It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of being an RV owner. It is a little more difficult, however, to put together the money to actually purchase your first rig. RV’s can be expensive, and life with a mortgage, car payment, cable bill, and more is already expensive enough. Finding the extra room in your budget to purchase your RV can seem like an uphill battle to say the least. However, with some smart planning and a little patience, you may be able to purchase your first RV sooner than expected.
Start Saving as Soon as Possible
Just like any other large purchase your make in life, having a significant down payment will make it much easier to secure a loan and take home your first RV. Try to make room in your budget to save a set amount of money each month with the intention of using those savings as your RV down payment. Of course, that money won’t be formally committed to this purpose, so you could always use it for other needs in case of emergency. Depending on your credit history and other factors, you may need as much as 20% of the total purchase price as a down payment. Estimate the cost of the RV that you would like to purchase, and then calculate 20% of that number to set a goal for your savings plan.
Set a Monthly Payment Goal
As you are working on your monthly budget, think about how big of a payment you would be comfortable making on your RV loan. Can you afford a $200 payment each month on the loan you had to take out to purchase your new RV? What about $300, or $400? Before you head to an RV dealer to start shopping for your ideal rig, first decide on the size of the monthly payment you would be willing to make. It is important that you have a firm grasp on this point to avoid getting in over your head with a loan that you can’t afford.
Look for Trades in Your Budget
Owning an RV is a luxury, so look through your budget to see if there are other ‘luxury’ items in your monthly expenditures that could be eliminated. For example, many people spend $100 or more per month on coffee drinks. If you decide to stop purchasing those drinks, you could use that money to put toward your RV loan payment. Even finding just two or three luxury items in your budget that you can cut out could be enough to allow you to purchase that first RV.
Your first RV doesn’t need to be the biggest or fanciest model on the lot – in fact, it doesn’t even have to be new. Have realistic expectations when shopping for your first RV, and always remember to keep your budget as your main focus. Even if the RV you purchase is a little out of date from a technology or style perspective, you can still enjoy great trips with your family and friends if it is clean and well-maintained. With RV ownership experience under your belt, you can move on to buying a nicer RV for your next purchase several years down the road.