Author Topic: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...  (Read 6698 times)

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
So my wife and I really enjoy road trips and camping. We are in a transition period between jobs and have decided to take this time to do a bit of traveling with our 17 month old son and a 90 pound black lab. I like a little more rustic accommodations and my wife likes to sleep in something that offers a little more protection from the elements than a tent can provide.

That said, we recently made a lowball offer on a 19' travel trailer and it was accepted so we are planning a 3-4 month trip that will involve towing a trailer and purchasing either a Highlander or 4Runner. I know, I know, very antimustachian and it makes me cringe to think about the poor gas mileage and initial expense but I'm very excited about the prospect of traveling up and down the West coast for a few months. We will be doing as many nights of boondocking to keep our total costs down.

Here's my plan:

Pay $17K cash for trailer
Finance vehicle $15K @ 2% to keep cash around
Upon return from trip, sell trailer and either pay off vehicle or sell it

Cash outlay for 90 days

Trailer - $17K
TT&L for trailer & vehicle - $3.5K
Food & Lodging - $7K
Vehicle payments - $1.2K
Total Expenses $28.7K

Selling Vehicle and Trailer upon return

Trailer - $17K
Vehicle - $15K
Total Revenue $32K

My math appears to be broken since I know this is not a money making venture. Any thoughts on the math and any insight from other travelers would be appreciated. A good face punch is also appreciated if necessary.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6045
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2015, 01:17:36 PM »
What is the loaded weight of the trailer? You may be better off with something a bit bigger than a Highlander or 4Runner.

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2015, 01:23:35 PM »
It's a lightweight fiberglass trailer. Dry Hitch is 260, Dry axle is 2350, GVWR is 4000. I have read numerous posts from others that have either of the two vehicles and the 4Runner is better but the Highlander is capable given the lightweight trailer.

ZiziPB

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3317
  • Location: The Other Side
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 01:42:38 PM »
Math: you will not get $15K for the vehicle when you sell it, you will get $15K less the outstanding balance of the loan, so your total revenue number needs to account for that.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7845
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2015, 01:44:29 PM »
this is basically a 10.5k trip plus the interest on the vehicle you're financing. 

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4005
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2015, 01:48:59 PM »
Cash outlay for 90 days

Trailer - $17K
TT&L for trailer & vehicle - $3.5K
Food & Lodging - $7K
Vehicle payments - $1.2K
Total Expenses $28.7K

Selling Vehicle and Trailer upon return

Trailer - $17K
Vehicle - $15K
Pay off loan - -$15k
Total Revenue $17K

My math appears to be broken since I know this is not a money making venture. Any thoughts on the math and any insight from other travelers would be appreciated. A good face punch is also appreciated if necessary.

There you go.

Also how sure are you that you are going to be able to sell the trailer and the vehicle for the those prices?  Would suck to get back and realize you can only get $5k less than planned. 

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2015, 02:00:12 PM »
Cash outlay for 90 days

Trailer - $17K
TT&L for trailer & vehicle - $3.5K
Food & Lodging - $7K
Vehicle payments - $1.2K
Total Expenses $28.7K

Selling Vehicle and Trailer upon return

Trailer - $17K
Vehicle - $15K
Pay off loan - -$15k
Total Revenue $17K

My math appears to be broken since I know this is not a money making venture. Any thoughts on the math and any insight from other travelers would be appreciated. A good face punch is also appreciated if necessary.

There you go.

Also how sure are you that you are going to be able to sell the trailer and the vehicle for the those prices?  Would suck to get back and realize you can only get $5k less than planned. 

Basic math seemed to have eluded me. Thanks for the correction.

As far as the trailer is concerned, I responded to the ad in less than 30 minutes and was the first of many that replied. It was selling though a third party and the seller was unaware of the demand so my low offer was accepted. I believe if I listed it for $19K I would be able to sell it in about the same time I purchased it.

As far as the vehicle is concerned, I would anticipate some depreciation based on the mileage but not a huge drop in price. over a few months. At least that's my best guess at the moment.

Jeremy E.

