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Author Topic: Do we or not?  (Read 3252 times)

Lawrence M

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Do we or not?
« on: May 31, 2015, 11:33:51 AM »
My wife and I got the pen and pad out and tried to put down some numbers about should we or should we no t try full timing.
The place is sold and we are between today and the last phase of our lives.
After exhausting the pro's and con's as far as we could tell I have one question?

Has anybody ever saved money fulltiming?
Camp sites seem very expensive.

Great Horned Owl

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2015, 11:56:54 AM »
It really depends on the type of camping you want to do.

We don't full time (yet), but we do live in the RV about two months at a time, several times a year. We tend to camp im national parks, national forests, and (less frequently), state parks. With our senior pass, we probably spend less than $300 per month in camping fees. Add to that about $50 per month for gas to run the generator, so we can keep our batteries charged.

Food costs are about the same if we are in the RV or at home. We tend to stay and explore one area for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, so fuel costs are not much more than when we are home.

All in all, if we were doing it full time, and didn't have the expenses of the S & B house, we would probably be saving some money. That being said, the life style is a much more important part of the decision than is the cost.

Joel
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Clay L

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2015, 12:09:46 PM »
One thing many people don't take into account is that RVs depreciate quite a lot. Many/most $100,000 RVs will be worth less than $40,000 in 10 years. If you are comparing RV life to renting a house that won't be an issue but if you own a house or are in the process of paying for one it probably will be since over a ten year period many homes at least hold their value or increase in value. Not always true but usually is.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats), Sali (toy poodle)
Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

driftless shifter

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2015, 02:32:22 PM »
Depends. If you stay a few nights you pay a premium, if you stay by the month much less. My monthly rent, while working in S Texas is less than a 1/4 what my mortgage was, plus no property tax to pay, just yearly registration. My Bounder is a well cared for '93 that looks and rides like a rig half it's age and is worth more in S Texas than it was in New England. I could get back most of what I purchased it for and the work I put into it it to make it worthy of a 2800 mile maiden voyage. We work less, make more money, can take a couple months off for travel yearly and still have money in the bank. It can be cheaper.
 If you finance your RV and travel constantly maybe not any less expensive, probably more so.

Bill
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Bill and Debbie

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 02:46:24 PM »
As many have noted it depends upon what type  of full timing you wish to do and how you wish to enjoy the anormous amount of free time you have versus working careeers. We are spending significantly less than when we were working but then our income has dropped significantly, which is fine with us.

We mostly prefer hookup sites vs Boondocking and have found our Thousand Trails membership to make our full timing quite affordable. Our biggest expense is food. Regardless of how you do it, it is a great lifestyle.

Enjoy!
William Bonsell
Poulsbo, WA

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herekittykitty

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2015, 05:24:53 PM »
When asked this question (which comes up frequently), the biggest, easiest answer is: If you plan to move frequently, NO. Gasoline will eat up whatever savings you may reap from the less expensive camping options.

The other extreme end of this is, I once figured out that if we boondocked exclusively on BLM land and didn't move around a lot, we could spend no more than $400-something per year in "rent". (Don't remember the figure now.)

Two possibilities can make this a very affordable lifestyle:

(1) I've been told that America The Beautiful passholders (62 and older) pay only half price for all Corps of Engineers parks, but that's all I know about the COE parks.

(2) If you buy a used TT membership ($1000-$3000 usually, depending on terms, plus a $750 transfer fee), after that large upfront cost, your camping generally costs you nothing more than a $500-$600 annual maintenance fee, which can be paid monthly if desired (so, max $50 per month) and allows you to go straight from one TT park to another, 365 days a year. The main downside is that you have to move every 21 days (with some contracts, if you pay a $29 fee you can stay an extra week).

Of course, you'd have to factor in the gasoline cost to move from one park to another. But, at least here on the Left Coast, there are concentrations of them, so that you can easily drive less than 100 miles to the next park.


