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Larry

Can I really full time on $2,000 a month

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There are a lot of full-timers out there spending less than $2000/month -- and they are living very comfortably.

When we went full-time, our expenditures dropped in every budget category, including fuel and vehicle expenses.
 

Since we started FT in early 1992, we've had a variety of RV sizes and configurations. What suits us now is a 24-foot Class C. It has plenty of room for the two of us, a medium-large dog, and two cats. The motorhome is short enough that we can reasonably drive it to the grocery store, sight-seeing, and the other places we normally go, so we don't need to drag along another vehicle.

The more you research full-timing, the clearer it will become that there is no one right way to do it. RVers, RVs, and RVing budgets come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! Have fun sifting through the info, while trying to figure out what is best for you. Oh, one more thing to keep in mind, the RV you start with won't necessarily be the one you want to keep forever. (I'd spend much less than $40,000 on my first RV.)

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I though up to $40,000 from what I have looked at on-line but don't have to spend that much.  At this point I think that a truck and a either a TT or 5th wheel is probably the way I will go if I decide to do this.  That way I only have 1 drive train to worry about.  I still have plenty of time to decide.

Thank you for all your replies!

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I thought SSI was disability. How do you have $2000 a month from SSI and an income that you expect to go up? Did I not digest what you said properly? Doesn't it take some major disability to get SSI? DO I just not really know what SSI is?

On point, do you have any credit or do you live on cash? I ask because if you have a $1000 repair in some random June, that would be half your income. However, that same $1000 repair can also be $100 a month for 10 months, 11 if there is interest involved. I don't expect any major calamity the day I pull out of my driveway, but those expensive repairs are inevitable, so I made sure to amass enough credit to work through any unexpected major repairs. My RV is old but lightly used, so I hope to get through a year without the transmission exploding or all 6 tires blowing at once.

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14 hours ago, Larry said:

I am talking about receiving social security when I retire not disability.  

Oh! I thought you were getting SSI NOW. Social Security ROCKS!! They start giving you back all that money you put in for years and if you earned well, you will be fine. I went out 17 days after I turned 62 and retiree is the best job I ever had.

Edited by eddie1261

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I have a 40 ft FW now but after my first Love passed I had a 22 ft Class C. Loved it. Even went on the roads that said no RV's but watched the height. Beauty of the little Class C which was fully self-contained, I could pull into a friend's drive (if flat) run an 110 extension cord and plug in for refrig power and hot water. With the generator I could stop any where get the Electric Skillet out and cook a good meal. I have seem people travel to AZ for the winter and be comfortable for months. The down side of my little Class C was it had a wet Bathroom (meaning that when to you use the Bathroom for the three things intended,  your feet are in the same spot. Showing uses a shower curtain to prevent the sink area from getting wet.) Most campgrounds have public showers so no problem. My Class C had seat belts for 4 people so great for short trip with friends.

I went with a FW  when I decided to settle down again. The only down side now is my wife does not have the proper drivers license to pull the heavy FW.

Go for what you feel fits your life style and live the plan. There are lots of opportunities earn some a few dollars but watch what the medical insurance will cost for the life style.

Clay  Minus 3 this morning but hoping to be in Texas next week.

 

 

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As long as you stay away from any place that has "resort" in the name you should do fine. I read a few of those and they go on and on about the clubhouse, the shuffleboard, the swimming, the swings for the kids.... I'll never go into a clubhouse, I don't swim, I have no kids, and shuffleboard is for old people. So the things that make a resort a resort are extraneous to me and I will stay out of them. Parks that are in that $225-250 a month range are for me, but I foresee a lot of Walmart, Sam's, Costco, Home Depot and Lowe's type places in my future. I'm not making this move to an RV to sit IN the RV. Of course I understand that nobody is on vacation forever and there will be days I am not out seeing sites, and not ever day is going to find me on a beach or at the base of a mountain, but the cheap Slovenian in me will likely never pay exorbitant amounts for a place to PARK. As long as you don't park at the RV Mahal your budget should be fine. In my particular case my savings will come from my disdain for paying a restaurant to cook food for me that's only a little bit better than I can cook for myself. $10-12 for ONE meal? Nope. $10-12 a DAY is a lot in my mind. The key factor here is that I have lived poor my whole life so it won't be a culture shock thing for me. You'll be fine.

