In recent years I've been following a number of vlogs about living in an RV. This type of lifestyle really intrigues me, and most especially with how housing cost so much in California and New York.
For a lot of people, traditional living in a house, townhouse, or apartment isn't an option. It has just become too costly. In the Midwest, we are very blessed to have low housing costs where the average home costs about $170,000. However, for me I'm constantly looking at alternatives, and what others are doing.
My housing expenses make up a major of my monthly expenses (which I'd assume is pretty normal) and make up a majority of my fixed expenses. To give the context of where I'm at, here is a breakdown of my monthly housing expenses.
- Mortgage: $882
- Taxes: $325
- Insurance: $325
- Internet: $37
- Water: $69
- Electricity: $172
- Home Phone: $4
- Natural Gas: $43
- Garbage: $20
My house is approximately 2300 square feet, so that comes to 72 cents per square foot per month to live in our house. Now that doesn't include a lot of variable expenses like repairs, appliances, and furniture. But it gives you a ballpark of how much it costs per month to live in my residence.
Now, comparing this to living in RV the overall cost per square foot is more expensive, but the total costs are significantly lower. With how varying the prices of RVs are compared to traditional homes it is hard to get exacts, but here is an overview of how the costs compare.
Mortgage – costs are typically lower, but depends on how big & old of an RV that you get.
Insurance – costs depend on the MSRP, but are typically lower.
Taxes – much, much lower
Internet – more expensive, because you'd probably pay for wireless services and get hit with high data charges
Water – about the same
Electricity – a lot of RV'ers rely on solar, and run a gas generator to provide power.
Home Phone – nada. RV'ers aren't relying on traditional phone lines, but on their cell phones
Natural Gas – due to how much RV's rely on propane, I'd estimate that this would cost more when you combine propane and gas
Garbage – this is hard to gauge because a lot would depend on how you get rid of waste. Since you have to get rid of fecal waste I'd estimate this being slightly more.
Total, I'd estimate that the average costs of living in RV would run $800-$1,200/month, but a lot would depend on the size and how much you are paying for your campsite. The big thing I didn't cover was that RVs are depreciating assets, which doesn't make it an apples to apples comparison.
Overall, I think that RV living is a good option for people who are looking for a cheaper way of living, but it definitely comes with its tradeoffs. If you are thinking about doing it, then test it out and see if it works for you.
So I laid out how much I pay to live in my 2300 sq foot house. I'd be interested to hear from some of our readers on how much you pay to live in your house or RV. Leave a comment below and let's start the dialog!
Before you start shopping for a new home, work out a budget with a house payment. In addition to the payment, you will need to budget for home insurance, taxes, and housing repairs.
Here are my costs (living in Minneapolis, townhome):
Association (garbage): $265
Home Phone: $5
Natural Gas: $47
TOTAL: $1751 / 1800 sq ft = $0.97/sq ft