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How to Keep #Roadlife Rolling Even When The Budget Gets Tight

How to Keep #Roadlife Rolling Even When The Budget Gets Tight 1

It was a tough time for my wife and me.

We’d been kicked in the teeth by a major medical expense, managed to crash a business, and the taxman had cometh with a vengeance – all in a single month.

The pressure had gotten so intense that, for the first time in our 2+ years on the road, we were seriously thinking we might have to end the road trip for 9-5 jobs.

Looking back now, I cringe to think about how we would have felt if we’d decided to end our Xcapers journey. Instead, through a combo of creative work gigs, strong budgeting, and renewed focus, I’m happy to say that we managed to keep our journey alive.

Through it all, my wife and I have grown closer in our marriage, we have grown our income, and we have paved a more stable path for our lives on the road.

And it’s something I’m convinced you can do too.

This article will show you how to do it even if you feel like your own road life is crashing in on you right now. I’m going to tell you my real and raw story – showing you our genuine budget and income numbers as we dug ourselves out of the stink. If you follow our tips and weave them into your own story, you can change your trajectory. Here it goes:

Tips for Digging Out of A Financial Hole

Take a good hard look at your budget:

if you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll always wonder where it went. Use an app like everydollar.com or mint.com to create a plan for every dollar you make and spend.

If you’re already budgeting, now is the time to consider what can be cut. Let me break down a few things from my own budget:

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Even with affordable health insurance via Medi-Share, our overall insurance costs were high for our situation… by doing the budget this way we saw it right in front of us and could explore ways to bring it down.

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You can see a big problem area here. We were way over budget on “miscellaneous” expenses. We resolved this by only withdrawing a set amount of cash for these expenses each month. When we run out, we have to wait until the next month for any other “miscellaneous” purchases.

Find a Bigger Shovel

No matter what flavor of pickle you find yourself in, increasing your road income is always a good idea because it will help you dig out faster.

In our case, we discovered we’d been making around $2,500/month in income, but we had $3,500/month in expenses+saving. So, an extra $1k per month would get us out of our jam fast.

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I know it seems “common sense” but the ugly truth is that too many of us are living beyond our paychecks. We don’t know it because we don’t put a budget on paper. When my wife and I did this, it was clear as day.

Here’s How We Brought In Extra Bacon:

  • Blogposts I reached out to blog editors at Outdoorsy, Camping World and Xscapers about some freelance writing. After some legwork, I was cranking out a few posts per month for an average of $100 a pop.
  • Events – There are events happening all over the country and they hire people to help. Check out this post for the full skinny.
  • Passive stuff Nothing beats a bit of passive income. My wife and I sell stuff on Amazon FBA and rent out a camper on AirBNB to bring in extra bacon.
  • 48 other ideas – Thank career coach Dan Miller for his article “48 Low or No Cost Business Ideas”. I refer to it often when I need to make fresh kitty.

Save 6 Months of Expenses and Keep it Out of Reach

You’ve probably heard this one before. I had, too, but I had never actually done it. That’s why our big medical expense turned from an annoyance to a major situation.

So, open an account now and start working toward getting 6 months saved. Even if you can’t save much right now, it’s psychologically important to have a separate account for this purpose.

And be sure you don’t give yourself easy access to it via a debit card, checks, or anything else. You should deliberately make this account hard to access so you don’t tap in unless it’s truly an emergency. 

Keep Scrapping, Keep Fighting, and Keep #Roadlife Alive

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Your mindset is even more important than the math. You have to believe you can keep your dream of full-time travel alive if you ever hope to keep it rolling.

For my wife and me, we had to keep burning the bridges leading to a 9-5 life so we would stay creative about funding our journey. You’ve got to do the same if you don’t want to be tempted down the path to a “real job”. 

Don’t Take Shite From Anybody

When you start to struggle on the road, your well-meaning friends and family will come out of the woodwork to encourage you to get back to “normal life”.

You’re not going to keep your dreams alive if you listen to them. We are living a new dream that they will never understand, a dream of a life filled with connections, experiences, and memories. Never let anyone take that from you.

Keeping the road trip alive is a challenging proposition. I know this all too well because of what my wife and I went through, but the struggle also shaped us. It made us more devoted than ever to this journey, it taught us strategies that will keep us on a more stable path, and it hardened our determination to live our dreams. 

Josh Schukman


Josh Schukman

Josh is half of the husband+wife duo behind OutofNorm.al – where their mantra is life, unwasted. Josh and his wife have been galivanting all over the country in an ’88 Airstream for the past 3 years…and counting. They seek out small towns, BLM lands and the next vintage camper they can renovate for their AirBNB glamping business. 

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