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Rv Living to cut costs

Last post Thu, Nov 5 2009 8:32 PM by Andrea3. 11 replies.
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  • Mon, Oct 19 2009 11:13 AM

    • margo
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Mon, Oct 19 2009
    • Posts 1

    Rv Living to cut costs

    I have been toying with the idea of buying a small RV and parking it in an RV lot to cut costs instead of renting an apartment (very expensive where I live).  I currently live with family but would like to move out.  I am 55, single without children/pets and do not want to spend a lot of money.  Has anyone else done this?  How difficult is it to hook up the RV and does one use the hook ups at the RV park and will they do all the hook up for you?  I have never even been in an RV but have read that more people are doing this....any ideas and feedback would be most welcome.  I work a couple of part time jobs but even put together I cannot make enough to rent even a studio apartment. Ideas about what to look for, what type of RV and park restrictions would be most helpful 

  • Mon, Oct 19 2009 11:43 AM In reply to

    • Toni B.
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Apr 5 2008
    • Seneca Falls NY
    • Posts 3,826

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    Welcome to the forums. Without knowing what part of the country you live in, its difficult to offer concrete advice in regards to your particular situation. However there are some things to consider. Keep in mind that people who enjoy living in RV's will paint a positive picture about the experience. You have to scale down the amount of stuff you can have with you and be comfortable in small spaces. They may not be as well insulated to withstand harsh weather if you are living in an area that has cold, wet and snow spells. Then there is that initial investment to buy an RV and insurance and maintenance. Not sure about TV / internet / radio reception and how that would work. It sounds like an interesting concept but there could be some drawbacks.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • Mon, Oct 19 2009 12:17 PM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 10 2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

     It isn't that difficult to hook up an RV but it does require being able to get down and reach for the valves to hook up the drain pipe, and hook it up to the facilities at the park. It would remain hooked up for the time that you are there. Electrical and water is easier to hook up. 

    There are campground fees to consider; some sites will allow monthly or seasonal fees for less than daily or weekly. Privately owned campgrounds/parks are usually the ones offering this.  In Calif. I think state and county campgrounds have a limit of 2 weeks, then you would have to move. 

    RV's tend to leak after they age some; everyone we owned involved periodically getting up on the roof and caulking the seams or smearing roof sealant on it. Then it dries out and has to be done again. Right now we have a large tarp tied over the top instead for rain protection. 

    You have to love being close to people in a park. They aren't known for space. And sometimes security isn't always the best. Those are some things you would have to think about also. Restroom facilities would need to be checked out, if your RV didn't have a full bathroom. Also laundry facilities. 

    Those are some ideas.  


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  • Mon, Oct 19 2009 12:27 PM In reply to

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    Were you thinking of a motorhome, a fifth wheel or a trailer? How old? How big? Can you get a loan for one or do you have savings to buy one outright?

     Would you really be saving money by making a payment for an RV, paying insurance and licenses, then paying parking fees? Consider also that any repairs or upgrades will have to be done and/or paid for.

    A friend bought a brand new fifth wheel and set it up in a park near here. He stayed for around two years, then moved it to a permanent location on some land. He paid $55,000 for it, I think, but it had everything, including washer and dryer.

    Probably the best way to make up your mind is to go looking at RVs, look at RV parks, ask prices and fees. Daydream a little and take your time. Think about what you could take with you and what to leave behind, how and when you would have the propane refilled, where you'd get help when you needed it to get things fixed or to get it set up. I don't know of an RV park that will set one up for you, but there might be some.

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  • Mon, Oct 19 2009 6:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    Several campgrounds I've visited have some permanent or semi-permanent residents who exchange park rent for working so many hours per week. Some of the people worked in the trading post, tended the flower beds, did grounds maintenance, rode around on golf carts checking security and ushering in new guests, cleaned the bath houses, just general duties.  The campgrounds we've visited are very congenial and have community events during the camping season, such as potluck suppers, bonfires, bingo nights, etc. I've thought before that this would be a pretty good set-up for a retired person/couple with no ties to a regular house.

    western NC
  • Sun, Oct 25 2009 10:47 AM In reply to

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    I know very little about RV's but did basicaly the same thing you want to do, but with a boat.  It has been a great experience and found many other other people doing the same thing.  Much cheaper than an apartment.  I have a boat that cost less than 5,000.00 bedroom, bathroom, basic kitchen (sink, stove, fridge).  I found a nice marina, secure parking for my car, gated pass so security is no problem, electric hook up, cable tv, is often included in the boat slip fee and is generaly much much cheaper than an apartment, 300.00 a month in my part of the country.  I use a small elec. heater in winter.  And I have a million dollar view! I am sure the same basic principles are the same for boat as they are with a RV.  Also there is several marinas that offer light work in exchange for less slip fee. 

  • Sun, Oct 25 2009 11:01 AM In reply to

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    A great way to test the idea would be to rent an RV for a few weeks -- maybe a month.  If you rent and discover you don't like it, then you're out a much smaller amount of money.  An the RV dealership that rents to you could provide some invaluable advice on where to stay, how to do the hook-ups, etc.  If you find that you really enjoy RVing, then the rental experience will confirm that and you will discover, by the model you rented, if that's the amount of space you want or if you want more or less.  I think once you get to a certain size RV you may need a special driver's license to operate it -- another aspect to consider and which will be heavily decided by the laws where you live.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in the General forum
  • Sun, Oct 25 2009 2:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    I owned a camper trailer briefly (decrepit little creature!) and can tell you this:

    You have to have climate control most of the year.  RV's are hot as hay-deez in the summer without AC.  They also are known to leak around rooftop AC units.  Even newer RV's are seriously lacking in insulation, and cracks and crevices appear as if by magic as the vehicle gets road use. 

