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


Larry
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I think this has come down to what each of US believe RVing is.  Some define it as seeing the country.  That certainly is one use.  We have had a RV for many years to let us stay where we are working or playing.  I never felt the need to define it as "seeing the country".  That is just one of many uses in my opinion.  The cost of living is a personal thing and varies widely among RVers and others.  There isn't rule that I know of that says RVers have to spend x amount and some surveys on this forum show a wide diffence of monthly budgets.  Finally what defines fulltiming?  Please don't start on that as it also means different things to different people.

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1 hour ago, sandsys said:

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

 

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

Maybe a single person if they never have a break down, never stay in an RV park, never get sick, and takes decades to do can see all of the country.  
 

after 16 years, yes I do think I have a feel for  what the average newbie is asking, who is usually part of a couple, when they come here to ask questions.   Which is why a lot of us start the dialogs with asking some questions or pointing out some problems that might develop with their initial parameters.

 

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We have run across several folks that had stars in their eyes about RVing on the cheap.  They go into the RV life with a note on the RV or RV and truck.  Usually it is an older rig and first thing they hit is a major repair....refrigerator quits, and old tire blows and takes out some of the side of the RV, A/C quits, etc.  Now they do not have any reserve funds to effect the needed repairs so they set up or have a friend set up a Go Fund Me page to get some cash to help the dilemma.  They wind up getting the RV to a site and there they a stuck.

We have come across some that can only handle the RV life style by volunteering or work camping,  They move from site to site and spend little time actually enjoying see things.  One couple with a small child had to dry camp between assignments as they could not afford a campground.

These type situations are not my definition of the RV lifestyle.  

For several years we volunteered for 1/2 the years and travel the other half.  Ideally we had a summer assignment farther north and then a winter assignment in the south.  Spring and fall we traveled.  It was certainly cheaper when we were parked and expenses dropped.  But after 3 months we developed "hitch itch" and needed to travel.  We burned out on the volunteering and now just travel some and are parked longer at each stop.

Have a safe 4th folks.

Ken

Edited by TXiceman
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Lot's of valid perspectives have been expressed in this thread.  And most of them seem to boil down to different perspectives about what full-timing in an RV by the person asking the question.

If this question comes up again, why not focus on clarifying what the person means/desires/expects first?

Without knowing the intention of the person who asked the question, debates about the "right perspective" may be interesting, but appear to be futile. 🙂

Time to move on?

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I suppose that we could start by asking each person to spell out exactly what they mean in detail with every question asked, but I think that is too much to ask, particularly since many who come to these forums do not really know exactly how they will live in their RV but to me, when they ask about fulltiming, they intend to live in the RV and to then do whatever life they enjoy. I am well aware that many of the RV community are working for a living. Escapees Club's founders and most of the charter members were in the construction trades. Today there is a growing number of younger members who are still earning a living and I happen to consider that to be a good thing for the future of the club. I believe that the amount of money needed for fulltime expenses is not usually changed based on how the person gets the money to pay them, but could be from investment income, retirement pension, social security, a paycheck, panhandling, or any other resource. The actual minimum amount required is a very abstract thing so most of us make our best estimates based on our own experiences.

As one who used to live in an RV as our only home but now have a fixed home again and only travel by seasonally, I am a bit offended when someone accuses me of claiming that you aren't an RVer if you don't live it the RV as I believe that I was an RVer before I went fulltime and that I am still and RVer now that I have returned to part-time. I am quite sure that I have never made such a statement and I apologize to anyone who feels that was my intention.

Reading the entire thread from the very first post made December 24, 2017, I still believe that his question was about the entire cost of living, and not just the cost of the RV expenses, but the point that we should possibly define how much of our expenses we are including in our suggested budget may well be a valid one. 

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I don't want to get into it only to discover in a year or so I can't afford it.

This is an issue that greatly concerns me. It is the very reason that in our years on the road I posted the actual costs of our life on the road, to include every expenditure except any savings and gifts. Because it has now been 10 years since we returned to part-time, my annual expenses by month have been removed from the site. I commend those who post what they actually spend in every category so that a prospective RVer can use that to help them determine what their dream will cost them, no matter how they chose to define any of the terms we may use. In the nearly 25 years that I have participated in these and other RV related forums, I have actually known 3 people who spent a lot of money in the attempt to live in their RV in the way that they had hoped, but gave up because they could not afford to live the life that they had wished for. The experience was disastrous for 1 or them and less than pleasant for the other 2. I am sure that there have been many others who failed, as Barb seems to be saying. I would rather someone discovered that they needed less money on the road than predicted, than to have them be mislead to believe that they could enjoy fulltiming and fail. 

