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Forget Making Expensive House Payments: Buy an RV!

I've lived full-time in various RVs over the years and have loved every minute of "living the life." Learn if doing the same is for you.

If you’re tired of making expensive house payments and have been worried about your finances, maybe you should start thinking about buying an RV.

This may seem a crazy idea, but if you do the math, you’ll see that it actually makes sense.

Check out this example:

If you can even find a house that you can buy for $150,000, the monthly principal payment plus 6.5% interest for a 30 year loan would be $948.00.

Over 30 years that adds up to $341,280.

If your taxes are $2400 per year, your monthly payment jumps to $1148, for a whopping total of $413,280 for 30 years.

This does not include the costs for phone, internet, sewer, electric, lawn care, maintenance and upkeep.

If these numbers are scaring you, they should, because $150,000 is on the low end of what it costs to buy a house today.

If you are lucky enough to find a house at this price, it may need a lot of work, be poorly located, or have other issues that will make it uncomfortable or costly.

Living in a recreational vehicle can relieve you of many burdensome expenses.

Living in a recreational vehicle can relieve you of many burdensome expenses.

People Are Beginning to Face Financial Realities

Many people have already figured these things out and are scrambling to find ways to keep roofs over their heads while still being able to remain financially solvent.

Depending on where you are in the financial pecking order, you may have considered options such as off-grid RVing, living in a tiny house or moving into a small cabin.

However, no matter how much people want to convince themselves that any of these choices are good ones, the truth is that in many cases they aren’t. This is because most people cannot tolerate living without basic comforts or far from civilization and most would not be able to handle living in very small spaces for long periods of time.

Obviously there are exceptions, but the average person who wants to walk away from the costs and responsibilities involved in owning a home is still going to need enough room to store his belongings, bathe comfortably and privately and have space for entertaining friends and family.

Off-grid living, tiny houses and very small recreational vehicles generally do not fulfill these needs for most individuals.

Recreational Vehicles Are the Answer

However, a travel trailer, fifth wheel or motor home of reasonable size offers all of that and more.

Such a vehicle can be purchased for much less than a house by people who take the time to search for them and then negotiate a good deal for themselves.

In addition, some or all of the cost can come from the equity one gets after he sells his home. In this case, a person can purchase an RV for cash, which will relieve him from the financial burden of making monthly payments. This choice alone can save a good deal of money over time.

RV living gives you more time to enjoy life.

RV living gives you more time to enjoy life.

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What About Other Expenses?

Besides home mortgage payments, many expenses disappear once a person sells his home and starts living in an RV.

If he rents a campsite, he won’t have to pay property taxes, water, or sewer and may not even have to pay for cable TV. There will be no charge for lawn or pool care. In some situations, even electric bills may disappear as well. Much depends on the facility RV owners choose, because each has its own charges.

One campground I know of charges $450 per month, for everything. Over 30 years that comes to $162,000 which is $251,280 less than the 30-year base cost of owning that $150,000 home mentioned above.

However, full timers will still have to pay for insurance, maintenance, travel expenses and repairs in addition to campsite fees.

Note here that campsites can vary hugely in price, so it is up to the RV owner to determine just how much he wants to pay. Some parks are totally free, while others charge as much as $250 per night!

A good travel guide such as the one put out by Good Sam is vital for providing RV park pricing information. We never travel without ours and feel the minimal cost of having it far outweighs the money it saves us.

Options Abound

Unlike owning a home, owning an RV allows people to be flexible and mobile. If costs get too high, RV owners can simply hook up and move to a less expensive facility.

Furthermore, people have more choices in terms of where they want to live.

  • They can buy land, develop it, and live there in their RV as long as they are within the zoning laws.
  • Some are able to live on the property of relatives.
  • They can buy deeded RV lots and place their units on them.
  • They can volunteer or work camp, trade their labor for a campsite and live at no cost in a private or public campground.

Full-Time RV Living Is a Big Change

Should you decide to sell your home and purchase an RV, you will need to make sure that you’ll be comfortable living in a smaller space. The average RV is about 400 to 500 square feet unless it has slide rooms, so even if you’re moving out of a 1500-square foot home, you’ll need to understand that space will be limited.

The good news is that because there is less room, there is also less to clean and maintain. Having fewer belongings also means that it will be easier to organize what you have, and since recreational vehicles come furnished, you’ll have no costs for décor!

What happens in most cases is that you’ll adapt. You’ll find that you don’t need excess stuff, and that life is easier without it.

If your goal is to walk away from the high cost of owning a home, buying and moving into an RV is the way to go.

However, this only works if you buy a travel unit that is in good condition, is big enough to meet your needs and is reasonably priced.

Take your time. Look around. It’s out there. Just be sure to do the math before you take action.

If you do these things, you can forget paying the expensive costs involved in home ownership. You’ll find a level of peace and freedom you haven’t known before and will be happy you made the change.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Sondra Rochelle


Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on February 16, 2020:

Thank you for commenting. When the time comes, don't hesitate to contact me for help or advice. It's easy to make mistakes but I can help you two to avoid many of them.

James A Watkins from Chicago on February 12, 2020:

Thank you for this needful and excellent Hub. In two years, my wife retires and our plan is to become full-time RVers like you.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on February 09, 2020:

You got it girl!

Donna Rayne from Sparks, NV on February 09, 2020:

That sounds fun and getting to travel to see one kid at a time and then so on and so forth, that would be so much fun to have a home on wheels!

Great article!

Donna Rayne

Liz Westwood from UK on February 09, 2020:

That sounds like a very good investment.

Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on February 09, 2020:

If well maintained an RV can last for decades. My own is now 20 years old and still going strong!

Liz Westwood from UK on February 09, 2020:

You make a compelling case for RV living over a house. The only query I have is how long would you estimate that an RV would last before you need to consider replacing it?

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