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Full Time RVing - Stationary Living at an RV Park and What it Costs

Selling our house and moving into an RV was perhaps the scariest thing I have done.  Probably because of our two little girls.  There were so many unknowns and we did not want to fail our kids.


  • What would people think when they heard we lived in an RV?
  • Would my kids have a normal childhood?
  • How the hell do we get mail?
  • Are we going to fight from being stuck in such as small space?
  • How do we get internet?
  • Will my husband and I ever have alone time again?

After one full year of living in an RV Full Time Stationary Living we can honestly say: 

  • No one treated us differently. 
  • My kids have a better childhood than they ever would have had in the suburbs.
  • There is a thing called a P.O. Box – UPS store, or traveling mailbox.  And the campground also has mail too.
  • Invest in sunscreen because you and your kids will spend a lot more time outside – as in no one feels cramped living in a small space.
  • Sim card.
  • And yes – you get creative.
Family time together!  Camping makes memories!

Living stationary in an RV did a lot for us as a family.  It simplified life in a way that we focused less on yard work and the house, and more time on our kids and also ourselves.  John and I went from barely affording anything but our house to being able to go on adventures again.

In the one year of living full time in an RV we were able to get season passes to Disneyland, go camping all through northern California, Oregon, Utah and Colorado!  Alex learned to ride her bike without training wheels before she even turned 4!

Camp Curry Yosemite Village, Yosemite Valley 2019
Jackerwobee Ashland Oregon Mountain biking Enduro trails with a shuttle.  Summer 2019.  Riding Yeti sb5 Lunch Ride LR
Tree of Mystery, family photo with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Summer 2019

It is true that we could have continued to live in our house or even moved into an apartment.  So let’s break it down for you to see what we saved on housing expenses to put more into adventures.

In the one year of living full time in an RV we were able to get season passes to Disneyland, go camping all through northern California, Oregon, Utah and Colorado!  Alex learned to ride her bike without training wheels before she even turned 4!

Is it really cheaper to live in an RV?

It is true that a house is an investment.  In the 5 years we owned our house we made a large enough profite from it that we were able to purchase our RV in cash.  Not everyone is so lucky, and if your priority in life is to have fun with your kids and travel more – it is important you understand the true cost of ownership between the two.

Moving out of our house in Sacramento County, 2019.

Monthly Housing Expenses Sacramento County, 2018

  • Morgage & Insurance: $2,445
  • Property Tax: $314
  • Water: $200 (welcome to California!)
  • Electricity: $140
  • Sewere/garbage: $25
  • Natural Gas: $40
  • Cable: $180
  • Repairs: $166

Total Monthly Cost: $3,510

Remember these were our expenses.  They can vary.  But this was the basic cost of home ownership.

Grand Design Toy Hauler Fifth Wheel 381m 2019

Monthly Cost of RV Living, San Joaquin County, 2019

  • RV Park Rent: $850
  • Insurance: $83
  • Property Tax: none
  • Water: no extra charge
  • Electricity: $120
  • Sewer/garbage: No Charge, picked up every day from curb.
  • Propane: $20
  • Cable: Not Available.  Use your phone’s hot spot.
  • Repairs: $25

Total Monthly Cost: $1,098

Remember these were our expenses.  They can vary.  We paid for our RV in cash.  If you purchased using a loan you would add that into your monthly expenses.

Wait, what about Depreciation??

The ugly side of RV living is depreciation.  While owning a house you have the potential to have your investment grow, an RV will always depreciate in value.

You can make money from owning a house!

While it certainly costs more per month, you have the potential to make money off your house in a way that simply does not happen for RVs.

We purchased our house for $366k in 2014.  We sold it for $450k in 2019.  We paid out close to $20k in closing costs and realitor fees etc… so we made $64k from owning our house.  Cash straight to our pockets.  

Keep in mind – for those of your who missed the housing crash of 2007 and 2008 – you stand to lose just as much as you might gain in owning a house.  

What depreciation really can cost you in an RV.


Monthly expenses are amazing in an RV.  Particularly if you don’t travel and spend money on gas.  But let’s break down depreciation so you can see what it cost for John and I to own an RV.

We purchased our RV brand new for 25% off MSRP, paid with a cashier’s check and had it delivered for $92k.  We purcahsed a nice RV!! $92k is a lot nicer than $366k, but instead of making money, after just one year our RV was only worth $72k according to NADA (think Kelley Blue Book for Rvs). 

A brand new RV will lose 20% of its value every year for the first 2-3 years before that tapers off.

So let’s break it down with depreciation in mind – What did it really cost to live in a house vs. RV considering the loss and gain?

For The House


If you apply what we earned from the house towards the monthly costs, it could be argued that owning the house only cost us:

$2,444 per month 

For The RV


The RV monthly costs with the additional loss of the RV over that one year it actually cost us:

$2,764 per month

Say What???

Why Live in an RV at all? Here are 4 reasons why:

  • Long Term Affordability: If you live in the RV for 5-10 years it can save you a lot of money!  Plus you can always purchase a cheaper rig or a used one.  And those are really great options that we will go into later.  
  • Lifestyle: This is the biggest reason people continue to live in an RV over a house.  Kids playing in the street learning to make new friends, sharing your table with your neighbors, drinking from a garden hose, squirt gun fights through the neighborhood, sharing your fire with a newly made friend.  My kids beg to go outside within 10-15 minutes of waking up.  And they beg to go to sleep before the sun goes down.  This neighberhood watches each others kids and is there to lend a hand or a beer when someone needs it.  My stay-at-home father for a husband actually has adults to talk to and support him with the kids when I am at work all day.  We know this isn’t every RV park – but this place has saved more than one marriage.  
  • Freedom – no really.  Living in an RV makes you free.  No mortgage to worry about.  If your job changes – move.  If you want more anmenities – move.  You can always find a cheaper place to park your RV if you had to.  You will never be house poor.  
  • Time – John and I have so much more time to relax and enjoy the day.  No yard work, smaller place to clean, and a much smaller honey do list for John.
Overlanding through canyon on the way to camp at Lake Powell National Recreational Land, taken with DJI Mavic air drone, Fall of 2019.
Stream in Colorado near Winter Park at campground.
Fern Canyon, a one mile hike along the northern coast of California, in Priarie Creek Redwood State Park, on Davidson Road, hiking through a creek bed and jumping over the creek.  Ferns grow up the vertical walls.  Hike is only a mile long.  Perfect for young children.
Fleetwood E3 Popup camper, 2008, high clearance, camping on BLM land on Lake Powell, UT under the stars.
Mountain biking Slick Rock Trail Moab with trail dog Max a border collie and queensland blue heeler cattle dog mix, riding two yeti Mountain bikes.  A SB6 and an SB5 Lunch Ride
Hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Northern California with 4 year old little girl.
Summer at Yogi Bear Tower Park Jellystone RV resort.  Enjoying a campfire with smores and friends, photos with bobo, and a boat ride on the California Delta with two young children.
Star Wars Land at night millennium falcon Disneyland.

2019 Will go down as one of the best years John and I had with our two little girls.  And we believe all that we experienced and shared with them was because we chose to live in an RV.

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