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Also as you research, look at monthly rates. Places that are 30 bucks a night might be 250 a month. With hookups. Far better value in staying a month. The key is finding  a place with enough to do as day trips with your toad.

Edited by eddie1261

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On 12/25/2017 at 1:30 PM, Larry said:

That way I only have 1 drive train to worry about.  I still have plenty of time to decide.

While that is true, it also means that every mile that you drive for any purpose will be added to the tow vehicle. That also means that you will buy fuel for a large engine that uses a lot of it. If you should have a problem with the tow truck, it will mean that you are walking. In our case, we towed a CR-V behind our class A. The CR-V got an overall mpg of about 20, while the RV only got 8 mpg. In addition, over the 12 years, we put a combined total of nearly 250k miles on the 2 CR-V's while we put about 80k on the motorhome. 

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The vehicle I currently have is towable on a dolly.  It gets 25 mpg average overall.  Seems I am damned if I do, damned if I don't...lol.   Way to many options to decide on.  As I originally said I would rather not have a truck and either a TT or 5th wheel.  My first option is a motor home and a toad.

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On 12/25/2017 at 5:32 PM, eddie1261 said:

I thought SSI was disability.

SSD is disability.

11 hours ago, ms60ocb said:

The down side of my little Class C was it had a wet Bathroom (meaning that when to you use the Bathroom for the three things intended,  your feet are in the same spot. 

I loved my wet bath. Wipe it all down with a microfiber cloth after each shower and your bathroom is always clean.

Linda Sand

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Don't trustworthy trucks capable of pulling a 5th wheel trailer start at like $100,000 and go up to twice that? I see a lot on youtube of people with an actual tractor capable of pulling a commercial 40 ft trailer. Adding on the trailers that they have and they have like $350,000+ tied up in their rig. Makes my used 25 ft Class C seem so sad.....

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4 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

...While that is true, it also means that every mile that you drive for any purpose will be added to the tow vehicle. That also means that you will buy fuel for a large engine that uses a lot of it...In our case, we towed a CR-V behind our class A. The CR-V got an overall mpg of about 20, while the RV only got 8 mpg...

This is a claim that is often made. We put about equal miles on the truck towing and just driving solo. We get an average 12mpg towing a 10,000# trailer and 16mpg in general driving. So lets compare some numbers for Kirk's RV/toad combination and my truck/trailer for say 10000 with the RV and 10000 miles for general driving using a fuel cost of $2.25/gallon for gasoline and $2.50/gallon for diesel.

10000/8=1250x2.25=$2812.00; 10000/20=500x2.25=$1125.00 for a total of $3937.00. 10000/12x2.50=$2083; 10000/16x2.50=$1563.00 for a total of $3645.00. A difference of $292 in favor of the truck/trailer combination.

I doubt that I could insure a CRV for the $325.00 it costs to insure the trailer and the registration fee for a CRV would also be higher than the $23.00 for our trailer in our state.

All this said, I still believe the real issue comes down to personal preference. If you are not happy with what you are living in, what's the point?

Edited by trailertraveler

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11 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

This is a claim that is often made.

:)

11 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

I still believe the real issue comes down to personal preference.

Yes. I and many others have said that numerous times. Everyone likes to think that the choice they made is best. When you have made a choice that makes you happy and comfortable, in my opinion, you did make the right choice, which is exactly the point I was making. We all find ways to justify that the choice we made was best and as long as we believe it to be true, that is all that matters.  As I said early in this discussion, there are good and bad points to every type of RV and the best one is the one that those in it prefer. 

