How to live the RV Lifestyle in turbulent and unsettled times – Part 2

June 16, 2012 by Bob Difley · 19 Comments  
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By Bob Difley

apache-sitgreaves-nfIn last week’s post I wrote that RVers were uniquely suited to survival  ”in unsettled and turbulent times” that we are currently living through in our economy and politics. By survival, I mean the ability to continue the RV Lifestyle, when the feces hit the rapidly spinning cooling device.

And as I write this, the news from Europe is anything but encouraging, with some analysts predicting a global recession if elections don’t turn out right. This will in turn cause our stock market to take a downturn, causing consumers to lose confidence and tighten their spending belts, the reduced spending will cost jobs, etc. etc.

If you haven’t made the transition from stick house to fulltime RVer, you will still unfortunately be locked into the expenses associated with “normal” living, house payment and property taxes, predictable fuel costs for commuting, a food bill that doesn’t change much month to month, and other everyday expenses that vary little. About the only control you have over discretionary expenses are in how often you eat out, how many toys and gifts you purchase, and how many vacations and weekenders you take. But the bottom line is that you are not going to be able to reduce your expenditures much as long as you stay in a stick house.

Now compare that to the RV lifestyle where you live fulltime in your RV. First, you trade a house payment for an RV payment, which will likely be lower than your house payment. However, when you bought your house, you bought it not only for the physical house itself, but for where it was (location, location, location), the better the location, the higher the price of the land the house sits on.

With an RV, you pay separately for the living quarters (house or RV) and where it sits (RV resort, campground, forest service or BLM campground, or boondocking campsite). You can’t move your house to a cheaper lot when times get tough, and it is unlikely that you could move from your current location to a better location that was also less expensive.

But with an RV you can choose to live in your RV in a location where your costs are lower, you are not locked into a previous contract with fixed costs. Ffor instance you can move your RV from an expensive, full frills, RV resort to a simple forest service campground or boondocking campsite that, if you look at it in a more positive way, is trading your current location (RV resort) for a better location (woods, scenic, quiet, no neighbors, nature views, visiting wildlife, etc.) that also happened to be cheaper–a whole lot cheaper. If you only boondocked 15 days out of every month you would save half your campground expense. If you usually pay $30 – $40 a night, that would be a $450 to $600 savings–each and every month. I’m sure you can think of better ways to spend those savings.

Some might argue that leaving their neighborhood for the forest primeval was not an equal step but a downgrade instead. That’s where some perspective adjustment comes into play. Can you really make a logical argument for living cheek-to-jowl with neighbors you don’t even know, hearing their TV playing, kids yelling, dogs barking. etc. is more desirable than a pristine forest setting?

As an RVer, you have the choice of where you want to live, what you want as your surroundings, how you want to spend your days. If you have enough padding between your income and your outgo to account for the occasional stumbles, go for it. But for the rest of us, it’s a nice feeling to know that we can make instant living decisions that immediately–from day one–save a bunch of money when we need to.

And remember this also. Behavorial experts say that it takes about three weeks to change a habit, and maybe the lifestyle you live now could be transformed into a simpler one just by doing it for a while and letting it become your new lifestyle habit. If it works, look how much you can reduce what is a big chunk of most RVers budgets. There are a lot of fulltime boondockers out there (read some of the comments) that spend much, if not most of their time, without campground expenses–and they don’t consider their enjoyment of the RV lifestyle to be less than staying at a fancy RV resort, in fact, it is likely the opposite.

Next week, more nitty-gritty ways to cut expenses and afford the fulltime RV lifestyle.

For more RVing tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts

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19 Responses to “How to live the RV Lifestyle in turbulent and unsettled times – Part 2”

  1. butterbean carpenter on June 17th, 2012 4:45 pm

    Howdy Bob,
    #30′ off the APPROVED FOREST ROAD; it’s agonna get pretty crowded with everybody nose to tail just 30′ off of the road!!! If you leave enuff room to pull out when you get ready to leave some nut with a 10′ A-frame will put it in there!!! Yeah, it would be nice if we could all be ‘boondockers’, but some just can’t hack it and I for one don’t want nobody puffing exhaust fumes into my SPACE!! There are some who can’ RESORT and should; some who MUST camp and have to; and there are some
    who will screw it all up for everyone else!!! Fuel WILL be so expensive AFTER the election NOBODY will be able to get out of their driveway!!! SALUD!!!

