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


Larry
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2 hours ago, StargazerAL said:

First We aren't full timers. We travel several months out of the year

And thus you see it differently than those who full time do.   When you full time, EVERYTHING is part of your budget.   Food costs differ considerably depending upon the area.  And you spend more time in unfamiliar markets that the grocery store in your local town.   More time in the store means you are looking at different products, etc.   In addition, you don’t have the room to stock up on essentials, take advantage of sales, larger sizes, etc.   

health care costs often go up if you are “out of network” and aren’t on Medicare.   And your ability to get decent coverage if not old enough for Medicare is likely to be severely limited.   That’s just two examples.

 

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5 hours ago, sandsys said:

The people I know who live on that amount of money for everything are living not just existing.

So share with us the details of this magical community, like an actual budget with real numbers. How long were you a part of it and where is it located? Why are you not still there? 

So far this year we have averaged $426/month just for groceries, 

Edited by Kirk W
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52 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

So share with us the details of this magical community, like an actual budget with real numbers. How long were you a part of it and where is it located? Why are you not still there? 

The primary community in Nomadland, both the book and the movie, was based on Bob Well's group. He started the Cheap RV Living blog and is one of the founders of the Homes on Wheels Alliance. I camped with them multiple times during the three years I was snowbirding and met a lot of the people and attended some of their potlucks. I also follow another blog of one of them. These are real people living on a shoestring. When I was leaving one of their camps, I filled everyone's water jugs before I left since I knew it would be easier for me to get more fresh water than for them to do so.

Now that I am off the road, I make regular donations to HOWA because I believe in what they are doing. I read everything they publish about the people and the hoops they have to go through to qualify for their program and it is amazingly thorough. That includes the applicants needing to submit a report of their income/outgo for the previous twelve months. Those numbers are real but they are not mine to share.

I have learned a lot from them including the fact that you can buy a variety of canned meats at the dollar stores, which is an important thing to know when living on such a tight budget. And you can, hopefully soon again, join a caravan to Mexico for medical/optical/dental care. At the annual Rubber Tramp Rendezvous they put a tarp on the ground on which you can leave or pick up free things. These people truly care for one another and I am proud to have met so many of them.

Linda

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I have only been vaguely aware of the Homes on Wheels Alliance but had not been to their website. After spending some time reading through the site, while I do find it a worthy charity I really doubt that there are many on these forums who have that in mind when they speak of the cost to be a fulltimer, or would choose to live that way. I have been wrong before, but for me that would not be a lifestyle that I would choose. Since this is a 501(c)3 charity, I do consider it to be a good organization, but I do not believe that it would be the lifestyle most readers strive for. After reading most of the site, I see no part of it that includes travel and while they do have social activities, the same can be said for other charitable shelters for the homeless, which is what this seems to be. I would suggest that before anyone on these forums accepts your premise that they can be fulltimers on less than $2000/month because of this organization, carefully read the listed webpages and the application to join, which currently is open to 4 new members.

Application for membership

Quote
    • IMPORTANT.  The solar power system will not run a refrigerator, freezer, heater, air conditioner, microwave, blender, CPAP, electric pressure cooker, crock pot, electric blanket, gaming computer, hair dryer, curling iron, etc.
  • Personal hygiene items include a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet lid, and spray bottles (and/or baby wipes) for sponge baths.
 

 

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39 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

I have only been vaguely aware of the Homes on Wheels Alliance but had not been to their website. After spending some time reading through the site, while I do find it a worthy charity I really doubt that there are many on these forums who have that in mind when they speak of the cost to be a fulltimer, or would choose to live that way. I have been wrong before, but for me that would not be a lifestyle that I would choose. Since this is a 501(c)3 charity, I do consider it to be a good organization, but I do not believe that it would be the lifestyle most readers strive for. After reading most of the site, I see no part of it that includes travel and while they do have social activities, the same can be said for other charitable shelters for the homeless, which is what this seems to be. I would suggest that before anyone on these forums accepts your premise that they can be fulltimers on less than $2000/month because of this organization, carefully read the listed webpages and the application to join, which currently is open to 4 new members.

Application for membership

 

It looks like a cot for a bed, a bucket for a toilet, and a 100W solar panel for electricity.  No heating or cooling beyond what the minivan itself provides. This seems to be a basic survival situation, one step up from living on the street or in your car. 

I agree that is is hard to believe that this is what most people are asking about when discussing a budget for "full-time RV'ing". 