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59 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

I suppose that we could start by asking each person to spell out exactly what they mean in detail with every question asked, but I think that is too much to ask, particularly since many who come to these forums do not really know exactly how they will live in their RV but to me, when they ask about fulltiming, they intend to live in the RV and to then do whatever life they enjoy.

Yes, I think a dialog with the questioner, about what they really mean is important, before presuming that we know what they want, or should do, for life-changing questions.

 

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Here's my perspective:

Someone comes on here and says can I live in an RV for x dollars a month. We don't ask if they have savings. We don't ask if they own the RV. We don't ask what type of health care they have. We don't ask what mechanical skills they have. We don't even ask them why they want to do it. Some of us just say, "No, you cannot have your dream."

What I try to do is tell them, "Yes, you can but it is not easy to do so". Then I send them to a website where people are living on so little so they can learn what it means to do so. I try to give them the tools to understand what that life is really like so they can make an informed decision as to what they want to do. I try to let them decide whether or not to pursue their dream.

Linda

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I would rather someone discovered that they needed less money on the road than predicted, than to have them be mislead to believe that they could enjoy fulltiming and fail. 

This is the essence of trying to help someone take a realistic look at what it will cost.   We could have purchased a brand new rig but chose to purchase a 3 year old rig and take the different and put it into the maintenance fund and add to it every month.   Some had said that was unworkable for most people, but that fund has never been close to zero and after 16 years, the coach is still running.  Yes, she needs cosmetic work, and we are considering some, but mechanically she is sound and goes where we want to go.  Wish I could say we were in as good a mechanical shape as she is.  Alas, growing old takes it toll on all of us sooner or later. 

25 minutes ago, sandsys said:

"No, you cannot have your dream."

If you look back at the start of this thread years ago, you see that I suggested that it would be better if he could have a little more income.  My post was:

"Is there some way to get it to $3K a month - for one person that should be a very doable amount.   And in 5 years, who knows what will be needed.  Just try to get the amount up, whether by work camping, etc., so that you have a cushion.  Repairs can quickly add up and it isn't IF you will need repairs, but WHEN."

No one said no, just it would be better if he had a little cushion.   And that was YEARS ago, and costs have done nothing but go up.   When we started in 2006 there were a number of people stating that they could full-time on $2K a month.  16 years later, people are saying the same thing and are being encouraged on this and other forums to give it a try, and these are usually not younger people who can find a job, etc. and regroup and go on.   

Edited by Barbaraok
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Hello,

I'll chime in again after reading and giving this some more thought. I give a lot of credit to the people on here so I'm sure this has crossed the minds of people here. My house where I live is worth roughly $200,000 more or less. In some places, that would be poverty. It's an average price house here on an acre. Put it on a property in other parts of the country and it would be worth $500,000 or more dollars.

Because the cost of living here is much lower than in some places, when I RV for $1,200 per month, that would be the same elsewhere for $2,400 to $3,000. Sorry I am still not counting eating, health insurance and a few other things in my RV expenses. I did plug in my numbers to see what they were that included those things, just out of curiosity. I realize I am camping along side of others who have a higher budget than my wife and I.

We have covered a lot of miles in the 5 years we have been doing this. I've been able to chip down expenses without lowering our quality of travel and activities. I do have some things that keep my prices lower that not everyone might have. We have boondocked but not extensively. We have used Passport America for discounts but we have also stayed places that the cost for a month is in the lower $300 level but still a nice place for what we like to do.

We have seen and done a lot of things the first five years of travel. We don't sit places, waiting for money to come in (I've got four sources). Our trips are planned and we have enjoyed our stay at resorts as well as the desert, boondocking. My perspective is our standard of living we are use to, plus working to get the most from the money we spend and some cheap locations when we are out west is the reason we have been able to keep things down in price.

Hopefully I haven't offended anyone as that is not my reason for my comments but just the way I tend to see things as I travel by RV.

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Hey StargazerAL, travel the way that make you happy and don't worry about what others think. We are comfortable, but by no means are we extravagant or what I consider rich.  To some we may be extravagant.  Just enjoy life.

