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What is the Cost of Living in a Camper?

By , April 20th, 2017 | No Comments


Living in a camper
The Home & Garden channel has made it tremendously popular to downsize in recent years. Many millennial home buyers are turning their attention to house alternatives like tiny houses and campers instead of a traditional home. These types of homes have just the amount of space the home buyer needs (no extra) but how much does living in a camper cost?

The Appeal of Living in a Camper

When tiny houses and RVs became more popular among people seeking to buy a home I wasn’t too surprised.¬†Most millennials are looking to do some sort of travel which makes living in a camper pretty appealing. You can bring your home everywhere you go.

Millennials are also known to be a bit conscientious when it comes to finance too. Living in a camper, undoubtedly is cheaper than purchasing a home, right?

How Much Does Living in a Camper Cost?

You would think that living in a camper would cost much less than monthly payments on a home, however, the cost of living on the road can be pretty high. Here is a breakdown of the monthly and annual cost of living in a camper compared to the cost of the average mortgage in America.

Monthly Cost of Living in a Camper

  • RV park rent – $1,400¬†(utilities included),¬†OR
  • State park rent – $600 (utilities included)
  • Payments on your RV – up to $1,000
  • Food cost – $400
  • Fuel – $400
  • Propane – $70
  • Laundry – $70
  • Recreation – $150
  • Total: $3,490

Some of these numbers are estimates and will change based on your individual situation. You can also control the cost of your park rent (by choosing your location), food cost, fuel, propane and recreation costs. Additionally, you may not have to make payments on the RV if you purchase it out right but you will have unexpected maintenance costs on the vehicle.

Annual Cost of Living in a Camper

Now that we’ve taken a look at the monthly cost of living in a camper, what is the annual cost and how does it compare to owning a home?¬†The annual cost of living in a camper is $41,880, while the average mortgage in the United States is over $222,000 (monthly payments of about $1,061 and $12,732 annually). These figures, unlike the numbers for the RV lifestyle, do not include utilities or your “way of life” costs.

However, for¬†1/4 of the cost of buying a home you can purchase a really nice RV or camper to live in. All you need is a down payment (similar to that of a house) and you can make payments on the camper. Some RV owners even buy their camper/motor home for less than $10,000. If you do this, living in a camper will save you money over time (because you won’t be paying interest on a mortgage for 20 years). There is much more to living in a camper than just saving money though. Is it really a good alternative to buying a house?

Is Living in a Camper a Good Alternative?

In my opinion, living in a camper is not an alternative to living in a home but for some people it is. There’s no doubt that living this way has its pros. You can live anywhere you’d like so if you are looking to travel across the United States or be off-the-grid for a while, living in a camper is a great idea. Also, if you tire of jumping from place-to-place you can sell the RV for extra cash fairly easily (much easier than selling a home).

You won’t be reaping the benefits of some of the perks of having a mortgage though. You won’t be helping your credit much (unless you’re making payments on the camper) and you won’t be getting any escrow on your purchase. People living in a camper also have to budget for things like fuel cost, campground fees and maintenance on the motor home.

If you’re considering living in a camper there are a lot of things to consider but it could be a good option for you, especially if you’re looking to travel or save some serious cash.

Would you live in a camper? 

Photo: jbolles

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