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I have only been vaguely aware of the Homes on Wheels Alliance but had not been to their website. After spending some time reading through the site, while I do find it a worthy charity I really doubt that there are many on these forums who have that in mind when they speak of the cost to be a fulltimer, or would choose to live that way. I have been wrong before, but for me that would not be a lifestyle that I would choose. Since this is a 501(c)3 charity, I do consider it to be a good organization, but I do not believe that it would be the lifestyle most readers strive for. After reading most of the site, I see no part of it that includes travel and while they do have social activities, the same can be said for other charitable shelters for the homeless, which is what this seems to be. I would suggest that before anyone on these forums accepts your premise that they can be fulltimers on less than $2000/month because of this organization, carefully read the listed webpages and the application to join, which currently is open to 4 new members.

Application for membership

 

Kirk, you're right, HOWA does not support what the majority of us would consider as a fulltimer's lifestyle, they're more of a lifeboat alternative for people who would otherwise be homeless or on the brink.  Occasionally we do get people here asking about the fulltime life from that perspective, and IMO it's appropriate to steer them towards HOWA.

What you're quoting is not an "Application for Membership" in HOWA, but an application to qualify for one of the 4 minivan conversions HOWA plans to build and give away this year.  HOWA will place a lender's lien on their title, and a recipient agrees to pay HOWA monthly payments which will be deposited in an emergency repairs/maintenance account.  If they don't make the payments, or if they decide to stop living in the van within the first 3 years the van will be returned to HOWA and any remaining money in the account will be refunded.  If they're still living in the van after 3 years, the remaining funds in the savings account and the title are signed over to them.  Not a bad deal.

As far as I know, HOWA does accept donations and volunteer help, but does not have memberships or dues as such.  Links to their annual reports (2 so far) including their financials are on their home page.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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6 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I have only been vaguely aware of the Homes on Wheels Alliance but had not been to their website. After spending some time reading through the site, while I do find it a worthy charity I really doubt that there are many on these forums who have that in mind when they speak of the cost to be a fulltimer, or would choose to live that way.

I agree that most on this forum would not want to live that way. But, anyone asking if they can do so on $2000 a month might find it helpful to know it CAN be done. As to travel, Bob's group mostly camps in national forests so are required to move every 14 days but they can't afford to move about as most of us do. As to activities, Bob invites anyone camped with him to go for a walk twice a day but you are right that most of them can't afford admission to tourist sites. That doesn't mean sitting around a campfire telling stories is not as much fun as those of the SKP Classes of '08 and '09 we have enjoyed. Man, I miss IYQ's stories.

Linda

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2 minutes ago, sandsys said:

I agree that most on this forum would not want to live that way. But, anyone asking if they can do so on $2000 a month might find it helpful to know it CAN be done.

Defining the difference between being possible and being what you want to do has been mentioned before in this thread. My point is that I would never want to encourage someone to believe that they can travel by RV the way that is typically expressed on these forums, on less that $2000/month.

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On 7/2/2021 at 1:37 PM, 2gypsies said:

Here's interesting budgets:

https://whereyoumakeit.com/rv/rv-living-cost/

https://xscapers.com/budget-for-rv-life/

Everyone is different so shifting amounts between categories will be necessary.

Kirk, it's possible to be close to $2,000, especially if you have the RV paid for.  Month to Month there may be differences but overall it's pretty close.

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A number of years ago we met a gentleman that fulltimed in a tent.  He carried a stove, heater,  TV and a recliner.  He found areas that had activities he enjoyed like soft ball in AZ and camping areas that were tent friendly.  He followed the weather.  People that really want to RV er camp fulltime can do it on a budget if they are creative. He said he loved it and my guess is he spent less than $2,000.  We also met another gentleman that full timed on SS and a modest saving account.  He said he could rent an apartment and watch TV all day or boondock and follow the weather.  These guys maybe didn't fulltime RV the way many of us do but both seemed happy.  There are different ways to RV.

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11 hours ago, Randyretired said:

These guys maybe didn't fulltime RV the way many of us do but both seemed happy.  There are different ways to RV.

How many of the people who read these forums do you suppose, desire to live in that fashion, or the one suggested by sandsys? I suppose that it is presumptuous of me, but I have always thought that purpose of this thread was to determine how much money it would take to travel the country in a recreation vehicle of some sort(not a tent). I once met two people who were traveling the country in a very old RV by panhandling in shopping centers, which can also be done, but I have doubts that many here wish to live that way.  Since the thread began December 24, 2017 it seems to have changed completely.

Quote

Here are my questions:
1) Is it bad for a motor home to sit for a month or two? 
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.

