Help Calculate Actual Cost of Fulltiming??

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IowaCamper

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I'd really like to see some more detail here.  We want  to be full Timers someday, but we really have no ideal of what the actual cost would be. ie campsite fees, Insurance, Meals, Maintance, extras needed along the way.  Is there a good formula for us to use to know how much we will need in 20 years when we retire and go full time?

We just go out for weekends locally and maybe a week or two once a year now but we've been doing that for about ten years and we really want to just buy a big M/H or T/T and hit
the road when we do retire.  Any help here would be appriceted.

John & Judy
 

Tom

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John & Judy

Some of our fulltiming members have calculated and shared some of the costs in the past. Maybe they'd be willing to share updated information.
 

DonJordan

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John and Judy, welcome to the RV Forum.  You have come to the right place for information about the RVing life style.  My wife and I have been full timing now for almost 5 years and love the life.  As far as costs go, you will continue to have all of the things like health insurance, life insurance, food, etc. that you now have.  Increased costs will be for fuel and camping plus fees for any "attractions" that you feel you MUST see.  Fuel costs are something you will have to calculate for yourself based on the MPG figures for you RV.  My LARGE diesel pusher averages just under 8 mpg and we tow a 4000 Lb+ Jeep Grand Cherokee.  I've been accused of being a lead-foot so chances are that someone else might do better by 1-1.5 mpg if they kept the speed down to 55 mph, etc.  ::) ;D.  Our fuel use/miles driven was 692 Gal/5181 miles in 2002, 2056 Gal/15,832 miles in 2003, and 670 Gal/4764 miles in 2004.

Our camping cost averaged $10.31 in 2002, $12.10 in 2003, ans $3.66 in 2004.  2004 was particularly low as we bought an RV lot in Yuma and spent nearly half the year there.  2003 included a coast to coast trip across Canada from BC to Nova Scotia and is probably pretty representative of a high end average.  By the way, those figures are per day based on a 365 day year.

Depending on whether you are  more into boon-docking or traveling to sight-see you may have increased expenses for eating out.  We fall into the second category and do little boon-docking except at our kids houses.  Our "dining out" expenses averaged $4.45 in 2002, $7.52 in 2003, and $7.02 in 2004.

Hope these numbers help in your planning.
 

Ned

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If Don amortized the cost of the Yuma lot, his daily cost would be a lot higher for last year.

For 2004, we averaged $13.76/day for camping.  This included a mix of boondocking, free sites at friends, daily stops on the road, some weekly and a few monthly site rentals.  I expect our experience is typical of fulltimers that don't own a site to stay on for part of the year.
 

Phil

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Ned said:
If Don amortized the cost of the Yuma lot, his daily cost would be a lot higher for last year.

And, if Don amortized the appreciation on the value of his lot, his daily cost would be negative.  :)

Phil
 

Ned

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Phil,

And you can park in your driveway in SLC and say the same thing, but you wouldn't have near as much fun :D
 

DonJordan

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Ned said:
If Don amortized the cost of the Yuma lot, his daily cost would be a lot higher for last year.
For 2004, we averaged $13.76/day for camping.

Smoky said:
Don:
Besides the Yuma lot, what else did you do to keep your camping costs so low. Even the $10 a day sounds attractive.

Ned, I didn't include the cost of our stay on our lot in Yuma for the simple reason that we are only here part of the year and I have no idea how long we will be able to continue the RVing life so I have no idea of what time frame to amortize the cost over.? But if I make a stab in the dark and say 5 years, then the average daily cost to totally amortize the lot would be a bit over $20 per day for each and every day of the 5 years.? OTOH if we are still RVing in 10 years the cost would be half that.? I don't see the point of including the cost of the lot in our camping costs - we are not camping while we are here.? This is our home.? Do other RVers include the daily cost of owning their home in figuring their daily camping costs?? I think not!!  ;D ;D

Smokey,

The $10 per day was in large measure due to the fact that in 2002 we rented a full time spot at Desert Gold RV Resort in Brenda, AZ and spent about 149 days there plus we spent 60 days staying at our daughter and SIL's place plus some no cost stays when we had the coach serviced at Monaco and when we had damaged fiberglass repaired and painted.? You will probably have a number of free days or very low daily cost at BLM areas, etc. and of course any stays with family help? ;D.

Actually, the $13 + daily cost in 2003 is probably a lot more representative.
 

Ned

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Don,

I fully understand the problem in trying to allocate the cost of an owned property.  I wasn't implying you should.  If you were to do it, I would use the typical cost of renting a comparable site in that area for whatever length of time you stay there, but that isn't a real cost.

Your $13/day is very close to our experience.
 

BernieD

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DonJordan said:
Ned, I didn't include the cost of our stay on our lot in Yuma for the simple reason that we are only here part of the year and I have no idea how long we will be able to continue the RVing life so I have no idea of what time frame to amortize the cost over. 

Don

You really can't amortize the cost of the lot. The way the lot prices have been going you would have a negative cost since you would be amortizing the profit from the price increase :D :D
 

DonJordan

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Ned & Bernie,

I'm in full agreement that there is no way to amorize the cost of staying on your own property as part of your camping costs.  In Ned's Rolling Stock program I enter the number of days we stay somewhere for free (including our lot, relatives, etc.) and leave the cost blank.