Buying an old TT membership is complicated. Please start here:http://www.rvlove.com/2015/01/28/thousand-trails-membership-upgrades

One cost that will be higher that you might not be considering is internet access, if it matters to you. Say bye-bye to unlimited bandwidth; you will never see it again. Technomadia is the place to go for all things mobile internet (http://www.technomadia.com/2014/08/how-we-keep-online-illustrated-tour-of-our-rv-mobile-internet-setup/).

Hope this helps with your decision.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 05:27:43 PM by herekittykitty »
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garyb1st

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2015, 06:00:28 PM »
It really depends on your current expenses.  You could save money or spend more.  There are too many things to consider.   There are RVers who live for next to nothing.  They buy a fully depreciated RV, live on public lands for free and travel infrequently.  Then there are those who buy a luxury RV, travel a lot and stay at the more expensive RV resorts.  Between those two extremes, are many possibilities.   
Gary B1st

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Dance Chick

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2015, 06:42:44 PM »
I've been throwing around budgets and figures for a full time lifestyle. I'll agree with what's been said. It depends on how you want to FT and how you currently live. We are debt free, and our house is paid off, but we live in a 55+ golf community, so we have a monthly maintenance fee in addition to the property taxes and insurance. Along with that, we pay for covered RV storage within our community. The housing & storage costs would transfer to our monthly campground costs. We will never boondock and like FHU sites. We will occasionally stay at sites without sewer, so can take advantage of a COE park, etc., and get the senior discount, but not for any length of time. We would stay put at an RV park for a month to get a monthly rate which would also help with fuel costs by not being on the go all the time. We would get rid of DH's car and only have the toad. What we pay for insurance on the 2nd vehicle would probably transfer to increased RV insurance as a fulltimer's policy would be necessary. So, a lot of our current expenses would still be there, just a different line item. My estimation is that fulltiming for us would be somewhat cheaper, but not significantly cheaper.

Someone mentioned the RV depreciating. We already own our RV, so wouldn't have to take house sale proceeds to purchase the RV. If you'll be spending your proceeds, then what will you move into if or when you come off the road? Your RV won't be worth what you paid. Will there be funds to purchase a house or would you be happy renting for the rest of your life? Something to think about.

And as mentioned, it's about the lifestyle. That has some value that one can't put a price on.
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Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2015, 07:34:01 PM »
Thanks for all the answers. I probably should have given more info as most of the answers are general. To me full timing is not having any dept and not owning a home so no taxes upkeep and no utilities to pay.
And enough cash to see the end of palliative care and still leaving enough for the rottenly spoiled kids.
So with that said.Can I live cheaper than I would with a modest home with no morgage? I will not have any dept if we decide to do this. But I really don't want to squander my hard earned money.
A motor home to me is not an asset and would never appreciate. It would be a throw away at the end of its use. So with that said do you think it would be cheaper than owning a house free and clear?
No dept no cares no worries. I find I could afford to walk away from a badly invested motor home but would think twice about a house.
To me full timing is not owning a house and being dept free. That is where we are now. Our only problem is deciding what to do now. Upgrade the coach or give it try for the first year or buy a house and spend winters south of the border?
I just don't want to spend more full timing than I would in a comfortable house on the west coast.

Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2015, 07:40:42 PM »
I've been throwing around budgets and figures for a full time lifestyle. I'll agree with what's been said. It depends on how you want to FT and how you currently live. We are debt free, and our house is paid off, but we live in a 55+ golf community, so we have a monthly maintenance fee in addition to the property taxes and insurance. Along with that, we pay for covered RV storage within our community. The housing & storage costs would transfer to our monthly campground costs. We will never boondock and like FHU sites. We will occasionally stay at sites without sewer, so can take advantage of a COE park, etc., and get the senior discount, but not for any length of time. We would stay put at an RV park for a month to get a monthly rate which would also help with fuel costs by not being on the go all the time. We would get rid of DH's car and only have the toad. What we pay for insurance on the 2nd vehicle would probably transfer to increased RV insurance as a fulltimer's policy would be necessary. So, a lot of our current expenses would still be there, just a different line item. My estimation is that fulltiming for us would be somewhat cheaper, but not significantly cheaper.

