We didn’t get serious about paying off debt until 2017. Up to that point we were living the standard American lifestyle of buying things on credit and making payments–even when we had the money to just pay cash.
So when we moved into our RV 3 years ago it was not with the intention of saving money. In fact, we purchased a very large Fifth Wheel (44’ Heartland Cyclone Toyhauler) and truck (Chevy 3500 HD) brand new and essentially traded our $2,300 house payment with RV/truck payment and campground fees.
It wasn’t until two years later in Dec 2016 when Sean read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover that we set a goal of being debt free. We also took a course called Finance Your Detour created by full-time RVers, Dan and Lindsay McKenzie. It’s a 4 step program that teaches the foundations of personal finance, guides you through a proven budgeting process, and provides you the tools to succeed. It is not only packed with easy to digest information, it is presented in a captivating format with videos, workbooks, and activities.
We got serious about paying off debt and in the last 12 months we have paid $91,000. And we haven’t really sacrificed our standard of living to do it. We still stay in our preferred type of campground, which is full hook-up with paved pads and WiFi. We still go out to eat and have fun, but we do prioritize and make sure we keep our eye on the prize.
Watch the video below for additional tips!
Debt Reduction Techniques
Here is what we have done to allow us to live the life we choose while working towards our financial goals.
- We kept our jobs.
We both work full-time remotely. We are not yet ready to retire. We’re in our 40’s and enjoy our jobs so we negotiated remote work arrangements and we’re able to travel while maintaining our salaries and benefits. To learn more about how to earn an income while traveling full-time, see 5 Ways to Fund Full-Time Travel.
- We sold stuff.
When we first moved out of our home 3 ½ years ago, we had 2 large storage units. After 2 years, we went back through our stuff and reassessed what was really important to us. We found that more than ½ of the items we saved, didn’t really matter to us anymore and we sold much of it. Now we have one small storage unit. We also found that we were not using our motorcycle very much and decided to sell it too. Having trouble downsizing? See The 3 Areas That Make The Biggest Impact.
- We budget every dollar.
This, by far, is the most important part of our financial strategy. Prior to this year, we kept a very loose budget. Essentially, we kept a list of bills and made sure we paid them. That was it. That means we didn’t really track what we did with the rest of our income and it is very easy to spend money when you aren’t paying attention to it. Now we have a monthly budget that is geared towards our goals. It accounts for every penny of income. We use the Everydollar app to track spending. It’s not really about sacrificing; it is about prioritizing. We love the saying, “You can afford anything, just not everything.” The great thing is, you decide what is important. Want to know more about budgeting for the RV lifestyle, read our article, How Much Does It Cost to RV Full-Time?
- We have developed some strategies for saving money.
Along the way, we’ve found some ways to save money. For example, slowing down saves with monthly campground rates and less fuel. While we do budget for eating out, we save it for special occasions or restaurants we really enjoy rather than doing it out of convenience. We also don’t buy things on credit anymore so we don’t have to pay interest. For more ideas, see 7 Ways to Save on Full-Time RV Travel.
Want to Learn More?
If you’d like to learn more about purchasing an RV, budgeting for the RV lifestyle, earning an income on the road, or saving money while traveling full-time, check out our book Full-Time RV Finance available on Amazon.