RV living seems like a good way to save money while living in a natural setting. While saving a chunk of money on rent and bills monthly, and with the possibility of re-selling the home at an equivalent price, there are costs and expenses to be aware of before purchasing a mobile home.
-Trailer: ( $5,000)
Our budget was on average $4,000. We knew we wanted a trailer with slide-out, 25ft+, and in a decent shape (no mold, no leaks). After several weeks of research, we realized that we had to raise up our budget a bit in order to get something closer to what we needed. We found our home on wheels on Craigslist. After driving a couple hours to see it, we realized that pictures aren’t always accurate and sometimes it is a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” kinda deal. The trailer was listed at $5,500 and we managed to get it at $5,000.
-Insurances and Transfer Fees: ($150)
Insurances always depend what kind of vehicle you have and what you need. Insuring a trailer for a year is normally very cheap.
Since we are parking our trailer at the same location for a few months, we didn’t feel the urge on installing a fifth wheel itch on the truck. Instead, we hired someone from Craigslist that charged a flat rate to tow our fifth wheel to our town (200km). It was cheaper than buying and installing the hitch, and it was done professionally and safely.
-Repairs ($225 so far)
You never know what to truly expect when you purchase a used recreational vehicle. So be ready for the unexpected!
Floor: wood laminate on Craigslist: $75
Fix leaks (yeah, there were leaks!): plastic cement+ tools: $50
Replacing fridge: $100
-Making It Home: ($400)
Coffee table: $25
Closet and shoe organizers: $40
Fluffy blankets, and pillow cases: $20
2 Electric heaters: $135
Electric fireplace: $150
2×4 for deck and stairs: 30
-Propane tanks: ($16/mth)
We have 2 propane tanks. They seem to cost about $16 each to fill up where we live. We estimate that we will use one a month for cooking and water heating. As we have full hookups, we will try to solely heat with electric heaters to save on propane.
My partner works construction so he has leftover material and gets good deals. He got sheets of plywood that we put around the trailer, as well as foam panels to insulate. We still need to cover the pipes and protect the roof. To be continued…
In all, so far, we spent just over $6,000 for our new home. We are realizing that owning and living in an RV during the winter months could become an expensive lifestyle. We already spent over $1,000 just to make it ready to move in and we haven’t put a roof on it for the winter yet. That might be the next thing to be put on our list. This is all new and exciting and we are always aware of possible complication. Life in a RV will definitely be quite an adventure!
I am a home owner. A home on wheels owner. That feels good to say. Plus, I don’t owe any mortgage and I don’t pay someone else’s mortgage. It might not be luxurious like a home with multiple bedrooms, a nice jetted tub or double car garage. I also don’t own the land. But it has a functional kitchen, a cozy living room, a comfy bedroom, a shower and a flush-able toilet. And, I get to choose my backyard and my view whenever I want. What else do I need, really?
Owning and living in a trailer is something I always considered doing. We had a truck camper a few years ago that we used for camping on rainy weekends and in the chill autumn days. Then we traded it for a 24′ trailer that ended up staying in the backyard for a whole summer until we traded it for a boat. At the time, we weren’t ready to live out of our town, further from our social lives. But years went by, and we grew up as the town developed, and after the series of past events, we decided it was the time to invest into a home. So the idea of living in a trailer came back to mind. We saw immediately the BENEFITS of the RV life:
Not dealing with landlords Finding a place to rent in town for 2 adults, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, and big toys isn’t easy at all. While the majority of accommodation aren’t pet friendly, only a few have parking for more than one vehicle. As for the toys, better find a place to store them. There was no way we could sign up for another year of steep rent and strict restrictions. We chose to stay at a RV Park/campground for the winter months. There are no restrictions on pets, parking, or toys. We go day per day, and have the freedom to leave whenever we want.
Save money on rent and bills The daily rate includes full hook-ups (hydro + running water) and wi-fi Internet. There are laundry facilities and hot showers on site. Staying at a RV Park will allow us to save around $1,000 on rent and bills monthly.
Personal ownership Owning a home without owing a mortgage is absolutely amazing. With $5,000 we managed to find a trailer that suited our needs. With a little bit of TLC and making it ready for the colder months, we are excited to turn this vehicle into a cozy home. And after the winter, we have the freedom to travel, or stay, or re-sell it, hopefully, at a similar price.
