December 19, 2016

Living on the Road Saves Money

Living on the road isn't quite as impossible as it may seem. You just have to be willing to give up some things you own and ideas you hold on to if you want to make it happen.

I've written a few times about the logistics of life on the road and how to make that happen.

I won't lie to you. It's a challenging experience that will push you beyond what you thought you could do. It's daunting to let go and be free. The responsibility of providing for yourself each day with little support is arduous.

But the payoff far outweighs the efforts.

The most important item to address is finances. In a future post I will address how to earn money on the road, but first, let's look at how much money you actually need. Based on some research I found the median rent/mortgage payment to be $1,100 per month, so we'll start there.


Current living Space:
  • Mortgage             $          1,100
  • Property Tax                       189
  • Utilities                               247
  • Internet                                 75
  • Miscellaneous costs            350
  • Average bonus savings       (150)
Total per month            $       2,111

Current Living Space @ $2,111 per month for 12 months = 25,332

(According to research by the U.S. Dept. of Housing, the average person spends $2,736 per month to live in a one bedroom space, totalling $32,832 per year.)

When you join a hotel loyalty rewards program and stay in only those chains, you'll earn a ridiculous amount of reward points. In fact, if you stay with one chain for 10 months in one year, you'll earn between 6 - 8 weeks of free stays, if you work the system right. This stretches your "rent" dollar much further.

Hotel Living Space @ $2,300 per month for 10 months (2 months free!) = $23,000

That's a savings of $2,332 per year.
I'm not talking about a theory. I know because I've done it.

Miscellaneous costs (as noted above) can apply to a number of things: home repairs, landscaper, parking, new furniture, etc. When living on the road, we buy fewer items than when we live in a house or apartment. Curtains, pillows, rugs, clothing, knick knacks, dishes, cookware, etc. You just don't buy it when you're on the road. You learn to live with so much less. This is your average bonus savings.

Yes, on the road you may eat in restaurants more. Currently the average American spends $232 per month eating meals prepared outside the home. This adds up to $2,784 per year. But long stay hotels not only provide a breakfast included, but other meals and a kitchen. You should spend no more or less on groceries since you'll have a kitchen.

Once you are free of the costs above, you can apply that to your "rent" along the road if you choose to stay in long stay hotels. Keep in mind all of the benefits of staying in a hotel. You not only get a room, you get utilities, internet, gym, maid service, pool, office space/service, full breakfast and more. We focused on the Marriott chain and stayed in Residence Inns and Townplace Suites. These rooms also have a kitchen with all the dishes you need to cook for yourself. Residence Inn also serves dinner 2 -3 nights per week, beer and wine included.

Additional Meal Savings per Year:
  • Breakfast @ $3 per day x 365 days  = $  1,095 per person
  • Dinner @ $7 per day x 104 days      = $    728 per person
Total savings for prepared meals = $1,823

You will probably continue to spend around $250 per month eating out. But with the meals served at the hotel, you'll be buying far less groceries, thus having a savings on food each month of nearly $150 per month. 

Total savings of hotel living ($2,332) and food ($1,800) per year is $4,132. 

If you take a long, hard look at your current finances, chances are you can afford to live on the road, perhaps even for less than you're spending now. Two adults can live a great life living and working on the road, staying in nice hotels and seeing the country.

I'm not talking about a theory. I know because I've done it.

My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. Buy your copy now or if not for you, buy a copy for a friend for the holidays! The woman in your life will love you for it.



  1. This is all fine but it assumes you can make money while on the road. A lot of people have fixed jobs and then we have the other big issue, KIDS. But if you guys can make it I'm glad for you, sometimes I wish I could too.

    1. As I wrote above, "In a future post I will address how to earn money on the road, but first, let's look at how much money you actually need."
      I'm going to give some in-depth ideas for making a living on the road.
      I'll also address turning away from the collecting of things in this society of mass commercialism. Owning things is in complete opposition to freedom.
      Also, there are some families that travel. But of course it's not for everyone.
      I am planning numerous articles on this topic. Thanks for your thoughts George.

  2. That was a great breakdown Sash. Paul and I will be transitioning into full-time RV living within the next 6 months. We will have far less space and no need for loads of material items. The other great thing about it... we get to have Misa, our furbaby with us. We'll still go on rides, because, our RV will be able to haul a motorcycle. That is, if we get the toy hauler class a by Thor. They have a version without the garage. The thing, though, is that we'll have to get a regular trailer to haul behind to carry motorcycle when we move between places. There's a lot of logistics to work out. I'm excited about it, to be honest.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. That's very exciting Kimberly! I can't wait to hear how it goes!

  3. Full time on the road would be interesting, it would be great to travel. What we worry about in selling everything and taking off is that we have no retirement accounts, but will reply on social security in retirement and the funds from selling our house which will be paid off in a few years.

    1. Certainly a good point. As I mentioned above to George, I'll be doing a series of articles on this topic, some of which will discuss ways to earn a living on the road. By no means do we, or most other vagabonds, quit working!

  4. You have an interesting view of life on the road. As with most things, what works wonderfully for one person may be a disaster for another. Individual circumstance can dash dreams like this. I've fantasized since high school of life on the road, free of constraint and schedule. But my life choices -- kids, dogs, to name a few -- have kept it all in the dream world. And when you're young, at least for me, the decisions just sort of happen. There is no plan.

    I've been following a young couple living in a VW camper van -- Idle Theory Bus and they are doing what you are only with four wheels and a van. Again, looks exotic but when I'm honest and look in the mirror I don't see myself in the van, or living on the road.

    Money on the other hand -- I wish I had your focus on how to make it work for you. Retiring in a few months, I'm looking for the first time really at what we spend. Frightening. I have to finally grow up in terms of responsible use of money. Thankfully my employer forced me to pay into a pension system for 42 years...

    Good luck to you and Steve on the road. I look forward to following your adventures.


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