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REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 09:27 AM   #1
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REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Buying an RV and selling the house may be a good way to reduce burn rate at a time when Real Estate is so high and rent not low either.
Living a house-free life for a while can reduce expenses enough so that retirement is a possibility for someone who doesn't need to put more in the bank but still needs income due to the current burn-rate.

So here is the scenario,
sell the house and most belongings.
FIRE
Buy an RV and
start an itinerant life for - say - 5 years
let your savings grow almost untouched
buy a house at a place you liked during your travels

However:
- There will be maintenance, camp and gas expenses
- RVs don't come cheap either.

Is a 10-year old RV a good idea? Too old?
Where to find the best deals? Is there a kind of RVs to steer clear of?
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 09:37 AM   #2
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Can you rent an RV for a week or so to make sure you like the RV lifestyle before selling the house?

How do RV'ers handle long stays? For example, we saw the cost at a campground was $18/night with hookup. Do you pay $540 per month to park, or is there a cheaper way?
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 09:47 AM   #3
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

$15-$20 is the lowest I have seen for camping rates but that includes the utilities I believe. I don't think there a cheaper way that would be comfortable. Of course in transit you don't spend for camping but find a parking spot somewhere.

$540 is not cheap but can one find equivalent rent in a cheap part of the country?
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 09:50 AM   #4
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Can you rent an RV for a week or so to make sure you like the RV lifestyle before selling the house?

How do RV'ers handle long stays?* For example, we saw the cost at a campground was $18/night with hookup.* Do you pay $540 per month to park, or is there a cheaper way?
I see that guys like Tioga George rarely actually pay for a spot, boondocking most of the time. There are also very low cost or free places to stay in National Parks, Army Corps of Engineers, and BLM land.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 09:57 AM   #5
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

perinova, Martha mentioned an organization that rates RVs for things like safety, quality, reliability--it was within the last week or so in the LazyDays topic on the Other Topics board. Something like www.rv.org.

T-Al, I'd like to rent an RV as well, but I've heard there are reliability problems with rental RVs. In fact, I'd like to rent a recent fifth wheel and a recent class C (like a Lazy Daze) to get a better sense of what would be most suitable for us. Not that I'm planning to full time, but we'd like to take long trips--1-2 months while DH is still teaching and longer after he retires.

I follow several RV blogs. The expense of RVing varies enormously--you can boondock most of the time for free, stay in state & national parks for low cost, or stay in usually more expensive (and sometimes astronomical) private campgrounds.

Here are some blogs you might enjoy:

http://www.rv-dreams.com/
Lots of detail on financial aspects and getting started.

http://www.andybaird.com/
Gorgeous pix, lovely writing, great tales of getting started and FIRE, relatively low-cost RVing (lots of state parks).

http://ontheroadwithgary.blogspot.co...y_archive.html
Just started reading this one--good info on technical issues such as installing solar.

http://vagabonders-supreme.net/
Entertaining persona, RVing on a small budget--lots of boondocking (parking for free).
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 10:18 AM   #6
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

I don't mean to spoil the party, and I'm not trolling but....

How in the world can somebody live in an RV? I stayed in an RV for one night during a fishing trip to Alaska and swore never again. I like camping, and I like being at home but I can't mix the two.

Don't get me wrong, I've been in some REALLY nice RVs at races and the like, but other than the $500K+ variety, I just don't get it.

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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 10:34 AM   #7
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Is boondocking illegal?
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 10:38 AM   #8
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Perinova:

Are you married ?

If you are think long and hard about all of that togetherness in an RV. Some married couples need more (personal) breathing space than an RV can provide and have real issues.

So a week or a month in a rented RV might really determine if you are really cut out for the RV lifestyle or not.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 10:43 AM   #9
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Is boondocking illegal?
Depends. In some areas there are laws against parking an RV on the street/in plain sight. Where this is not the case, I think you'd be hunky dory. If you wanted to boondock on private land, you'd obviously have to have permission from the owner.

