RV vs Apartment | Which is Cheaper?

RV vs Apartment | Which is Cheaper?

Choosing between living in an RV and living in an apartment could be confusing. Both of them have their pros and cons. 

Living in an apartment gives you more space, luxury, and comfort while living in an RV can offer you an adventurous life and economic freedom. Deciding between RV vs Apartment depends on a few variables. You can’t pick one straight up. 

If the sole purpose is to save up a few more bucks, opting to live in an RV could be a wise choice. Although RV life has some particular expenses, they are less likely to take a toll on you, unlike apartment life

Like I said in the beginning, you cannot pick one straight up. It is not like choosing a cheaper apartment over a pricey one. Traveling all the time, RV parking charges, cleaning water tanks, gas prices, repair, and a lot more can add to the cost that apartment dwellers don’t usually face. Further reading this article will help you decide which style of living is better one for you. 

Which Is Cheaper RV vs Apartment? 

Many fresh graduates or newly married couples have to pay an arm and leg for even the smallest of the residence. Utility and other bills add more to that. After paying for all these somehow, recreational travel seems like a luxury. It is one of the main reasons many people are leaning towards RV living. Let’s break down the costs precisely to get a clear image. 

One-bedroom apartments in developed metropolitan areas cost around 1200$ to 2000$. So, on average, that is 1600$ per month. At the end of the year, that is 18000$. Not that there isn’t anything cheaper, but this is the middle point. There are always pricier and cheaper options available from the average. 

You can buy a preowned good condition RV for around 12000$. So, after one year of RV living, you can spare 6000$ that apartment living would have cost you. That’s 500$ per month. Gas costs around 1200$ a year meaning 100$ per month. 

Maintenance is one of the key factors you have to take into account. Without any major problems, this shouldn’t cost much. Adding insurance and propane tank usage should sum up close to or equal to 500$ per month. So, after the first year of your RV life, the cost is almost equal to living in an apartment. 

The saving really starts to add up from the second year. Monthly expense for your RV is around 500$, let’s say 600$. So, you are saving 1000$ per month, 12000$ at just the end of the second year. That’s a really healthy amount of cash. By the end of the third year, your RV shall require some repair, so the savings are going to be slightly less than the previous year. 

Up until year three, the cost of RV living is still favorable. After that, not much. The RV is totally worn out. Major repairing, lower mileage means more expense. Still, after three years you have saved enough to sell the RV and get a new one if you are likely to continue RV life. 

Note that the scenario discussed above may not be completely accurate. If some of the conditions are not optimal, the costs of RV living might skyrocket. Driving to RV parking shall increase gas expenses. If the preowned RV you have to purchase is not fuel-efficient, it will cost you even more. Parking charge and gas price may vary throughout the year. 

During the winter season, you have to winterize your RV properly. This is to protect your RV’s plumbing system from the sheer cold. If you forget, or not winterize properly, you might as well say goodbye to your RV. The repair will cost you a fortune that could’ve been avoided in apartment life.

So, RV vs apartment life does not differ that much in terms of expense. If your calculations are immaculate and all the conditions are optimal, choosing to live in an RV might save you a few more dollars. 

Living in an RV 

RVing has been around for quite some time. It is becoming a popular medium for traveling. You go wherever you want, whenever you want, stay without any motel costs and bring the comforts of your home with you, that’s the motto of RV traveling. 

While RV traveling has been around for a fairly long time, living in an RV is an idea emerging recently. Living in an RV can be cheaper or more expensive, depending on your lifestyle. Most of the time the difference isn’t drastic, so people who want something more than ‘traditional’ living often choose RV life. 

The first step of RV life is buying one. You cannot rent it like apartments. You have to Buy it and furnish it all by yourself. Although, buying an RV is more economical than apartment rents for a year, keep in mind that you have to spend the whole amount at a time for an RV and that’s huge. 

