Yes, we’re home owners, now! That means we get to deduct the interest on our tax return as the seller was happy to inform us, multiple times even. I’m not interested in just “deducting” the interest. We’re in the 25% tax bracket, so that means we would still be paying the other 75% to the bank which over the loan (quick calculation) would amount to some 150% on top of the price. No thank you, we paid cash!
Our new home is a 34′ foot RV (class A). It has wheels. It also has everything we typically use in our rental except wasted space. It has a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, a couch, an easy chair, and a table. It has less closet space, but we never go into our closets anyway. The stuff in there is just sitting there (so we have to find a solution for that).
We have never RV’ed before, so naturally there’s a learning curve. This thing comes with its own water supply, sewer system, HV/AC, TV, LP gas system. Earth quake resistant! (I would have said proof, but I guess it could tip on its side — at least the roof won’t fall down). It also has a microwave (I’d probably prefer to replace that with more cupboard space, especially since it can’t run off the batteries, but let’s see what DW says) and a fridge/freezer. I think the latter is too large compared to what we usually stuff in our fridge (soy milk and leftovers), so I would prefer to go smaller on this one too in exchange for maybe a book shelf.
I am planning on installing some solar panels on top and replacing the AC-units with some 12V swamp coolers. That will be my first project. The second project will be to learn to cook with a solar oven.
I like the idea of being my own utility provider. I think this will give us a much better idea of our resource use compared to living in a house. In a house, you just switch things on and do not even realize than you might be using 10,000 Watts (A/C + washer) or the equivalent of 50 hard working people. Not to mention gallons of water during one of those long showers. In an RV you have to be conscious (opposite of unconscious ) about your resource use(*).
(*) But what about the resources that went into building the RV. Well, it’s not as heavy as a modern house. Besides, we bought it used. I think we come out on top in the “green race”. (The green race is kinda like the rat race but for the Al Gores e.g. the idea that buying a hybrid somehow makes you green, because it gets slightly better MPG viz. compact car 32MPG vs hybrid SUV 35MPG. A bicycle beats both at 600MPG — but who wants to ride a bicycle?)
Project zero is to get rid of all our house furniture and find out which of our things we really need, which we merely want, and which we just keep around; the latter being the worst category. The coach has quite a bit of basement storage. My guess is that it will hold 3-4 large suitcases. The living quarters will hold 2-3. Off site storage will run us about $600 a year. Hence I plan to go through my things sorting it into boxes of things that can not be replaced for $600 and things (like books) that can easily be replaced.
Why buy an RV? First of all, we’re professionals. Because my jobs have had limited terms (something I resent very much; thank you career), I have had to move around every 2-4 years for the past 12 years. It is getting annoying to have to do this, constantly finding a new place to live. Now, we can just pull up the jacks (automatically ), disconnect the shore power and off we go. Second, it is almost impossible to find a small home nowadays. I read the standard size is more than 2000 sqft now up almost a 1000 sqft compared to just one generation ago. This means higher rents, higher utility bills, and more time spent vacuuming and dusting off. I don’t find any of these activities very rewarding. I have previously talked about living in a boat. From my perspective, this is similar but with less of a learning curve. After all, this home can’t sink!
Alternatively, you can do the same for a quarter of a million without the wheels.
Originally posted 2008-08-08 08:09:00.