Alternative Housing: Living in an RV?

Posted by Mrs Money on October 15th, 2008

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82404288.jpgYou thought cloth toilet paper was crazy, hanging my laundry out to dry wasn’t too far out there, but once you hear about my next wild and crazy idea, you may begin to think I’m a crunchy nut case. Here’s the honest truth: I’d love to sell our house and live in an RV.  Let me plead my case first.  We’d save money, simplify, reduce our carbon footprint, and not be so tied down to our 9-5 (or in Mr. Money’s case, 9-9) jobs, and enjoy life the way we’re supposed to.

While I would be absolutely ecstatic over actually being able to do this, I know there are cons that we’d encounter.   Let me list my pros and cons, and please help me add to my lists.

Pros:

  • Save money.  We wouldn’t have a mortgage payment, taxes, etc.  Our monthly utilities would go down considerably.
  • We’d be able to travel all over the country between Colorado and Michigan (where our families are located) and go visit places we are dying to see.  We’d be totally free!  Sometimes I can’t stand being tied down to our house, jobs, etc.  I like to be flexible.
  • We wouldn’t have to worry about home maintenance. We could sell one of our cars. We would have less stress.  I think less “things” equals less stress!

Cons:

  • We’d have to do something to make money.  I don’t think we could make enough money online to support us.
  • It would be hard with the two dogs.  Although, if we did stay in Michigan long enough, my parents own 70 acres we could park on and put up a shed and run for the dogs to play in.  They’d love that!
  • We’d have to get rid of a lot of things, and that would be a headache.
  • We love our house and we’d lose a lot of money if we sold it in the near future.  We’ve owned it less than two years.

I almost wish we hadn’t bought our house, but we love it so much and it’s perfect for us.  It’s not too big, and we’re in an area that we can be ‘crazy hippies’ and not have people question us.  It’s not the norm for people to do things like we do here, especially living in the midwest/south where people think I am crazy for using cloth grocery bags, but the property we live on is almost an acre, which is great for growing a garden and hanging my laundry out.

 Do you think I am crazy for wanting to simplify and live in an RV?

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27 Responses to “Alternative Housing: Living in an RV?”


  1. Heck no, you’re not crazy at all! Either that or you ARE crazy — AND I am too.

    My husband and I are discussing doing the same thing starting next August when our home lease expires. We have our sights on an Airstream trailer. We’ve been downsizing for years, and RV living is the icing on the cake for us. Imagine living anywhere you want to live, free as a bird, traveling and living in a cozy abode. It’ll be cozy alright, with the two of us, our young daughter, plus the dog. But I can’t wait!

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  2. Dusty says:

    My wife would sell our house and live in an RV in a second. This would combine two of the things I hate most in life, traffic and stupid people. I would rather live under a bridge somewhere.

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  3. Mrs Money says:

    Millionaire Mommy- I am glad I’m not the only one! I think it is awesome that you downsized. I know a lot of people probably thought you were crazy because everyone wants bigger and better these days, but I want smaller and less stress!

    Dusty- I hate traffic too. We’ll just have to park our RVs. :)

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  4. mesha says:

    i & my husband have been thinking of taking our 2 kids on the road living out of a 5th wheel & a converted schoolbus so that we can be together becuz his job has him out of town 3weeks a month but finding th money/expertise 2 rehab th bus has become an issue. boy,i cant wait to give th utility companies th middle finger!

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  5. Mrs Money says:

    mesha- I hear you! I hate paying utilities. I wish I could live totally off grid.

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  6. Camille McGee says:

    Well, I have a 38 ft 2007 KZ Escalade and i’d like to sell it because i’m going nuts living in it. I owe 68K and I haven’t tried to sell it yet because my husband loves it and doesn’t think we can sell it right now. He loves the lifestyle. I miss the house, we are living in it with three cats. I’m taking more medicine for depression and he’s looking at boats. It’s going to come down to me or the RV.

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  7. Mrs Money says:

    Camille- That’s exactly what I worry about. We actually refinanced our house and I can see us staying here for at least a few more years. Good luck with your situation!

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  8. carole says:

    Go for it…you only travel this road once so travel it in a path that makes you happy. And, if it’s in an RV, so be it. We went “full time” and loved it…sold our home but after 5 wonderful years on the road had to return home due to illness in family, but have never regretted those years . Seen so much and met so many wonderful people….our experiences and memories are endless.

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  9. Linda Radney says:

    My husband got laid off last July and we took the golden hand shake package his company gave him and bought 5 acres of land for $16K with a well, temp electric pole, and septic tank on it. It backs up to a stream and a 30 acre equestrian farm, so it’s really nice. Anyway, we put our 34 foot Holiday Rambler on it, and are living comfortably in it. The land had one of those tall RV parking garages on it, and a 40 foot storage building, so we put all our furniture inside it from our 3000 sq ft home and we gave the house back to the bank…. Not one bit sorry we did it. Never felt so truly free of stress living in our “nice” house….Oh, by the way…our land had been excervated for a house by the previous owner, and has the concrete slab in all ready…so we are going to build a Rammed Earth house on it later this year. Screw the banks!!!!

