So if you have been following my Instagram, I'm sure you know we have moved into an RV and have been traveling since August 2015. That seems to have raised some red flags with my readers who no longer see me as frugal. So I want to correct the rumors.
The Rumor Mill: Yes. We are still Living Frugal (and I'll prove it to you!)
Before reading on, I suggest you read my tell-all post where I answer the most asked questions.
Since my tell-all post, we have cut our expenses even more. Here is out current budget compared to when we lived in a sticks and bricks house.
Our rent payment is our campground fees, and they include cable TV (most of the time) electric and water. We have recently cut our campground fees by 70%! Add this into the fact that we are camping for a free a few days a month.
You can see from the totals we are saving almost $1300 a month. Our income is a few hundred more a month than we were in a sticks and bricks house. We have actually added around $8,000 to our savings since being on the road.
Yes, we are ADDING to our savings! We hit our savings goal and now are aggressively paying off what debt we have left.
We are doing all this and still traveling. How? Well for one I am scoring some free admission to local attractions with Groupon.
We also got the National Parks America the Beautiful Pass it allows us to visit any National Park, battlefield or historic site for free. This pass was free to us since my husband was in the Navy and suffered hearing loss from the flight deck.
We also got a Western North Carolina Nature Center zoo membership. This allows us to get into other zoos, aquariums and science centers around the country for free. Because when you have seen one zoo you have seen them all, so why buy $30 or more per person to see each one!
We also got a Kern County Museum membership that allows us to get into children's museums, historical sites and other museums many for free and others for 50% off. I wrote more about these memberships here.
We add in that there are many free places to visit in each and every city we visit like the 33 Free Things to do in Nashville Tennessee or the 15 Free Things to do in Tampa Florida and my favorite, 25 Free things to do in Orlando Florida.
You can see in general our budget on most expenses went down. We went from 2 cars to one car, we were able to lower our phone payments, we no longer have an electric, water, or cable bill and we got health insurance through Medi-Share for cheaper then the insurance from my husbands work before we got on the road.
A few expenses went up, like an RV payment, gas and travel money, and the internet so I could work on the road. In general, we have saved more than that though
I guess in general I want to say I am still me. I still try to score freebies where I can. I still have a (small) stockpile in our RV, I still shop thrift stores for our clothes, I still use coupons, I still choose Save-A- Lot or Aldi over Publix or Kroger when I can and I still only buy meat at rock bottom prices. Cooking is a bit of a challenge and I have made some inedible dishes in the tiny RV oven and my smoke detector likes to sing to me weekly, but we still eat at home 6 nights a week. I have built into my budget a dinner or lunch for eating out once a week since we like to try local food.
I still saved up for 4 months to buy my husband a ticket to drive a Porsche for his 30th birthday. We budgeted and saved for a few months and planned to be near my sister in law so we could have a date night at an amazing restaurant at the top of Atlanta. I still say no to spending $50 at the attraction gift shops and deal with whiny kids on the way home just to stay on budget.
My husband and I still sit down weekly to go over our budget and stay on track. I still use Amazon Gift Cards to buy things like RV toilet paper (the price on that makes this couponer want to cry!), a $200 RV electrical surge protector and a new RV lock we needed.
My girls still hand down their clothes to each other so I'm not buying all new clothes each time one grows. We have gone down to just over a weeks worth of clothes per person and I send in all extra clothes and outgrown clothes to Swap.com where I sell them and use that money in our budget too.
Now that we are traveling how are we earning money? This is ever evolving. My husband does get some money from his time in the Navy. He is also getting ready to use his GI Bill to go to back to school and finish his degree and we get BAH from that when he does. He also picks up jobs on the road. He did a few months of Amazon Camperforce and worked a bit with my dad at Smoky Mountain Handmade Candles. We are also helping my dad sell on the road.
I earn some money from my blogs, doing freelance writing work, and social media work. I have also written an eBook and have several more for in the pipeline.
So as you can see I am still me, I still am on a budget with 4 kids, but I just took a slightly radical way to pay off debt and save money.
So I want to know, what extreme ways have you save money or paid off debt?