RV Life – Can I Afford It?

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Can I Afford It
If you’re Going RV … save early, save often.

The RV Life comes with a long list of costs.

Many are known, some are unknown.

Can I Afford It?” is a question that requires planning.

When considering an entry into the RV Life full-time there’s always one burning question to resolve, “Can I afford it?” This is what it all comes down to. The money.

My experience was no different. Even when we found the RV model we wanted, I spent considerable time doing a budget analysis to determine what kind of monthly payment we could afford and how much down payment we could come up with.

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Can I afford it?” is a loaded question for Going RV, because it includes so many more considerations than just the cost of the RV. For example …

  1. I had to include the cost of a new truck because the old one was too small for the job.
  2. Monthly rent would go away, but we’d still have the trailer payment.
  3. Utilities would no longer be needed, but there will be campground fees and fuel costs.
  4. Storage unit costs would be incurred to store my household goods.
  5. Insurance costs would go up, to cover the trailer and its contents, plus a new truck.
  6. Entertainment costs would increase for all the great sight-seeing activities we’d be doing and souvenirs we’d be collecting.
  7. The general cost of living (food, clothing, supplies, etc.) would be a moving target due to traveling around.
Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Can I Afford It
Work the plan and the plan will work (usually).

And of course, there’s always the unknown costs. Repairs, maintenance, accessories, and all the various other supplies and expenses waiting to be discovered as we learned about RV living.

We did our best to imagine the things we might encounter for the financial plan. Then we added a little cushion for the “just in case” scenarios. We finally arrived at a price that would work, which was fortunately right in line with the RV model we wanted!

Eye of the Beholder - RV Life - Can I Afford It
Our 2017 Keystone Laredo Travel Trailer.

The 2017 Keystone Laredo Travel Trailer model we chose was 40 feet long, 3 slide-outs, a double capacity refrigerator, king size bed, auto-leveling system, and many other features that made us fall in love with it.

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Candy’s Campers in Murfreesboro, TN earned our business when we first met their representative at the Nashville RV & Boat EXPO. They did an excellent job answering all our questions, helping us choose the right accessories and add-ons for the best towing and full-time RV living possible.

We were able to bundle most of the add-on and accessories costs into the final purchase price so that the loan payment would cover these items. Some costs could not be bundled so we had to plan for those items separately. For example, I wanted a way to take our two bicycles on the road with us, but I didn’t want them to be exposed to the weather. I ended-up buying a shell-topper for the new truck, which wasn’t something I planned for. This consumed a fair amount of my savings budget that was originally intended for a larger down payment on the trailer loan. The result was a slightly higher trailer payment than budgeted for, so I had to make a few adjustments to deal with that.

Since I was new to the RV Life and lacked experience, I eventually learned that there some pricey supplies that RV full-timers need while on the road. For example, black tank treatment chemicals, fresh water filters, propane, and RV-safe toilet paper. These unplanned items add up, so it was a good thing I planned for some contingency room in my monthly budget plan.

If you’re considering Going RV, my recommendation is to build some flexibility into your plan for those unexpected costs that you will surely encounter. Also, I suggest you build a decent amount of savings for making the launch. Whether it’s the down payment on the RV, the deposit on a storage unit, or an add-on piece of equipment for your rig, you should plan on running into something you didn’t expect.

Luke 16:10

Check out the next article to explore the other things we dealt with as we Prepare for Launch into the RV Life!

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Steve Coryell