This week's guest post is by the one and only Liz Wilcox! Liz and I found each others blogs a few months back and since then, we've worked closely together in the blog space and have become good friends!
Liz is the brains behind lizwilcox.com (of course). Her passion for helping others discover how to make their RV dreams come true flows through the heart-centered training and personal guidance she provides. In addition, Liz also works hard at managing a large fitness group and keeping up with her blog to provide free information for all those interested in discovering their true life path.
Aside from her site, you can find her at facebook.com/lizwilcoxblog and on instagram: @lizwilcoxblog.
Living in an RV wasn’t part of my plan. It wasn’t a dream I had while I plugged numbers for some company I hated. It wasn’t even something I thought I’d be into when my husband brought it from time to time. I gotta tell you though, I am so in love with this 380 square foot box. RVing changed my financial future for the better in so many ways.
1) I Don't Have a Mortgage
Okay so yeah, I have an RV payment, but it is so low. I’m talking $240 dollars a month. When was the last time you heard of a mortgage payment under $500? I know most of my friends spend about $800 or more on their mortgage a month and people that rent? Fugeddaboudit. Ain’t no way they’re renting for $240/month.
Spending so little on my family’s housing has dramatically changed our lives. We no longer worry about saving up half of our rent each paycheck. And subsequently freaking out when we “forget to do that.” We don’t have that dreadful feeling of housing being more than half our monthly income.
Instead we make double payments, plus an extra $20 each time. That’s right. Each paycheck we make an RV payment, and throw in $20 just ’cause we’re big ballin’ like that. In the 4 months we’ve had the RV, we have already managed to pay off a third of it. Yes! One third!
2) Utilities Included!
A lot of RV park fees are all-inclusive. This means when you “check-in” you are getting your lot along with water and electricity, sewage, and garbage. It is amazing!
Before, I lived in a townhouse. I had to worry about the rent, the water bill, the electric… Honey, did you pay the electric? It’s due again!!! Now it is a one-stop shop. I hit up the front office and for $425 a month I get all of this at once. Not having to manage all those bill and due dates is such a relief, not to mention it is way cheaper!
Full disclosure? Not all RV parks are this cheap, and not all RV parks include electricity. We did our research and picked the best park for us. There was another one that was, in fact, cheaper but we like this one for being all-inclusive and just plain nicer. If you’re thinking of RVing to save money, make sure to do your homework and find the best options for you and your family. That’s what we did and we couldn’t be happier!
3) Free Cable & WiFi Suckas!
Did I mention that included in our monthly park fee is cable and wi-fi? No? Well it is and it is awesome!
While we don’t watch the cable every day, it is super nice on a rainy day during renovations when the toddler is going crazy and nothing else is working and we are just trying to get some quiet in our tiny space, ya feel me?
Reason number 2 having cable for free is awesome? Not everyone is streaming Netflix and Hulu over the internet. Having park wi-fi is incredible, but irritating when all the campers are trying to binge watch Stranger Things. Having cable along with the internet is genius in my opinion. Kudos to you, park owner. It really cuts the amount of people trying to stream from the internet and gets them watching regular ole TV instead.
4) Small Pantry (Can't Keep Food I Don't Need)
In a post over on my blog, I wrote about how my kitchen is just plain awesome. If you haven’t read it, you can click here. One of the reasons I think it rocks is because it is small and subsequently saving me money. Let me explain:
I’ve saved so much money in grocery bills because I’m using every bit of food we have in the house. I’m not re-buying things that I can’t see and I’m certainly not buying stuff that isn’t going to fit in the limited space I have, (I’m talkin’ to you, industrial-sized peanut butter!). I know exactly what I’m making for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because it is all so visible.
Having all my food visually accessible helps me refrain from eating out as much. I used to be tempted to go through the drive-thru or “treat myself” to a nice meal when I was out and about during the day. Now, I can visualize what I have in the pantry and fridge, and it is easy to “create” a meal in my head that I want to eat. This helps me avoid restaurants and save the cash.
This is one unexpected way RVing has changed my financial future. Sure, I knew we’d be saving money on shelter, but on food? It wasn’t even on my radar, but there it is! Thanks RV life!
5) My Husband Is Getting Out of The Military!
Now this one is exciting and scary at the same time. It is going to change everything about our finances.
It is exciting because when Ed gets out of the military, we can start our full-time travel adventure. It brings great peace to my soul knowing we won’t ever have to deal with another 12 month deployment. That was an incredible struggle.
Yet his job brings us financial stability and letting that go is a little scary (okay, maybe terrifying.) He has a steady paycheck with great benefits. When my daughter is sick, I don’t have to worry about how much the doctor’s bill is going to cost. When money is tight one month, I don’t have to wonder when the next paycheck is coming or how much it will be.
My husband’s job provides a comfortable life for us, but I am learning to turn that fear into excitement. Yes, it will completely change our financial stability and leave us up in the air with health insurance, but we are choosing to focus on our dreams and making those come true, which brings me to my next point…
6) I've Started a Blog to Create My Own Income
Since moving into the RV, I’ve started my own blog helping others convert to the RV lifestyle, budget their money, and live with less. I absolutely love it and feel great teaching people how to live simply and pursue their dreams. Before moving into the RV, I never would have believed in myself enough to create an online business, but here I am doing it and ohmygosh, it is so exciting! I know with hard work and dedication, I can contribute my part to making our dream of full-time travel come true.
7) I've Stopped Endlessly Shopping
Let’s be honest with each other, here. Shopping is a habit a lot of us cannot seem to break. We go to Target for shampoo and come out with two or three (or four!) other shopping bags of those dang little dollar store items they keep at the front. Seriously Target, why you tempt me like this?
When you live in 380 square feet or less, it makes it a little easier to break this habit. I pick up an item and think “Do I really have room for this bobble head Cupid?” If the answer is yes, I think “Do I really want to stare at this bobble head Cupid day in and day out?” No Liz. You don’t want to stare at this stupid Cupid. Put it down and walk away.
Instead of shopping on days I feel bored or have free time, I take a lot more walks. My daughter and I go for three walks a day. We also go to the library. It is free and a much less stressful outing than trying to keep a 2 year old in check at the superstore.
8) "Debt Free" Has Become a Completely Doable Thing
I am 28 years old and my husband is 33. Before living in the RV, we worked hard to pay off as much debt as possible. We paid off my student loan of $22k in a year and paid off another $8k on our car. This may seem amazing but in order to accomplish this Ed had to go to Afghanistan for the pay raise and I had to move in with his parents rent-free. It was a very hard year but we wanted to eliminate as much debt as possible because we were planning on going into debt on a house.
It sounds strange but isn’t that what a lot of us do? We justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on shelter because it is normal. We justify signing a 30 YEAR CONTRACT with a loan company because that’s just how things are done, there aren’t any other options. Well I’m here to tell you, if you are willing to think outside the box and get out of your comfort zone a bit, there are plenty of options that will save you money.
Living in the RV has made it possible for us to be 100% debt free by Christmas. Yep, that’s right. We will have no debt by the end of 2017, and this is the greatest way RVing has changed our financial future. We are so absolutely stoked about this and incredibly grateful we discovered a way to live a life of freedom. It is such a fantastic feeling to know that before the age of 30, I will owe nothing.
A year ago I would have thought it impossible. Now it is almost a certainty.