    Don't purchase a "classic oldie".  They get termites, just like houses do, and far more often, since they spend so much time sitting on the grass.If you can, purchase one which has been garaged and/or kept on concrete. 

    RV electricity goes from a heavy-duty cord at the lot, to the outlet in your fuse box.  Waterlines have screw-on fittings.  Your large waste hose goes to the waste outlet at the lot utility pad.  This pad also will have a phone box and a cable TV box.  Usually has a couple of extra outlets for extension cords. Not that hard and you might be able to pay a sixpack to a resident for help.

    2005 price on a lot at a good Alabama RV park with no pool was 350/month.  They had a bathhouse with multiple toilets and showers, and a washer and dryer. 

    Your activities will be seriously restricted--many parks do not allow any items left outside the RV, do not allow work on cars, may restrict activities after certain hours.  Many have restrictions on the age of RV's allowed.  Shop carefully and get every detail. 

  • Mon, Oct 26 2009 11:15 AM In reply to

    • Andrea3
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Oct 26 2009
    • Posts 58

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

     You most definately can do this!  My husband and I lived in a camper (27 ft. with 3 dogs) for 5 years, and found this lifestyle was a whole lot cheaper than owning a home (with all the associated maintenance and taxes).

     I'd recommend taking a look at a website devoted to this lifestyle.  Try www.escapees.com for some great information.  Your biggest problems will be establishing residency somewhere.  Some states insist you have to have an apartment address or a home.  But you can always become a Texan through Escapees.  Another alternative is South Dakota.  Many fulltime RVers chose this state, because after you become a resident, you don't have to get your vehicles inspected every year. 

    Another thing to consider is mail delivery.  There are businesses that can handle that for you.  You just have to fill out an official Post Office form (which the company will supply).  It gives the Post Office permission to let the company handle your mail.  There's a fee involved for mail-forwarding services, plus the cost of delivery (usually sent priority mail).  The companies forward your mail to you anywhere and as often as you want.  Some of them even let you preview your mail--see who's sending you what--before you request it to be sent.  That lets you delete "junk" without paying for its delivery.  Escapees has a very reliable mail forwarding service.  Other organizations that do likewise include Good Sam Club and Passport America (through which you can get half-price camping at many campgrounds--usually only for a couple of days, but that can help when you're in travel mode).

    For bill paying, we set up as much online payment as we could prior to hitting the road.  Most campgrounds these days have WiFi service; when they didn't, we used the local library computers.  No problem these days with electronic communication.  AirCards let you log in from a laptop from most anywhere, even if the campground doesn't have WiFi.  We used a Verizon one, but I think AT&T offers them, too.  Get a nationwide company for the best coverage.

     My husband and I recently came off the road and bought a house again, since he needed surgery and a place to recover.  But please don't let that prospect scare you away.  We could have gone to the Escapees headquarters in Livingston TX and let him recover there; we just decided we'd rather be in a cooler location over the summer.  We had no problem whatsoever finding dentists and doctors on the road.  Even vets.  (Speaking of which, we noticed a huge difference in vet prices as we traveled around, so we'd always try to schedule checkups and shots when we were in the lower-cost areas.  Another great advantage of the RV lifestyle!)

     As far as prices for campgrounds go, it depends on how many services you want, plus time of year and location.  Some people "boondock", which is staying somewhere (often without electrical or water hookups) for a couple days.  The holding tanks in your RV give you the ability to do this.  Personally, we always liked the security of a campground, though many people (especially out West) boondock on public lands.  Campgrounds can be as cheap as $12-15 dollars per night (especially with half-price camping clubs) to $40 or $50 a night (or more, at places like Key West, FL in season).  But on average, figure $20-25 per night for a nice place.  You can cut that price a lot if the campground offers weekly or monthly rates. Normally, that will include electric.  Sometimes, though, the campground tacks on $2 or $3 extra if you want cable TV, for example, or if you need 50 amp electric instead of 30 amp.  They may charge, too, if you plan to draw more electric for an air conditioner.  You can also get a seasonal rate at many places, if you plan on staying for several months.  (This isn't an option at any of the state parks we're familiar with, however).  Seasonal rates, though, don't usually include the electric, so watch out for that.  It can run another $40-$80 a month, depending on the size of your rig and the price of electric in the area.

     Bottom line:  Any problem you can think of, somebody's already solved!  My recommendation is to go for it.  Buying a rig is something you need to research, if you don't already have one in mind.  Take your time, have a knowledgeable mechanic look things over--not only the engine needs to be checked, but the holding tank quality, the propane system, etc.  Camping World, I believe, offers RVs that have passed their safety and quality checks, so those places might be a good starting point.  

     Best of luck, and let us know if you take the plunge:)

  • Tue, Oct 27 2009 8:53 AM In reply to

    Re: Rv Living to cut costs

    I totally forgot about state parks.  Someone told me thatCarters Lake campground, here in GA, offers a limited number of permits for $200 for the entire summer.  Don't know if that gets you any  services, though.  Surf the net on this one, it sounds promising.  If you can live dirt-cheap in the summer and go to a RV park in the winter, you may have your problem licked. 

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