Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2021

 Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2021

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 2021 2
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

Last year was incredibly crazy with COVID-19 looming over us.

It caused many people to turn to RV sites for temporary housing, which drove prices up. It likely won’t calm down much this year either.

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 for Your 2021 Travels. 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 regular 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

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.

Even Amazon provides opportunities for RVers through its Camperforce platform. “Workampers” have the chance to take on temporary jobs in Amazon fulfillment centers all over the country. In return, you earn hourly wages, overtime pay, and a free place to hook-up your RV.

If you’re capable of working, explore all options. You 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!

Before You Decide on fulltime RV Life on Social Security

One of the very first interviews I did when we started our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube was with a fulltime named Campskunk, who shared his experience of fulltime RV life. It's worth watching if you are considering this lifestyle:

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!

Do you want to save money by avoiding RV parks and campgrounds?

Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2021 3

Our Beginner's Guide to Boondocking eBook gives you a detailed look into our preferred way of RVing and traveling.

Boondocking is camping totally self-contained with no commercial power, water, sewer, or any other on-the-grid service. 

We get questions every day from other RVers wondering “How do you do that?” In this step-by-step guide, we show you exactly how to boondock in your RV! 

CLICK HERE for information.

 

 

 

Affording Fulltime RV Life on Social Security in 2021

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

4 Comments

  • 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!!

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

  • 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”.

  • 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!

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