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The Real Cost of RV Living in Retirement

If you’re retiring in a year and you’ve decided to downsize to a smaller living space, you might consider buying an RV, particularly if you intend to travel. It may well be cheaper than buying another home or timeshares. So where do you go for advice on how RV costs and overall maintenance compare to home costs and home maintenance?

While you might have to pay monthly at RV parks – and prices vary widely -they range from the very cheap to the very expensive.

What about upkeep and repairs? Some couples say it’s the best retirement decision they could have made while others say there are some unexpected expenses involved to keep up with repairs.

Much of the research involved in purchasing a new “home for the highways” will be easy to come by if you take your time.

Research Your RV Options

YouTube is an ideal resource for checking out your options online for the most comfortable ways of living in an RV.

One excellent YouTube channel is run by a young couple who have dedicated themselves to seeing the world by RV and living cheaply in a motorhome to maximize their enjoyment and freedom.

Gone with the Wynns documents an ongoing adventure in freedom and very inexpensive and comfortable living. From visits to national parks to road stories, the Wynn’s are a go-to source for RV living tips and tricks.

Their many posts and videos are a sort of handbook on the experience living the RV lifestyle, and along their journey, the couple meets people from all walks of life looking for freedom and alternative living options.

Since you can take some time to plan, studying videos and websites will allow you to do a deep-dive into the traveling lifestyle, and if you discover the correct resources, you can determine what type of RV might be best for you before you buy. Your research will also help you identify signs of problems such as water leaks, mold and other issues which might be in evidence when you’re ready to buy an RV. You’ll also find out which RV brands have excellent reputations with customer care and sadly, which brands just aren’t up to snuff and as reputable.

The real truth is that You don’t have to buy a $500,000 RV to live comfortably and enjoy your retirement. It’s possible to spend anywhere from $20,000 and up on preowned RVs while you hold on to your remaining cash and fully enjoy retirement.

Freedom, Spontaneity and RV Living

When you’re considering an RV, it pays to talk to a lot of people who know the experience. Many love it. While those folks may have “real” homes as well, they’re also sensible enough to consider the big picture. Some of your friends may recommend renting an RV and trying it out first to seal the deal. It’s definitely a lifestyle that allows for spontaneity, but that doesn’t mean you should discount the cost of lot rent, fuel, repairs, and maintenance. Even though there may be downsides, if you really feel the need to see the country, owning an RV may well be the only affordable choice.

RV Living And Staying Cost Conscious

While certain problems might come up in the course of your RV living adventure, such as if something breaks, you can find someplace to fix it and the repairs might be expensive if you don’t do your homework in trip planning. Lots of people truly enjoy their RVs, regardless of the challenges,  and they find the experience of being  “snowbirds’ a tremendous opportunity. Living frugally in your RV means doing research and really counting the potential costs involved.

Take A ‘Trial Run’ Before Committing To the RV Lifestyle

If you’re on a tight budget, you can look for a low mileage, used RV and give it a go in the real world. While there are excellent used RVs on the market at any given moment, you won’t be wasting your money if you select carefully and buy from a reputable dealer. Once you’ve decided the freedom of RVing is for you? You’ll find dealers also take in trades on newer, bigger units. You might even consider renting one to avoid the initial financial investment.

A Real-World RV Living Experience

You can comfortably live in a 28′ motorhome with your cats and dogs. It’s also possible to “boondock” and live mostly off the grid. With an onboard generator, solar panels, six-volt batteries and a charge controller, you can use an inverter to change DC storage battery output to AC which can then drive electronics from your TV to your microwave to your toaster. It’s an extremely frugal way to live.

In New Mexico, you can purchase an annual pass which you can use at any state parks for up to two weeks at a time. The cost of an electric hookup is just $4 a night. There is Bureau of Land Management offers Long Term Visitor Areas in many states where you can purchase a seven-month pass for under $200. Water and dump stations are also included in this pass price.

Taking the time to set up and master the solar energy routine and equipment and will likely pay itself off in a year or less.

The Internet Is King When It Comes to Controlling Costs

In your RV, you have the freedom and the options to visit every state in the hemisphere from Canada to South America. You can go as far north as the Arctic Circle and south to your heart’s content.

If you do need repairs along the road, dealers are often totally accommodating and more than willing to help.

Consider Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds. They often offer water and electric hookups, and some are just $10 a night.

Websites such as FreeCampsites.net and RVParky.com can help you find free and exceptionally low-cost campgrounds. Many towns have free (or low-cost) campgrounds and a few offer hookups.

Programs like Boondockers Welcome also offer a variety of options. While you might need to plan a few days in advance to take full advantage of the help offered by such groups, the Boondockers Welcome website will help you connect and stay in touch with other RVers.

The internet is truly King when it comes to keeping expenses reasonable.

Work Out the Bugs – And Tow A Car

While you might think living in a small space for long stretches of time can be difficult, it’s certainly more comfortable than camping. An RV truly is “your home,” and motorhomes are great to travel in. That doesn’t mean you won’t want to tow your car to make seeing local attractions more convenient. A small car is also excellent when you want to shop or spend a night out on the town without pulling up stakes.

Is “Work Camping” For You?

Amazon is always scrambling to hire a temporary work brigade during peak months and they’ve discovered that signing on reliable, on-demand labor is no easy task. Back in 2008, one genius in Kansas came up with the idea of hiring migrant RVers and ultimately, the company expanded the program to Kentucky and Nevada. So was born the Camper­Force.

It turns out that RVers are “a dream labor force,” composed of “diligent, responsible employees” with unflagging attendance rates.

While it’s not for everyone, programs like CamperForce might prove an ideal fit for some motivated travelers.

The Ultimate RV Checklist

How do you plan to use your RV? Is it for weekend outings? Vacations? Snowbird? Full-time living?

Research RV types:

  • Class A Motor Home
  • Class B Motor Home
  • Class C Motor Home
  • Fifth Wheel
  • Folding Trailer
  • Travel Trailer
  • Truck Camper

Answers To The Nuts and Bolts RV Questions

  • Are you able and willing to afford your choices?
  • Consider renting various RV types to help you make a decision.
  • Live in an RV for a few days.
  • Choose an RV type after carefully weighing the Pros & Cons
  • Determine the best-sized RV based on your needs.
  • Understand RV Weights and research all relevant weights.
  • Review RV Driver’s License Requirements for any states or countries you plan to visit.
  • Understand your tow vehicle type and size if you choose a travel trailer or fifth wheel
  • Determine the power and size of vehicle you need to tow your RV.
  • Select which RV manufacturer’s products to consider
  • Use consumer review resources to select manufacturer’s products which boast quality and safety.
  • Narrow your choices down to a small number of RV models that meet your needs.
  • Ask for more than one RV insurance quote for your choice of RV and/or truck model.
  • Keep an eye on “fair market value” for your ultimate selection
  • Give your ultimate choice a thorough mechanical inspection before signing a deal.
  • Join a community of people knowledgeable about RVs and the RV lifestyle, and by all means, share your experiences with others.

Are you ready to make your move and hit the open road to adventure? If you don’t have an RV yet, we know exactly the right people you need to talk to, and they have a wide selection of fifth wheels, travel trailers, and toy haulers for sale at wholesale pricing. Let us help you give them a call or put them in touch with you to provide more information.

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