In 2016, the average home cost rose to around $390,000. It seems as if bigger and better homes are also becoming more popular, with more and more people opting for standalone houses of 2,000 square feet or more. While a big home isn’t necessarily a bad thing, going into massive debt for a home is less than desirable for almost anyone.
Now, with minimalism and tiny living on the rise, many are learning how to live with less. But what makes this type of living so appealing?
This post has been written by our staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.
I took the time to interview two incredible women who told me their stories before RV living, and how they spend their time (and money) now. They’ve learned how to live with less, and seem much more free and happy with their decisions. First, let me introduce them.
Kaitlin is from Oklahoma and has been married to her Navy pilot husband for seven years. They spent the last three and a half years overseas and moved back stateside about 3 months ago.
Jessica was born in Puerto Rico and moved to central Florida at four years old. She graduated with a BS in Biology and has worked in many different fields. She has a great love for the outdoors, reading, and animals, and both were instilled in her by her parents.
So, who came up with the idea to live full-time in the RV?
Kaitlin: “My husband!”
Jessica: “It was me!!”
Can you take me through the steps of buying and living in your RV?
Kaitlin: “We researched a ton! We found the model we wanted then looked for a year or two old model anywhere for sale. We were in Tucson visiting family but found the perfect travel trailer in Denver so we drove up, bought it, and picked it up!”
Jessica: “We went from house to RV in about a month! It came up all of sudden, there was a job opportunity that we hopped on and then we had to get the RV. It was intense and stressful. The day we actually moved in was so overwhelming. We had things EVERYWHERE! We had a very tight deadline, but we made it. It’s funny to look back since it’s no big deal for us anymore!”
Do you have kids or pets?
Kaitlin: “Yes! A two year old, an almost 5 year old (1 week away and she reminds us 20 times a day!) and a year old Cocker Spaniel.”
Jessica: “We have 2 kids (5 & 8) and 2 cats (both 14).”
What are the pros to living in the RV? Cons?
Kaitlin: “Stability even while traveling is a huge pro. For example, not having to completely change everything (beds, living out of suitcases) while changing the outside world. Cons are that kids can be tough on a travel trailer. There is always something breaking.”
Jessica: “The pros are that you are mobile, you don’t have a lot of maintenance or cleaning, and you can meet some incredible people. The cons are that it IS a small place, so clutter and messes can be a big issue. There is no “you” space, and things like laundry and Wi-Fi can be unreliable sometimes.”
Have you been able to save money while living in the RV?
Kaitlin: “Yes, and quality of life was so much better than staying in hotels while visiting family!”
Jessica: “Nope. It is possible to save a lot, especially if you mortgage/rent are very high and you had car payments and other debts. However, none of it really changed for us.”
What do you do for work? In your opinion, are there opportunities to work on the road?
Jessica: “I am a contractor for the government. My hubby and I also run a blog and YouTube channel all about our RV adventures. I think there are definitely opportunities to work while on the road. I think starting with your current employer is the first step – come up a list of all the things you can do from home and how it will benefit the company. If that doesn’t work or if you don’t want to continue with your company, try to start your own business, become a freelancer, and/or combine that with workamping (you work and get a free site, more hours usually mean cash too).”
Kaitlin: “My husband is starting his MBA and I work for a skincare company, mostly online. It has its challenges, but for us it’s been doable.”
What’s the best memory you have from RV life? What’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to face?
Kaitlin: “It’s just simplified. It’s less time cleaning and more time outside playing. The hardest challenge has been finding a full time spot near my husband’s school.”
Jessica: “Our son learned to kayak on his own and took his sister out on the water. It was so sweet and beautiful. Learning how to meet everyone’s needs in such a small space is a challenge. We are about 2 years in and we are just figuring it out. Time management becomes even more critical when you are in a tiny space together, working, and trying to make the most of the areas you are visiting.”
How long do you plan on living in the RV?
Jessica: “We don’t really have a plan…we will keep at it until it no longer works for the family.”
Kaitlin: “For 6 months up to 2 years when my husband finishes his MBA. It depends on site availability as well.”
How To Live With Less (My Thoughts)
- Both ladies expressed how to live with less by de-cluttered their homes to moving into an RV. If you are looking to live with less, de-cluttering and choosing to live simpler vs. having a ton of items will make things easier in a small space.
- While Jessica said that she and her husband haven’t really saved money, she is not taking into account the fact that she and her family travel vs. being stationary in a home. If travel is important to you, but you feel stuck in your home due to bills and payments, living in an RV or tiny home may work for you. If you are naturally frugal and bills are low, and travel doesn’t interest you, you can still learn to live with less!
- This isn’t a one size fits all type of living. You can always live in a smaller or larger RV, choose resorts or RV parks, and stop or start this lifestyle at any time. These two families have made it work for them, even though they have different ideals, values, and goals!
Living with less, or living tiny, could be a great and rewarding experience for many people. Not only do you have the opportunity to own your own “home”, you can also have the freedom to travel and take adventures that many people can’t. Plus, this is a great option to those looking to become (or stay) debt free!
What do you think? Could you ever live with less?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.