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Old 04-19-2016, 10:04 AM   #1
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This subject pops up every now and then in the Internet forums, rv.net, IRV2.com, FMCA.com, where I hang about on a regular basis. It may be a post titled "Is your Class A a Money pit?" or "A motor home costs a whole lot more than you think it does!" The people who post these kinds of entries may or may not really have a problem with what a coach or any other large RV may cost. They might just be bored. It's Sunday night and the DW is watching "Real Housewives of xxx", so there is nothing better for them to do than post some sad story about how broke owning a coach is making them.

The last time I saw one of these threads, I responded to it. I said that owning a motor coach is like having kids. You make a huge financial investment, with no return, but they make lots of good memories, are good for the soul, and will greatly improve one's life if you let them.

I believe the RV lifestyle is under-appreciated by most people who are not part of it and also by some who are. Becoming a Motor Coacher has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and my wife. Has owning one depleted my bank account? I suppose it has, but then, maybe not.

I might have put away the money that I spend each month paying for my coach. I might have put away the money I spend on trips, including gas and food and camping fees, but I doubt it. I would have spent all of my trip and fuel money on airplane tickets, hotel rooms and cruise ships, or something else. The chances are that even if I did save it, a lot of the money could still have disappeared without me spending a dime of it.

The present economic situation has poked a whole lot of holes in a lot of financial balloons. I just try to take advantage of what our coach can do for us. I may have to spend money on gas, a new water pump to replace a squirting frozen one, new wiper blades to replace frozen ones, a new water filter to replace a cracked and frozen one, but considering what our coach does for us it is worth it.

I can tell you this that minus the monthly payment, the time I have spent in Florida, which included eight nights at Disney World, didn't cost us much at all. Not when compared to what two weeks would have cost staying in fancy hotels and eating out. I wish I could have stayed there a lot longer. Responsibilities called me home.

Home is a very subjective word when you own a motor coach. Home is where my coach is. I felt quite at home in Fort Wilderness. As a matter of fact, the guard who checked us in said, "Welcome home, Mr. Parker."

It was home. A few years ago we spent New Year's Eve in Saint Augustine and the next day climbed a lighthouse. My daughter was there and my son-in-law and my grandson. My wife was there and so was Teddy Bear. I had my favorite DVDs, my favorite beer, my favorite books, some of them anyway, and the things I like to eat the most. I also had great cable TV.

At night we listened to music coming from the Disney Parks. We also heard the fireworks and, if we walked a little ways from our site, could see them, just over the tops of the trees. If we wanted to ride the monorail, we did. If we wanted to take a boat ride, we did that, too. We went to one park, and saw Cirque Du Soleil, followed by sushi at Wolfgang Pucks. We pin traded, we took Teddy to the Waggin Tails Dog Park. We basked in the 70-degree sunshine. We even had the pleasure of spending time with our friends Gary and Janis. What could be better than that?

It was wonderful. It was wonderful until we had to say good-bye. We had to say good-bye to the warmth of our surroundings, our friends and our family. We said good-bye and then made our way back north. We came back to the cold, to work and to our son, daughter and grandsons, whom we missed a lot.

It won't be long before we take our motorhome back out on the road and enjoy another great trip. We will make new friends and see new places.

So, I don't worry about "depreciation" I try to appreciate the emotional and spiritual return I get from my poor financial investment. I hope that all my fellow Coachers and RVers do the same.

aka "Gramps"

08 Holiday Rambler Vacationer XL 38PLT
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:08 AM   #2
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Well said.
You can either depreciate or appreciate!!

'06 Mountain Aire 4309, ISL 400-CM850, Spartan MMGT
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by HHIDan View Post
You can either depreciate or appreciate!!
Some RV are "appreciated" while they "depreciate"...(but it's not always easy to appreciate the depreciation.

Mine has depreciated $54,000.00 in 15 years... ($3600.00 per year).

'96 Safari, 148k miles, (mine since '01)
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:35 AM   #4
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Well said Gramps!

Like you, I didn't buy these things as an investment. I went in fully knowing we would lose our shirts. I have always said that one day sitting in an assisted living center, all we will have is our memories and don't want to scrimp on those.
Dan & Ro with two Rescued Boston "Terrorists"
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by -Gramps- View Post

The last time I saw one of these threads, I responded to it. I said that owning a motor coach is like having kids. You make a huge financial investment, with no return, but they make lots of good memories, are good for the soul, and will greatly improve one's life if you let them.
Wow. Very well said, Gramps.

I will remember your words the next time someone asks me about why we like to RV and aren't you just wasting your money.

Great post, overall!
Dave & Young
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:59 AM   #6
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Well said, depreciation is way over rated by those who buy used. We can actually get just about what we paid for ours two years later and all the naysayers said we would lose tens of thousands. You don't see any depreciation unless you sell it, and more importantly is all the things you said about owning a MH. It is a lifestyle you are buying, and if you don't spend it here you will just spend it somewhere else.
Mike & Charlotte
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:57 PM   #7
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I always looked at depreciation as unimportant. Year ago we decided that we wanted to see as much of America as we could. When we consider all the places where we have been and all the things we've seen. I then try to make the comparison. If I had done all this in a conventional manner the price of air fare, hotel rooms, rental cars, having to eat out all the time. It changes perspective. Plus I have all my "stuff" with me and don't have to make concessions.

