Cheap Campsites for fulltime RV Life on Social Security

image depicting a happy senio enjying Fulltime RV Life on Social Security

The past few years have been incredibly crazy with COVID-19 looming over us.

It caused many people to turn to RV sites for temporary housing, which drove prices up. Don’t fret, though; if you look hard enough, there are still lots of cheap or even free places to park.

Check out our article on Free and Cheap RV Sites. You’ll find lots of options for places to stay in the article.

Just be sure to stay in as many of these places as you can. You’ll be amazed at how fast savings begin to add up.

Find Ways to Conserve Energy for fulltime RV Life on Social Security

Fuel consumption depends on many factors, starting with the type of RV you buy. Models vary significantly in terms of fuel use.

See our RV Buying Secrets to find the best RV for a full-time RV lifestyle.

Whether you already own an RV or about to buy it, there are some things you can do to make your RV more efficient.

  • Keep up on preventative maintenance
  • Check tire pressure regularly
  • Travel lightly, declutter as needed
  • Keep the weight balanced
  • Use the A/C as needed
  • Drive smooth and steady
  • Know where you’re going

Mike and Jennifer's Summer T-Shirts for your next adventure

Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2023 2
Your Adventure Awaits! New colors and designs are waiting for you.

Ease into fulltime RV Life on Social Security

Probably the most vital piece of advice that I can give to anyone considering this lifestyle is to slow down and ease into the lifestyle.

For some, keeping their home and taking weekend trips is a wonderful place to start. This gives them a taste of what life on the road is like. While it’s perfect for us, it’s not for everyone!

It’s important to understand that some people don’t transition well when moving from a fixed location to smaller, moving quarters.  It changes EVERY ASPECT of your life!

Psychologists warn that taking on too many changes can become very stressful. So, do your best to figure out if you can handle it or not.

Consider Working in Exchange for Campsite Parking

In today’s world, there are lots of options for exchanging work for RV parking. For example, many people (like my wife and me) blog about their travels. If done right, this can help generate a nice amount of side income. Plus, some places we highlight in our blog allow us to stay for free.

Another option is to check out sites such as Workamper; this is a great place to find seasonal jobs all over the country. For example, in Florida or Alaska, you can work hospitality jobs in exchange for a modest wage and a hook-up site for your RV.

If you’re capable of working, explore all options. Here are 10 Best Resources for Workamper JobsYou might be pleasantly surprised by how many opportunities you come across.

Even if Social Security limits the amount of income you can earn, free parking is always a perk!

Check out this great reference post for all types of work camper opportunities!

Before You Decide on fulltime RV Life on Social Security

By no means am I trying to scare you, but take time to prepare for fulltime RV life on Social Security.

Though some may say that RV traveling is cheap, and full-time RV life on Social Security is easy – this thought process is subjective.

RVing full time is especially tough for those who have little to no savings and live solely on a fixed income.

Do plenty of research.

Join Facebook groups where you can meet other RVers. This is one of the best places to learn what you need to know.

People who are already living the full-time RV life are always the best resources. Many of them know the tricks and secrets to save considerable amounts of money.

You’ll find that these are some of the nicest people you can meet, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice.

In the end, I’m a big proponent of full-time RV life. As long as you budget and plan, you can enjoy RV life on Social Security.

Do you “do” fulltime RV Life on Social Security or dream to do so?

What’s your monthly budget? Comment below to help others plan!

Want to learn how to boondock?

We created a PRINT version of our most popular guide to help you with the most common boondocking problems. We get a ton of questions from our subscribers about how to get started boondocking that range from where to go and wild animals to water conservation to what equipment to use and more. 

Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2023 3

Throw off the shackles of traditional RV Parks and campgrounds, stop paying high fees every night that you spend in your RV, and experience the boundless amounts of nature while boondocking!

You’re done with the noisy RV parks, the 3.5 feet of room you have squished in between two other RVs, and other people’s kids running through your campsite?

You’ve ditched the hookups, the concrete blocks and have replaced them with self-leveling and Navy showers?

This is the book for you.

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-07-27

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

4 Responses to “Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2023”

January 12, 2021at7:00 pm, Mike Wendland said:

Yes, anytime but during the big RV show when up to 100,000 RVers show up, most boondocking in the area. But as soon as the show ends on the first of February… there is lots of room! Good tip!


January 11, 2021at8:45 pm, Dave Jeffries said:

Another way to save big time is to use BLMs Long Term Visitor Areas. $180. for up to 7 months stay. In several of them BLM provides dump stations and water fill points along with dumpsters for your garbage. Heck of a good deal.. I suggest looking into BLM’s LA POSA South near Quartzsite,AZ. The LTVA is large enough to easily allow for maximum “social distances”.


January 11, 2021at3:56 pm, Mary Shaub said:

Just shy of 2 yrs fulltime rv living solo. Being a single female, many think it isn’t safe out here alone. I beg to differ.
I am on a very strict budget- still 2 yrs from SocSec, I have a very small pension to work with and I do all the things Mike and Jennifer suggest regarding free parking and low cost campsites. I’d also suggest some solar energy to supplement battery charging to alternate between driving, generator and plugging in.
Most import is indeed emergency fund and maintenance. You have ALL the issues you have with a house and a vehicle all wrapped in one.
The info from Mike & Jennifer is PRICELESS! They know their stuff!!


January 12, 2021at6:58 pm, Mike Wendland said:

Thanks, Mary! Hope we meet on the road someday soon!


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