One of the most often asked questions we get: “How do you fund your lifestyle?”
Well, first, one has to stop thinking that this lifestyle is outrageously expensive. We have no mortgage payment. We have no utility payments. We don’t drive every day. In fact, our fuel expenses over the last year were less than HALF what they were when we lived in a sticks-n-bricks. We are unable to really buy things “off budget” simply because there is no room! We can’t buy more clothes just cause we like ‘em, we can’t buy more furniture, we can’t ‘pick up good deals’, we can’t just spend money because there is physically no place to put anything!!
After changing your thought process that it’s ‘expensive’ (cause it’s not, it’s LESS expensive), then start searching. Think outside the box. How can you take your business/job mobile? Even if no one else has done it before? That’s what we did – we took our real estate business (traditionally believed that it is mandatory to be face-to-face with people) and made it mobile to work for us. We narrowed down our business to work with the lifestyle we wanted.
Over the last year, we made changes. We were open to anything that would allow us to be mobile. Once we decided that we didn’t want to “land” again, that we wanted to stay mobile, we started reconsidering our options. Chuck took workamping opportunities (where you work at an RV park in whatever capacity you choose, and you get a free site, or tremendously reduced cost, to stay in while you are working there). Chuck LOVED it. His time in Orlando was insanely relaxing for him. He loved it so much in fact, that we decided not to continue our real estate business. So, this past spring we ‘officially’ stopped selling real estate. We are in the final wrap ups of the business and will be putting our licenses “inactive” as of September.
As far as “savings” or “nest egg” – THAT is entirely up to you. Some people head out with nothing, others feel they need several years of savings or at least the entire “projected cost” of their travels in savings. HOW you decide to travel will dictate your savings needs. How handy you are will dictate your savings needs. We have 3 levels of savings: our emergency fund that we just don’t touch (it will serve for any emergency such as having to fly one of us somewhere for medical, or things along those lines), our coach repair fund and our travel fund. The coach repair fund we strongly suggest being at least $2-$3k and up. The less handy you are, the higher that amount is. If you have a diesel motorhome, we suggest $20k or more. Our travel fund we keep at a minimum of $1k – this is our fuel & toll costs. Since we like to keep our budget fairly even, we put a set amount each month into our travel fund, whether we are stationary or not. We use our stationary times to pack away money for our travel times. We started out with a strong savings and while we’ve dipped down, we’ve always been able to bring it back up. It’s lower than we are comfortable with right now so we have tightened in the reigns and are stuffing back into savings. Just like we would if we lived in a sticks-n-bricks.
While workamping brings in peanuts (seriously, it is minimum wage + your site), it was just what we needed to officially “disconnect” from the rat race. While we have been out traveling, we’ve talked with lots of people about what they do to feed their families, to fund their lifestyles. Leaving out the retirees with pensions (who always announce they are on a ‘fixed income’ and I just think – isn’t ANYONE who gets a paycheck on a ‘fixed income’, but anyway)… we looked at families and what they were doing. EVERYTHING is a possibility.
- traveling nurses
- artists who sell at craft fairs
- translators (films)
- medical transcriptionists
- shippers (people who carry cargo for others)
- traveling doctors
- online teachers of all sorts of subjects, both high school and college levels
- telephone survey employees
- physician recruiters
- IT guys
- web designers
- disaster home inspectors
- disaster insurance adjusters
- tech support
- graphic artists
- owners of national networking groups
- youtube channel owners
- payroll managers
- traveling construction workers
- traveling electricians
- tour guides
- rv park map ‘sellers’
- software & app developers
- oil workers
- fiction authors
- cookbook authors
- blog owners (and these blogs run the gamut from pet focused to food focused to design focused to religion focused to anything)
- non-fiction authors
- exercise specialists
- physical therapists
- virtual assistants
- insurance agents
- marketing employees
- CEO’s & directors & owners of marketing (various industries)
- advertising employees
- CEO’s & directors & owners of advertising (various industries)
- etsy shop owners
- ebay shop owners
- amazon shop owners
- clothing design company owners
- a million and one networking marketers
- call center owners
- customer service representatives
- people who do seasonal jobs like: work at amazon, work the sugar beet harvest, work pumpkin picking, work Christmas tree lots, work firework stands at both Independence Day and New Years, work as a gate guard in Texas
Do you see a pattern here? ANYTHING can be mobile, you just have to MAKE it that way.
Now that we’ve stopped selling real estate, what are we doing? Well, Chuck workamped as a ‘Reservationist’ in Orlando over the winter, he workamped as a ‘Park Ranger’ in Pacific City for about 6 weeks and most recently, he’s been workamping as a ‘Camp Host’ in Florence for the remainder of the summer. We’ve been seriously searching for ‘flex’ jobs for about 2 weeks now and we’ve got several opportunities lined up. Although we can’t share exact details YET (hopefully VERY soon we can!!), suffice it to say, the opportunities for both Chuck and I are contained within that list above and will provide handsomely for our family.
So my question to YOU is – what is stopping YOU from changing your thought process, changing your job/business to make it fit the lifestyle you want – rather than you fitting the lifestyle it currently creates?
Resources (General mobile job hunting resources):
- Flex Jobs
- Sugar Beet Harvest
- Cool Works
- Happy Vagabonds
- American Land & Leisure
- U Ship
- Working Couples
Resources (Actual mobile job postings):
This post is also published on our Chaos Nest Facebook Page as a note.
@2013 The Chaos Nest | Chuck & Christina Ethridge