Browsing "Buying Miranda"
Mar 9, 2009 -

Luxury

Luxury is a relative term.

This concept is beautifully illustrated in one of my favourite books of all time, The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig. It is a memoir of the Siberian exile of a young Polish Jewish girl during WWII.

Ms. Hautzig wrote:

We were one of four lucky groups: Father found us living quarters in a corner of the room. In an utterly bare room, two walls to lean against, a corner to curl up into, were luxury.

I  was ten when I first read those words and they have followed me for twenty years, helping me appreciate what I have even while longing for more or better.

Tonight, I came home to find Tabitha in the study looking out the back window while Neelix was in the lounge looking out the window on the passenger side. Rather than disturb the cats by shutting the blinds, I was able to slide closed a solid wood door with a satisfying ‘thunk’, stretch out an accordion door, and change into jeans in a private room large enough to move about comfortably. I’ve discovered that in a less than 300 square foot RV, a dressing room is luxury.

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Buying Miranda, Cats, Personal, Technical    1 Comment
Feb 28, 2009 -

No Slide-Out For Me

I was speaking with a neighbour as we shared the hot tub tonight and she mentioned that I had no slide out, seeming very puzzled by the fact.

Miranda being a slide-out free RV was a deliberate choice on my part. One of the very first things I knew when I was searching for a motorhome was that it would not have slide-outs, which pretty much knocked class As out of the running. There were several reasons for this:

Weight

Slide-outs dramatically reduce an RV’s carrying capacity, and this is especially evident with class Cs. One of my readers, Croft, has a rig that is very comparable to Miranda–same engine, same chassis, same length. But he has a slide-out and fully half Miranda’s carrying capacity! I’m full-timing so having as much carrying capacity as possible is much more important than having more floor space.

Mechanics

Slide-outs are just one more thing to maintain, one more thing that can leak or break, and they weaken the overall chassis. Again, a few more feet of floor space isn’t worth the potential hassle.

Weather

Slide-outs are the least insulated part of an RV. Since I knew there was a chance I’d be using my RV in extremely inclement (read very wintery) weather, not having a slide-out meant that there was one less drafty place in the rig. I was also concerned that if I parked somewhere for the winter, the weather would damage the slide-out.

Convenience

I didn’t want for every stop to be cause for the interminable debate: “Slide-out in or out tonight?” I wanted to be able to park at a Walmart and have full access to my home. In a park, I didn’t want my slide-out window to be two inches from my neighbour’s slide-out window.

Having visited a lot of RVs with slide-outs, the only real advantage they seem to provide is floor space. That’s useful if you’re two or more people sharing a rig since it would be easier to contour each other, but as a sole RVer they just don’t seem to be worth the potential headache.

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Buying Miranda, Nice Folks, Social, Technical    10 Comments
Jan 14, 2009 -

The Cost of Living in an RV

1001 Petals asked this question:

I’m curious how the cost of living in an RV, with all the changes you have to keep making, compare to living in an average apartment. I imagine it’s not much different, but you do have the freedom of movement at the cost of space(?)

First of all, it has to be made clear that I don’t have to keep making changes. I know people who would have moved into Miranda as-is and be done with it. I’ve been on a bit of an organizing and minimizing tear for a few years now and I like to nest.

That said, the only major changes I’ve made to Miranda to make her more livable are the study and the wardrobe. Cost for all that? 250$ for the study, 35$ for the wardrobe. Add to that the blinds I’m looking to put in and I’ll have a comfortable, cozy home for less than 500$ in cosmetic changes. You try to set up a house for that cost!

In my case, daily life in an RV isn’t any cheaper than living in a house or apartment. I think I would see a big difference if I didn’t have an RV payment to make, but financing made sense for my situation. I think that the only way it would be cheaper for me to live in Miranda would be to be in a warm climate where I wouldn’t have to heat in the winter.

Because I didn’t have to pay for electricity at the last place I stayed and because I was on the road for a quarter of the time I’ve been living in Miranda, I still don’t know exactly what it costs, on average, for a month of living in her, but I’ve been getting by on about 1,500$ per month, which is less than I was living on back in my stable existence. That said, this amount doesn’t cover RRSP contributions and I presently don’t have health coverage, so 3,000$ per month would definitely be the minimum I’d need to do this on a long term basis.

There are ways in which this life is much cheaper than was my old one: no manicures, no daily coffee with the gals (miss ya!), no recreational shopping at lunch with the gals (miss ya so much!), no changing out the furniture every few months, etc. But there are ways in which this life, which is real life, never forget that, still has the same expenses. I still have a house payment and house maintenance to do. It’s just that my house is now portable.

It’s this portability which will make Miranda cheaper for me to live in over time. My dad used to say that I have ‘itchy feet.’ I do. I get somewhere, fall in love with it, then get bored and move on. I have moved seven times in ten years. Moving and setting up a new house is extraordinarily expensive and there is a hidden cost. I’m proof that the theory that seven moves equals going through a fire is true. When I think of all the money I’ve spent on stuff that I wound up not bringing with me, or the stuff I’ve had to replace because I got rid of it during a move, I get quite depressed!

Before committing to this crazy plan of mine for a year, I sat down with my financial planner. He’s the one who gave me the final green light for the project by asking me to guesstimate just how many more times I’m planning to move in the next few years. At the time I was still thinking of relocating to Winnipeg for a few years, so I was looking at a cross country move, then several apartment hops until I knew if I wanted to buy a house there. Living in an RV meant that my moves would only cost me fuel, and I’d also be saved all the time and energy spent in moving house.

Also, I love to travel (no, really? 🙂 ) and had begun taking off for two or three week-long stretches. While I was paying for accommodation and food on the road, I was still maintaining a home back in Gatineau. RVing cuts down this dual expense.

I’ve spoken to RVers who live on less than 1,000$ a month and some for whom 5,000$ wouldn’t be enough. Full-time RVing is real life, with all the expenses, priorities, and dreams that real life throws at you. On a day to day basis, I don’t find it a particularly economical way of living, but I know that over time it’s going to save me a bundle.

As for the cost of space, I’ve known for years that a smaller houseprint is better suited to my personality than a big one. The last place I was in had about 1,000 square feet, not counting the unfinished basement, and it was way too big. The house before that, which I owned, had 750 square feet, which would be the maximum I’d ever want to live in again. I very much believe in the Not So Big House philosophy, preferring quality of space over quantity. I also find that there is a threshold that can be reached in houseprint where maintenance and upkeep becomes an all-consuming and never ending endeavour. I like having a house that I can completely spruce up in an hour! I do dream of having a bus conversion one day, but that dream is of a 35′ model, not a 40′ one, and the dream is about sturdiness and long-term durability more than having extra cupboard space.

When I emailed my mother yesterday about the wardrobe, she assumed that my issue was space, not the type of space, because she’s only known me as a packrat. She joked that I was going to need a shed on wheels! Not at all, I replied. I have plenty of free space in Miranda, it’s just not always the right kind of space, which is why I spend so much time rearranging things.

In conclusion, life in an RV might not be right for everyone, but for me, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

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Buying Miranda, Finances, Homemaking, Musings, Organizing, Personal, Renovating, Technical, Why I Do This    9 Comments