Someone mentioned the RV depreciating. We already own our RV, so wouldn't have to take house sale proceeds to purchase the RV. If you'll be spending your proceeds, then what will you move into if or when you come off the road? Your RV won't be worth what you paid. Will there be funds to purchase a house or would you be happy renting for the rest of your life? Something to think about.

And as mentioned, it's about the lifestyle. That has some value that one can't put a price on.
Thanks for the input. But I think our ideas of full timing differ owning a house is not really full timing. I sold my home land and business and th wife and I are just floating till we decide.

Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2015, 07:44:30 PM »
It really depends on your current expenses.  You could save money or spend more.  There are too many things to consider.   There are RVers who live for next to nothing.  They buy a fully depreciated RV, live on public lands for free and travel infrequently.  Then there are those who buy a luxury RV, travel a lot and stay at the more expensive RV resorts.  Between those two extremes, are many possibilities.
Your input is appreciated. I still am wondering what the difference between owning a house and full timing would be in say places like Florida .
I retired at 61 three years ago. The wife retired at 60. We get a bit bored in the winters and think full timing might work for us.
Most of the answers I have received are food for thought. But I can assure you I would not be boondocking as that may suit some but not the wife and I. I just like the idea of turning the key and moving on.
Right now we are on the road and heading for the the coast looking to buy a new place. But now we are enjoying freedom and have an itch to try something totally different a where we are going now will be strange and different and exciting.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 08:02:24 PM by Lippy »

Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2015, 08:00:23 PM »
One thing many people don't take into account is that RVs depreciate quite a lot. Many/most $100,000 RVs will be worth less than $40,000 in 10 years. If you are comparing RV life to renting a house that won't be an issue but if you own a house or are in the process of paying for one it probably will be since over a ten year period many homes at least hold their value or increase in value. Not always true but usually is.
You are so right I consider RVs disposable. But worth a fortune if it suits your propose. I could never see making payments on a luxury.

Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2015, 08:08:57 PM »
It really depends on the type of camping you want to do.

We don't full time (yet), but we do live in the RV about two months at a time, several times a year. We tend to camp im national parks, national forests, and (less frequently), state parks. With our senior pass, we probably spend less than $300 per month in camping fees. Add to that about $50 per month for gas to run the generator, so we can keep our batteries charged.

Food costs are about the same if we are in the RV or at home. We tend to stay and explore one area for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, so fuel costs are not much more than when we are home.

All in all, if we were doing it full time, and didn't have the expenses of the S & B house, we would probably be saving some money. That being said, the life style is a much more important part of the decision than is the cost.

Joel
Thanks for the reply Joel.
With what you have expressed you may have answered some of my questions.
I think if the wife and I take a year and give it a try we will find out if it's right for us.
Lawrence

cadee2c

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2015, 08:21:40 PM »
things to consider for fulltiming....
1. Site rental - this varies from $0 - $2000 or more per month depending on locations. Lots of boondocking out west on blm lands, moreso than in Florida.
2. Gas for driving around. This varies from very little to a lot, depending on how often you move and how far you travel.
3. Seasonal or monthly rentals, which are usually cheaper than daily or weekly rates often make you pay for your electricity.
4. Maintenance and repairs
5. Insurance

Owning a house..
1.  monthly utilities, property taxes and insurance.
2. HOA fees if you live in an association, condo or townhome.
3. Maintenance and repairs

Food expenses would probably be the same no matter how you lived. 

I guess the point is that its totally up to you how you want to live. There really is no specific answer. Boondocking and traveling very little is the cheapest way to go. You can also find work camping jobs that provide you with a site and sometimes a small salary in exchange for work such as camp hosts, tour guides etc. Staying in Florida at a high end resort or traveling every week or two is going to cost you much more.