I suspect that in the 3 1/2 years I suspect that things may have changed at least a little bit. Since Larry's profile shows his last visit to have been in July of 2018, I wonder what he ever did?

Edited by Kirk W
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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

How many of the people who read these forums do you suppose, desire to live in that fashion, or the one suggested by sandsys? I suppose that it is presumptuous of me, but I have always thought that purpose of this thread was to determine how much money it would take to travel the country in a recreation vehicle of some sort(not a tent). I once met two people who were traveling the country in a very old RV by panhandling in shopping centers, which can also be done, but I have doubts that many here wish to live that way.  Since the thread began December 24, 2017 it seems to have changed completely.

I suspect that in the 3 1/2 years I suspect that things may have changed at least a little bit. Since Larry's profile shows his last visit to have been in July of 2018, I wonder what he ever did?

My post was to highlight that RV living doesn't have to be limited to traveling the country staying in RV parks.   There are some on this forum that use an RV to live in while working.  I guess by your definition that isn't RVing either.  We are living in our RV while I build a house and follow the weather.  We are no longer traveling the country so are we not considered RVers?  RV's to me are just a place to stay while living in some fashion. To facilitate whatever it is you are doing.  Like many I have owned RV's for more than 50 years but mainly used them to facilitate what I wanted to do.  I started with fishing and hunting.  Now it is way to follow the weather and build our house along with some leisure activities.  As for budgets it is easy to find budgets all over the map.  Lifestyle is not determined by living in an RV.

Edited by Randyretired
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21 minutes ago, Randyretired said:

There are some on this forum that use an RV to live in while working.  I guess by your definition that isn't RVing either. 

Please! Do not put words in that I didn't say! You are way off base as the subject was not lifestyle but the cost to live in an RV fulltime. I know many who live and work for the RV and that was how the Escapees began and is moving back that way, which is good. How many of them do you really believe  are living on $2000 or less per month?

And we have been back to part-time since 2012 so saying that I claim part-time isn't RVing is ..................

 

Edited by Kirk W
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24 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Please! Do not put words in that I didn't say! You are way off base as the subject was not lifestyle but the cost to live in an RV fulltime. I know many who live and work for the RV and that was how the Escapees began and is moving back that way, which is good. How many of them do you really believe  are living on $2000 or less per month?

And we have been back to part-time since 2012 so saying that I claim part-time isn't RVing is ..................

 

I feel you are off base by saying a minimum budget can't be considered RVing.  To me every time I see a question like "how much does it cost to fulltime in an RV?"  I see how much does it cost to live?  One doesn't need to look far to find an RV that costs more than many of us would be willing or maybe able to pay for.  Is that RVing?  Can they be fulltime?  It is clear that some have their view of RVing and that is what it costs. I think many of us on this forum are RVers and if we could agree on what constitutes fulltime some would fit in that category.   Living expenses are an entirely different matter.

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Randy, would you agree that when someone comes on as a person learning about Full-timing, they are envisioning traveling down the highways of the USA/Canada, visiting all of the National Parks, etc.?  They envision taking all of the comforts of home with them as they travel into the sunset. 

I went back to the initial post and realize that my initial reaction to the OP was to think about our monthly outlay.   OUR outlay, not what a SINGLE person would require.  Our costs aren't double that of a single person traveling, there are some basic costs are the same.  Fuel costs the same whether there are 1 or 2.  Site costs are the same (maybe more when you get above 4) or added amount for a pet.   But after that, costs will different for a couple versus a single person.  Not twice as much for a couple, but different.  

 

1 hour ago, Randyretired said:

I think many of us on this forum are RVers and if we could agree on what constitutes fulltime some would fit in that category.   Living expenses are an entirely different matter.

But you can't separate one from the other.  It is all about what it costs you each day to make it to the next day.    And one of the things that can quickly have people 'off the road' is the increase in medical costs as we age.  I realize that everyone thinks they will live forever, but that just isn't true.      Even with great health insurance and prescription coverage, the costs of various medications can be frightful.   So if one is a diabetic, for example, and insulin takes another price hike out of the blue, how does the person adjust their minimal income to cover that?  Obviously by not moving as much.   And when the 'living' costs become so high, then RVing, using the word as a verb, will become impossible.  

