Nomadic Life Finances

Hey y’all! I just finished making a video for our YouTube Channel about finances while living the nomadic life.

So… I wanted to talk about this issue here as well. While living the nomadic life can be awesome and wonderful, there are also things that can make it downright miserable. Running out of money is one of those things.

Here are my tips for you if you are considering hitting the road:

  1. Have an emergency fund before you ever get on the road
  2. Make sure the income you have is enough to cover your monthly/daily/weekly expenses
  3. If you need to generate extra income while on the road, figure out what you’re going to do in advance and have a plan in place.
  4. Make sure to include EVERYTHING in your budget that you can possibly think of.

Emergency Fund:

We had about 3 months’ worth of money saved up before we left DC. How did we come to that figure? The budget – I did a cost analysis of what it would take for us to live each day on the road, and then multiplied that by 31 to get our overall monthly expenses. Now, cost analysis sounds very complicated, but it’s not. I’m not great at math, so if I can do it, anyone can.

I simply figured out where we were going to be going each day and then calculated the miles and mileage to get the gas expense. I made a sample menu for our meals and calculated the cost per meal per person. I figured in the cost of water, ice, dog food, laundry, showers, etc. for each week, multiplied that amount by 4, and put that into the budget. I then added in a couple thousand dollars for emergencies, like vehicle break-downs, medical emergencies for us or the dogs, and a miscellaneous fund.

That’s how I came up with the amount we needed to save before we hit the road. We didn’t quite get to the desired amount, but we were close.

Since we left DC last November, we’ve had to use that emergency fund a lot, and it is now completely gone.


Our main income is from busking (playing music on the street for tips) so there is no amount we can count on. It’s a crap shoot. Sometimes you make GREAT money, and sometimes you make NOTHING. Therefore, I haven’t been able to work the budget as easily as I did when we were both working and getting a paycheck. It’s been hard… however, I know how much we need to make to survive, and that’s what we shoot for.

I also sell art, which is not a steady income stream either. It’s either feast or famine.

So, when these avenues fail to generate enough income, or when we need to fill up our emergency fund, Rico (who is a fabulous chef) gets a job. That’s where we are now – Rico is working. It’s not the best case scenario for either of us (especially Rico) but it is what we have to do to make it work.

When (if) my SS Disability claim gets approved, we’ll have a small amount of money we can depend on coming in each month, but it still won’t be enough to cover all our expenses. That means we’ll still be busking and selling art, and Rico will get a chef job when necessary.


All the little things are what will get you on the budget… things you just didn’t think of, so let me help you out:

  1. Gas
  2. Food
  3. Cost of camping, if any (we always try to find free camping by using great resources like )
  4. Toilet paper/Paper Goods
  5. Toiletries
  6. Ice if you have a cooler
  7. Water
  8. Showers if you’re not in an RV
  9. Water and sewer dumping if you’re in an RV
  10. Laundry
  11. Propane
  12. Fuel for the generator
  13. Entertainment
  14. Miscellaneous items
  15. Trash disposal (sometimes you can’t find a place to put it for free)
  16. Pet food if you travel with pets
  17. Medicines for you and your pets
  18. Cleaning supplies

This is just my list… I’m sure everyone’s is different.

In summary, my advice to you before you head out on the road is to do your research where finances are concerned. Prepare – have a plan – save up your money, and be smart with your finances. That’s the sure way to ensure success once you get out there on the road!

Big love,



The stress of the nomadic life

Most people think living life on the road is the ultimate dream. I sure did… until we actually did it.

I’m sure living this life would be more than amazing if we had an income like so many of the nomads do. We aren’t retirement age, and my disability claim is “pending” (which I’m told could take YEARS!!! what???) so, we have to rely on our ability to hustle and make money any way we can, which is often extremely difficult.

Busking is fun and SOMETIMES profitable, but more often than not, we don’t make enough each day to cover our expenses. For example, we went last week to both Leadville, CO and Salida, CO. In Leadville, we made 9 bucks. In Salida, we made ZERO.

It all depends on the place you set up, the people in the area, and whether or not your music is to their liking.

Lainie Phone Colorado TCF 7.16.18 273

At the Traveler’s Campfest (where we were camped) we played around the “campfire” (burn ban, so there was no actual fire… we just circled around a field) and they passed the hat for us. We were SHOCKED and THANKFUL for what we received there. It was enough to cover our expenses for the next week. PLUS, the other nomads just kept coming to our campsite and just giving us cash… 5 bucks, 20 bucks, 50 bucks… they were all sooooooooooooo generous that it really touched our hearts.

Now that the Campfest is over, we’ve moved to a new site with our tribe and Rico is looking for a job in a kitchen. We’ll stay here until it gets too cold and save money for the next leg of our journey. We’ll also continue to busk because you never know when or where you might just make a few dollars.

If you are considering the nomadic life, remember that it costs money – not as much as living in a traditional house or apartment – but it still costs money. My advice to you, if you are in this place, is to make sure you have enough saved for an emergency fund, have a plan to cover your expenses while on the road, and DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! There are plenty of YouTubers out there who have made all the mistakes already, so make sure you subscribe to their channels and WATCH THEIR VIDEOS so you can learn from their mistakes.

Rico and I thought we were really ready when we left DC last November, but we have discovered that there is a HUGE learning curve to this lifestyle and mistakes will be made… sometimes costly ones… Better to be prepared than to be stuck, so do your homework!

Hope to see you all out there on the road!!!

Big Love,


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An explanation of my extended silence

Dear Friends:

I wanted to let all of you know why I have been silent for so long here on the blog…

In March, while in Southern California, I had a severe relapse of my Multiple Sclerosis. Rico and I made the difficult decision to leave the road and return to San Antonio, Texas so I could try and recover and get back into remission.

We stayed with Rico’s parents and Rico got a job. I tried to write and paint, but I mostly just slept.

After the weather became too hot for me to bear, I started a gofundme to help us get out of Texas and to cooler temperatures.

We are now in beautiful Colorado where the nights are consistently in the upper 40’s and the days don’t get above the mid-80’s. The humidity is also very low, so I am doing much better.

Rico is again looking for work, and I’m recuperating. We are living in the tent again and roughing it, but life is so much better here!

I will be posting some old videos from our travels in February and March, as well as some new ones from our current adventures. I will also be blogging again, so keep an eye out for updates.

Thanks for hanging with me through the silence!

Big Love,