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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2015, 08:25:00 PM »
If you are not going to use the motorhome to travel in and amortize the cost of fun, I do not believe you can live in a motorhome cheaper than a modest home.

We initially went full time with a house leased and were renting a nice apartment. We were pretty much breaking even with a used motorhome. The house ultimately was sold and we bought a larger newer motorhome.

We never have looked at the motorhome as anything but sunk cost but the value of traveling for the last five years has been cheap at twice the price.

As stated, there are any number of ways to "full time", but if you are living in one place and not traveling, you would be better suited with a park model in a great destination area. We have a number of friends who did just that and get the social life of an RV lifestyle and few headaches.

For us, moving about the country is the most important part of this lifestyle, but that is not to say that is everyone's cup of tea. The upside is there is no one "right" way, it is always about what you want and are most comfortable with.

Kim
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Dance Chick

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2015, 08:33:01 PM »
Lippy---guess I wasn't clear. I wasn't talking about owning a house AND fulltiming. I was giving an example of running numbers if we sold the house and fulltimed.
Gene, Gayle, & Oliver (the dog-but don't tell him)
2006 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40 PDQ/2012 Honda CRV toad
Blue Ox towing/Air Force One braking
"And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2015, 09:26:45 PM »
Lippy---guess I wasn't clear. I wasn't talking about owning a house AND fulltiming. I was giving an example of running numbers if we sold the house and fulltimed.
Oh right I read your post. Sorry I misinterpreted!

PrairieParson

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2015, 09:01:11 AM »
I looked at this issue from 2 different angles.  Health Care/food are not going to change much no matter where you live.  But I figured out that it costs me $10,000 plus to maintain my house, even though its paid off, and that does not include any repairs. So if you roughly spend even 800 a month on camping sites/RV parks, you're at a break even.  And most are far less, so that is a savings.  However, if you boondock you can save some more except for cost of generator and fuel moving around.  But then on the other hand, we spend at least $5000 a year on trips to visit family and at least one vacation.  Now that also gets rolled into the formula.  So that's $15,000 from keeping a roof over our head and trips that are all combined now into RVing.  That's a lot of RVing you can do, so yes, I figure we'll save money.  Plus, we get to see the country, and meet lots of interesting new people and have some adventures.

But we aren't there yet.  We still have to retire, sell the house, and buy the trailer.  Anyhow, that's our plan.

garyb1st

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2015, 10:31:41 AM »
Lippy, every answer will depend on the posters unique situation.  Mine is similar to yours in several respects.  I retired when I was 61.  Our home is paid and we have no debt.  We both have the wanderlust.  We also have 5 children and 3 grand children that live in 3 different states.  We enjoy relatively good health consequently medical care is not a major consideration.   All of these things enter into the equation. 

If we sold the home we could pay cash for a decent motorhome and still have enough to buy a home when traveling is no longer possible.  Just not in Los Angeles.  That's something that weighs on our mind.  Looking at relocation possibilities is one of the things we do when traveling.  Home prices in California are three times the national average.  That's an advantage we have compared to others who do what we're talking about.  But there's more to consider, the big one as you will come to learn is joie de vivre. the joy of living.  Ring is not for everyone.  Not being sure I would be completely happy without owning the s/b is a big one for me.  After a few months on the road, I'm ready to park the RV.  On my property.  But then with a larger more luxurious motorhome, things might be different. 

Financial considerations aside, what you need to think about is whatís going to keep your juices going as you move further and further from the 9 to 5 routine.  I did it 10 years ago and that time past like the blink of an eye.  Now Iím 71.  The 10 years are gone and I canít get them back.  Would I have done things differently if I had 20-20 foresight.  Yes.  But itís a learning curve and Iím a bit more experienced now.   Another factor is health.  There are no guarantees.  Enjoy it while you can. 