On BLM lands, I think you need a permit, but other than that as long as you follow their rules, you can boondock for nothing.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 10:58 AM   #10
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by perinova
Is a 10-year old RV a good idea? Too old?
Are you mechanically inclined?* Can you do simple maintenance?* Can you do simple repair?

If you are, than a 10-year old RV is fine.* Preventive maintenance is key to reliability.* George's RV was about 10 years old when he bought it.* If you look at his budget, the highest expense item is repair & maintenance.

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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 11:01 AM   #11
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
How in the world can somebody live in an RV?* I stayed in an RV for one night during a fishing trip to Alaska and swore never again.* I like camping, and I like being at home but I can't mix the two.
We have for over a year now. *Love it! *It's like living in a small one-bedroom condo, but being able to move it where ever you want.

Actually the innards of our RV is pretty upscale - more upscale than our house was. *It took some getting used to the luxury - lol! *And no we did not pay $500K. *You can get usually find something pretty darn nice for fulltiming (and only a couple of years old) for about $130K.

Living in an RV not for everyone.

As for perinova's question.

Unless you buy a fairly old RV (and it's in good condition), you will lose a lot of depreciation on the RV. *It's pretty hard to not lose money buying an RV. *It's better to see it as a lifestyle choice and the chunk of change you're willing to spend for entre into the lifestyle.

Yes, once you spend the money on an RV (never to get most of it back), the cost of living seems to be less than that for living in a house or apartment, even with quite a bit of traveling thrown in.

You can find reasonable RV parks with monthly rents of $300 per month plus metered electric of perhaps around 11c per kilowatt. *It totally depends on the part of the country and the local competition.

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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 11:10 AM   #12
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Perinova,

I have met hundreds of fulltimers and most are a very happy bunch. *Those who are not, as content are those who underestimate the time spent in cramp quarters and how much they will spend. *We ovecame the space issue by purchasing a 40' motorhome.

While we don't fulltime, we average about 170 nights on the road each year.* This year I anticipate our RV expenses to be about $18,000.
RV storage * *$1,500 * * *RV insurance $1,200 * *RV fuel *$4,850
Propane * * * * * * 200 * * *Sat Dish * * * * *1,200 * *RV maint 1,950
Campgrounds 6,800 * * *Memberships * * 300

Please note these all over and above our normal expenses such as groceries, health care, restaurants, new vehicles, house utilities and other normal expenses.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 11:27 AM   #13
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
How in the world can somebody live in an RV?
I think traveling by RV is a lot better than traveling by submarine, but clearly my standards are pretty low.

I've had miserable experiences in all manner of lodgings and I think RVs afford a greater degree of control over the "Where are we sleeping tonight?" debate. Hotels can lock you in and we've all been on camping trips that had to move to the car or even head home at 2 AM.

Another advantage of an RV is the mobility without a schedule. Again that's pretty challenging with hotels, especially if there's a big affair at your destination that's sucked up all the available hotel rooms.

Personally I don't see a lot of travel in my future. It's fun to be there (wherever) and it's fun to look around for a few days, but I enjoy the familiar comforts of home. I could do a month or two of immersion living (mainly for the experience) but I doubt I'd enjoy being on the road for years as I've seen with some PTs.

So whether it's backpack, RV, or concierge travel... just send me the video.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 12:53 PM   #14
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Can you rent an RV for a week or so to make sure you like the RV lifestyle before selling the house?
Yes, there are a number of national chains that rent RVs.* Cruise America is one.* There are also local RV dealers that rent out RVs.* We have used a couple near us to check out the differnt classes and models.* This is an absolute must in my opinion.* You can't just look at floorplans--you need to live in one for a week to get even a remote idea of how it will work out for your needs and wants.*

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl

How do RV'ers handle long stays?* For example, we saw the cost at a campground was $18/night with hookup.* Do you pay $540 per month to park, or is there a cheaper way?
Club memberships will lower the price of RV parks and resorts.* National parks have the Passport which will also reduce the entrance fee and camping fees.* State parks have similar systems.

