RV Sales Consultant: Barbara Andrews General RV Center 1577 Wells Road Orange Park, Fl 32073 Toll Free 888 904-0104 or 904 458-3000 Cell# 904 610-1018

Posts tagged ‘economy’

Can you live in an RV full time?

Those who dream of living year-round in an RV might find it’s easier than they’d imagined. Here’s how to hit the road in a permanent home on wheels.

Have you ever thought about chucking it all and taking to the road full time? Well you can, you could join some 1.3 million Americans who are full-time RV’ers.

To find out what it takes to afford becoming a full-timer,  “living the RV dream”  (Podcasts are available here.) . “Talk Credit Radio.” Here are the Huggins’ financial tips for a life on the road.

Get organized

While you’re traveling, you’ll need to have someone receive and forward your mail to you. That could be a friend, relative or a mail service. The Huggins use a mail service located in South Dakota (more on that choice later) that forwards their mail twice a month.

They also rely on online banking and bill pay. Their phone, credit card and satellite dish bills are all paid online. If there is a bill that can’t be handled that way (“a hospital bill, for example,” says Kathy), “I leave them a note that I only get my mail twice a month, that I may be late and please do not charge me (a late fee),” she explains. She’s never had a problem, she adds.

What to look for when buying an RV

For banking, they use direct deposit and a debit card. To avoid ATM fees, they chose a bank that refunds ATM fees and often get cash back at the cash register when they make a purchase on their debit cards.

Have a (flexible) budget

Does living in an RV cost less, or more, than living in a traditional home? For the Huggins, it’s less. Kathy rattled off her monthly expenses: rig payment, phone bill and satellite television, for starters. Campsite fees can range from free to $60 to $70 per night, though she says they try to keep theirs at $20 per night.

To keep your electric bill down, avoid staying in one place for months, because long-term campers usually have to pay for their own electricity.

“Stay for less than a month, and they pay the electric bill,” she says. Even when the Huggins do pay for electricity, it’s pretty inexpensive: about $40 per month, or $80 a month if it’s cold and the electric heaters go on.

“Remember, we’re living in 400 square feet,” she adds with a laugh.

And while many campsites have free Wi-Fi available, the Huggins spring for their own wireless Internet connection because they need Internet access for their website and blog.

Cooking their own food and limiting meals in restaurants also saves them a bundle.

As with any budget, there are always surprises. For the Huggins, it’s been rising gas prices, which went from $2.99 a gallon to almost $4 a gallon at the time we spoke. “That’s been a big change in our lifestyle,” Kathy says, “but we just spend more time in a campsite. We’ll travel maybe 250 miles a day at the most, and we might stay (in one place) three or four weeks. We use our car, which we tow, to go see all the things that are around here.”

Save up for your rig, shop for the loan

Kathy was asked what it costs to buy an RV that would be comfortable to live in year-round. She says a used motor home will run “right around $100,000 if it’s a diesel pusher and about $80,000 for a gas rig. And they’re pretty comfortable.” The other option is to buy a “fifth wheel” that is pulled by a truck. “You’re talking about $40,000 to $60,000,” she says, but “then you have to buy a truck to pull it, which can be up to $40,000 for the truck.”

Before hitting the road, the Huggins sold their Florida home at the height of the market, which allowed them to get rid of all their debt and put a healthy down payment on their rig. Still, they took out a 20-year loan at 4.35% for the balance. That was a few years ago, though, and since then, full-time RV’ers have found it more difficult to get loans.

“Try a credit union,” suggests Kathy. Or buy your rig before you quit your job. “If you’re going to be a part-timer, they don’t seem to have a problem giving you a loan,” she notes.

Get a tax break

One of the advantages of living on the road is that you can call any state home.

The Huggins, like many other full-timers, chose South Dakota as their home base because of the tax benefits. There is no state income tax and, as Huggins points out, no property tax since they don’t own a home. “South Dakota probably has half a million people that don’t live there but are full-time RV’ers because of taxes,” she says, laughing. Tax rates and other details are available in the book “Choosing Your RV Home Base.”

Bring in some bacon

You don’t have to stop working when you start traveling. Many RV parks hire full-time RV’ers to handle reservations or park maintenance. Kathy was working as a reservationist while her husband was doing pool maintenance, which earned them a free site and an allowance of $100 a month toward their electric bill, plus enough spending money to cover their food budget.

Around Yellowstone, she notes, you can work at a hotel and have a parking spot for your RV while employed there. “Even Alaska has jobs for you,” she says. “You (can) guard the schools during the summer. Park your RV in the schoolyard with two or three other RV’ers, and you just keep an eye for the schoolyard, and that’s it,” she says. She recommends the website Workamper.com for employment opportunities.

Entrepreneurial opportunities abound as well and are limited only by your imagination. A couple that Kathy suggested: Watch other full-timers’ pets while they fly home for holidays or take day trips. Or make jewelry to sell.

Don’t wait too long

Do you have to be out of debt to take to the road? It helps, says Kathy. But even if you aren’t, you may still want to find a way to make it happen.

“I think almost anybody can do it,” she says. “The cost can range from $200 a month to $12,000 a month, depending on what you want to do and how you want to spend your money. That’s the best part about this — it’s your choice about . . . how big of a rig you actually buy, how much money you want to spend.”

The Huggins’ only regret? That they didn’t do it earlier. ‘”Most full-time RV’ers,  said the same thing: ‘I wish I’d done it 10 years sooner.'”

Barbara Andrews.


The Ultimate RV Downsize

Talk about innovative, this shopping cart pop-up would have to take the prize.  Shelter comes in many shapes and sizes as you can see but I totally get it. If our economy continues to decline we will see more of the camper kart pop-ups.

