So hey, how do you afford that place you’re living in anyway? Ya’ll hit the lottery or something?
Have you ever been asked that? Sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it?
Asking people how they afford things is just not done in our polite modern society. We certainly never got that question when we had our little ranch house in the suburbs.
Granted, it was a plain-jane little rectangular box that just about anyone could have afforded, but still.
Curiosity Trumps Politeness?
Now that we’re fulltime RVers we find that people’s curiosity gets the better of them. Once we explain how we live they pause a minute and then ask “so, how do you afford it?”
Sometimes they ask it differently:
- What do you do to support yourselves?
- How are you funded?
- You must be retired already?
We understand. And actually, we don’t mind.
We love helping people see past a stationary or suburban lifestyle that has become hum-drum - even if it means showing them our expense reports.
It’s a Popular Question
There are many people who want to travel full-time and don’t see how they can afford it. They find Facebook groups for traveling families, join, and it’s the first question they post. The Facebook group ends up getting the same question posted over and over.
Like, every day.
Group “regulars” often make up silly answers rather than responding with the same answer over and over.
But that doesn’t help the newbies who are genuinely curious. They see others living this adventurous life and just want to know what their options are for making a living while on the road.
Rather than make up a cute (but non-helpful) answer we created this web page.
Easy, but Not.
We had it easy.
For a while anyway.
We had location-independent income sources long before we started traveling.
Since hitting the road some of those income sources have gone away. We’ve had to adapt. At times things have been tight.
But that all could have happened in our old life too. And we can save money in more ways now than we could then.
Here’s a rundown of how we afford to travel fulltime in an RV as a family:
We weren’t wealthy. We didn’t own lakefront homes or big boats. But to make the initial jump from suburbia to the road we sold off what we could.
I sold off a hobby Jeep that I had worked on for years. We sold our “heirloom quality” furniture pieces and other possessions.
After our first year on the road we ended up selling our modest suburban home and went all in to the travel lifestyle.
I started a web development company in 1992. This was our primary income source when we first hit the road.
I do projects of all sizes from new site builds, to making websites mobile-friendly, to redesigning stale corporate sites, to adding new features or sections of content to existing sites.
My clients are all over the world and it doesn’t (usually) matter where I am when I do the work.
This business has slowed in recent years.
Train-ee provides online materials as well as traditional classroom training for ExpressionEngine.
This business did well for the first couple of years on the road. We planned our travels to cities that we wanted to offer classes in. It’s since slowed considerably.
The book sold well for a few years but not so much in 2016.
We had some sponsors our first year. We learned the random unplanned way we like to travel doesn’t lend itself to sponsors who want detailed plans for events and promotions.
We’ve since ended all sponsor relationships as they weren’t worth the time and hassle they presented.
Content Strategy, Development and Marketing
In early 2016 we re-worked our web development business into a Content Studio.
We offer content strategy, development and marketing for the RV and IT industries.
The business is still in growth mode but we are starting to do writing and marketing for clients.
We also work with clients to improve their search rankings. This can involve re-writing copy, improving meta descriptions, fixing broken links, or making recommendations to improve their Google Business profile.
Any product link here on DitchingSuburbia is an affiliate link if possible. This is not yet a significant source of income.
We currently make about $100 - $200/month, mostly through Amazon.
We’ve started a DitchingSuburbia Shop which currently has an eBook, stickers and t-shirts for sale.
So far, no huge money makers but just another trickle of income.
Lack of Overhead
We’ve taken great pains to lower our overhead expenses. We sold our house and gave away most of our possessions. We aren’t paying to store anything. We have paid off the truck, although we do have a loan on our trailer.
We have monthly fees for:
- Cell phones
- Internet service
- Mail forwarding
- Digital file backup
But the money we pay to stay in campgrounds covers the typical household expenses of:
We are no longer on the “see what we can in a year” plan so we can spend longer in each place. This has the dual advantage of spending less money on fuel and also getting cheaper weekly or monthly camping rates.
We have gotten seasonal campsites with full hookups in lakefront campgrounds for $375/mo.
Workcamping is a situation where you provide labor in exchange for your campsite.
Workcamping kills our camping fees and laundry costs and greatly lowers our fuel costs while being stationary.
The risk is that the camp-hosting duties will infringe on time for more lucrative client work.
We’ve workcamped for private ranches, animal rescues, and campgrounds. Read more about those experiences.
That’s It - So Far
We are developing other streams of income and will update this page when those come to fruition.