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1947
  • Location: Lewiston, ID
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2015, 02:20:55 PM »
You will probably have to pay taxes when you purchase these things and you won't get that money back. Also, if you have a 90lb lab and a baby that will be living in these vehicles, the value might drop more than you think. A used 2005 4runner 4WD V6 can be had for around 9-12K from a private party, and will probably depreciate less than a newer vehicle. The only reason I would buy something much newer than that if I only needed it for a few months would be if there were significant efficiency or performance improvements in newer years.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7845
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2015, 02:24:32 PM »
You will probably have to pay taxes when you purchase these things and you won't get that money back. Also, if you have a 90lb lab and a baby that will be living in these vehicles, the value might drop more than you think. A used 2005 4runner 4WD V6 can be had for around 9-12K from a private party, and will probably depreciate less than a newer vehicle. The only reason I would buy something much newer than that if I only needed it for a few months would be if there were significant efficiency or performance improvements in newer years.

He's got TT&L at 3500

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2015, 02:27:25 PM »
You will probably have to pay taxes when you purchase these things and you won't get that money back. Also, if you have a 90lb lab and a baby that will be living in these vehicles, the value might drop more than you think. A used 2005 4runner 4WD V6 can be had for around 9-12K from a private party, and will probably depreciate less than a newer vehicle. The only reason I would buy something much newer than that if I only needed it for a few months would be if there were significant efficiency or performance improvements in newer years.

I incorporated the taxes and licensing in the T(ax)T(itle)&L(icensing) figure to account for the loss. As much as I want to believe that I can keep them both clean I know that's not entirely true. Hopefully some elbow grease prior to listing will help in the resale price.

Agreed with the comment about used 4runner. I would like to keep the costs low considering that I won't own for long. That's why I'm leaning towards the Highlander. It gets slightly better mileage if we were to keep it. I'm not sure the MPG difference is sufficient to make the purchase of a newer vehicle worthwhile.

Sid Hoffman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 742
  • Location: Southwest USA
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2015, 02:31:07 PM »
What's the longest trip of this variety you've done together?  I know I'm usually done with being on the road after as little as 5 days and generally even on a wonderful trip I'm ready to go home after about 2 weeks.  Have you also done an extended trip like this since the baby and with the dog?  Those can be complications for some people when talking about being on the road and in a trailer for 3-4 months as proposed.

reachfield

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2015, 02:32:47 PM »
It might be a little late for this, but rent a trailer/RV?

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2015, 02:35:39 PM »
You will probably have to pay taxes when you purchase these things and you won't get that money back. Also, if you have a 90lb lab and a baby that will be living in these vehicles, the value might drop more than you think. A used 2005 4runner 4WD V6 can be had for around 9-12K from a private party, and will probably depreciate less than a newer vehicle. The only reason I would buy something much newer than that if I only needed it for a few months would be if there were significant efficiency or performance improvements in newer years.

He's got TT&L at 3500

I think no matter how I look at this situation it costs me:

Lodging expenses that I normally would not normally incur
Gas expenses that I would not normally incur
TT&L/Insurance/Interest that I would not normally incur
Assume food would be consistent regardless of location

So I guess the question is whether it is worth $7.5K for a three month trip. Seems expensive.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6045
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2015, 02:39:45 PM »
Are you going to stay in the same state indefinitely? If you are mobile / don't have a house, I wonder if it'd be worth establishing residency (for at least the duration of your trip) in a place without sales tax on used vehicle purchases..

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2015, 02:42:59 PM »
What's the longest trip of this variety you've done together?  I know I'm usually done with being on the road after as little as 5 days and generally even on a wonderful trip I'm ready to go home after about 2 weeks.  Have you also done an extended trip like this since the baby and with the dog?  Those can be complications for some people when talking about being on the road and in a trailer for 3-4 months as proposed.

We've done a month driving cross country. We're planning short travel days and longer stops along the way since we've done some traveling with our son and dog but don't like to keep everyone in the car that long. We're more interested in the journey at this point so with no rush I think we will enjoy the temporary nomad life.

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2015, 02:45:20 PM »
It might be a little late for this, but rent a trailer/RV?

We are committed to the purchase of the trailer at this point. We looked into renting and it was much more expensive even with the transaction costs.

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2015, 02:48:05 PM »
Are you going to stay in the same state indefinitely? If you are mobile / don't have a house, I wonder if it'd be worth establishing residency (for at least the duration of your trip) in a place without sales tax on used vehicle purchases..