State of Homelessness in America 2011

Since the release of Homelessness Counts: Changes in Homelessness from 2005 to 2007, the Alliance has chronicled changes in the levels of homelessness in the nation and in individual states and communities to chart the progress toward the goal of ending homelessness. This comprehensive examination not only reveals national and state level homeless counts, but also delves into economic indicators and demographic drivers – taking an in-depth look at risk factors for homelessness. Built upon the most recent nationally available data from the federal Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Justice, and other public information sources, this report analyzes the effect the recession has had on homelessness and how it has contributed to an increased risk of homelessness for many Americans.

  • The nation’s homeless population increased by approximately 20,000 people from 2008 to 2009 (3 percent increase). There were also increased numbers of people experiencing homelessness in each of the subpopulations examined in this report: families, individuals, chronic, unsheltered.
  • A majority – 31 of 50 states and the District of Columbia – had increases in their homeless counts. The largest increase was in Louisiana, where the homeless population doubled.
  • Among subpopulations, the largest percentage increase was in the number of family households, which increased by over 3,200 households (4 percent increase). Also, the number of persons in families increased by more than 6,000 people (3 percent increase). In Mississippi, the number of people in homeless families increased by 260 percent.
  • After population reductions from 2005 to 2008, the number of chronically homeless people in the country remained stagnant from 2008 to 2009, despite an 11 percent increase in the number of permanent supportive housing units.
  • While most people experiencing homelessness are sheltered, nearly 4 in 10 were living on the street, in a car, or in another place not intended for human habitation. In Wisconsin, twice as many people experienced homelessness without shelter in 2009 as did in 2008.
  • It is widely agreed upon that there is a vast undercount of the number of young people experiencing homelessness. Underscoring this is the fact that 35 percent of all communities reported that there were no homeless youth in their communities in 2009.

In recognition of the reality that homelessness is most often caused by job loss and other economic factors, this report explores economic indicators for homeless people and people at risk of homelessness. The economic indicators examined in this report point to worsening conditions across the nation and all states. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and RealtyTrac, this report chronicles the changes in four economic indicators from 2008 to 2009.

    Half of all states have multiple risk factors for increased homelessness; that is, they have rates worse than the national average on at least two of five indicators (unemployment, foreclosure, doubled up, housing cost burden, lack of health insurance).

  • The presence of multiple economic and demographic risk factors is associated with higher rates of homelessness. In particular, states with high rates of cost burden among poor households exhibit higher rates of homelessness. Ten of the fourteen states with rates of homelessness greater than the national rate also have levels of cost burden greater than the national average.
  • California, Florida, and Nevada – states known to have been disproportionately impacted by the recent housing crisis – have both high rates of homelessness and high levels of unemployment, foreclosure, housing cost burden, lack of insurance, and doubling up.

These findings project a disquieting picture of what depressed wages, stagnant unemployment, unrelenting housing cost burden, and the lagging pace of the economic recovery could bring about: increases in homelessness and heightened risk of homelessness for more and more Americans. As the new Congress and the Administration consider steps to revitalize the American economy with jobs, extension of benefits, and access to health care, it would be prudent to take note of these increased risk factors and incorporate homeless interventions into their recovery strategy.

As I have mentioned before their are more first time RV buyers than ever before. It is a very hard choice to give up your big home to downsize to an RV or Tiny House for shelter, and I feel for you but times are changing and if we are going to survive we must change with the times until it gets better.  Barbara Andrews.

The Dollars Spent On RVs Make Sense


There are more first time buyers purchasing RVs to live in full time than ever before. I, am a  fulltimer for all the same reasons given to me when they purchase one. Which are, the uncertain economy,  the expensive home living and maintenance cost that are still on the rise. You can move anywhere at anytime within an hour,  no home owner tax, and less stress. One of the biggest reason was that they were able to save money and the other was that they wanted to be mobile in case of a disaster. Things that make you go Hmmmm.

Why live in an RV?

I can tell you of many great reasons to live in an RV, but I’ll just cover some of the biggest ones. Maybe most important, it forces you to live a simple life and focus on what’s really important. You can’t waste your time looking for a beautiful dinette set because you have nowhere to put it.

When I bought my first house a good portion of my time and money was spent furnishing it. More time was spent maintaining it. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, shampooing the carpet, ect. Think about that for a minute. I bought this house to live in, and then spent a good part of my life working on the house. A lot of this was fun but, at the end of the day it was a self-perpetuating cycle.

An RV will not hold you’re junk. If you don’t have a use for something, get rid of it. It doesn’t have the room. You don’t remodel it well; you can if you want to but, why?  If you want to move unhook it and put it in drive. Even though you have less stuff, you always have it with you. Your files are with you, your clothes, your computer, your bed, and your bathroom. If you can’t fit it in the RV, get rid of it. You never stop home on your way somewhere because you’re always home. Home is where you park your RV. I live in a RV Mobile Home Park for $295.oo a month. I pay for my electricity and cable everything else is furnished. I’m 10 minutes from work and loving it!

You’re ready for any activity. You can take a quick shower if you need one. You can have a snack or cook dinner. When you go on vacation, your bedroom comes with you. Living in a RV feels like an adventure. Remember the feeling of camping in the woods as a kid? It sort of feels like that when you sleep with a breeze coming through the screen window at night.

It’s also cheaper, of course, than living anywhere else. Once you buy the RV you know that you have a place to live no matter what. That means that you can take financial risks and not jeopardize your lifestyle You can live wherever you want, anytime you want. Living in an RV isn’t for everyone, but I think a lot more people would give it a try if they knew how genuinely awesome it is!

We all know that something is coming we just are not sure of what. Chance often favors the prepared. Barbara Andrews 904 458-3000.

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