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Old 08-05-2013, 09:09 PM   #15
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Also, we do have a free place to live while we fix it up. Thank goodness!

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Old 08-05-2013, 09:09 PM   #16
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 6,083
Old Full Timer, New Perspective

I recently was in a wreck and totaled my 2006 Safari and my 2008 Silverado 2500. Had REALLY good insurance. Now have a new 2013 Ford F150 Ecoblast and a 2012 Eddie Bauer 25. And to buy them after the $50K depreciation hit I took on the insurance payout PLUS the increased prices of both... I have loan payments I didn't have before. Only Good news - interest rates are low now.

Now, this is the outside event and God willing I will never have another wreck, but it is a real "smack in the face" reality check about saving money with an RV (especially an Airstream which either has a high price tag (new/nearly new) or high repair costs (vintage). If I had decided to sell them and go back to "sticks and bricks" the cost would have been likely to be about the same.

When I was going to college and for the first few years of my career I lived in "substandard housing" - most of which was just great for me. One apartment was old servants quarters over a 3 car garage, a second was an attic on a big 3 floor walkup, a third was an efficiency with a fold up bed. None had good insulation in winter or good A/C in summer (window units only). None had a pool, tennis courts, reserved parking in a garage or game rooms, party rooms, etc. In fact all were old houses that had been subdivided.

You've identified that an Airstream might save you money on a month to month basis - but to get those savings you'd have to sacrifice 80% of your living space. Couldn't you do the same by renting a converted two car garage? Also perhaps there might be an older person or couple would give very low rent in exchange for lawn and garden work... and just having a person to check on them daily and take them shopping weekly.

Truth: I really like my new Eddie Bauer - and I had NO idea what a sensation it would create at a local campground. Popped the rear hatch to start working on curtains for a custom screen room and drew a crowd that lasted for about 45 minutes. But - I don't have a husband, or children or anyone I like well enough to want to pass great wealth onto.... so I am pleasing myself while I'm healthy enough to do so. I don't want the heavy maintenance of owning a house - the Airstream is plenty. And I can say I'm saving money - as long as nothing bad happens like another wreck. But that COULD BE living on borrowed time.

If I were in your place? I'd look at buying some land and building a "Tiny House" Warning watch out for the zoning wonks! In the words of Will Rogers "Buy land, they ain't making any more of the stuff." Land values will go up over the long run.

Good luck... you ARE thinking and more importantly you AREN'T isolating yourselves from asking about unpleasant realities. You are on the right track. Let me suggest that you sit down and do a detailed budget EACH. Then jointly review what is a "want" versus a "need". You can have anything you want if you're willing to give up enough other stuff. Find out - can you live without cable (usually about $100+ per month). How much internet access do you really need? Are you actually prepared to start buying clothing at thrift stores - huge savings! Do you have skills that can make some side money? Detailing cars, sewing and altering clothing, hanging wallpaper?

I have a couple of friends who recently realized that they could join a city parks and recreation center for $65 per year... and they'd been paying $170 (plus bar tabs) per month to belong to a private tennis and swim club. The private club is a place to meet and greet - but they were just nuts that liked to swim laps in the pool. The city facility is clean and well kept - no booze allowed - and you won't meet the "right people" there, but... $2000 less a year!


Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:39 AM   #17
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Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Jammers comments would echo my own, particularly

You don't have the money lined up. With an Airstream the cheapest way to play the game is to look at 1980s-era trailers that have been cared for and kept inside so that they don't require any major work. Those can be picked up fairly easily for $10,000-$20,000. For planning purposes figure on getting a tow vehicle 10 years old or less. Off asphalt you'll need a 3/4 ton 4wd truck, van or Suburban, check prices yourself but in most parts of the country you'll see prices starting around $15,000.

My "all in" cost was just under $30k. Another 10-20 is needed to bring an older TT up to par, and a pretty fair amount to stay ahead of the maintenance/repair curve on a now ten year old truck.

RV park rent has been low, overall ($350/month plus electric; annual average of around $450), but this is dependent on many factors. About as cheap as I ever expect to see . . and while my neighbors are okay, a problem faced by the owner could change that in a hurry (have seen it happen in apartments and in neighborhoods).

I would say don't expect big savings, but to use the combined rig well. Travel some, just for pleasure. Having done a lot of that in times past sets off extended stays at one place or another, and helps in motivating work to be done . . like the A/C replacement I had to do last week in 115F heat index temps on a metal roof. It wouldn't take many nights in a motel to change the equations you may be working with. Add in 30-days of that per annum to get a number you can work with for last minute accommodations.

We hope that renovations and repairs will happen on our schedule, but they may not. And, unlike a house where I can buy a window unit if a central A/C system fails, this is not an option in this TT type. Etc.

You can, but you have to really want to do things this way for it to feel successful. And I'd say that is more important than just figurin' the numbers.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:52 AM   #18
1985 31' Excella
near Chama , New Mexico
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I just bought an 85 31' Excella. $10,900. Immediately it cost $750 for the Natures Head with $300 installation. You can do that yourself probably. The registration (with sales tax) was about $400. Insurance to haul it home $240.00 There were two small leaks up in front which I found when I ripped the carpet out. Then came about 100 hours on here trying to figure out how to seal seams which is not done yet (still trying to figure out how to do the roof work. At least there is a good extension ladder on the ranch), do a moisture barrier, figure out skirting for winter, scrub down the walls and paint. Paint is going to cost $65 a gallon if you go for the low VOC good stuff like Benjamin Moore Aura. Scrubbing down all the walls and rinsing, sanding and taping before painting. Once you do the scrubbing part, ,you will want to use only good paint. Not that much fun. Days and days. I had imagined that money and time would go for a bamboo floor!

None of this includes any of the structural stuff you are going to find in a $4,000 trailer. Or appliances, etc. It was a miracle I figured out by myself that a mid 80s trailer would be the best bet. Smaller mistakes are better like buying the wrong $65 paint. Only one gallon! Just figured that out on here last night.

At first I was asking questions about how things work, but have filed away all the responses because I have to get the Airstream painted while the weather is still warm. I have ranch dogs that need to be brushed, nails trimmed and horses that need attention also. We are heading into haying season so I have to deal with that, too. I live on a remote ranch with no running water, so I have to haul my water with added need to get the AS done. I'm out here by myself so I don't have to cook or any of that and the house is pretty much a swamp at this point. I already had my good F350 Powerstroke I use on the ranch.

That's how it's going for me. It's possible, but if I was in school and needing time to study, I don't think I'd want to take the risk! I was always fanatical about my grades. On the other hand, there are two of you and only one of me with all the 4 leggeds. I lived in Alaska during the old pipeline days in a Wilderness 5th wheel so I know it can be done without an upgraded 4 season kind of trailer. But I was married to a pipefitter then so if everything blew up, it was no big deal! Never happened, thank God. GOOD LUCK!
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:46 PM   #19
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1974 25' Tradewind
Kerrville , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 64
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I have been living full=time in a stationery AS. Next month will be the one year anniversary. I am loving it.
Over a year ago, when i started researching and shopping, I didn't know i wanted an AS. I had never been in one. Then I stepped into my first one and it felt like coming home. Unlike the other SOB's I felt i could make an AS my own space. Put my own mark on it. Yes, the "brass accents, oak veneer and puffy velour upholstery" as someone else on here so perfectly described other SOB's had really put me off.

I can't speak to your finances, but if you love the looks and feel of an AS, I say go for it. I have not regretted my move.

Good Luck!

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