People on a budget often choose to buy a preowned unit rather than a new one. In that case, you have to have the basic knowledge of RV maintenance e.g. delamination, winterizing, cleaning black tanks, etc. Otherwise, ridiculous repair costs might make you regret your decision. RV life has regular bills as well, but they are lower in comparison to apartment bills. 

You get to visit many places that would otherwise cost you a fortune. But not in this case as your home goes where you go and you don’t need to deal with costly hotel or motel bills. You never feel homesick, because you are always with your home. 

Let’s look at some pros and cons of an RV lifestyle.

Pros 

  • Considerably fewer utility bills than apartments 
  • You can travel all the time 
  • It cuts down the vehicle and gas costs 
  • It cuts down traveling costs 
  • Your outdoor activity increases
  • Cheaper maintenance than apartments

Cons

  • Maintenance is cheaper but tiresome 
  • Cleaning the black tank is no joke 
  • Finding new parking every day is troublesome 
  • Less secure than apartments 
  • Emergency services might not be available instantly 
  • A medical emergency can prove to be fatal.
  • Cannot spend much time with family and friends
  • No weekend backyard parties
  • Bad weather can result in dreadful conditions like delamination
  • Not suitable for couples with kids

Living in an Apartment 

Human beings have always been living in houses. The housing varies based on the financial condition of individuals. Some live in cheap one or two-room apartments, some buy luxurious penthouse apartments while the ones on the top of the food chain afford humongous mansions to live in. 

This article is targeted towards those living on a normal wage, so we will leave more expensive apartments out of the equation. Because, if you have the money to afford a mansion then you probably have the money to have an RV just sitting around in your garage too. 

Moving into an apartment comes with a lot of additional costs. Furniture, utility bills, monthly rents, and other expenses just keep piling up in front of your eyes. Buying a car and gas prices are also something that you can’t ignore. 

Living in a cozy apartment in a nice neighborhood gives you a sense of security. If any repair is required, you can simply call the landowner and he will take it from there. You can invite friends over at weekends to have a backyard barbeque party. 

You can buy any new furniture or electronics anytime without worrying about space. If you have kids, then there’s no alternative to settling down in a nice neighborhood. You can avail of Civil services provided by the government, like police, fire service, ambulance, etc. It’s a pretty decent life with basic facilities to lead an easy going lifestyle. 

Pros

  • You have considerably more space than in RVs.
  • You can have your friends over anytime.
  • You get to know the area which gives you a sense of belonging. 
  • You can buy anything you need without worrying about space. 
  • The safety of you and your family is assured. 
  • Repair costs are not much high. 
  • 24 hours of civil service.
  • Anyone can contact you at any time. 
  • Probably the best choice if you have kids

Cons 

  • Utility bills can become a massive burden. 
  • Less outdoors activity 
  • Traveling becomes costly 
  • It’s monotonous if you have an adventurous mindset 

Reasons To Choose An RV Life

We live in houses. It’s that simple. It may be a cottage, apartment, mansion, or whatever. It has been this way for thousands of years. There hasn’t been any alternative and we didn’t need any. So now why have people started living on four wheels? 

Human beings always prefer to be inside their homes. It’s in our genetics. Even when we travel, something inside of us wants the home close by. This idea has invented the recreational vehicle or RV in short. You travel in a vehicle that resembles your home. This does not let you feel homesick, you always feel at home no matter where you are. 

Okay so that’s RV traveling explained but where does RV living fit in all these? It’s actually simple. Travel and living involve money. Maintaining an apartment as well as an RV can prove to be financially draining, especially for fresh job holders. While we can’t turn our apartment into a vehicle, we definitely can turn our vehicle to an apartment. 

In fact, living in an RV can cut down some expenses drastically. Buying a preowned RV usually costs less than the total apartment rent for a year. Monthly maintenance costs shouldn’t be much as well. It also reduces travel costs, motel fare, etc. You can travel at any time without leaving the comfort of your home. 