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On 12/26/2017 at 7:46 PM, eddie1261 said:

Don't trustworthy trucks capable of pulling a 5th wheel trailer start at like $100,000 and go up to twice that? I see a lot on youtube of people with an actual tractor capable of pulling a commercial 40 ft trailer. Adding on the trailers that they have and they have like $350,000+ tied up in their rig. Makes my used 25 ft Class C seem so sad.....

Absolutely not. I have pulled our fifth wheel full time for eight years with a single rear wheel (SRW) F-350 pick-up.  Much of that travel has been in the Rockies including most of the notable passes. Our fifth wheel is a well-constructed, full-time rated, 35' long trailer. I paid well under $50,000 for the truck in late 2009 and currently have 130,000 +/- miles on it. 

When the time comes to replace it I can get something equivalent for less than $50,000.  Are there more expensive trucks out there? You bet. But they are not necessary for 99% of the fifth wheels on the road. 

This message board is well represented by the other 1% (long, very heavy fifth wheels) that do require an MDT or HDT to tow safely,  as well as some passionate advocates for HDT trucks. But don't let that convince you that these trucks are necessary for the vast majority of applications.

That being said, I've actually seen folks on this board recommend a DRW diesel as the minimum for safely towing a 30' travel trailer, so you'll find differing opinions...  But even those trucks don't start at $100,000!

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Don't overlook a used truck.  After looking on Craigslist  I bought a 1999 Ford F350 single rear wheel extended cab pickup with the 7.3 liter Powerstroke and 200,000 miles for $7000 a couple of years ago.  It's in good shape, runs fine, has a perfect interior and a couple of minor body dings.

There are many pickup trucks available in similar condition, at least in the Western states where I was looking.

A $50,000 truck financed for 5 years will have payments of approximately $900 - $1k a month.  Using that formula, a $7k truck pays for itself in 7-8 months, even if it's thrown away after that time.

I'm not too concerned about the truck breaking down on the road, like I said it runs well.  If I should get stuck, CoachNet road service will take care of getting me to a qualified repair shop.

Of course, an older truck will need repairs from time to time.  New tires equal one month's payment, brakes are about the same.  A transmission replacement equal 3-4 months of payments, etc.  Just make sure you have a contingency fund, which is a good idea in any case.

I expect the basic engine to remain good for another 100k or so.  So far I've put 20k miles on the truck and the repair costs are a small fraction of what I would have spent for new truck payments.

Those Class 8 tractors you see towing 5th wheels don't cost $300k, most likely they were purchased used for around a tenth of that amount.  A commercial over the road truck racks up 100k -150k  or more miles per year and unexpected breakdowns are costly due to missed deliveries and lost revenue.  A tractor that's approaching end of life in commercial use will last quite a while at 10k-20k a year as a lightly loaded RV puller.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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My Class C is a 2000 but only has 34,500 on it, so I hope to have  some time before the transmission explodes or the V-10 engine blows up. The first trip I have planned is going to cover about 2000 miles over almost 4 months, and if I land somewhere I like I will live there and do 1-2 week long trips after that. Pulling a light 2008 Toyota behind it, routing where I am not going up and extreme inclines as this is my first trip in an RV. Once I get more experience I may venture into some mountainous areas, but not right out of the gate. Labor Day through Jan 1 is predetermined anyway as I need to be near a Browns Backers club so I can watch the games, so that keeps me grounded 4 months of 12. That's 4 months I am not putting gas into the RV. That helps the budget too. Sure there is park rent, but it's either park rent of gas, so it's a wash. To the original poster asking about $2000 a month, investigate youtube and see how many people live in their vans on $500!! Of course, there is living and there is existing, but that's a different post. Living includes doing what you want because you can. Existing is accepting how things are because you have no other choice.

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Free advice eddie, FWIW, pay particular attention to the roof if it is epdm or the like at that age and budget for a replacement or if you go the route of a treatment be sure you get someone competent to do it if you can't.   I let mine ride a little too long and I got where I couldn't risk getting up there myself so I got a treatment that was not as good as it should have been. Consequently I am dealing with it in the winter months the best I can.

