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by Ron

Comparison Between the Costs of Living on a Fixed Foundation 
and Living Full-time in a Recreational Vehicle.

Barb calls me a bean counter and I don't dispute that title. It's true that I have kept detailed cost records during our fourteen years of full-timing and that habit has continued during the last four months while living in a house. We are both looking forward to presenting seminars at the Life On Wheels conference this July in Moscow, Idaho, and the organizers have again scheduled us to do three sessions on the finances of full-timers in addition to other seminars. We especially enjoy doing the finance sessions and sharing our experience with others. Maybe you can join us this year.

During the seminars we draw a comparison between the costs of living on a fixed foundation and living full-time in a recreational vehicle. We emphasize that full-timing costs are more controllable and can easily be adjusted to income if necessary. As we discuss the major components of a full-timers budget we note that costs such as campground fees and fuel really can be controlled. Full-timers quickly realize that the simple lifestyle affects other costs. Casual clothes, seasonal produce and cost-free recreational opportunities all contribute to the economical lifestyle. The absence of property taxes, house insurance and utility costs really do make available income stretch further. 

Our recent four months as home owners have given me an opportunity to verify those fixed costs of home ownership. Fixed costs mean that they are there whether you are or not. Although fixed costs will vary with type of home and geographic location you can count on them. We have never been bashful about sharing our experience so here are our fixed costs.

Electricity $ 50.00 per month (average)
Sewer $ 30.00 per month
Natural gas $ 25.00 per month (average)
Trash pick-up $ 17.00 per month
Water $ 30.00 per month (average)
Satellite $ 43.00 per month 
Telephone $ 35.00 per month (basic charge)
House Insurance $ 40.00 per month
Property taxes $140.00 per month
Home Owners Association fee $ 50.00 per month
Miscellaneous maintenance $ 50.00 per month (a wild guess)
The above totals to $615.00 per month. Granted several of the charges will drop when we are not here and we can put the satellite and phone on vacation with a small charge per month, but all of them have a basic minimum. Conservatively one could figure the fixed costs at $550.00 whether we are here or not. 

The above figures verify for us that we are correct in our seminars when we say that full-timing is an economical lifestyle if one decides to part with the house. The above figures don't include interest on the house investment. For many the dream of part-time RVing would not be affordable while still paying for the fixed costs of a house. 

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