Snowbirding on a budget

Snowbirding on a Budget

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Roughly 40 million Americans currently enjoy RVing and according to the RV Industry Association, one million of them live a full-time RV lifestyle. As temperatures drop, many snowbirds migrate south to continue their RV adventures in warmer temperatures.

In popular culture, the traditional understanding of a snowbird is defined as someone who is in the golden years of their life, living in their retirement years. With younger generations pursuing the full-time RV lifestyle, the definition is opening up to anyone who changes their residence during the winter months.

For those that are non-retiree aged snowbirds, making this seasonal move can be a financial challenge. In this article, we’re going to discuss some successful techniques that make snowbirding on a budget affordable and attainable.

Snowbird Locations

Snowbirding on a Budget
Source: Moody’s Analytics, Q4 2018. 1) The Sun Belt region analysis is based on the totals from the 18 states it spans. 2) There are 27 markets with a population over or near 1 million, and the seven largest cities are Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Riverside.

The United States can be broken into two main sections, the snowbelt, and the sunbelt. Snowbirds usually head to the sunbelt from November to April to escape the snow and cold that winter brings. These states include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • South Carolina

This time period is considered the peak season for campgrounds in this region. Prices for private campgrounds are usually at their highest. To offset these costs, there are many discount clubs like Passport America, Thousand Trails, and Good Sam’s Club, that offer great saving programs on weekly and monthly campsite costs.

Federal, state, and county parks have available campgrounds. Most of these parks have limits that prevent you from staying for more than 14 days. Their sites are mostly primitive and partial hookups. Some have full hook up spaces, but they fill up fast. To offset costs, the federal park service has an Access Pass that offers camping discounts.

There are free campsite alternatives throughout the country. States allow RVers to use undeveloped land for free or for very low costs. Websites like Campendium have listings of these areas. These are dry camping sites without dump stations or garbage bins. Sanidump is a website that can help you find local dump locations.

Snowbird Jobs

Snowbird jobs

For these full-time RV working snowbirds, the American Dream is about living their life and having their profession work around their schedule. With the level of technology and diverse methods of work situations, they have found creative ways to still earn a living.

According to Forbes, at least 50% of Americans work from home in some capacity. Full-timers have taken advantage of this opportunity. As long as they have a reliable connection, they can continue their work. Other opportunities exist in seasonal work, contract gigs, or workamping programs within the campground they stay at.

For one couple, they found their solution through contract work and freelancing from home. Nick and Hanna are full-timers. He works as a blogger and owns a freelance marketing business. Hanna spent some of her career as a traveling physical therapist. She would work three months at a time in different cities around the country.

For extra income opportunities, there are many websites you can check into as well. Side gig websites are becoming real ways people can earn extra money. Some offer quick ways to earn a little extra, while others offer opportunities to build new careers from home.

Things to do

Snowbirding

Once people find their destination of choice, finding things to do doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Many explore the various federal, state, and county parks that offer outdoor activities. They also find local events that make the trip eventful. Since many live on a budget, the key to their travels is keeping their costs low so they can continue traveling.

Some campgrounds have their own festivals and onsite events that are free to registered guests. Things like trick or treating, movie nights, and their own versions of celebrating local events. KOA and other big campgrounds are well known for these added activities.

For those that have children, activities are focused on connecting home school concepts with real-world application. One family spent time road schooling their children about Native American History by visiting various parks in Arizona. Not only did these lessons create more insightful lessons, the family enjoyed the experience simultaneously.

Have You Ever Considered Your Bills?

As a full-time RVer, you drive your home all over the country. Your permanent residence is based on several factors that deal with family, taxes, and other issues that are significant to your life. If you and your family have found that you like to snowbird in one particular area, have you ever considered making that place your new primary residence?

First and foremost, you will want to speak to an accountant or other licensed professionals who have the qualifications to advise you about this option. Traditional snowbirds used this cost-saving technique to take the pressure off of their retirement savings.

What we can say is that each state, county, and city has its own tax laws. Shopping around for the various insurances you need and some of your other needed expenses could save you money. In some cases, people have ended up keeping the same features and reduced their monthly budgets significantly.

Keeping Faust Out of Your Lifestyle

Keeping Faust Out of Your Lifestyle

The RV lifestyle is a simple one. Without realizing it, people get caught up in the little luxuries of life to the point of detriment. The one-stop-shop at the grocery store has its temptations with the more expensive food items. Walmart can be its own Temptation of Faust if you’re not careful.

To keep yourself on the straight and narrow (and within budget), make grocery shopping its own outing. Farmers’ markets can be a great time and have many benefits. Food item costs are usually at their best prices and support local communities. They also are sustainable and don’t use harsh chemicals in their production.

Clothing takes up space and needs to be clean. The more clothing you need to wash at a coin-operated laundry facility means less time on the road. Clothes can also complicate storage space for other needed items in your coach. Having a versatile wardrobe can save you money and keep you looking fabulous.

Many RVs now have outdoor or tub showers with hot and cold faucets. This can help you with dog grooming. There are many websites on how to properly clean, cut, and trim their nails. If you have a dog that has longer hair, this can save you hundreds. We do recommend that you speak to a professional trainer for advice on proper techniques your first time out.

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Snowbirding Cheaply

There are numerous methods of successfully snowbirding inexpensively. As you search around for the campsites, groceries, and fun activities that fit your budgets, make sure you remember the fun. Budget-friendly doesn’t have to mean boring.

As our community expands through the generations and through multiple mediums, one thing has remained constant: talking to each other. As you travel, talk with some of your fellow RVers. We are a social community that loves to share our wisdom. Keep learning and keep sharing.

Product data was last updated on 2020-04-06 at 02:05.