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Is it Cheaper to Live in an RV than a Home or Condo Apartment

At least every week my husband and I are reminded of why we made the decision to live in an RV full time. Here is one example in a recent story about a realtor who can't find a rental for herself in BC's Sunshine Coast.

I think it’s safe to assume that most people associate full time RV living as a cheaper lifestyle than living in a house, condo or apartment. The truth, however, is that it’s not that simple.

There are a few things to consider when you are considering moving into an RV full time to save money. Some of these include which RV you choose to live in. Generally, my husband and I agree that for full-time RV living, bigger is better however, this can also mean a more expensive RV. The size, age, layout, condition and aesthetics of an RV can totally impact the price of an RV. In fact, I have seen some RVs that can cost almost just as much as a house! Now those are the more luxurious RVs of course, but you get my drift here. Other than that, the down payment and financing of an RV will vary from person to person as well.

Start-Up Costs of Living Full time in an RV

There are some start-up costs when you first purchase your RV and move into it. If you read our post What to Look for When Purchasing an RV you already know that things you think should come included with your RV do not always come included; such as hoses and levellers. These can certainly add up in cost, especially if you end up buying the cheapest ones first. which ended up breaking or freezing a few weeks later in our case.

Depending on the climate in which you are living in your RV, there could be a cost to heat your RV, which for us, turned out to be slightly more expensive than our heating cost in a condo.

As mentioned in our post Full-Time RV Living Must-Haves for Beginners to bring down your cost in a cold climate, you may need to purchase skirting to keep the bottom of the RV insulated so cold air doesn’t seep through the RV floors. Not only will this apparently bring down the heat bill, but it will also actually keep you warmer. Please note that not all RV parks charge for electricity so the extra cost of heating your RV may not even be a huge factor. However, you should use your propane to heat your RV once in awhile to keep your pipes from freezing as well as the storage in the belly of the RV if you have storage there. I have noticed that pad rents at RV parks which do include electricity are usually a bit more expensive each month than those that do not. That's a decision only you can make based on your personal needs.... Ummm, and RV park availability as well.

Our Monthly Savings Break Down

After looking at all our monthly expenses, including the RV payment itself here is a rough breakdown of our monthly savings:

Rent vs RV payment and pad rent combined: $669 savings

Internet: $140 savings

Electricity: $0

Heat and electricity in the winter: $210 over

Water: $50 over

This is for a grand total of $549 each month in savings!

As you can see, overall we are saving a significant amount of money. However, since we have moved out of the condo we had been renting the cost of renting has significantly increased. So if we were to rent an apartment today, we would be paying roughly an extra $500 or more in rent each month than what we paid in the condo before we even moved into our RV only a few months ago. Here is an article from CBC outlining BC’s housing crisis. This pretty much means that we have doubled our savings from the amount of $549 just by the increased rents since we purchased our RV; and this is only if we would be lucky enough to stand out to the landlord who is offering the overpriced unit for rent.

Living in an RV full time gives the us assurance and stability we need on top of significant savings. Plus we own our RV and have stopped paying other people's mortgages. We can take our little dog with us wherever we go without any worry. If we don’t like where we are, we can simply move to another RV park without much packing at all. Mind you, our neighbours here are great as are probably most RV park RVers. When we want to go on road trip, we simply hook the RV up to a truck and drive away. With the design our RV we can have more people come visit us from out of town than we could in the condo we rented!

We really didn't know much about RV living, other than having been in one from time to time in our younger years for a week, maybe. We have certainly made some costly mistakes but in the end it was totally worth it for us! Not only do we save a significant amount of money each month, but we actually own our home! We can move our home anytime we want; including bringing it on vacation with us. Our RV is even more functional for guests and has more storage space to store our things. We love how close the ocean is and love falling asleep to the sound of frogs.

We didn't actually expect to love living in an RV full-time as much as we do and we would absolutely not change it for anything! It is a lifestyle choice and one we are so glad we decided on.

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