  2. Jim on June 17th, 2012 5:21 pm

    Butterbean, why will fuel be so high?

  3. PeteB on June 17th, 2012 6:13 pm

    Don’t know if anyone has come across this piece of REALLY good news (the way I see it anyways) but people (as in ‘We The People’) are volountaring and taking over in order to be able to conserve what we deem transferable to the generations that will follow us.

    Here is the link to an initiative I feel most commendable:

  4. Chris C on June 17th, 2012 8:42 pm

    Bob, in your part of the world I’m sure there is all kinds of boon-docking area. Here in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, etc. there is no such thing. Correct me if I’m wrong. We have national forests but you are forbidden to drive a powered wheeled vehicle through it. Bicycles will be banned next. We have to protect the flora and fauna, you know. It sure looks neat out there–big horizon, camp where you feel like at no charge. Meanwhile your brothers east of the Rockies are paying $15 a night for an adequate state park–and that is IF you made reservations months ahead.

  5. Rabenfels on June 18th, 2012 9:32 am

    comments posted in part one of 6-9-2012

  6. randy on June 18th, 2012 10:25 am

    fortunately for me I joined thousand trails years ago and now for my $500. annual maintenance I can camp for up to 3 weeks at a time in some great campgrounds, for free. after 1 month I figure my maintenance is paid for and the rest of the year is gratis.Just spent 6 of the last 7 weeks at Yosemite lakes 5 miles outside the north entrance at Yosemite national Park what a blast it was gorgeous. looking forward to hanging out on this West coast for the next 3-4 years, before heading back east where our family is. I also do some boondocking not to cut expenses but to see beautiful places.

  7. gary sheldon on June 18th, 2012 1:12 pm

    Great reference PeteB. What is suprising is that some liberal lunatic judge has not over turned the will of the people as one feminazi judge did on prop 8.

  8. Gary Graves on June 18th, 2012 2:18 pm

    Mr. Diffey,
    My compliments to for your posts. As a newly retired person beginning to do a lot of RVing I am very appreciative of all your ideas and willingness to take your time to share your knowledge and expertise. You are also one sharp guy who can write!

  9. Fred Brandeberry on June 19th, 2012 7:00 am

    Hi gyuys & gals:
    Just because it has wheels, doesn’t mean we have to move often to save fuel and camping costs.
    We are in our eleventh year of full-timing (with no house) and loving every minute.

    Happy Camping,
    Fred b.

  10. LRRP on June 22nd, 2012 8:33 pm

    Like Randy, we’re full time boondockers. Have hooked up to line power six days since first of December and have not used generator since we have solar. Spent 12 weeks in Mexico, primarily in Yucatan at cost between 0 and $10/day. Since return have boondocked in National Parks/National Forest/Wildlife Areas/State Parks and BLM land for costs between 0 and $4/day. Can only hope that fear and ignorance keep most from doing this or the wide-open spaces will become crowded.

  11. Cheddar on June 23rd, 2012 3:50 am

    After 32 years, our house is paid off. Bills are almost paid. We’ve narrowed it down to a travel trailer, but my main concern is: Where do we (and everyone else?) get an abundance of fresh, clean water for daily use (or 3-4 weeks worth)? I like using a lot of water for cooking, cleaning and showering (ok, I’ll give into a “Navy-shower”, but even then?). If I don’t pay someone $25 to $50 a night, where do I go to fill up these small 30-gal fresh water tanks for free and without hassle? With those small water tanks, out Boondocking for any length of time, it just seems to me that a person can’t even come close to what we do at home (?).

  12. Tom Gourley on July 8th, 2012 9:59 pm

    Finding water can be easy in most places. We have spent weeks in the Utah mountains near Beaver camping free at 10500 feet in the woods for free. We just drive a litte ways down the hill with 4 6 gallon water jugs and fill them up in the state parks. They have fresh water and give it away without question. We even offered to pay something and the camp host was just thankful fornthe offer and conversation. She even offered to help fill the jugs. You can domthis if you give the effort.

  13. abercrombie on August 12th, 2012 8:13 pm

    A volte mi piacerebbe credere che la gente oggi sarebbe solo ottenere uno stile di vita e rendersi conto di quanto sciocca appaiono. I implicano, perché attualmente spamming, è un mezzo di hacking o di qualche cosa. Basta cessare, per favore, io preferisco studiare la gente anche altri pareri sai. comunque, publish eccellente. solo sbarazzarsi in favore dello spam. grazie.

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