Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We found your articles while surfing the web. We are thinking about buying an RV and traveling like so many others. Our biggest question seems to be how much money it costs to live on the road. Can you give us some idea of the expenses we might encounter? Is there a rule of thumb, like the 4% rule of making a retirement nest egg last and not outliving your money? Any input would be greatly appreciated. --Bean Counter in Bend
Dear Bean Counter:
One size does not fit all. You can’t lump everyone’s RV cost of living budgets into one figure, anymore than you can lump together the sedentary lifestyle cost of living budgets.
Wherever you weigh-in on the financial scale you can find a niche in the RV lifestyle.
Put pen to paper and create a road budget. It is so easy to find regional costs online for fuel, camping, maintenance, food and services.
You should be able to calculate your capabilities into a travel scenario that fits the ideas you have.
From the type of rig you plan to travel with, to the type of camping you plan to do, will make a huge difference in your cost of living.
You may not get it right the first time, but experience will reveal to you the possibilities of a nomadic lifestyle that fits your interests, needs and means.
So many people never get out of the driveway because of the unknown. The adventure is the unknown. The steeper the learning curve the more fun it is. Once you get it all figured out it becomes less exciting.
There are many sayings that originated with the flintlock rifle. They are all well suited to beginning a life on the road in an RV. “Going off half-cocked, ” “Flash in the pan,” “Straight as a ramrod,” Lock stock and barrel,” and “Keep your powder dry.”
These come to mind because we met a couple just beginning their own RV lifestyle at Fort Clatsop, the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery. It was their first volunteer job and they were doing reenactments. All those sayings were part of their program.
I thought how ironic, Lewis and Clark, two of the first North American explorers, are being historically represented by modern day North American explorers.
So do your homework and come join the rest of us in the Corps of Discovery.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink