Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and he shares his experiences along with valuable tips for RV owners.
Make Money and Live the Good Life in Your RV
It Was Time To Retire.
We did it!
Yes, my wife and I retired earlier than we had ever thought we could.
We had both worked our whole married life and after we had raised our three kids we realized one day that suddenly there were just the two of us to worry about. The Kids had moved on!
We’re both from Virginia and neither of our parents had much money so when we married, we both went into the local workforce with no skills but we had an “I can do this!” attitude when it cam to taking on new challenges.
Without going into the mostly boring details of our family life, I’ll just say that we both maintained aggressive attitudes about our jobs, over our careers.
Don't get me wrong, we were never industrial “movers and shakers” but in our jobs we both happily accepted new technologies along with the new challenges this entailed and we were recognized every year for our contributions.
We were like so many of our peer though. We put money away in our savings for a retirement that was, in our minds, this vague thing that we figured we would one day have defined so we could start out living happily in our "sunset years".
But here we were, both of us working as “mid-level managers” and we were in that Middle-aged to Senior age range, feeling an unmistakable itch for something new.
Our latest Motorhome is a 2006 Fleetwood Bounder
Our Basic Plan
We took a weekend trip to a favorite campground we had frequented for years and we just sat around with a few bottles of wine and had some serious talks over what would be "the rest of our lives".
We realized that;
- We had a decent amount of money in our savings,
- We were in relatively good health, and
- We were tired of the daily 9-to-5.
We wanted to do "our thing" rather than continue working for corporate America. It had been fun but we wanted to do something new and we wanted to do it now.
Don’t get me wrong, both my wife and I felt that we were capable of much more job growth, but at the same time, we really were ready to move on with our lives.
That very weekend we laid out our first rough financial plan to support this new lifestyle we now wanted so badly. We came home with our financial plan and we then spent a couple of weeks designing lists of things we had both always wanted to do that we had put off for so many decades as we had lived our corporate and family-centric lives.
I have to add right here that we didn't just decide out of the Blue that we would use RV Camping as a part of our retirement lifestyle. As I mentioned, we had been campers for most of our married life, so we were already aware of the plus' and minus' that this lifestyle brings along with it.
We already knew that we could live together comfortably in a house on wheels that would have less than 400 square feet of living space.
Your Retirement Lifestyle and Your Financials
We weren’t sure what else we would be doing for the rest of our lives, but we did know that we had always been avid campers for decades, and when our kids got older they moved out and started their own lives. Sure, they would visit u occasionally but in reality they no longer needed us.
We already knew that we were “outdoorsy” people so we figured we would really enjoy traveling more and seeing “the Great Outdoors of America” if we had a good camper or motorhome to live in.
Anyway, with a little help from some professionals, we restructured our savings to support what we thought would be our new lifestyle and after some adjustments we walked away from the corporate world several years before we had to.
We knew that at times, our money situation might get tight, but regardless we were very anxious to find our new path through life.
Doing Things Your Way
Neither my wife nor I are stupid people and we knew that if we didn’t manage our financials closely, or God forbid, if the economy went south on us, we might need to end up working at something after a decade or two in order to supplement our potentially shrinking savings.
Actually the thought of being those gray-haired old people checking out your groceries at the supermarket didn’t scare us at all.
Our thoughts were that, if we lived long enough to need more money, then so be it, we would get a menial job of some kind. That is, if our ancient bodies were capable of doing such a thing after we reached 100-years old (sic).
Again, we had no expectations of having such a financial problem, so we gave our notices to our bosses and we “went out”.
We started our new lives together, looking forward to a fantastic future together, full of new adventures.
Everyone has Skills? Use Yours!
One thing I do have to share with all of you future retirees is this; each and every one of you needs to sit down and determine just what skills you have which you can use to make you some extra money.
You need to keep your skills up to date and if you do things right you can make a few bucks while you are retired. If you have computer skills, keep a PC in your RV, and keep up with the available APPS and software tools that everyone might be using now and in the future.
If you enjoy doing or making something, then you can use this skill or knowledge to make money. Sure, you may have to use the web and sell on a store, our you may want to sell your product at Craft Fairs around the country. In fact, there are clubs that you can use to travel from Craft Fair to Craft Fair around the USA.
You see once you’re retired, and you may only want to make a few bucks to supplement your savings, not start some giant business that will suck up all of your time and money.
And please don’t deny that you have unique skills, because you know that your professional life itself has been something that relied on certain of your personal skills.
But remember, you shouldn’t retire and wait for a couple of decades and then once you’re broke, start looking for a way to make extra money. Sure, there are companies all across the country, usually retail ,that will want to hire temporary workers.
And honestly, if you have to take one of these jobs, then you have to, but I would suggest that you avoid working a part time job for several months at a time before you move on. Just remember, you retired to travel and see the country, not work another 9-to-5 job.
Just sit down and think about what you truly enjoy doing, and use this knowledge to select ways to generate some level of income that will be fun and financially rewarding.
And pick something you can do on your own schedule. You'll want to still have time to do those other great retirement things you're looking forward to such as; travel, playing sports, or just entertaining yourself.
Here are a couple of examples for you.
Over the years my wife and I have traveled in our motorhome, we have stayed in a number of campgrounds across the country. There are several things other people do to make a buck that we have noticed in many of the campgrounds we visit.