In a pinch you can park in many WalMart parking lots overnight as well as Elks Lodges, Camping World and Cabelis (sp?).* BLM (mostly wester US) provide thousands of possible camping spaces but you have to be careful about the size of your rig and you have to be self sufficient for boondocking.* Speaking of Boondocking..IMHO, it is the best way to really camp and get away from the crowds or RVs at parks and other campgrounds.* It takes some careful planning but is well worth it.*

You can also buy your own spot in a RV Resort or private park where you can hook up for as long as you like or even rent out your spot part of the year.* It is not cheap but might be a good option for snowbirds in Texas, NM or AZ to ride out the winter.*

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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 12:54 PM   #15
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

We live full time on a 44' boat in the PNW and we're seriously getting and older 30-35' RV for travel south in the winter. Spend the winter in the RV down south and the summers on the boat going to Alaska and back.

For us, it sounds like the best of both worlds.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 01:13 PM   #16
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

We have a 1976 Airstream Argosy Motorhome (28'). It has required routine maintenance in the 3 years we've owned it, nothing major. Many older MHs have few miles on them (ours had about 80k) since they are not often used full-time. We also lived on a 28' sailboat for a while, and the MH is far more spacious and comfortable. It cost under $10k. We do not plan to live full-time in it at any point, but for mostly logistical reasons (too many pets!).

We intend to do longer trips in it in the future, and expect it to still be running for another decade or so. DH is handy; as everyone should be who contemplates living even part-time in a "mobile" or floating home!

Big cities have higher campground rates, and more amenities. Pick up a copy of Woodall's for some sample listings. We go mostly to State Parks and costs depend on desirability (beachfront is pricey--$25 a night at Beaufort, SC).

From our experience, it is cheaper to maintain and operate a motorhome than a boat, and you get a lot more space for the money. Find a brand you like, then spend time on their related forum, learning from members what to look for when you inspect ones for sale--or you may find, as we did, an RV being sold by one of the moderators of the forum, who was "paring down" his fleet. He'd chronicled the entire repair history of the RV on the forum and we could easily go back and learn what he'd fixed and how. Brilliant!

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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 02:03 PM   #17
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

When I was 10 years old, my grandparents took me on an 8 week camping trip out west. We did it in a 1976 GMC crew cab pickup with a 10-foot Skamper pop-up truck camper! We had no tv, no air conditioning in the camper (truck had a/c though), no bathroom. But somehow we made it. And enjoyed it!

I don't know if I could live permanently in a motorhome, because I'd have to downsize too much first. But I could certainly handle a long trip in one! I know if I was alone I could do it, no trouble at all. If I had friends going with me, as long as they were into it, and not the type to gripe at every little thing, I could do it.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 04:34 PM   #18
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I think traveling by RV is a lot better than traveling by submarine, but clearly my standards are pretty low.


Nords, call me crazy but I would love a trip in a sub. I just toured the WWII U-boat here in Chicago for easily the 1,000th time and each time I think that I would love to spend maybe a month or so on a sub

Please realize of course that my working world is limited to my desk, 4 computer screens, a phone and a stack of papers. It wouldn't take much to spice it up.


I guess the grass is always greener

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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 06:06 PM   #19
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

Thanks for the links and ideas everyone.
I am going to have to look at closely financial and lifestyle consequences.

By the way just called my mom today. She took many long RV vacations in the past in Europe. I mentioned the idea and...... well...... maybe I am going to have to reconsider think about it some more.

Anyway she thinks it's a great vacation medium. But opinion is not good for full time, not enough space... Also I have a 10yo DS and you know how grandmas feel about their grand children.

kidding aside I will keep doing some research.
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?
Old 08-29-2006, 06:07 PM   #20
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Re: REduce burn rate with an RV. A used one?

I think Howard and Linda at rv-dreams provide great insight to the financial aspects as well as what to buy or not to buy.

One suggestion from one of their recent rv conferences was to never purchase an rv more than 7 years old due to maintanance problems. *

I've been researching fifth wheelers for a year or so and have determined that regardless of time planned to spend in rv, do not buy an entry level rv. *Something like a Jayco Eagle is the minimum in quality that I would ever purchase.

Hopefully we'll be part timing within the next 18 months.
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