FWIW, our camping costs per night in 2002 ranged from free to $47.08.  in 2003 they ranged from free to $88.75 (Albuquerque Baloon Festival).  In 2004 the range was from free to $39.24.  :)
 

BernieD

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kkolbus said:
Bernie,
Nice try, but like gains in the stock market, you can't buy a cup of coffee with them until you sell. 'Till then, it's a cost, but I know you were being humorous. :)

Karl

Actually, it isn't a cost it's an investment. A nitely campground fee is a cost, you could never recover it. Owning your campsite is an investment, you may never recover all or even most of it, but it is still possible. Just like the stock market :)
 

DonJordan

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Here's a final word on our true costs of camping.? I went through the 2002, 2003, and 2004 lodging lists and subtracted out all of the free days and came up with actual camping days for which we paid camping fees for 2002 as 283 days, 2003 as 300 days, and 2004 as 104 days.? I then went through and subtracted the amounts we spent in motels/hotels (the days were subtracted in the previous numbers) and came up with actual true cost per day of actual camping as: 2002 = $13.30; 2003 = $13.19; and 2004 as $12.90.? It's interesting to me (at least) that the 3 years came out so close.? The overall average for the three years was $13.18/day. ;D
 

Phil

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kkolbus said:
Nice try, but like gains in the stock market, you can't buy a cup of coffee with them until you sell. 'Till then, it's a cost,

Karl,

It's nice to cash those stock dividend checks every three months.  :)

It's nice to watch property values increase.  :)

It's not nice to watch the RV depreciate.  :mad:

Phil
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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IowaCamper...
As you can see from the lengthy discussion [that is, if you are still reading here  ;) ], fulltimers hold their overall  costs down by using a lot of free or very low cost campsites.  If you look for them, there are quite a lot of low cost or even free campsites available in town and county parks, federal lands, and businesses that are seeking to attract you for other purposes (e.g.casinos).  You can also reduce costs with long term stays, which are typically steeply discounted.  Even a week long stay usually garners one "free" night, i.e. you pay for six and stay seven.  Another thing that helps is senior citizen discounts at state and federal parks, sometimes as much as 50% off.  When comparing to your current home expenses, remember that this cost include utilities and there are no property taxes to pay.  The extent to which you use the low-cost options will dictate whether your average daily campsite expense is around $13 or more like $20-24.

As Don says, your costs for fuel, restaurants, sight-seeing, etc. will depend very much on your personal wants and needs.  You will likely travel at least 6000 miles/year and 10-12,000 is probably more likely. In the first years when you are avidly traveling around to see this great country, 16-20,000 miles/year is not uncommon. Fuel and vehicle maintenance costs obviouslt depend on mileage. Fuel economy will range from 7 to about 13, depending on type and size of vehicle and how heavy your foot is. 7-10 is probably typical for a motorhome and  trailers usually average a bit higher, perhaps 10-13 mpg.  RV fuel economy is generally quite sensitive to speed becasue of the wind resistence of large vehicles.

You need insurance on your self and on your RV. If you currently have two vehicles at home, the insurance costs for a motorhome + a towed car or a truck + trailer will not be much different than what you already pay. May even be less if you are currently  in a high insurance cost region.  You will also need to maintain separate personal liability coverage which is currently included in your home owners or renters insurance. This is usually included in "fulltimers" RV insurance packages and adds around $150-200 per year.

Health insurance can be more expensive, especially if you now enjoy a low-cost HMO in your home town. Most fulltimers try to maintain doctor and dentist relationships in some area (not necessarily  their old home town) and visit there 1-2 a year to handle all routine medical & dental needs. Costs are about the same as you would have if you were not full-timing.  However, if you need continual routine access to treatments as you travel, chances are that both insurance and out-of-pocket costs will be higher than you now pay because health plans that provide coverage across the country generally cost more than more restirctive plans.

Some fulltimers choose to maintain property somewhere, a "Home base". If you do that, the cost of maintaining it is part of your annual budget and makes some of the RVing costs add-ons instead of ini-lieu-of home expenses. Fulltimers with home bases usually buy something modest in an inexpensive area (there are still lots of them around) rather than attempting to maintain a large "city home".  Your choice in this matter is a major factor in both costs and lifestyle and is something you need to think about.  Options range from a lot where you can park your Rv and live in it to a cottage or a town house somewhere and maintenance costs (including taxes and insurance)  can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars per year to many thousands.

Hope this gives you some idea or at least the basis for further thought and questions.
 

IowaCamper

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Yes I have been following this thread.  It has helped us quite a bit to see what will be in store for us as fullTimers.  Thanks to everyone for all the help and sugestions.

John & Judy
 

PancakeBill

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Has anyonew done up a spreadsheet?  I am about to, will be glad to share, the key is getting all the categorys.  Not being fulltime (yet), I don't know if I will hit all of them, but with your help, I am sure we can get enough to make it close.

 

Smoky

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I can provide a spreadsheet from the Newmar Yahoo forum.  I will see if I can figure out how to upload it as a file.  The example they give, IMO is living "high off the hog" at 51k a year.  I plan to get my own expenses in under 20k a year.  I might be overly ambitious (given I have a high maintenance Admiral :D ) but a difficult objective will help keep us in line lol. 

 

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