Ryan Robinson takes you for a ride in the passenger seat of his RV, off the grid, deep among the dramatic rock formations of the Utah Desert. Robinson and friends chill by the fire, tell stories, and of course, rig a one of a kind highline over the Looking Glass Arch in Moab, UT.
Did you know that 63% of millennials that have bought a home to live the American Dream have regrets? 50% of Gen Xers and 35% of baby boomers feel the same way.
It’s no surprise that the biggest reason is the upkeep that comes with owning a home. Many are finding themselves in a financial strain barely able to afford mortgage, utilities, and maintenance.
When we decided to sell almost everything we owned, buy an RV, and live in it full time it was because we didn’t know where we wanted to settle, and we were also on a mission to live debt free.
Flashback to the Beginning
Because we were renting a home in Downtown Orlando, every time something went wrong or broke down, we simply called our landlord. Every time we told each other, “Oh man, thank goodness we didn’t have to pay out of pocket for that,” it felt like something was happening every single month – from the microwave breaking to the washing machine not working to the oven not turning on and even a piece of the ceiling falling down in the second floor.
We rented that home for over two years and knew that before we purchased a home, we had to be ready to pay for the unexpected. One day something was perfectly fine and the next hour BOOM it was out of order. Can you relate to this?
When our oldest child was born, we were also listening to Dave Ramsey and learning how to get out of debt. The formula we came up with was simple – we had to cut back expenses and bring in more money. We knew that owning a sticks and bricks home was not going to help us get out of debt fast.
Starting From Scratch
Selling everything and using it to pay things off like our Harley Davidson at the time and leaving our credit cards with a $0 balance was a huge help in the beginning. We began our RV adventures with only 5 bills including our cell phone bills.
We cut back our expenses tremendously because we no longer had a huge rent payment plus electric and water bills to take care of. We did quickly learn that we had to slow down our travels because diesel for our truck added up – QUICK.
After we began to slow down and not go from Florida to California in one week (yes, we made this newbie mistake), what we spent on fuel became more reasonable.
Sticking to a Pay Off Plan
The most difficult part sometimes is having both partners on the same page when it comes to how much to save every month in order to tackle the little debt left. The other difficult part for us in the beginning was our income. We went down from two income streams to one and then that one unexpectedly became nonexistent.
This caused us to have to act fast and thanks to finding a mentor and learning, we were able to overcome this sooner rather than later. We recommend having your income figured out before hitting the road full time in an RV.
We have learned (the hard way) to make sure you have a mentor and a good backup plan in case something doesn’t go as planned when it comes to monthly finances. Thankfully we were able to overcome this because of the very small debt we had left. It also helped us bond and become more of a team.
If you aren’t single and you have a partner in crime, trust me when you both get on the same financial page you can move mountains.
Avoiding the finance talk will not make things easier by any means. Although it can be a difficult conversation, it’s necessary in order to get ahead and out of the debt hole if that’s your goal. I’m not here to say that being in debt is terrible, I’m just speaking from experience that for us being debt free is an easier way to breathe every month.
We also want to teach our children by example and struggling just to keep up with Joneses is not our ideal way of raising them.
Paying off the RV
Currently we are on a mission to pay off our RV. This is something I recommend others to try to save up for and pay for it in cash if you can. Although our monthly payment isn’t high, it’s still a debt we no longer want. Because the payment isn’t high, it makes it easier to send in larger payments to pay it off faster.
This payment is next on our radar before I begin to tackle my student debt.
Living in an RV
For us living in an RV is making the reality of living debt free much faster. Don’t get me wrong, you can live in an RV and spend way more than someone that lives in a sticks and bricks home if you’re not careful.
It’s easy to overspend when you’re exploring a new area and it’s also easy to overspend in gas or diesel when you’re excited to travel around. Be wise and plan accordingly. There’s no need to rush your travels because each area has so much to explore.
A lesson we learned throughout our journey is that we now RV to live debt free. Living debt free is right around the corner for our family. For us the money we are freeing up from paying off debt represents freedom of all the things we can do rather than the things we can’t.
If things get difficult and tight – don’t give up. Take it one step at a time after you come up with a plan. Before making a purchase ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Every time I want to make an impulse purchase, I think twice about it even if I have the money.
We are thankful that RVing has allowed us to have more control over our finances and has taught us that we had to take control of them instead of allowing our finances take control of us. Slashing our debts to less than half of what we were paying has been life changing.
Every day we are one step closer to being 100% debt free – we can’t wait. Our story and journey have evolved since July 2016 and all the difficult financial strains we went through have led to me being able to write this today. I am beyond thankful that we chose to follow our intuition and collect experiences rather than junk.
We love hearing from you – please share in the comments section below how RVing has helped you financially. Or has it taught you any important finance lessons? As always get out there to collect all the experiences you can while you “find your away.”
In 2016, Luis and Sandra decided it was time for their family to start collecting experiences and not junk. Now, as an RVing family of four, they work to inspire others to live their definition of freedom while they teach their children by example. Follow along as they fulfill their passion for travel and personal development at 1st Class RV Adventures.