Go Mobile: RV Living for Adventure, Savings

by Josh Stoddard
(Phoenix, AZ)

Despite all the talk about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 breaking records, or home prices trending upwards for almost a year now, the U.S. economy is still far from healthy. Unemployment was down to 7.6 percent in July, the lowest number since December 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But inflation (the CPI) sits at 15 percent from June 2008 to June 2013, meaning the dollars people are earning buy far less today than they did when the recession started.


Americans are searching for ways to stretch their hard-earned dollars as far as possible in this new economy where quantitative easing (money printing), and subsequent inflation, have become the go-to policy of the Federal Reserve. Some are getting safety education at huntercourse.com (*****I would like "safety education at huntercourse.com" to be my one link and for it to go to http://www.huntercourse.com/usa/*****) and harvesting their own meat. Others are investing in green energy, growing their own vegetables or even maximizing their pre-taxed 401K deductions. Overall, housing is the largest monthly expense for American families, accounting for 18 to 30 percent of total income before utilities, according to Visual Economics. RV living is becoming more appealing not only because of the freedom and adventure that comes with it, but also the savings on living expenses.

Sell Your House, Buy a Home
There is no definitive criteria as to when you should sell your home for maximum gains. But one simple principle to follow is that when prices are up, especially if you're underwater, sell. A Standard and Poor index says average home prices are up 12 percent across the country since last July, with some markets gaining all the value they lost since 2008. This is mostly due to quantitative easing by the Fed, and will only last as long as the policy does (which will be at least through the end of 2013). Talk to a local real estate agent or learn the value of your home via an online valuation tool. If your home is worth more than what you owe on it, now is the time to take advantage. Breaking even could be considered a win for some. But to minimize the time your home spends on the market before selling, either prepare it for showing (through professional carpet cleaning, staging and other improvements) or price it below market value as-is.

The RV you purchase will depend on your budget, family size and personal preference. A single individual or physically-small couple can get away with a Class C motor home (conversion van) and live comfortably. The largest motor home you'd want is 40 feet long, to be in compliance with all state laws so you can travel anywhere. Some states outlaw RVs longer than that length. You'll want to decide between a motor home or trailer, which is also personal preference, Of course you'll need the additional investment of a 4X4 truck to pull a trailer. Craigslist and eBay are two of the best sources to find great deals on RV's. Many people purchased them as luxury toys when the economy was healthy from 2002 to 2006, and are now selling them out of necessity. Do not purchase an RV without seeing it for yourself. Take as much time as you need to get the right one, as this will be your family home. The key is to pay for it in cash so you eliminate the monthly mortgage or rent payment you'd otherwise have to pay.

Logistics
You sold your house and you own an RV; the only question now is how to start enjoying the savings and freedom. Remember, an RV is a home on wheels, so you'll have everything you need in it to live as you normally would. Some people rent an RV space in a park, while others will pay someone to allow them to park on their property. You could also bypass paying for a space completely by parking at a Wal-Mart. Most of them allow overnight parking, but it still wouldn't hurt to check with the store manager to make sure. Truck stops and casinos allow overnight parking as well. You could also stay on BLM land, Forest Service land and other spots managed by government that allow extended camping for free.

Daily Life
Your biggest living expense will be fuel if you decide to park somewhere without RV hookups. You'll need to run generators for luxuries like air conditioning, microwaves and other items that require a lot of amperage to get started. Everything else can run off a battery bank that can be charged via generators, solar and/or wind power. Most RVers prefer propane for heating and cooking, while others like electric heat. There are many options for internet, with satellite and hot-spots being the most popular. You can even get satellite television if that's something you want.

Just about anything you can do in a house can be done in an RV, but it doesn't work the other way around. An RV can go anywhere, anytime. The possibilities are endless when you significantly cut your living expenses and free yourself from the burdens of owning a home or a 12-month lease at an apartment. Anyone who desires freedom, adventure and flexibility can live this lifestyle if they're willing to take the necessary steps to get there.

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