Some people move into an RV out of excitement, while others move into an RV out of desperation. If you or someone you know is facing an eviction, an RV might appear to be a cheap way to live. However, there are many expenses that you must consider before you pack up and move into an RV.
We recently had a reader write in, “I’m going to be evicted this month. Should I buy an older RV to live in for my new home?”
Well, we will answer this as best as possible.
If you’re facing eviction or are interested in our opinion, finish reading this article. It just might save you from making a mistake. Let’s get started!
Is It Cheaper to Live Full Time in an RV Than in an Apartment?
Living full-time in an RV can be cheaper than living in an apartment, but it can also be substantially more expensive. Before deciding, you must consider how and where you plan to live full-time in an RV. Knowing the answers to these two questions can determine whether or not it will be cheaper or not.
Typically, living stationery in an RV is one of the cheapest ways to live. This could be on land you own or in a long-term spot at an RV park or trailer park. However, long-term spots can easily cost $500+ per month. If you’re paying a monthly payment on your RV or the tow vehicle for your RV, you could easily end up paying more to live in an RV than you would in a small apartment.
If you plan to travel full-time in an RV, it’s typically not much cheaper than living in an apartment. The costs of fuel, unexpected repairs, and camping fees can add up quickly.
Many discover that they don’t save nearly as much money as they had anticipated saving when they embraced living full-time in an RV. However, they’re investing in memories and experiences rather than their place of residence.
How Much Money Do You Need to Live Full Time in an RV?
Living full-time in an RV has become incredibly trendy in recent years. Unfortunately, it’s caused many to jump into the lifestyle without running the numbers for their budget. Let’s look at some of the expenses you can expect when living full-time in an RV.
If you’ve not walked through an RV dealership lately, there’s a good chance that the price tags have grown quite a bit since the last time you visited. The RV industry has not been immune to rising manufacturing costs and inflation. RVs, like most things these days, are insanely expensive.
There are many factors to consider, like your credit score, income, and the type of RV you choose. However, you can easily spend $250+ per month on an RV designed for full-time living. However, if you’re considering a motorized RV, it can be substantially more expensive.
Unless you’re parking your RV on your land, you’ll likely need some place to park it. If you enjoy staying in state park campgrounds, you must know that many campgrounds have stay limits. These typically limit guests to 14 days in a 30-day period.
Even if you can find a budget-friendly state park, that’s $25 per night, this adds up to $750 per month in campground fees.
There are some RV parks and trailer parks that have extended-stay campsites. These sites can vary in pricing and typically require that guests pay for their electrical usage. Monthly fees for these types of sites can range from a few hundred dollars each to $1000+ per month depending on the spot.
Gas or Fuel
One of the most unpredictable expenses many RVers experience is the cost of fuel. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gas or diesel engine, RVing can require a tremendous amount of fuel. Depending on your travel style, you can easily use hundreds of gallons of fuel each month.
Even a slight increase at the pump can drastically impact an RVer’s budget. Many who got into RVing when it was trendy in 2020 are paying twice the price at the pump as they were when they first started traveling.
Those who are stationary don’t feel the impact on their budget nearly as much as those who move frequently.
Propane or Electric
Depending on where you live, you might use substantially more propane and electricity than you think. These are the primary methods many RVers use to heat and cool their rigs.
If you’re planning to live in an RV in a cold climate, you better be ready to use a tremendous amount of propane during the winter. In addition, those planning to live in warm climates could end up paying hundreds of dollars a month in electricity trying to keep their RV cool.
Most long-term spots require guests to pay for their electric usage. However, that’s not always the case, so you’ll want to check with the RV park or campground to make sure. You don’t want a surprise bill for hundreds of dollars because you run your air conditioner or electric fireplace non-stop for the month.
One of the first things many RVers discover is that maintenance is pretty much constant when it comes to RVs, especially if you don’t stay put for very long. The potholes and bumps in the road can beat up your rig during your adventures. If you want your RV to last, you need to stay on top of the maintenance.
Many RV manufacturers include a maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Some warranties will even require that an owner regularly get on the roof and inspect the seals and other components to avoid leaks and water damage. While you can pay a professional for this, it will not be cheap.
Insurance requirements will vary based on the type of RV and where you live. However, insurance is one of those expenses that most people hate paying, but they’re glad they do when they need to use it. However, you want to confirm what is covered by the policy.
Many RVers have the unfortunate experience of discovering that their policy only covers the RV itself and nothing inside of it.
This can be a surprise, especially after an RV fire when the contents of the RV get destroyed. A standard policy will likely only pay a fraction of what the RV is worth and not give any money towards replacing any of the contents.
Just because you’re living in an RV doesn’t mean you’re not going to need utilities like internet and phone services. Unfortunately, internet in an RV can be a tricky situation, especially if you’re planning to move regularly. Many RVers have used cellular data packages from cell phone providers, but they can be expensive, have data caps, and service isn’t available everywhere.
Starlink, a satellite-based internet provider, is one option that’s been trending lately in the RV community. However, it’s incredibly expensive and requires customers to have a clear view of the sky. Customers must pay hundreds of dollars for equipment and then pay $125+ per month for service.
Depending on your needs, you may have no choice but to pay more than you’d like for internet or phone service. If you have strict internet requirements for work, making sure you always have a connection can be frustrating and challenging.
How Do People Afford Full Time RV Living?
Despite what it might look like on social media, most people living full-time in an RV are still working. Most of these individuals work jobs that allow them to work remotely and have incredibly flexible hours.
Some individuals take advantage of seasonal working opportunities, in the RV community this is referred to as workamping.
There are opportunities all across the country where RVers can work for a few weeks or months and also have a spot to park their rig while they work.
If you have the right set of skills and a solid resume, you can find incredible working opportunities near fantastic locations. This can help keep your expenses low and make money while traveling.
What Type of RV Is Best for Full Time Living?
The best type of RV for full-time living will depend on your travel style and how many people are traveling with you. If you’re looking for a truly residential feel or traveling with a family, a fifth wheel is one of the best options. You can find large rigs with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and plenty of living space.
On the other hand, if you want to move quickly and don’t require a ton of space, Class B or Class C motorhomes are fantastic options. Get in and out of spots easily, and you can freely move back and forth between the living and driving space as needed.
Where Do Most Full Time RVers Live?
You can find many full-time RVers in RV parks and trailer parks that allow RVs. However, most full-time RVers don’t stay put in one place for the entire year. Because RVs aren’t known for having the best insulation, many will travel with the seasons.
You’ll see an abundance of RVs heading south during the winter and racing north during the warmer months. Some will have seasonal spots in the north and south that they retreat to year after year.
Is Buying an RV a Good Investment?
If you’re looking for a good financial investment, an RV isn’t it. RVs, like most vehicles, experience a tremendous amount of depreciation. It only takes a few years before they’re only worth a fraction of their original value. You can find yourself underwater on your RV if you buy a new RV and don’t pay a large down payment on it.
However, an RV can be a great investment if you’re looking to invest in making memories with your loved ones. An RV can be a great way to see and do things that you would never have imagined before. When investing in memories and experiences, an RV is one of the best investments many people will ever make.
Do your research and run the numbers before living in an RV. You could make a major financial mistake by not considering the entire picture. Don’t make a knee-jerk reaction because you’re facing eviction. You don’t want to replace one bad situation with another.
So, should you buy an RV if you’re getting evicted?
The answer is, only you know your financial situation and threshold for living in a small environment. We think it’s possible, but it’s not for everyone.
Consider the information we discussed and make the best decision for your situation.
We know it’s a vague answer. But, it’s a tough question to give a black-or-white solution.
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