RV Curtain Repairs
There are couples who repair or replace the folding curtains that are found on the windows of the majority of campers. These curtains will tear and the strings in them cn break often and these people will usually put up a sign that advertises what they do and they make a few bucks, while camping.
Synthetic Oils Sales
RVs and Tow Trucks need the oil changed, and most RV travelers want their engine to last forever if possible. So, there are a number of retirees who sell certain high end quality synthetic oils that are touted to be better than what you can find on the shelf of auto parts stores. Similarly, when they pull into a campground, they put their sign out and they wait for potential customers to knock on their doors to purchase these special oil products.
Some retiree campers will make or purchase a number of other accessories for RVs that are hard to find and they will have them ready to sell to other RV owners, such as; RV Wash and Wax products, handmade exterior art for campsites, handmade interior rugs and other decorations.
Some Easy Money Maker Skills
Here are just a few of the other popular things that you will find many retirees selling, that they enjoy making themselves and still make a few bucks, and they will be making them on their own time and at their own pace.
Right now, people are making steady money at these tasks. The list of possible products could easily be ten times longer, but I have decided to just list these seven in alphabetical order;
Believe it or not, even though there is very little spare space in your RV, most RV owners have a house or condo that they go back to when not traveling in their RV and always remember that they have relatives and friends they need to buy gifts for.
So, if you are an artist, whether you’re a painter, a sculpture, a potter, or other type of creative artist, you can often sell your recently completed works to your fellow campers.
RV owners cook their own foods most of the time, either on their exterior Grill, or in their RV kitchen.
If you have certain specialty cooking accessories that you know everyone uses; regardless of whether you made them or if you purchased them for resale, you can often sell them in your campground by just displaying them on a table in front of your RV.
Trust me, an RV can get really hot when it has been sitting in the Summer Sun.
Because of this some travelers will purchase rolls of special sunscreen material and then if they are good with a sewing machine they can put out sign, and advertise that they make custom fitted sunscreens to sell to RV owners. These exterior sunscreens are popular with RV owners because they are easy to install and they reduce the UV radiation entering the RV.
Handmade Jewelry is popular with most women. This jewelry is usually easy to construct, and even decorate to make it look unique if you have the skills.
Such jewelry can be sold in campgrounds, at craft fairs and many people will even sell theirs on specialty websites such as ETSY.
Personalized Campsite signs
When you pull into a campground for the first time, everyone is stranger. Eventually though, you will meet your neighbors and often even make new friends.
One money-maker that is popular is to have a sign in front of your RV site that displays your names and where you are from, on a uniquely crafted sign. Having such a sign in front of your RV gives your campground neighbors enough information about you for an introduction, at least.
You can purchase the proper inks and high quality blank signs on the web and then you can customize them for your campground neighbors.
The casual lifestyle of campers usually means that they are often lounging around their campsites wearing such simple comfortable clothing as T-Shirts.
Some campers will design their own sayings and artwork that they will then have commercial web-based T-Shirt manufacturers apply to their basic shirts for you.
Once you have completed your design, you can purchase samples and then place orders for specific colors, designs and sizes if one of your fellow campers wants one.
And of course, you will typically use a T-Shirt manufacturer who will handle selling your design for you on the web.
I love to write; I write short stories, poetry and even books that I always have published by Amazon Kindle. They list my books for me and handle the publishing and sales for me.
I have found that Amazon’s cut for doing all of this for me, is pretty close to what you will need to pay if you use a commercial publisher, editor, agent and other people typical of the book industry.
For me, this level of publishing, advertising and listing on Amazon fits my needs perfectly, and I use them extensively.
If I have a book in my head that I want to publish, the costs are typically;
- Write your using Microsoft WORD, or as a PDF or PAGES.
- Once it is completed, file for your Copyright listing which usually costs around $35.
- Release a copy of the book to KDP (Amazon's Kindle Digital Publishing) and after they check it for spelling and grammar errors, they will list it for sale on their web store.
- The sale price will include their charges which will typically be between 75% and 80% of the sale price they will use on Amazon.
- When they get a book order, regardless of whether it is for a single copy or for a dozen copies, they will print and ship the book to the buyer within a day.
- Your money goes into your personal account which will be credited monthly for your portion of each sale.
- Some people will even purchase personal copies for handing out during promotions, and some people will perform their own marketing, often in book stores and at craft fairs, etcetera.
What you see in this article, are just a few of the things a retiree can do to make a few bucks and enjoy what they are doing.
Of course, I have written this for the typical retiree RV owner, but really any retiree can use their personal skills to enjoy their lifestyle and have a small specialty business of their own.
by Don Bobbitt, All Rights Reserved
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on March 06, 2021:
Mona - My Wife and I have been doing this RV thing for more years than I care to remember, and we saw very early that most of the RV owners we knew had some kind of way to generate a little extra income. Just apply what you know and can do, and you can find your fun money-making business yourself.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on March 06, 2021:
BillyBuc - So Good to hear from you, old Friend! By irritating you, just a little (?) you have made my day!
And, Yes, I may be getting older, and I may creak a little when I move, but I still love being around "Big Water".
I ope you hve a great day, my friend!
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on March 05, 2021:
These are great ideas. I especially like the part about how to earn money. It's nice to know that you can live in your own RV and still make a living.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 05, 2021:
That picture of you on the beach is going to annoy me all day long, thank you very much!
I hope you are well! Take care and enjoy the hell out of your weekend.