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    Mrs Money Reply:

    Linda- I love your story! Thanks for sharing! I think your set up sounds amazing. Now I just need to convince my husband to do it…

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  10. Jennifer says:

    I think it’s a great idea and more and more people are doing it. My husband and I are getting the house ready for the market right now and plan (Lord willing) to sell the house, trade in our truck for a larger one, buy a fifth wheel, and go to the northwest. We are so looking forward to it!

    We homeschool our 5 yr old daughter and we can’t wait to let her explore Idaho and see snow (we lived there for 5 years and moved to TX right after she was born). We will have enough $ for living expenses for this trip (about 4 months) without having to earn any while we’re gone and some left over for when we come back to TX.

    We don’t have every exact detail worked out but part of us doesn’t care. :) We just want to be free and refreshed and have a long-overdue, extended vacation from routine life! :)

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    LaurieB Reply:

    I’ve been thinking about the exact same thing and am thrilled to have found this blog and can see I’m not the only one thinking about doing something crazy like this! I have 2 children – 8 and 3 and have been thinking more and more about doing exactly this – selling house, buying and RV and traveling for several months while homeschooling the kids. Just don’t know if I’m daring enough to do it – husband actually wants a big change – says he doesn’t want home ownership anymore, so who knows?!?!

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  11. Leslie says:

    Love all the comments! I’m trying to convince my husband that we need to simplify our lives…but our situation is different in the sense that we have 3 kids and 2 dogs. But the Bills keep piling up..add some stress and a miserable job and it’s just too much.

    Really admire all of you for doing this and it gives me hope.

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  12. Carole says:

    Been living in an apt here for 23 years, want to down size and purchase an Rv and head to Fl. with my kitty family, just myself and kitties.. Have to sell my furniture.. first.. It sounds very attractive to me living in an Rv with my pets…. way to go!

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  13. Barbara says:

    We hemmed and hawed for 20yrs about it. Finally got rid of everything and are now living in a thirty foot travel trailer. And we did it with a 160 lbs. Neo Mastiff. Dogs don’t care as long as they are with their owners. We rented our house to our unmarried children who can stay there as long as they want. We never want to return to that hectic lifestyle. Money…learn about boondocking every now and then and also workamping. Lots of way to make money on the road.

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  14. Ann says:

    We found a small, very clean and safe RV park that is not very far from where we currently live. We have struggled financially for many years. We are currently downsizing, selling as much as we can. Hoping to buy an RV to live in, as opposed to traveling in. We are both 50 and figure we need to do this to enjoy our lives more. Our obstacle is selling our house and convincing our kids….we have 3 boys. Two are teens and one is younger.
    I am tired of the time, energy and money of owning a home. I was a simpler life so I can actually start living and stop being a slave to my home.

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    Barb Reply:

    Had to respond (Ann, July 15, 2011) to this message. The comment “simpler life so I can actually start living and stop being a slave to my home.” really hit home for me. I said the same thing about two years before we bought our TT. I began to get very dissatisfied with my life of continual cleaning…2500 sq.ft of nonstop clean,clean,clean. I was brutal with all my personal belongings and all the what-nots I had collected over the years. I touched no one else’s belongings but did stipulate that if they wanted all their what nots they would have to tend to them or else box them and store them. As the shelves began to empty and the spaces began to open up and I got happier then everyone began rethinking their things. It has been a hard battle to recognize what is a need vs a want because for so long everything was a need. LOL. On our shared blog I posted my opinion on what would be the better way for young people to go if they could get over the hump of what was the “American Way”. It was a June 1 post.
    As long as your boys can have their friends and still function they will get used to it. If you can travel a wee bit with them they may enjoy it even more. Boys are so easy to relocate. Our boys were adaptable but our daughter felt the change more. If you can’t sell then rent it while in the process of selling. You will find a way. We all do when we really want it. Let me know how things go. I’ll be thinking of you.

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    Ann Reply:

    Thanks for your encouragement! Can I find your blog on here? I agree with what you say about the boys still having access to friends, their friends are here a lot. I also think if we have more” liquid cash” to spend on experiences, they will be happier also. We never have money to do anything. Is a TT a travel trailer? I did just secure a job, so I am looking forward to paying down, and eventually “off” some debt. I still can’t help but think that as long as we are in this house, with all of the expenses, we will always struggle. BTW, I am loving getting rid of stuff and feel a great sense of freedom knowing that there is very little “stuff” that I need to buy! I always have in the back of my mind the thought that there will be no room in an RV! Keep in touch!

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    Barb Reply:

    Ann, my website should show up this time. LOL. It is only a beginning site. Lots of whining and doubting and learning and then “getting it”. Hubby and I tried to blend two into one but I decided to break off and go solo with my personal blog. I didn’t think men would want to read much about my pretties. LOL. Feel free to ask anything and I will try to reply helpfully….if I don’t know the answer I will find someone who does.