Now to specifics.  Our unique situation.  Annual expense for the S/B = $10 - 12,000.  This does not include non-recurring such as new furnace and ac two months ago, $9,000.  Various plumbing past year, $2,000.  'Old house' stuff.  Tree trimming and yard work $1,000.  Termite work $500.  Fridge and range $2,000.  Expense for new windows and better insulation that will be needed to keep energy costs in check, $10 to 20,000 if we do not sell.  House painting, interior and exterior.  When younger I did it myself.  Going forward, $5 to $10,000 to have it done.  Not certain how to amortize those costs.  But I think every homeowner considers them.  Cost of water in Los Angeles.  Thatís going to raise the basic expense over time.  How much is the big question.

Any motorhome that you live in will need maintenance and repair.  How much will depend on itís age and how well it has been cared for.  Then there's just dumb luck.  We had to replace the black tank on our motorhome last year.  That was  $2,600. Now we may have tranny problems.  That can be expensive.  Not everyone has mechanical problems so those that do not will believe that the cost of RVing is not that significant.  Those that do will have a different opinion.   RV maintenance.  DIY or take it to a service facility.  Huge difference in annual expense.  Iím a 71 year old learning about diy maintenance.  I can afford to have it done but it pisses me off to pay a knuckle head $120 an hour.  Donít mind paying when the work is done by a professional. 

In a perfect world with no unexpected costs, we could live cheaper in an RV with a moderate amount of traveling.  However, in the past and for the first month of our current extended travel, we drive a lot, 3 to 5,000 miles a month.  Fuel then become a significant factor.  This trip, first month gas , about $1,100.  That would be more like $1,600 if gas were in the $4.00 a gallon range.  We also do not stay in any one park for more than a few days at a time.  So no monthly/weekly discounts and unless we get a passport park or some other inexpensive spot for an evening or two, our costs will average about $30 - $40 a night.  Add that to gas and weíre around $2 - 2,500 a month.  So traveling like this, it's more expensive than living in the S/B.   

If we stayed at one place for a month at a time a park might cost $500 to 750.  Fuel costs would be minimal.  However, that wouldnít be beach front property on the coast or full hookups at a national park.   So in this case, it would be less expensive than living in the S/B.

In the past our travels have been in the  $1,500 a month range.  But that was in the Southwest. On this trip which will be in the New England area and Canadian Maritimes which is more expensive, I have budgeted $2,500 a month.  That's just fuel and campgrounds.   I hope it's less but in 10 years, if I'm still living, I'll remember the experience, not the $$$.   
 
Gary B1st

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Ernie n Tara

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2015, 11:33:43 AM »
We elected to keep our small house on 20 rural acres. The cost is aout $3, 500 per year and acceptable to us. That aside,  our direct cost per year travelling in the summer and spending six months in S Florida is around $11, 000 split $8, 000 for park rental and $3, 000 for MH fuel. Other increases such as additional for eating out are purely elective.

On the other hand, there are non obvious savings. An example is having only one car where we had three before. Another, as noted above, is minimal cost for travel and vacations aside from the above direct costs.

Overall, we have a higher standard of living full timing for very similar, or lower, costs if we neglect MH depreciation. And, on the subject of depreciation, we were doing very well in our 2006 Pursuit purchased three years old for less than $50, 000. That amounts to around $4, 000 per year in depreciation. Not much! We elected to upgrade and accept the higher cost, but we have no real interest in leaving a sufficient amount to the spoiled kids!

Overall, do what you really want to do, be reasonable in what you spend, and enjoy your life! You won't get another.

Ernie
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Lawrence M

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Re: Do we or not?
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2015, 09:11:03 PM »
Ernie and Tara,Garybfirst ,Prairie person.
Thank you very much for your input. I am really impressed that you people took such effort to answer a question that has plagued my wife and I. After reading your threads I think my wife and I would probably be more comfortable with a home base. And take an extended holiday when it suits us. There are people that are comfortable on the road and never looking back. The wife and I are convinced we would need to be more grounded. We will be on the coast in the next couple of days and will be looking at real estate. After our roots are settled we will adventure out when the mood suits us.
Thank you for helping us. There were a lot of things said that we never considered .
Lawrence

 

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