Ken

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Stargazer,  you mention that it would cost you much more other places in the country.   So your travel is limited to a given geographic area?   And if I read correctly, you do not count your living expenses in for your RVing budget.   If that were the case, yes, our costs for a lot of months would be $1200, especially when spending weeks in membership parks, only moving 25-50 miles at a time.     But that isn't what most people mean when they start thinking about what it will cost them to live and travel in the RV 24/7 for years criss-crossing the country.  

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Hi Barbaraok,

I don't know if it would cost me more in other locations of the country. We have been in 19 different states and traveled 30,000 miles in the five years we have been RV'n. Since I am an astronomer we tend to select sites away from big city lights, and campgrounds in more isolated settings. We like to hike and bird watch. We've been southwest, Oregon, Florida, Quartzsite, Wyoming and many other places. We do camp in Indiana with grandkids.

Beside living expenses (I retired around 62) we maintain a stick and brick house out in the country and also have a house in town. We have been blessed with good health (that can always change). I have a free spot at my sister's place when I go to visit so that probably shifts my numbers a few hundred dollars lower. My sister has full hookups, as they had an Airstream trailer at one time. By heading home, spending time there and having a several months to plan our next adventure, it allows us to save dollars for our next RV trip, a sort of unfair advantage.

Based on our costs, I believe I could maintain those and full time and still be in the range price wise that I have been. Using one of the budget sheets that someone linked to an Escapees site that include the health care and other expenses, I was at $2,212! I will say that so far we haven't had a major breakdown (knock, knock on wood) as that would change things and make our costs per month go up. Still, spread out over a decade and it becomes acceptable. We also live near most of the RV manufactures and have the ability to have things fixed well on our coach.

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Reading through the recent additions to this discussion, it seems to have become more important to be the one who is right than to be the one most helpful. I was long a reader of Gaylord Maxwell in the days before we became fulltimeers and still believe that he was the most accurate in such predictions.  I was given permission to republish a column of his that was published in Motorhome Magazine back in 2001, and you can read it from this link, but the final line of his column will be my final line in this thread.

Quote

Despite the higher incomes of today's full-timers and the rising costs of some of the expenses associated with RVing, my original response to the question of how much full-timing will cost is still essentially the same: whatever you have.

 

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1 hour ago, DanZemke said:

"whatever you have" may be helpful, as an opening statement, to frame a discussion about what it will cost.  But it's not helpful for, "Can I really full time on $2,000 a month".

Yeah, those kind of answers, along with the ever popular "it depends" responses nearly drove me crazy when we were researching the RV lifestyle.  I finally learned to ask specifically, "What do YOU spend for monthly campground stays?" etc.  That way I cornered people into actually answering the question (or at least I cornered them into ignoring my question so they could give one of the pat non-answers). :)

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I was a successful salesman for part of my career.  I only had one account (UCLA) for about 5 years.  Understanding what my customer really wanted was a key requirement before I made a recommendation. And of course earning and maintaining trust. 

I suspect these attributes are important to good pastors too.  We appear to have something in common. 🙂

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2 hours ago, Rich&Sylvia said:

Inflation may soon make the original post a moot question - or answered with a simple "No".
 

Doesn't matter what we know to be true, the "I'm better than you because I don't spend money" folks will always be striving to say they can get by on the least amount of money.   Being honest with people would seem to be a more moral stance to take, rather than creating false hope that causes them to embark on a course that will probably lead to disaster.  

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On 7/7/2021 at 10:38 AM, Barbaraok said:

Being honest with people would seem to be a more moral stance to take, rather than creating false hope that causes them to embark on a course that will probably lead to disaster.  

The problem these days, which was not the case in the past, is that there are a lot of people who make their living telling and convincing people that they can hit the road on very little money.  They are salesmen, but people don't treat their information with the caution that salesmen's statements should be treated.

In a battle between a moral stance and a sales pitch, the sales pitch is gonna win.

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On 7/5/2021 at 9:14 AM, Kirk W said:

Reading through the recent additions to this discussion, it seems to have become more important to be the one who is right than to be the one most helpful. I was long a reader of Gaylord Maxwell in the days before we became fulltimeers and still believe that he was the most accurate in such predictions.  I was given permission to republish a column of his that was published in Motorhome Magazine back in 2001, and you can read it from this link, but the final line of his column will be my final line in this thread.

 

Kirk W.

I absolutely believe your quote from Gaylord Maxwell.

Because it's just a matter of time until the next repair. Etc....

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