Full Timing expenses


New Member
We are considering full timing and would like some input from experienced full timers. We are currently leaning towards a class A of about 34 feet (for economy sake, not fuel but purchase price). Since we are new at this we are unsure if we can really afford the lifestyle. What we are looking for is a cost breakdown of expenses on a yearly or monthly basis. Please state whether US or Canadian $.

W A Winsor

Wes C.

New Member
Full Timing expenses

Hi Alex ---
Looks like you're facing the same questions most folks do when they start thinking about "jumping off the cliff" and taking up full timing. I've heard and read any number of times that most people tend to maintain the same life-style as full timers that they did in earthbound times (in terms of eating out, entertainment, clothing expenditures, etc.); some have said that they cut back at first, then gravitated back to the old habits, others said they trimmed the budget, do just fine on a bit less, and have made no real sacrifices. So, it depends on how you want to go I suppose.

When we started considering fulltiming, we sat down with a big yellow pad and a couple of pencils and made some estimates on costs, matched that to our retirement income; our estimates were close enough for comfort, we've suffered no significant detriment in life style, and wouldn't trade what we have now for anything we experienced during our working years.

There are a couple of things to consider relative to expenses; I think you will find insurance to be a fairly big chunk of your expenses ----- health coverage will likely be a fairly big bite (unless you have post retirement employer coverage available at group rates or some such); don't overlook some long term care coverage in the package ---- a serious/extended illness could wipe out big $s of your "nest egg". And, of course, you have to include coverage for your coach/5th wheel/t.trailer, with as much extra liability coverage as you can handle and be comfortable (it does give peace of mind in this litigation crazy world today), and its not as expensive as you might think, but an expense nevertheless. Finally, extended coverage on your coach/trailer or whatever is an absolute must ---- replacing one appliance that goes out after the manufacturers' warranty runs out would much, much more than cover the expense.

And, you have to consider maintenance and upkeep on your new home ----oil changes and other required periodic checks and services aren't huge expenses, but they do cost.

As far as travel expenses, fuel cost depends on how you go; if your goal is to see as many states as possible in the shortest amount of time is one thing ---- stopping to smell the roses (as we prefer to do) is another, both in terms of fuel cost and parking (although you can do a lot of very reasonable parking at state/corps of engineers/federal and state parks and facilities, and FMCA/Good Sam etc. discounts do help considerably). Also, the "resort" type places with onsite or adjacent golf, those near Disney World and such will tend to be more expensive. You can even swap work (some of it involving very light or no physical labor) for site/hookups, sometimes even $s.

Finally, another expense to consider is whether or not you will have a "mortage" by way of a payment on the coach/trailer or whatever, and how much a hit it will be on a monthly basis.

Food will likely be about the same as before --- we're not big eaters out, but we do enjoy going somewhere special now and then. And, we've found groceries to be fairly the same everywhere --- some items will be more expensive, others less, so it works out about even.

So, again, seems to me the first step is to get the pencil/paper out, make some educated guesses, decide what, if anything you're willing, or will need, to do without or with less of (if anything), then match that with you have available, and go from there. My bet (and hope) is that you'll find, everything considered, you'll be just fine. You can't begin to imagine the freedom, the fantastic people, and the just plain enjoyment you'll find out here with the rest of us whose friends and family thought we'd lost our minds when we took up the lifestyle. Good Luck, and we hope to see you in some rv park somewhere, someday.

Wes C.