Sunday, July 27, 2008

Anticipated Monthly Costs

About three years ago a friend asked, "What is the number? How much do you think it is going to cost you to live when you retire*?"

Great question. We had no idea. No REAL idea. So we mulled it over, looked at some blogs and sites and made up a number. It looks like it may be around $3,520.42 per month which is $42,245.00 per year. Maybe more, maybe less. At least it is something to shoot at.

Here's how we came up with the numbers:

RV and Car Insurance. We use USAA for our insurance and will probably continue with them. This was based on a quote if we were residents of Texas. We now think we will become residents of South Dakota so both these numbers are probably a litte high.

Diesel. This is for both the diesel generator and the coach. We are using $5.00/gal as a planning factor. The motorhome has a 100 gallon tank. If we fill up twice a month (200 gallons @ 8.4 mpg = 1,680 miles) we could go a lot of miles. We anticipate staying at a campground for a week or two at a time.

Gas-car. We will be selling our truck and probably giving away our SUV. Right now a Honda-CRV is at the top of the list for a vehicle to tow.

Propane. At time we could use propane to run our stove or refrigerator and for grilling. We grill three or four nites now and will likely continue.

RV Maintenance. Many items will be covered under warranty. This will cover unknowns and give us some savings for $250 tires.

Campgrounds. I am using $25/nite but this is may be high. We will be using military campgrounds where available and also may be using Passport America which gives good discounts. We are members of Escapees and Good Sam which are RV clubs with discounts.

TV/Internet. Probably will use a Verizon EDVO/Air card for primary Internet access and Hughes.Net for satellite/TV access.

Cell phones. We have AT&T mobile which we will be using. Another option for access to our kids will be SKYPE. That has worked well from here to Korea.

Groceries. We hope to be able to shop at commissaries.

Mail. There are a number of mail forwarding services that we considered. We will probably go with Alternative Resources in South Dakota. We will get a mail box and they will forward it the post office nearest us.

Laundry. Although many Class A motorhomes have stackable washer/dryer combinations, we think we'd rather not get them and use the space instead. Laundromats are fine and many campgrounds have a laundry room.

Medical. We can use TRICARE and have already set that up for our travels. We used to be assigned a specific hospital with TRICARE Prime. With TRICARE standard, we can find doctors in the area where we can be seen. We still need to figure out the dental coverage.

Visa. This is almost the same as our Misc category. I am sure we will find things to use this for.

Misc. The big challenge is for us to work at a 'minimalist' attitude about our spending. We have made strides but have a ways to go so this area stays under control.

This is doable. We will be watching it closely so we have some freedom and for it not to be a burden. A big question is how much we will get for the house. Right now the market looks like it is holding its own and ebbing toward a recovery in our area. If we come out with more than we are planning, that could affect how much we would have to work. Yes -- we fully intend to work as RVers. 'Workamping' can help considerably. If we work at a campground for a month we could easily reduce our budget by over $800.

Here are a couple of other peoples web sites where they discuss finances and related items:

Howard and Linda Payne:
Fred and Jo Wishnie

Dale and Mark Bruss:

Norm and Linda Payne (no relation to Howard and Linda)

Fortunately, there are many sample budgets online of folks who share that information. Howard and Linda have quite a story and are living near the $3,000/month budget. They have a melded their lifestyle into a 'business' so some of their costs are business expenses

*I'll save it for another blog, but I doubt we will 'retire'. Looks like we will need to work part time to sustain the fulltime RV lifestyle and we look forward to it.