Hmmm....interesting thought. I had considered it but haven't looked into the requirements. We are just north of Oregon so if we didn't have residency in Washington we would definitely think about that option. It would save us somewhere in the range of $3K on the trip.

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3334
  • Location: New York
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2015, 03:11:05 PM »
Sounds like a grand adventure. Mrs. Axecleaver and I considered a similar plan many moons ago and may take it up in FIRE in a few years.

When figuring weights for a prospective Tow Vehicle, realize that your TV needs to haul your family, your trailer, and all your stuff, which may not be optimally distributed at all times. "Stuff" has to include water, propane and fuel, too. The TV's you've listed have pretty low tow limits. The disadvantage of the ultralights is 1. poor insulation (higher energy costs) and 2. very low capacity for added gear. You may want to consider a half ton truck with a tow package instead, which is less comfortable but has much higher tow capability.

Other stuff:
- invest in E rated tires, you're putting a very heavy load on those vehicles and ten year old used crap tires are not going to cut it.
- Check the batteries and tires on the trailer, they may need replacement depending on how old they are and how they've been abused and stored. Tires have about a ten year life, less if they're stored outdoors or in the sun and wet (which most trailers are). You might have 1000 miles on 15 year old tires, those are dangerous.
- Anything over 3500# trailer you need a class 4 or 5 hitch, those vehicles probably do not come with that, so add that cost.
- Over 3500# you should get a weight distribution system, makes it much safer and easier to drive but this weight comes off the hitch weight!
- Boondocking isn't totally free, you still need propane and water and it costs to get electricity (unless you have a solar system). Also need places to dump your grey and black water.
- Consider getting a credit card that offers cash back on fuel purchase. I think penfed had one at 5% cash back. You will be using a lot of gasoline!
- Check out Good Sam Club, they have some RV roadside assistance insurance that could save your bacon in the event of an unplanned maintenance event. It's around $100 a year and supposed to be great customer service.
- rvforum.com and trailerlife.com have a lot of helpful folks with experience. It's a cool community, maybe someday I will join it.

I'm excited for you, you may never come back!

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6045
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2015, 03:15:24 PM »
Are you going to stay in the same state indefinitely? If you are mobile / don't have a house, I wonder if it'd be worth establishing residency (for at least the duration of your trip) in a place without sales tax on used vehicle purchases..

Hmmm....interesting thought. I had considered it but haven't looked into the requirements. We are just north of Oregon so if we didn't have residency in Washington we would definitely think about that option. It would save us somewhere in the range of $3K on the trip.

It may also be easier to sell in a place that doesn't have sales tax on private party vehicle sales- it further increases the price gap between private party and dealer vehicles.

AZ has sales tax, but none is charged for private vehicle sales.

OnTheMove

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2015, 04:36:20 PM »
Sounds like a grand adventure. Mrs. Axecleaver and I considered a similar plan many moons ago and may take it up in FIRE in a few years.

When figuring weights for a prospective Tow Vehicle, realize that your TV needs to haul your family, your trailer, and all your stuff, which may not be optimally distributed at all times. "Stuff" has to include water, propane and fuel, too. The TV's you've listed have pretty low tow limits. The disadvantage of the ultralights is 1. poor insulation (higher energy costs) and 2. very low capacity for added gear. You may want to consider a half ton truck with a tow package instead, which is less comfortable but has much higher tow capability.

Other stuff:
- invest in E rated tires, you're putting a very heavy load on those vehicles and ten year old used crap tires are not going to cut it.
- Check the batteries and tires on the trailer, they may need replacement depending on how old they are and how they've been abused and stored. Tires have about a ten year life, less if they're stored outdoors or in the sun and wet (which most trailers are). You might have 1000 miles on 15 year old tires, those are dangerous.
- Anything over 3500# trailer you need a class 4 or 5 hitch, those vehicles probably do not come with that, so add that cost.
- Over 3500# you should get a weight distribution system, makes it much safer and easier to drive but this weight comes off the hitch weight!
- Boondocking isn't totally free, you still need propane and water and it costs to get electricity (unless you have a solar system). Also need places to dump your grey and black water.
- Consider getting a credit card that offers cash back on fuel purchase. I think penfed had one at 5% cash back. You will be using a lot of gasoline!
- Check out Good Sam Club, they have some RV roadside assistance insurance that could save your bacon in the event of an unplanned maintenance event. It's around $100 a year and supposed to be great customer service.
- rvforum.com and trailerlife.com have a lot of helpful folks with experience. It's a cool community, maybe someday I will join it.