  15. Ann says:

    Thanks! I found your blog. I’m sure I will enjoy reading it. Do you travel in your home? Some of the things I am concerned about are if an RV starts smelling funny from being so small? What about cooking smells…..I think I saw something on your blog about the toilet smell and how to treat it, lol.Another concern is how well an RV is made. I have been in some really nice ones. Not sure if some makes are better quality. I worry about living in one fulltime, since they are not made for fulltime living. Do they wear out fast? I look at them all the time online, trying to figure out what I think I need and want. Do you have a washer and dryer in yours?

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    Barb Reply:

    We travel full time in our TT. Smells: I see it as a small apt. but with create-a-breeze fans air flows nicely. As with any small space there will be notice of odor. But cleaning takes next to no time. LOL.
    Cooking: well I’m having a hard time answering this question for you because I don’t know what sort of rig you are looking at. Ours has a small three burner stove and an ever so tiny oven but we do have a microwave. Some of the bigger rigs have full size kitchen setups. For us grilling outdoors is the best thing. It’s one of the reason we do what we do…to get outside. If you cook large meals often then focus on a kitchen that will be sufficient for you. Even though I haven’t gotten the hang of our oven and seem to burn everything I would still go with an oven. Some prefer the convection/microwave combo and do well with it.
    Once again, not knowing what range you are looking in makes it difficult. As far as space for the boys, well I actually think a large 5th wheel toy hauler might work well. They would have to bunk together but I have seen some that have a connecting door/wall and could be set up as their own space. If I ever find the model again I will link it here for you. And if you have the truck to do it you can hook your home up and go on vacation. But if you don’t want to travel then you could also look for permanent park models that have had an extra room already built on.
    As far as it goes you are not going to get the stability of a stick home in a home on wheels. They do wear out over time but then so do our vehicles. Every class of rv has their upgrades you can do but on the whole each and every one has the same issues as far as “problems” go.
    We do not have washer/dryer units in ours. I didn’t want them. I wanted something small and light that we could hook up and go quickly and smoothly. As it is I think ours is still too large. But our goal is to get out there and see all there is to see. I’ve house sat for far too many years. LOL
    On my blog on the right hand side there is an RV Blogs list. You might want to read some and contact them for better info.

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  16. Ann says:

    Thanks for the info. Here is my thinking at this point in my life: We will need a big RV so that everyone is “comfortable” since there may be 5 of us living in it. My oldest is just going to be starting college, but will be out of college within 3 yrs. since he is getting an Associate’s Degree. My middle son still has 2 yrs. of high school, and my youngest will be starting 4th grade. Once we make our goal of paying off debt and either selling or renting our current home, then we will be able to buy an RV. Since we will both still be working and our living expenses will be so much less than they are right now with our home, we should have money to travel by car. Eventually, we could get a smaller RV to travel and live in. There is a Sierra brand that has a second bedroom with 4 bunks and the two bottom ones are bigger. I really like that. Most bunks are really small and not made for big guys. Since I will still have daily laundry to do, I figure I will be happier with a washer and dryer. You would not believe the laundry we have! Even with fewer clothes, I know I will still have lots of laundry. I think it will be funner doing it in an RV, lol.
    Boxed up a bunch of stuff today and loaded my van (with my hubby’s help) to make a run tomorrow to Goodwill. I am claiming it all on my taxes at the end of the year. This will be our second “big load” to Goodwill and we had a garage sale for a whole week before that! My goal is to really be cleaned out by Christmas. It is a struggle sometimes to get rid of so much, but the after effect is awesome. I almost feel like I have more energy.
    Have you been to Niagara Falls? I want to take my family there!

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  17. Marshall says:

    Hi everyone, im 26 years old and have been full timing now for 2 years with my wife kid and dog. Wow, what a great life. Pick up and go when u want, see the entire usa on your own time and no boss. How much better can u get. Well i pay 160 a month to be hooked up to full electricity water and sewer in any one of 80 campgroundsaround the country. The real secret to fulltiming in ur rv is to have the right campground membership, without it u will spend thousands a month just to stay at campgrounds. Before getting our membership life on the road was kinda though and expensive. Now i only have to work when i want to. We’ve got satellite tv, wifi, my travel trailer is the size of a one bedroom apartment and i pay all but 275 a month in bills. Compare this to 2000 a month when we first started and u can see the difference. Don’t think about it just do it. Its the greatest adventure ever no bills, full time vacation and the money to do what u really want in life not what ur stuck doing. For everyone out there needing help getting started u can email me for help with your membership. Ill tell u how u can get the same one we have that really allows u to travel. Just here to help. U can email me at rvonthegogo@gmail.com

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  18. kittana says:

    My husband and I are considering selling our home which currently has about 130k equity and living in our 36 ft Holiday Rambler for about a year or so. He has a pension of $4,500 a month and we have 35k in the bank right now. We also have a home business that nets us about $2,000 extra a month. Our goal is to live in the rv for a year and save enough money to have a house built and pay it in full so we have no mortgage. My only worry is that we have two boys ages 4 months and 16 months and I don’t know if this would be too much for them. They do seem to enjoy the tv we go camping but we the longest we have spent in our rv has been 11 days. I would love to hear the experience of other people who did something similar to this.

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