Even if you're on a budget or a fixed income, you may still be able live an affordable snowbird lifestyle. These tips for snowbirds who are on a budget can help you manage your money successfully as you summer and winter in different places.
Downsize Your Primary Home
If you own a larger home, consider downsizing to a smaller, less expensive place that will still meet your needs when you're there. When you move, you can also simplify your belongings and sell what you no longer need to make some extra cash. The lower monthly expenditure on your home will give you more money for a snowbird lifestyle.
Use Your Homes as Rentals
Whether you set up your home as an Airbnb or rent it out to someone as a short-term rental, renting both your summer and winter homes as short-term rentals or using them as vacation exchanges can provide some breathing room in your budget for your lifestyle. You'll need to hire a property manager or someone you trust to handle rental, clean up, and emergencies while you're away, but this is a great way to stretch your dollars.
Winter in a Less Expensive Area
There are many different places where you can spend your winters, and some are definitely more expensive than others. Research the cost to live in each, and consider affordable places to snowbird in Arizona or Florida, for example.
Consider an Inexpensive RV
You can also save money on the back end by purchasing and living in a used or inexpensive RV both during summer and winter months. While you'll accrue mileage and maintenance costs along with space rentals for the RV, it's a good solution for many wishing to save money when they live in different places in the summer and the winter. This also allows you more freedom; you don't have to return to the same places year after year, although you can if you wish.
Only Go During the Coldest Months
Shorten the amount of time you spend in your winter destination to save money on short-term rentals. This is especially good for you if you don't mind the early or late parts of winter at your home, but you want to escape the most bitter cold of months.
While wintering when you snowbird can feel like vacation complete with eating out, planning meals and cooking at home can save you a bundle. It's also generally better for your waistline, since you control the foods you prepare and eat.
Get in on the Gig Economy
Even if you're retired, you can earn a few extra bucks by setting up some freelance side gigs. Chances are, if you have a skill, there's a place to offer that skill on the internet that will allow you to work when you want and not work when you don't. Freelance websites such as Fiverr, Flexjobs, and Upwork allow you to work when you want as much or as little as you desire in order to make some extra cash. You can also do things like making crafts and selling them on a marketplace such as Etsy, or working as an online tutor.
Take up Inexpensive Hobbies
There are lots of things you can do to enjoy both your summer and winter homes that don't require a lot of cash. Whether it's digital photography, bird watching, walking in nature, or something else, find things you love to do that won't cost a lot of money but will allow you to enjoy the area you've chosen to live.
Work With a Financial Advisor
Before you begin your life as a snowbird, work with a financial advisor to ensure it's affordable for you. A financial planner can help you set a budget and make choices that fit within that budget. They can also advise you about other financial decisions such as health and property insurance, which will need to cover you both where you summer and where you winter. Setting up a planning meeting well ahead of when you actually begin your life as a snowbird will help you create a financial plan that's feasible for you.
Make Snowbirding on a Budget Possible
Snowbirding on a budget is possible with some careful planning and smart decision-making. The best way to get started is to sit down and take an honest look at all associated costs in order to determine how to proceed. If the idea of spending the cold winter months in a warmer location is appealing to you, then there are ways to make it happen.