This story is part of CNBC Make It’s millennial money The series details how people around the world make, spend and save money.
For a long time, Amber and Jaelyn Bush frequently traveled to where Marine Corps Jaelyn was stationed. But after about eight years they were ready for a change.
Amber, 30, told CNBC Make It: “We wanted something he could take with us wherever he was stationed.”
Growing up in a military family, Amber was used to the nomadic lifestyle. She thought of getting her RV as a way for Jaylin to be able to own her own home while still having the freedom to easily move to the Marine Corps base she was assigned.
“It’s always been her dream,” says 28-year-old Jaylyn.
But at first, Jaylin wasn’t convinced. The point that sold him: how much money you could save.
“Instead of paying $2,600 a month for a home I never owned, I spent $2,600 that month on truck payments, RV payments, and RV site locations where we stayed, and put the rest into savings.” says Amber. .
They started saving and bought their first RV for $26,000 in November 2019 with a $10,000 down payment.
Today, the couple makes about $93,000 a year and travels around the country in an RV with their one-year-old daughter, Journey, and their dog, Louis. Jaylin receives a pension for being discharged from the Marine Corps, and Amber works remotely as her analyst for a technology company’s projects.
Road to RV life
The couple met in high school when Amber’s family moved to Virginia. In 2012, after Amber in 2010 and Jay Lynn graduated in 2011, they started dating and eventually got married in 2013.
Amber attended several classes on and off, but neither Bush decided to go to college. “My family often told me that if you don’t know what you want to major in, you’re wasting your time,” she says.
Amber became a military officer’s nanny instead of college, and Jaylin joined the Marine Corps and served as a weapons instructor at Camp Pendleton in San Onofre, California. Enlistment wasn’t originally planned, but it was to take care of himself and Amber.
The couple had a hard time at first.They lived with their family for ten months Until they can afford their own apartment.
“There was no furniture, so we were eating on the floor,” recalls Amber. “We didn’t have money to buy mattresses, so we slept on hot air mattresses.”
When they moved to their first RV in November 2019, they faced a new set of challenges. “We had never even stayed in an RV before. “It was all new territory for us.”
But they got it. In January 2021, the couple sold their first RV and upgraded to a larger RV. This cost him $58,000, including her $10,000 down payment using the proceeds from the sale.
Amber and Jalyn say one of the biggest benefits of living in an RV is the freedom to see the country without disrupting their daughter’s environment too much.
Additionally, Amber says she was recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
how they spend their money
Here’s how Amber and Jaylin spent their money in June 2022.
- Discretionary: $3,460 for travel, sightseeing, clothes, hardware store, gym pass, etc.
- food: $2,868 on groceries and dining out
- transportation: $1,766 in truck payments and gas
- RV Site and Parking: $1,694
- investment: $1,186 paid for shared savings account, daughter’s savings account, IRA, and cryptocurrency investments
- RV Loan Payments: $678
- insurance: $296 for car, rental, house and phone insurance
- utility: $71 for Wi-Fi, heat and propane
- phone: $95
- subscription: $68 for chiropractor, cloud storage, and their website domain
The couple has also spent about $20,000 on repairs and maintenance since 2020.
“After five months of traveling, we had a flat tire and a blown axle,” says Amber. Recently, he tore the air conditioner in the front of his RV while trying to drive under a bridge that was too low and had to fix it.
Having insurance was important. It would have cost him nearly $3,300 to tow the RV after it broke down, but with insurance he would only have to pay the $500 deductible.
Additionally, Amber and Jaylin now have approximately $4,200 in credit card debt and are working to pay it off. Combined, military families have several credit cards, including the American Express Platinum Card, which waives annual fees.
In terms of savings, the couple has about $11,200 in a joint savings account and $4,000 in a Journey savings account.
From now on, Jalyn will be working on his photography. He started as a hobby at first, but he wants to go to school to hone his skills and become more competitive.
Amber says she’s made about $400 from her blog, Amber in Wonderland, and hopes to make it a higher income stream in the future.
Overall, however, the couple has no plans to leave RV life anytime soon.
“Five to 10 years from now, I think I’ll still be traveling,” says Amber. “I grew up in a military family, so I’m used to the nomadic lifestyle, so now that I have a home, I’m really enjoying the nomadic lifestyle.”