About Us

Janet and Paul Stearns

Why we sold our house and moved into our RV

Today we officially said “good-bye” to our sticks-and-bricks house and “hello” to full-time RV living.

How we got to today

It was a long journey of observation, discovery, self-reflection, and math (sorry, warning, there is math ahead) to get to today. We began like most newly married couples. Paul and I were excited to build our lives together and began in the traditional way by getting a puppy and buying a new home.

We loved our new home! The neighborhood was beautiful, with a true community of neighbors, and Kalani had her very own dog park just two blocks from our front door.

Kalani chillin on our new home lot.

I had so much fun decorating in the 5 years we were in our home. I was addicted to Pinterest and researched everything to create a special place for us.

We did everything “right”

I built a successful career in technology and Paul successfully grew his own business. We had what you are supposed to have; the job, the home, the car, the stuff. We even got another puppy. This is what you work for, right?

What do you do after you “achieve” all that? What happens next?

I thought maybe we should get a bigger house and get more “stuff”. I searched real estate listings every night in interesting towns all over the US and bookmarked homes like crazy. This practice went on for many months but nothing I saw looked like it would be the next exciting best step.

I was running numbers on the financial side. Keeping up our current home, mortgage, HOA, cable, electricity, etc, etc, etc. was a BIG drain on our finances. Getting a bigger home would only be a bigger drain.

At the same time, we were enjoying our RV that we purchased just a little over a year ago. Our intent was to not leave the dogs behind when we traveled. So we bought the RV and life was grand. It was their home, we could relax and enjoy our travels together.

But I have to go back to work on Monday.

In all honesty, I love my job. But going back to work at the end of a trip meant packing up and returning home and continuing the endless back and forth repetitiveness of the daily grind until there is time, money, and opportunity for travel again.

Why are we doing this?

Think about this, it’s a big question. I realized that our income was primarily going to expenses that maintained the daily grind and sometimes not much left over for anything else.

Why are we paying all this money to support this lifestyle?

Running the numbers.

One of the things that made me the most irritated was paying our HOA bill every quarter. The fees increased every year and, in the 5 years living in our home, went from what I considered “a bit high” to “totally ridiculous” in comparison to the benefits it offered.

I first thought of getting out of an HOA neighborhood. A good move, but overall would not in the grand scheme of things really be enough to flip the amount we were spending from supporting daily grind to supporting more travel together time.

It had to be a more drastic change.

Monthly sticks-and-bricks housing expenses:

TOTAL$2,748
Mortgage$2,032Including interest payment and escrow for taxes and insurance.
HOA$366But they mow your lawn! Our lawn is 8′ x 8′ and their riding mower drives over it exactly once. Totally ridiculous.
Electric$250It’s Florida, the AC is always on.
Cable$45LOL cable is “included” in the HOA! But if you want anything other than network TV, guess what?
Internet$0Included in our HOA fees and admittedly is the best benefit of paying that fee. When it's not down, it's pretty fast (yeah, that's my snark right there).
Alarm$35Traditional monitoring service.
Bug Spray Service$20It’s Florida, the bugs are always on

Monthly RV housing expenses:

First months before full-time travel

TOTAL$921
RV Campspot$675Did I mention this is waterfront?!
Storage$53For our 5'x5' storage area
HOA$0BIG FAT ZERO
Electric$92Previously estimated, this number now reflects our actual first month.
Cable$0Included in campsite
Internet$100We selected an AT&T data plan with a Nighthawk hotspot.
Alarm$0We purchased a Canary
Bug Spray Service$1Technically zero, but in case we need to buy a can of bug spray

Approximately 70% savings!

(technically 66.5%)

I'm just going to stop here and contemplate...even if I keep going back and forth to work as normal, I can still cut my housing expenses by 70%.

Now, some may say that $2,748 a month is a pretty good deal for housing expenses. I know that many of you pay way more in more expensive places in the US.

But 70% less is still better.

 

Another very appealing incentive

View from our second-floor balcony at our house, admittedly a lovely view:

View from our front window in our RV at our new campsite. You just can’t beat this:

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