One of the things that makes our family different is we live in a 36 foot 2007 Montana fifth wheel. That is our fifth wheel pictured above. We pay roughly $1000.00 per month for our living situation, ($350 for lot rent which includes electricity, water, sewer, internet, and cable but we don't use the cable TV, and $600 for the trailer payment). Our thinking was we could pay off this fifth wheel a lot quicker than a stick built home, we could put it on land we owned outright, then build a house a little at a time as money became available. Other people buy cheaper trailers outright (and looking back, we should have done this), and their bills are $600 a month cheaper than ours. The Montana we live in was my fathers. We just had to take over the payment, so it was a good deal for us in that we were able to get a top of the line one with no credit or down payment, though we do wish now we would've gotten a smaller one we could've owned outright.
Living in an RV is a lot different than living in a house or apartment. When we first moved in it, we didn't think we were going to like it. We were prepared to sacrifice so we could have land and such that was free and clear of the bank. Now....we wouldn't live any other way. Weird though it may seem, but just as some wacky people love living on a houseboat, we love living in a fifth wheel! We live in an RV park, and even living in such close proximity to other people doesn't really hamper our feelings much.
Let me tell you a bit about people who live in RV's, for we have known many over the past 2 or 3 years. Most RV people are extremely self-sufficient. They have to be. If something breaks, they can generally fix it. If they are locked out of their RV, (and these things are fortresses) they know where to go to get a key. They aren't typically dependent on others as they learn when they are traveling, if they break down, there is no one else around on the side of the highway. They value their privacy and are quiet so as not to disturb their neighbors, for they are used to being squeezed in tight with other RV's.
Though we are so self-sufficient, RV people help each other, and we see this more so than any other place we have lived. Our neighbor recently gave us her car...free and clear. I have a new neighbor who just moved into the park Sunday. It is their first time living in an RV. She is locked out of her house and is realizing just how difficult it is to break into her own home. I've told her how to get access to a key for cheap and offered to give her the money and a ride to get there. There's an older gentlemen that I send dinner to about once a week and we have him over for dinner quite often. I've crocheted blankets for my neighbors and my husband is the first one on the scene when someone is having black water tank issues or needs something fixed. We all help each other in ways like people did in the pioneer days, because we have a feeling of kinship. I have to be honest with you here...I hate people, lol, but I'm able to live just a few feet from several neighbors because RV people are really great to live in close proximity to.
There have been a few bad neighbors, but to be honest they are few and very far between. Also, they seem to be the kind of people who end up moving on shortly after they move in. Once, we had a neighbor who bred dogs, but then didn't take very good care of them. We ended up taking a puppy from her because we just couldn't stand the sight of it all. I would go out and give her dogs water or whatever every day, etc. They moved on within like a month or two.
RV people are typically clean. It is very, very tough to keep a tidy house when you are living in a small space. I thought it would be easier. Not so, as my 17-year-old son is finding out, for he has lost his truck key and wallet. The truck key still hasn't shown up after 2 weeks, but his wallet he just found out about this morning. You really, really have to be on top of it or the laundry will not just take over one room, but the whole house.
Our fifth wheel isn't that old and is top of the line. Our arctic insulation package alone runs $7,000.00 new. What we are finding out though, is that after 7 years, everything starts breaking. It's extremely cheap to fix compared to a house, even in the long run, but it's still frustrating. Currently we are doing without hot water. We are on a tight budget and cannot afford a new hot water tank at the moment. What my husband will have to do when his worker's compensation check arrives is buy some JB Weld and a screw. He will drill that screw into the tank where the leak is, then slather it with JB Weld. Problem solved and we won't have to spend $200 to buy a new tank til we can afford it. All of the plumbing in RV's are plastic tubing. Typically if you get a leak, it's just the fitting that has come loose. When we get a leak, he just buys a brass fitting and replaces the plastic one and that solves that problem.
Once in a while we get power surges because of the electric company here. I'm not really sure what the deal is, but they don't even turn the street lights on, on most stretches of any of the highways or main thoroughfares. At any rate, once in a while we get a bad power surge and sometimes when that power surge comes through, we lose something electronic. Last time it was our refrigerator. Now, a new RV fridge runs about $1800.00 because it can run on both propane and electricity. My husband made some modifications and we have a regular full size fridge now. We got this fridge from one of our neighbors. He redid her floor in her bathroom and she gave us the fridge. She had it in storage and was never going to use it anyway, and we both made out well as she now has a new floor in her bathroom.
Yes, there are some downsides to living in an RV. Most do not have bathtubs. Showers yes and sometimes they are pretty spacious, but no tub. Some smaller RV's even have a toilet/shower combo thingy like the above picture. Another downside is, everything shakes. Walking across the floor means someone on the other end of the house is going to feel it. They do make stabilizers and you can chalk your wheels, but it does shake. When the wind blows hard, it will shake and sometimes violently so, if a storm is really bad. Yet another downside is we have to go to a laundry mat though they do make washer/dryer combos where everything takes place in one machine. About the last downside I can think of is to watch what your are plugging in and where. 50 amps may sound like a lot, but once you have a space heater plugged in, it really isn't. You'll start tripping breakers if you don't watch it.
If you are currently spending too much money on rent, try and save some back and go RV shopping. Used RV's start at about $1000.00 if you're buying from an owner. Check Craigslist. It's all about priorities and what you will be happy living in. If it needs fixed up, it just does. Plywood is cheap and so is soap. Below I've posted some makeovers I found doing a Google search.