How much did it cost to go from being an apartment dweller to moving into a RV in the end you ask? If you want the short answer, I’ve spent close to $19,000 during the past seven months on everything from buying the truck back in October up to this point. But hold your horses, because it’s actually much more complicated than that.
So complicated in fact that I can understand why most people who go full-time RVing and blog about it don’t bother to post the information about the initial costs and just stick with the monthly upkeep numbers.
I have a running tally of everything I’ve bought related to RVing, and I wouldn’t mind posting it right here except that: 1. It’s a rambling two page list that is hard to understand and make use of without considerable explanation, and 2. would quickly get buried by new posts and I could see this information being something that people would like to refer back too.
So putting it all on a separate page in my navigation bar makes more sense. It’s also been niggling in the back of my mind that my About page is horribly out of date and that Bertha and the Casita (name still pending) deserve their own page. I’d like to say that you could expect a overhaul of all of these things within the next week, but there’s a reason nothing has changed since I launched the blog in November: I have next to no web design prowess.
It will get done, but I make no guarantee that the process will be pretty or efficient. Maybe I should put a little Construction Zone: Hard Hat Required graphic up in the banner. But in the meantime, I can’t just leave you all hanging so here are some of the larger points when it came to my initial RVing costs. I’d say sorry for the fact that the following paragraphs are so convoluted but as I said: the financial aspects of getting started RVing are a complicated thing and require some explanation.
The truck and RV were the biggest purchases of course, at $6,984 (after $4,000 trade in on my previous car) and $8,995 respectively. As I said when I purchased the Casita in March, I haven’t paid sales tax on it yet so that number will be going up next tax season when I pay that in. That already brings the total to $15,973.
I didn’t count the registration/title/insurance for the truck in my numbers since it ended up being slightly less than my car had been – it was a equal replacement that would have been about the same had I stayed in the apartment. The RV registration and title were only $49 total, I got lucky on account that the Casita is 13 years old and most travel trailers of that age are on their last legs, er, wheels? The RV insurance was added to my policy on the truck which runs from 1/16 to 7/16. It was $100 for about the 4.25 months remaining. Here I will note that it is a part-time use policy through Geico with an estimated use of 20 days a year, when the policy comes due in July I’ll have to switch to a full-timing policy which will probably cost more and will also probably be though a different carrier.
The next two largest purchases were my laptop at $1,100, and my $747 trip to Camping World which included a Reese weight distribution hitch (which still isn’t in working condition – sigh), a new 7-prong electrical plug casing, and installation of both. You could argue that the laptop isn’t technically RV related, but to me it totally was in that I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise since I had a monster of a desktop that was less than two years old and would have served me well for at least another year.
If you’re keeping track, we’re at $17,969 now. The last thousand went for other RVing supplies that I’ll list in full when I make that finances page, including the brake controller, storage lot rent for the two months the Casita was parked, the supplies needed to re-caulk the bad seams, fix the holes left by the rusted dinette screws, and wash and wax the trailer. Then the water and sewer hoses, water filter and pressure regulator, and leveling blocks, etc.
Equally important to the tricky RVing money equation is how much you have left after all is said and done. Do you guys remember waaaay back in November I laid out a plan for going full-timing? If you’ve been following along since the beginning you know that I originally wanted $25,000 in the bank before I went out and bought the truck, but decided not to wait that long and had $23,700 at the time of purchase (if I’d waited I would have had that amount by now, except that I switched jobs in January so perhaps not).
Anywho the truck and Casita money came directly from my savings, but most of the rest of the stuff came from the $1,800 in tax refunds I got back in February from 2011. I’m sitting right around $7,500 in the bank at the time of this writing which is about where I should be, but I’ve been losing money instead of saving it since said job switch.
Living costs here at Stoney Crest are going to be nearly $300 less per month than what they were at the apartment as long as Julie is living with me, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to start saving again now that the big ticket purchases are over for a while. This is a good thing because I expect that getting solar installed on my trailer is going to be about 2 grand for what I want.
All in all, my costs to get started RVing came out to about what I expected, not because I knew everything I was going to need to buy, but because I planned on there being things I couldn’t know about until the process was underway. It’s funny actually, because nearly three years ago when I moved from Wisconsin to South Carolina the total cost ended up being around $3,000, and asides from the actual truck and trailer purchase that’s what I’m at now.
Any questions? I know money is a touchy subject for some people but if you’d like to add anything about your own RVing costs or expected costs, I’d love to hear. The picture for today’s post show our lovely screen tent, which we’re borrowing from local friends who haven’t been using it. Earlier this week Julie and I spent hours one evening enjoying the crickets and frogs chirping and a cool breeze unhindered (mostly) by insects, it was glorious.