Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Extreme Personal Finance: From Penthouse to RV

Tynan writes on downsizing from an expensive condo to a 21-foot RV.

I had this fantasy that I would give up all of my stuff and move into a smaller place. This notion was born when I moved from a larger house into the condo and was made acutely aware by the moving process of just how much junk I had.

Always one to take things to extremes, I searched for an RV. I wanted one that had a shower, toilet, and kitchen, so that I could actually live in it. At the same time it had to be small enough that I could park it in any regular parking spot. The V12 engine of my car afforded me the same miles per gallon as an RV, so I figured I may as well let it replace my car as well.

The first RV in my search was exactly the one I wanted. At 21 feet long it could fit into a standard 19 foot parking space with minor overhang. It was a 2002 model, which meant that it looked good enough to be presentable. Paying for a spot in a trailer park seemed like it defeated the purpose of the experiment, so I planned on parking downtown across from my favorite restaurant.

So what’s it like living in an RV? It’s fantastic.

It’s very cheap. Utilities used to cost at least $500 a month since I was on the top floor and had floor to ceiling windows. Now I pay nothing — my solar panel generates enough electricity for daily use. Once a week I drive less than a mile to an RV park and dump my tanks and get new water. That costs $5. I have broadband internet access from Sprint which costs another $50. Full insurance is $100 a month, which doubles as car insurance. I get my mail through Earth Class Mail for $30 a month or so. That’s it.

In retrospect it seems insane to have paid so much money for mortgages and rent. My quality of life has stayed the same or even improved, and I’m saving thousands a month.
Full Story... You'll want to read the comments too.

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