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Barb Your expenses and mine are probably quite different.  I rarely stay in an RV park and my medical expenses are practically $0 thanks to my DW.  Some don't even have insurance.  Most of the people I RV with use their RV to do specific activities such as what some call snowbirds or fishing.  RV costs vary significantly with the type of RV and its intended use.  Living costs are also variable.   We had a neighbor that had a ranch and was a long time resident.  I can't remember all of the times someone would tell me how sorry they felt for him because of the frugal way he lived.  It was just his living style.  I can't tell you his total worth but I am sure several million would not do justice to it.  You seem to enjoy your RV and living arrangement I am happy for you but that isn't my arrangement.  As I pointed out some live in RV's because of their work.  Some prefer fine dining and so forth.  Some like Kirk seem quite handy and probably pay very little for repairs.  When some one says can I live in an RV for $2,000 a month my initial reaction is they are conscious of money and maybe willing to do what it takes to live on that amount or less.  Judging by the few I know that have done it they can be happy with their living arrangement.

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Randy, how would you define Full Time Rving?  Because it sounds like the verb portion of RVing isn't included in your definition.   If one is living in an RV 24/7 in a static location, then that isn't the same as someone RVing.  Doesn't make it right or wrong, just a different calculus is needed.   But that isn't what the question is when someone new comes on and asks about what it costs to be Full-time RVing.    

Go back to the original post (from 6 yrs ago) and look at what was said.   At that time most said that if one were frugal one could get by, especially if one had a way (work camping) to supplement income.   I don't know about you, but NOTHING has stayed the same, price wise, in the past 6 years.  And if you look you will see I suggested that getting towards $3K a month would give the person a cushion for things like repair (because we all know it isn't IF, it is WHEN repairs are needed) and increasing costs in the coming years.  

After 16 years of watching people come and go on this forum, I would say that a majority of those who come on, trying to do it on very, very, very little, are gone within 2-3 years.   For some it will be health, but I would bet that a large number of those who come off the road (not to say they still aren't living in their RV) will do so because of limitations of funds.   

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Barb using as an example the friend who was RVing on SS.  He was a veteran, so he mainly relied on that for healthcare.  He followed the weather.  He spent summers boondocking in the mountains in Colorado, Utah and sometimes Wyoming.  Fall and spring he was often boondocking at Lake Powell and winter at the long term areas in AZ.  He had an older 5er and truck but did most of the repairs himself.  If needed he would swing by our place or his sister's while he fixed stuff.  He often said his only other option would be to sit in a small apartment all day.  We originally met him at Lake Powell and looked forward to seeing him there year after year. We fished with him, enjoyed campfires and exchanged books with him.. We met some other "full timers" there that had limited expenditures that followed a similar lifestyle.  This may not be my or your style but I call it RVing.  Do you call it something different?

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I'm saying that what you describe isn't what the average person who comes here looking into full-time RVing are talking about.  There are a lot of people who get more than $2K in social security benefits, depending upon how long and how much they contributed during their working years.  Maximum benefit this year is a little over $3K.   And having veterans benefits for medical care means a lot.  Yes, I know that some places it isn't great, but look at what some people are paying for the supplemental to cover what Medicare doesn't - it can be A LOT.   And a lot of people are talking about total income of $2K for a COUPLE.  

I'm glad his health was such that he could keep going.   Dave had quadruple bypass last March (yes, in the middle of the pandemic), his kidneys gave out and it was touch and go for a few days, followed by pacemaker insertion in June.  We are now a year later and he is just now getting back to about where he was, but it has been hard for him, but doing repairs unless very limited (he did climb up the 13' ladder to seal a leak in our bedroom slide) and thus we have a repair budget line to set money aside to do it.   People seem to ignore the fact that there will be problems, things will break down, our health deteriorates as we age and NOTHING costs the same as it did 5 years ago.  

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1 minute ago, sandsys said:

The Oxford dictionary says RVing is an adjective or noun. It is not listed as a verb. The noun says it is "living in or driving an RV". Living in apparently does not imply driving.

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/rving

Linda

And how it is used - Full time sitting?  Plus, the Oxford dictionary is out-of-date.   Does anyone come and ask if they can Full Time sitting in a spot for the rest of their lives.  Look at the OP of this thread - the purpose was to see the country.   We have a Park Model in Arizona and it is technically an RV.  But when we set up for the winter (or all year like last year) we are not RVing.  

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8 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I have always thought that purpose of this thread was to determine how much money it would take to travel the country in a recreation vehicle of some sort

Right. So you are saying it can't be done on $2000/month?

 

5 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

I'm saying that what you describe isn't what the average person who comes here looking into full-time RVing are talking about.

And you know what it is they are looking for how?

I guess, I tend to think the question they asked was the one they wanted answered. For instance, asking what a typical RVer spends per year is not the same question as asking can it be done for x amount? To read the second question but answer the first one I think is not helpful. 

Linda

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