Having said that I believe that our MH has not depreciated at all. In fact the savings we've made, have made this a great investment. One day we'll sell it to someone else so they can make memories. It'will be lower then what I paid for it, but my memories are worth a lot more!!
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:05 PM   #8
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I don't pay any attention to depreciation. Can't do a thing about it, just have to live with it...or do something else.
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Old 04-19-2016, 05:55 PM   #9
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To busy enjoying the lifestyle to worry about depreciation. In 10 months will be buying another one.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!" as my wife says.
Brian and Tammy
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:14 PM   #10
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I've been around RV's since I was 10, I buy them to enjoy, if they depreciate so what? I got to enjoy them in the meantime. And I hope someday to get to enjoy the one we now have. You just never know when poor health will strike one of you!
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:26 PM   #11
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I guess I'm lucky because I got a great deal on a used coach and it is still worth more than I paid. There is a cost for everything. Depreciation is the "Pay Me Later" kind. I have always looked at depreciation of toys (boats, RVs, motorcycles, etc.) as a great motivator to use them and "get my money's worth". Fun time with family and friends is priceless...Take lots of pictures...
Palm Springs, CA - 2005 National Tropi Cal 370LX on a Freightliner, Cat 350 power. Towing a Rinker R1 - Lake Havasu Bound!!
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:35 PM   #12
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Great post gramps! For my wife and I, our 25' travel trailer suites us just fine and we are much more enamored with the journey than the costs. We love traveling with our trailer as much as we can (financially like all of us) and we seem to feel closer to each other, happier and content than just chilling at home with all the day to day nonsense there we all put up with. I'm retired but she's got a few years left so any time spent camping with the trailer is pure joy for us. Thanks for the great post!
Happy Camping!
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:37 PM   #13
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Great post, I am also on the side of I got what I get and pay a great price for it, take decent care of it and the rest is out of my control ....
I do have the maximum fun allowed in a RV any day I can
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:37 PM   #14
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Depreciation is what you make of it. Go out and buy a $350,000 motorhome and I guarantee you will lose big bucks fast. If you can afford to do that and don't care that is just fine. I can't afford it and I do care.
I bought my first RV in 1977. A friend at the time was an insurance adjuster and he told me he had a 1974 Mallard 19' tow behind which had been totaled he was taking bids on. I looked at it and decided it wasn't all that bad. It turned over on a road shoulder when the driver swerved to avoid another vehicle. I bought it for $700, brought it home, stripped it and rebuilt it. I invested less than $300 in materials including a couple factory panels for the exterior. It took me about four weeks of working every night after work to complete all the repairs. it looked like new when I was done.
My wife and kids and I camped for two years in this camper and we outgrew it. I sold it for $3200.
I then bought a 1976 24' Prowler 24' with bunk beds and a dinette which folded into a bed. I paid $2400 for this camper I kept this for three years and sold it for $2400 plus I took a 24' 1968 Travelmaster in on trade.
I put an ad in the local paper to sell the Travelmaster. I got a call from a fellow who wanted a camper to take his kids camping in. He was going through a nasty divorce and thought doing this would look for his case during a custody dispute. He said he didn't have much money but he had an old car he would like to trade. I wasn't really interested as I was in the process of building a garage and would have preferred the cash. I told him where the camper was but I wasn't excited in trading. A couple nights later I was on the roof of the garage and this black and blue 1935 Plymouth PJ 6 coupe pulled into the driveway. Mind you I had pictured this fellow having an old car sitting with four flat tires covered with dust and other junk which hadn't run for years. I couldn't keep my eyes off that coupe. It was close to mint condition.
I showed him the camper and he said it was just what he was looking for. Would I please trade? I took the plates off the coupe and gave him a ride home and the registration for the trailer. I kept the coupe for 22 years and sold it for $5500 cash.
A year after I got the car I bought a Vega 30' camper on a site at a local campground. The owner had passed away and the lot rental was paid for for the season. The camper was clean and nice. A bargain for $1500.
The following year I traded the Vega in on a 1980 32' Shasta camper and put it on the site. I paid $7500 for the Shasta but got $2500 trade in for the Vega. I moved sites twice during the 11 years I had the Shasta. This trailer has had a couple different owners since I sold it but is on the lot I last had it on. In 1995 I traded the Shasta even up for a 27' 1989 Nomad which was really nice. We traveled some in this one but I was busy building a hunting camp so I didn't use it much. After the camp was finished I sold the Nomad for $6500. This was in 1997.
Four years ago I bought a 1989 Gulfstream 24' class C MH for $5500. This unit had just over 13,000 miles on it. I replaced the hot water heater tank and the alternator while I owned it. I sold it last summer for $6200.
Last spring I bought our present MH. I am sitting well enough on this one that with good care it will be worth as much or more in five years as I paid for it. Meanwhile we are enjoying it to the fullest. My children ( all grown now ) and my Grandchildren really enjoy it also. If I did lose my butt on this one I wouldn't care.
We still visit the campground where the Shasta sits. We have many friends there we made along the way. Some of them were camping there when we started in 1977. You can't put a price on that!
If I spent $350,000 on a new flashy MH I wouldn't enjoy it any more than what we have. It'd be the same family and friends and that to me is what this RV'ing is all about.

2002 Fleetwood Storm 30H on Workhorse P32 chassis 8.1 gas.
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