RV’s and The Price of Things

in Automobile, Vacations

How Much for an RV?

I went with a co-worker on Friday to an RV dealership here in Ottawa, and I was absolutely floored by the cost of these rolling palaces. The co-worker already has a tent trailer (not a rolling palace, but certainly a nice structure for the woods), and he needed some winterizing parts for this camper, so when he went off to the “hardware” section of the store I wandered around looking at some of the trailers, and was very impressed.

I remember camper trailers being cramped, dank and dark things that have a musty smell to them normally, but now these things are houses on wheels. It would almost cause me to think about going camping again if I had access to one of these structures (I would later think I still don’t like camping, and not go, but at least I would think about it).

It is normal for these tent trailers to have furnaces to warm the trailer, stoves, refrigerators and such, very civilized for a tent trailer. I then wandered around the showroom (and it was a HUGE showroom) and looked at the more high end trailers and these things are miracles of engineering, where the structure of the trailer can morph and expand to add much more space, and seem much less cramped.

Sticker Shock

Leaving aside the cost of running one of these trailers, and how much it would cost to haul them around, I started looking for the price of these portable miracles, and was flabbergasted. A good tent trailer was somewhere around $15,000 and once I saw that I stopped even thinking about looking into this idea. Yes, in comparison to a luxury vacation in a hotel, this doesn’t seem that expensive, but I am just too darn cheap right now to think this is something that I can afford.

As we walked out of the dealership, my co-worker pointed to some of the Monster RV’s, and he pointed out that some of these rolling mansions, have fireplaces, big screen TV’s and the like, which made me then wonder how much one of these might cost, and was completely aghast when I walked up to one of the top of the line set ups.

This vehicle looked to be about the size of a Greyhound Bus, and it was completely tricked out with all of the important essentials, and I was surprised to see it was on sale for 20% off. This kind of savings might make you want to think about buying it, except that the list price for this was $630,000 , so it would only cost you a little more than Half a Million dollars to buy it (if there is HST on this, you then pay another $70,000 in taxes?!?!).

To put that in perspective, that RV costs more than my house, my car, and all the contents of my house. Yes, this vehicle has a major advantage over my house, in that it is mobile, however my house has an advantage that it is about 500% (or more) larger than the RV, and it doesn’t have wheels.

Am I missing something here by feeling that this is a huge cost that I can’t dream of ever wanting to pay for? Those who own RV’s, is this normal, and where do you save money owning one of these things?

{ 7 comments }

  • Arjun @ InvestingThesis.com September 22, 2010, 11:50 PM

    Ridiculous, isn’t it, BCM? I couldn’t imagine dropping that much for an RV, no matter how nice.

    Reply
  • Financial Cents September 21, 2010, 8:02 PM

    That’s friggin’ pricy.

    $630,000 invested in dividend-paying stocks that yield 4% will give you over $25 K per year in passive income. You could buy a good tent trailer every year if you wanted to for that price.

    I bet your friend, is a huge NASCAR fan.
    (Not that there’s anything wrong with NASCAR 🙂

    Cheers,
    Mark

    Reply
  • ourmoneypit September 21, 2010, 2:40 PM

    @MJ for many of them, it is sad, but true. The remainder just want the vagabond lifestyle.

    With Peak Oil having passed, or at least very close, though, I just don’t get it.

    Reply
  • Money Smarts Blog September 21, 2010, 12:15 PM

    @MJ Lol!

    Reply
  • GK September 21, 2010, 8:23 AM

    The very first thing to consider about an RV is that it isn’t an investment. These are recreational dollars for most people: money they spend to entertain themselves or relax. The cheapest form of entertainment is to stay home, but that isn’t necessarily all that satisfying for some people :-).

    Those $600k motorhomes are generally bought by people who live in them full-time: those are their houses. They don’t typically own a house as well. Those owners (called full-timers) are typically retired people who want the freedom to spend their time in different parts of the US and Canada. They’ll head south for the winter, staying in warmer locales like Florida, Arizona and California. When things warm up, they then head to other places for weeks or months at a time. While it isn’t unheard of, you rarely see young or middle-aged families owning those huge class A bus-based motorhomes. Families that go “camping” or simply travel to see different places will usually own a tent-trailer, travel trailer, fifth wheel or smaller class A or C motorhome. For full-timers, they aren’t looking at the RV as an investment anymore, it’s a lifestyle thing at that point.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman September 21, 2010, 8:32 AM

      A lifestyle with wheels, I suppose.

      Reply
  • Michael James September 21, 2010, 8:36 AM

    People will pay just about any amount to spend time some place where they don’t feel guilty drinking at 10:00 am.

    Reply

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