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12 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

My Class C is a 2000 but only has 34,500 on it, so I hope to have  some time before the transmission explodes or the V-10 engine blows up.

We had one of the first class A's built on the new V-10 powered F53 chassis and the 275 hp version of that engine. I think that you have the 310 hp version of that engine as it was the second generation. There are two issues to be aware of that I have heard of. We had friends who were loosing a very small amount of coolant and ignored it, costing them an engine because it was a leaking head gasket. This was not common but also not isolated. If you start to lose antifreeze, don't ignore it. The second issue is blowing out a spark plug as the increased horsepower comes from an increase in compression. The spark plugs are rated to 100k miles but when they are replaced the torque they are set with is critical because they only have a few threads in the heads.  Given proper care that drive train should serve you well for a long time. I did have an oil analysis done annually when changing the oil, just to know what was happening internally. Coming from the service/repair industry I tend to be very careful about regular maintenance. I used Blackstone Labs for my test lab. 

12 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

Living includes doing what you want because you can. Existing is accepting how things are because you have no other choice.

I really like that comment. And I like to tell people that living well on your income is more a matter of learning to live well on the money than having than it is having enough money to live well. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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58 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

We had one of the first class A's built on the new V-10 powered F53 chassis and the 275 hp version of that engine. I think that you have the 310 hp version of that engine as it was the second generation. There are two issues to be aware of that I have heard of. We had friends who were loosing a very small amount of coolant and ignored it, costing them an engine because it was a leaking head gasket. This was not common but also not isolated. If you start to lose antifreeze, don't ignore it. The second issue is blowing out a spark plug as the increased horsepower comes from an increase in compression. The spark plugs are rated to 100k miles but when they are replaced the torque they are set with is critical because they only have a few threads in the heads.  Given proper care that drive train should serve you well for a long time. I did have an oil analysis done annually when changing the oil, just to know what was happening internally. Coming from the service/repair industry I tend to be very careful about regular maintenance. I used Blackstone Labs for my test lab. 

I really like that comment. And I like to tell people that living well on your income is more a matter of learning to live well on the money than having than it is having enough money to live well. 

Kirk , 

I know what you mean , but any new reader will say 'what the ???' . ;)

 

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As a young solo full-timer, but with two dogs) I work part of the year on much less than $2K a month and that includes paying rent and putting aside some for savings. I went the 5W and truck route since I already had the truck, and a 5W/TT made the most sense for my plans (similar to yours in staying in one location for a while). I boondock (my investment in a solar set-up has been invaluable for that) mostly when traveling and find private spots (not RV parks) to rent for cheap when working. 

Edited by DuneElliot

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I'm between jobs now. Drawing unemployment. I get less than 2k and making monthly payments also. Tight but not getting into any savings. So with everything paid I don't see a problem.

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On 12/24/2017 at 4:21 AM, Larry said:

 2) Is living full time in a motor home doable on $2,000.00 a month? Please remember I am alone, no other person or pets to consider. I don't have a lavish lifestyle, don't eat out very often, stay pretty much at home now. I don't want to get into it only to discover in a year or so I can't afford it.

Your question -- "Can I full time on $XX,XXX?" -- comes up on RV forums fairly often. 

Many people will say "Go for it!", "Wish I were you", etc. I suggest you ignore these. Many times they aren't full timers and really don't know the costs involved.

Apple & Oranges. When someone says "I'm doing it", try to find out more about their particular situation. Everyone IS different. For example, Becky of Interstellar Orchard fame is a full timer, but I also believe she is a 20-something -- very different than a 60+ guy.

Try to find people who share their budgets -- recent budgets by the way. This will give you much better insights.

Finally, I think you may be able to do it, but you may be one breakdown (mechanically and health-wise) away from staying in one place. Take Barb's suggestion, try living on $2K now.

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