Living out of a vehicle, especially a Jeep Wrangler, may not be for everyone, but for those who are willing to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, it can be a great way to travel and save money at the same time. In 2022, I moved to Florida to turn my Jeep Wrangler into the ultimate adventure mobile. I then spent 10 months living out of it, traveling full-time across the United States and Canada. I chose this method so I could explore the outdoors more and pay off debt at the same time. Here’s a breakdown of how much I spent traveling full-time and living out of my Jeep Wrangler for one year!
One of the great things about living out of a vehicle is that you don’t have to worry about rent payments. However, if you have a car payment, that can be a significant monthly expense. In my case, I have a pretty steep car payment. Which is a big reason why I wanted to cut out a rent payment. My car wasn’t always this expensive. I had to buy a new engine in 2021 that was tacked onto my original car loan. So this is what it is now, and I absolutely cannot wait to pay it off soon.
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Having car insurance is an unavoidable cost. My car insurance used to be very low because I’ve never had any accidents or traffic violations (knock on wood) but it is higher than normal right now due to where I live. But on the bright side, it has gone down since my birthday!
My biggest expense by far was gas. I drive a true gas guzzler. I drive long distances, spend lots of time in 4-wheel drive, and already had poor gas mileage to begin with. I also spent a lot of time in areas with the highest gas prices during a time of record-breaking gas prices. The experiences were surely worth the cost though!
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Living out of a car means that you’re putting more wear and tear on it than you would if you were just using it for commuting or weekend trips. During my year on the road, I had to get my oil changed and my tires rotated more frequently than I would have in normal circumstances. I purchased new all-season all-terrain tires for the trip and had to replace a couple of parts that wore out, which added to my overall expenses. All in all, though, I put about 40,000 miles on it and needed only one major job done – brake calipers/axle seals.
When I first hit the road I spent way too much money on eating out. I liked using public wifi, getting out of the woods and socializing, and of course the convenience of having a delicious cooked meal. But as gas prices got more expensive and I got tighter with my budget, I made sure to cook my own meals and generally only go out to coffee shops or bars for a drink. I genuinely enjoy cooking, so this was great for me.
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One of the perks of living out of a car is that you don’t need to stay in hotels or other types of paid accommodation very often, which will save you a lot of money. I generally slept for free by utilizing BLM land, rest areas, gracious friends, and other types of free accommodation that you can learn about in this blog post. However, there were times when I needed a break from sleeping in the car, wanted to avoid bad weather, utilize services at paid campgrounds, or even got sick. Because of this, I’d recommend budgeting for 2-3 nights of paid accommodation per month while on the road.
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There were a lot of little expenses that added up over the course of the year, such as laundry, attraction tickets, permits, or unique experiences. It’s important to budget for fun, let yourself live!
So what do you think?! Is that a lot or a little?! Would you live out of your car for one year?!
Overall, living out of my Jeep Wrangler for a year allowed me to travel full-time while also prioritizing saving money and paying off debt. Even though I spent a lot on things like gas and hotels, I was able to offset that cost by not having a rent payment and being able to cook my own meals. Living out of a car certainly has its challenges, but for me, the rewards were well worth it.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to travel full-time, I invite you to watch my free webinar, “How to Travel Full-Time”.
If you want to make traveling more of a priority this year, watch my free webinar that will teach you how you too can travel full-time. It’s packed with tips and strategies for living on the road, and it’s a great starting point for anyone who’s considering this lifestyle. And lastly, connect with us on Instagram! We’d love to get to know you! Happy traveling!