First, a word about depreciation. An RV of any sort is just about the worst investment you can make. They depreciate faster than a fat kid chasing a Twinkie. Go into this with eyes wide open and acknowledge that you’re going to take it in the shorts when it comes time to sell.
That’s ‘Too Long; Didn’t Read‘ for those of you who aren’t up to snuff on your interwebs lingo. Here’s a quick overview for easy consumption. It’s by no means all-encompassing but it’ll give you a rough idea of what life on the road looks like.
These are some of the common expenses that you’ll likely be facing. There will be more, but this is a good reality check to keep your expectations grounded.
|RV||$100-$1000/Mo||Checkout the RV Buying Guide for more details.|
|Mobile Internet||$50/mo||The bugger here is getting truly unlimited data.|
|RV Parks||$20-$55/night||Yes, PER NIGHT. There are ways to bring this down. See below.|
|Gasoline||$200-$500/mo||This guestimate is based on 1000 miles per month.|
Your new Mortgage
Your new home is going to be your biggest expense, and it’s very easy to get sticker shock when you start looking at prices. Relax, it’s far more doable that you think. First and foremost, understand that nobody with half a brain pays even close to MSRP. If you plan on buying new, you can pretty much count on paying about 70% of the prices you see online. On top of that, you can, more or less, finance them like a house. Yes, 15-30 year loans at comparable interest rates (prime + 1% or so). It’s going to depend on what you buy and your credit but here’s what rates/terms look like as of 02/28/2018 on Good Sam’s website:
You can also buy used. $10,000 will get you into something that’ll cart you around the US. This is one of those areas that you can find something to fit any budget. RV insurance really isn’t that bad, and there shouldn’t be any surprises. If you buy a fancier rig, your insurance is going to cost more. Duh.
Here are a few different scenarios for shiggles. Obviously, it will vary widely, but this will at least give you a rough idea. Remember, this is assuming you put zero cash down and don’t have a trade-in.
|Configuration||Terms||Monthly Payment||Fuel Cost|
|Super reliable diesel truck & new 5th wheel trailer||Truck @ $30k over 6 years @5% :$450/mo|
Trailer @ $40k over 15 years @5%: $280/mo
|$730/mo||$200 (15mpg,@ $3/gal)||$930/mo|
|Fairly reliable diesel truck & a pre-loved 5th wheel trailer||Truck @ $20k over 6 years @ 5%:$300/mo|
Trailer @ $20k over 15 years @5%: $140/mo
|$440/mo||$200 (15mpg,@ $3/gal)||$640/mo|
|New, entry level Class A motorhome||$100k financed over 15 years @ 5%||$790/mo||$425 (7mpg,@ $3/gal)||$1215/mo|
|Pre-loved, entry level Class A motorhome||$60k finanaced over 15 years @ 5%||$550/mo||$425 (7mpg @ $3/gal)||$975/mo|
|15 year old, well-loved Class A motorhome that’s totally road worthy||$12k over 5 years @ 5% (a bank probably won’t loan you money for this)||$226/mo||$425 (7mpg,@ $3/gal)||$650/mo|
These are not cheap and the topic is covered in depth all over the net. The TL;DR is ~$20/night, if you’re staying in state parks and around $55/night for a nice KOA campground. This varies greatly by location. If you don’t need internet, showers, electricity, or water you can avoid or significantly reduce these fees. Getting to this point will cost you more up front, but will save you from a death by many cuts and give you a ton more freedom with where you go. Stay tuned for a guide dedicated to this.