You can visit so many places that would otherwise cost a fortune. You can mix with lots of different people and cultures, share thoughts and experiences. You can do all these in other forms of travel as well. But when you live and travel in an RV, you are not only a tourist, you are a resident of that place.

RV living gives you a feeling of belonging. It expands your mind. You are not confined to four walls, you are confined to the whole world. You can experience all these while spending the same amount as traditional apartments. 

Reasons To Not Choose An RV Life

RV life is not for everyone. There are people who love to stay inside their homes and not move an inch. There are people who just love to travel all the time. If you are not a travel enthusiast, RV life may not be the best for you, even if it’s cheaper. Despite being slightly cheap 

Before deciding, try renting an RV. This should not cost you more than 1000$ per month. Try living for a month to get the hold of it. You have to face many things in RV life that you would’ve never known in apartments. Cleaning the motorhome is tricky because of the small size. You have to clean it more often than apartments because it becomes dirty soon. 

Changing the water in the tanks is one of the tasks everyone disdains. In regular apartment life, you would never have to do it yourself. If you are wondering, the black tank holds the bodily wastes of RV dwellers. You have to dump it in proper places from time to time. Otherwise, the situation you might face is a nightmare. 

Before winter, your RV should be properly winterized. It is the process undertaken to protect the plumbing system from freezing cold temperatures. If not winterized, the extent of damage could cost unbelievably high in repair. Plumbing in the apartment is robust, so it doesn’t require any special treatment. 

Delamination is a condition you must try to avoid at all costs. Since you are buying a preowned unit, you are more likely to face delamination. The exterior of the RV gets peeled off due to water penetration. It cannot be repaired. Even if it does, the cost is so high that you might consider getting a new one. The apartment is free from all that trouble. 

Structurally RVs are not as robust as apartments. So, things often break due to the slightest pressures. They are usually built from cheap materials to keep the RV price to a minimum. Traveling and living in an RV is a great feeling, but it’s not for everybody. 

Basically here are some reasons why you might want to skip out of choosing an RV life – 

  • You have kids

If you have kids they are going to need to go to schools. And they can’t do that if they are travelling all over the country in your RV.

  • You don’t know how to repair your vehicle

Not knowing how to repair your own vehicle is going to increase your expenses by many folds. Also, your RV might break down in a place where you might not find any repair service nearby. So, knowing how to make repairs is essential for an RV lifestyle.  

  • Your job is not remote

You are going to have to eat and buy stuff when you are out on the road. So, if you have a 9 to 5 job then the RV life is not for you. On the other hand if you have a remote job like virtual assistant or any freelancing then maintaining an RV life will be much easier. 

  • You have no previous experience 

If you’ve never done Rving in your entire life then you should not think about living in an RV. You don’t know if you are going to like it or not. So, it doesn’t make sense to make such a decision.

If you are a travel enthusiast and accustomed to the RV lifestyle since childhood, go for it. It will save you some money while you compromise nothing. But if you grew up in a regular house or apartment, RV life can be a bitter experiment. Even if it is slightly more economic than apartment life, it may not be worth it. 

Conclusion 

RV life has become popular in recent times. Living in the cheapest apartment can seem expensive if you are a fresher job holder. 

Traveling in an RV has its own charm. Owning an RV as a permanent residence is even more fascinating.

If you can plan your budget precisely and everything goes accordingly, choosing a camper life is pretty fun. Just make sure that the RV you are going to purchase has been well maintained. Also, check for fuel efficiency as the gas price might impact your overall budget. 

Keep in mind that not everyone can live in an RV. Traveling for a week or two is okay and may be amusing, but living in an RV is an entirely different story. Cleaning the black tank regularly, getting rid of pollen and mold, and checking for delamination can feel like a hellish experience. 

If you are habitual with the RV life, going for it will be convenient as well as economic. If you are not, the RV experience may not be worth it despite being the cheaper option. 

I believe this article could provide you with a valuable understanding of expenses and experience of RV vs Apartment life.

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Gary Michaels
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