Having the freedom to wake up in the setting that you want To wake up into nature, in a safe refuge tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the resort is refreshing and grounding. Whether you choose to live on the road, or stay at a same place for a period of time, the advantage of RV living is to have the possibility to choose your backyard.
RV living seems like an attractive lifestyle. But before stepping into anything serious, there are a few THINGS TO PUT INTO CONSIDERATION:
Can you live the compact life? Depending on what size and type of trailer you choose, it is most likely to be slightly smaller than your previous accommodation. Getting used to a smaller space is something to think about, especially if there is more than you living in. As for us, we left a 300sq ft bachelor to move into a 280sq ft trailer. We should be fine.
Can you get rid of things you don’t need? Downsizing, downsizing, downsizing. I’ve been downsizing every time I’ve been moving, but this time is crucial for this new lifestyle. I had to get rid of things I didn’t need, or haven’t used in the past year. I donated TONS of clothing to my local women’s shelter and gave stuff to friends. As much as it was hard to give away certain items, it felt good and refreshing to own little, living off the essentials.
Are you a fixer-upper, or have a friend that is? Having a trailer is like having a car: if you buy new, less work you’ll have to put in it right away. If you buy used, there are always things that need to be fixed. Either way, regular care and maintenance is needed. When we purchased our trailer, we had to fix the leaks on the roof, rip the moldy carpet, put a new floor, and now we have to winterize it and possibly build a roof for the winter. Luckily, my partner is very handy and that helps a lot. A community at a RV Park is usually very tight, and everybody will most likely be happy to help out.
Are you ok with living further from town, but closer to nature? RV parks are most likely to be nestled in a natural surrounding. It is a return to the basics, living off-grid, away from the hustle and bustle. You might trade the cable TV to a good book, the gym for a walk in nature, and the nightclub to a bonfire with neighbours. I guess I was always meant for this!
Are you willing to acclimatize to a smaller space in order to have an incredible backyard? Are you willing to own less to be able to live more? Are you a fixer upper and are looking to save money on rent, own your home and stop paying for someone else’s mortgage? Are you looking for an adventuresome lifestyle, away from the crowds, and closer to nature? Then look no further. RV living is just what you need.
The insurance lady handled back the papers to me: “Congratulations! You are officially the owner of a trailer.” I looked at her, a most satisfied smile spreading from my face to my whole body. She had no idea what this meant to me.
After living predominantly in the beautiful resort town of Whistler for the past 12 years, it was time for a change. This small town has done amazingly for me during all those years: incredible nature hiking trails, quiet lakes, immense snowboarding terrain, tight community, inspiring people. But things have started to develop: The town has grown into becoming one of the most popular four season resorts in the world, hosting millions of visitors every year. Not only the village, the town and the hills are busier, but the trails are crowded, the lakes populated and the secret spots no so secret anymore. I get it. This is how resorts work. If it wasn’t for tourism, this town wouldn’t be what it is today… That’s what we wanted right?
This past summer was the busiest season in Whistler’s history. Of course that’s great, for businesses and for employees to bank on some good money. But the labour shortage brought exhaustion to locals stretching crazy hours and loosing sanity. This labour shortage was, in part, a result of a lack of accommodation. With more and more outsiders buying properties, and Internet platforms such as AirBnB attracting money hungry investors, it left Whistler with barely any accommodation to rent for long-term tenants. And for the lucky ones that found a roof, they could expect to pay 70% of their income just on rent. With a labour shortage, laughable steep rent, and more tourists to cater to, a 10+ hour day, 7 days a week schedule wasn’t surprising to hear. We don’t live in this beautiful town solely to work: we are here to live an experience. How can we do so in such circumstances?
A couple months ago, I received an email from my landlord. They told me that the house was sold and I had a month and a half to move. When I was advised, I was assured I would be able to finish the 7 remaining months on my lease. But the new owners didn’t want tenants, and rather do a nightly rental business with the place. I guess when you buy a million dollar home you do whatever you want, even if it is to dump people in the houseless streets just before winter. It is the second time this year this happened to me. I am a mature and professional adult, and a clean and quiet tenant with great references. That was it: I was done with landlords. I was done with their unbelievable restrictions, greediness and paucity of compassion. I was ready to have my own place, but I wasn’t financially ready for Whistler’s outlandish real estate.
So I bought a trailer.
Stay tuned as I live the RV life and share my experiences with you!