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:
- Have an emergency fund before you ever get on the road
- Make sure the income you have is enough to cover your monthly/daily/weekly expenses
- 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.
- Make sure to include EVERYTHING in your budget that you can possibly think of.
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:
- Cost of camping, if any (we always try to find free camping by using great resources like https://freecampsites.net/ )
- Toilet paper/Paper Goods
- Ice if you have a cooler
- Showers if you’re not in an RV
- Water and sewer dumping if you’re in an RV
- Fuel for the generator
- Miscellaneous items
- Trash disposal (sometimes you can’t find a place to put it for free)
- Pet food if you travel with pets
- Medicines for you and your pets
- 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!