Reasons I Chose Full Time RV Living
The answer to the question why I chose full time RV living is really a rather simple one. I decided to become a full-time RV’er for three primary reasons.
- To pay down and pay off debt.
- To fire my landlord.
- To save money to buy a house.
Aside from those reasons, and the fact that it was a bit of an adventure, that’s pretty much it. That is why I decided to downsize and live in an RV for a period. See, I told you the answer was relatively simple.
I lived in my Jayco fifth wheel for a little over a year. It was a very good experience, and I would highly recommend it to others who may be seeking similar goals as those I’ve listed above. It’s a good way to help you to get finances in better order, and getting used to smaller living quarters is not that big of a shock to the system, at least it wasn’t for me.
All that said though, I also have to point out that living in an RV on a full-time basis is certainly not without its own little set of adjustments and problems. They aren’t insurmountable, but they are adjustments none the less.
Live in an RV, Fire Your Landlord
Probably the most fantastic thing about full-time RV living, at least in my case, is that I was able to fire my landlord in June 2012. Not having to make a monthly rental payment is a beautiful thing.
Losing my monthly rent payment and firing my landlord allowed me to pay down debt, and get my financial house in better order. Zero rent wasn’t the only financial benefit I experienced during my full-time RV living experience. I also ditched my car payment by selling it to CarMax, reduced my debt level, and increased my positive cash flow.
Pay Down Debt: Ditch Your Car Payment
As is the case for many Americans these days, my car payment was a bit higher than I would like it to have been. According to the folks at Edmonds.com, the average car payment for a new vehicle these days is $479 per month. Mine was under the average at just $436 per month. Still, it was too damn high!
The prices, on some of these new vehicles, are ridiculous! I’m sorry, but $60,000 for an F-150 is something I would never contemplate unless I was the latest Powerball recipient. Naturally, Ford is not the only car manufacturer with prices like these. I just mentioned them because it’s the brand I’ve most frequently purchased over the years.
Selling My Car to CarMax
I put my thinking cap on, and tried to figure out what I could do to eliminate my car payment as fast as possible, and recoup some of my monthly income. I knew about CarMax, but I had never had any dealings with them. After looking at reviews online, I found that most recommended CarMax for getting the most on a trade-in or buy-out.
I took my Ford Transit Connect to the carwash and had her prettied up. I then drove to the CarMax in the Raleigh, NC area for an appraisal. Frankly, I was a bit upside-down with regard to equity and bluebook car valuation estimates, but I was hopeful that I would receive a fair offer.
So, I handed my keys the salesperson at CarMax, they appraised my vehicle, gave me a fair offer, and I sold it to them on the spot. I did have to take a bit of a hit for being upside-down on the loan balance versus buy-out valuation, but I sold the car to them anyway.
In total, I had to take a $2000 loss. It was well worth the cost to enable me to reduce my debt level by $20,000, while simultaneously adding an additional $436 positive monthly cash flow. Good times! I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Actually, no I wouldn’t! I never intend to get into that position again! In fact, I don’t see myself ever buying a new car again. And, if I do, I will have a substantial down payment to go along with the purchase.
Once the Dust Settled
Between getting rid of my car payment and rent payment, I added nearly 1000 extra dollars each month to my wallet. I immediately began applying this newfound wealth to my outstanding credit card debt.
I continued to do this during my recreational vehicle stay. The debt level began to decrease much more quickly than I had previously experienced, and the stress of it all began to diminish as I whittled away at my debt.
For about 6 months from that point, I was on track with my big debt pay-down. I got off track when I saw a good deal on a house that was in my price range, and decided to divert my money toward its purchase.
I Bought a Modestly Priced Home
I think it was either June or July of 2013 when I went to closing on my new home. It’s a 1958 3br, 2ba, 2 car garage, brick home situated on 1/3 of an acre. It has required some updating, but I bought it for a reasonable price of $78,000 so I fully expected to put a little money into it.
I could have qualified for a bit more at the time, but piss on being house poor. As much as I would love to live in a larger home with lots of space, I don’t want to have to work until I’m 112 to be able to pay for it. I think people are insane to go out and assume hundreds of thousands of dollars in mortgage debt on a home. It’s just not worth it to me.
I’m not sure, but I think $200,000 - $250,000 is about the average price for a new home here in America. Maybe that’s what other Americans are looking for, but it’s not what I’ve ever been looking for. For me low cost living has always been a higher priority than having a more upscale home. I would rather have something smaller and more affordable that I can more quickly pay off.
Final Outcome of Full Time RV Living
So, when I decided to go the route of full-time RV living, my initial goals were to pay down and pay off debt, fire my landlord, and save money to buy a house and/or property for a house. I planned on living in the RV until those goals were accomplished. As you can tell from above, things didn't quite work out as I planned, but I did however achieve all of these goals in a modified manner.
Here’s where my goal accomplishment currently stands. At the time of this writing, I have not yet completely paid off my credit card debt, but I will have it eliminated by the end of 2016. I have fired my landlord. I bought a home, and lowered my monthly payment in the process.
I’m on the cusp of reaching my primary goal of paying off credit card debt. These last month’s seem like the longest in recorded history. They are crawling by. It has been a long and difficult journey, but I’m glad I made, and stuck to the commitment.
The light at the end of the tunnel is now blinding. Thank God, It’s almost over. I’ve already set my next goal, and that is to pay my car off. I’m anticipating that goal to be achieved by June 2017.
Well, thanks for reading my full-time RV living ramblings. If you get a chance, check out some of our RV replacement parts. We showcase a variety of motorhome and camper parts and supplies. Thanks in advance for your patronage, and thanks for stopping by Ridge RV.com