How to live the RV Lifestyle in turbulent and unsettled times – Part 2
By Bob Difley
In 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