I'm excited for you, you may never come back!

Thanks for the input. This was an excellent exercise to calculate some of the "hidden" costs.

With respect to the vehicle, there are many on the forum that have towed a significant number of miles with both vehicles and have reported that they are very happy with the ability to sufficiently carry the loads so I will rely on random strangers on the internet as solid references for the tow vehicle. I factored the cost of WDH, brake controller, and wiring into the cost of the vehicle.

The approximate dry weight of the trailer is #2600. Adding myself, wife, dog, full fresh/gray/black tanks(not often), full propane tanks, and #1000 of stuff(which I am sure is overstated) comes to #4600. The towing capacity of both vehicles is #5000. Even if those figures are correct that leaves me just shy of a 10% margin of capacity. I'm a firm believer that someone did the math correctly and each of those vehicles can handle the load.

The trailer is a 2011 and was inspected by the manufacturer prior to selling so tires, and batteries have been tested and are good to go.

The good thing is there is solar so that helps in the electrical department but not propane, water, and tanks.

Great idea on the gas card. We have a points card but will see if there is a better one for gas.

I've heard good things about Good Sam and we have AAA for the car

I have visited those forums in my research and found a lot of useful information. It's trying to pull it all together that has been the most difficult part but certainly fun and a part of the process.

There is a part of me that thinks we may stay on the road for longer if it really suits us. Here's to an adventure!

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2015, 04:56:09 PM »
Are you going to stay in the same state indefinitely? If you are mobile / don't have a house, I wonder if it'd be worth establishing residency (for at least the duration of your trip) in a place without sales tax on used vehicle purchases..

Hmmm....interesting thought. I had considered it but haven't looked into the requirements. We are just north of Oregon so if we didn't have residency in Washington we would definitely think about that option. It would save us somewhere in the range of $3K on the trip.




I'm not a tax lawyer. But...you can 'legally' establish residency by renting a one room place...just saying.

Even a $300 hideous studio that you really wouldn't want to live/sleep in might be worth it--for tax purposes-- if it saved you 3k in taxes.

I think you should invest in a cb radio, since you have the child along. Those big Atlas books they sell at Costco for $20 area a great investment...easy to read, helpful info. Hard to find them in used bookstores but maybe theoretically possible.

The coupon books out in front of truck stops and attractions are worth looking at: they cater to people passing through so have cheap lunch deals, etc. Visitor centers and even rental cars company offices (not that you want to rent a car) have awesome coupons in them.

What most people don't realize is that there is VERY much a community on the road...you might bump into the same few people at Yosemite and Yellowstone. Or at a gallery in San Francisco and SoHo...people who gravitate to certain attractions are often on similar paths.

If you chat with people at your stops at any trailer communities, it will help you save money, avoid crime, etc.

I pulled over off of I-10 in Louisiana and a trooper pulled up to me (and my 80lb wolf/cross I owned at the time) and said: "Listen, don't stop and walk even that bigass dog at the next two rest areas. We've had a lot of problems and I wouldn't want you to get hurt."

I'd heard the same thing on the cb from truckers and people traveling in motorhomes, which is why I was walking the dog there.

Enjoy!

bogart

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1071
Re: Help me be mustachian while doing an unmustachian thing...
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2015, 08:36:29 PM »
About 5 years ago, my DH and I bought a 28 foot TT (used) that we still own and tow with a Toyota Tundra -- so, a bigger setup than you have or are considering.

At the time, DH was about a year from RE and we were considering my taking a year off and throwing ourselves and our to-be (at the time of RE) 4-year old son into the vehicle (exact plans for the pair of 60# dogs were hazy) and driving around the country.

After buying the trailer, we did a weeklong summer trip, which was lovely, and a two-week winter trip, which was enough to convince me that spending more than 2 weeks camping (even in a comfortable trailer) with a 4-year old would result in my strangling the 4-year old.  Plans for the year seeing the country were abandoned; we have kept (and very much enjoy) the trailer.  The longest we have stayed in it is 2.5 weeks.  For us, that is enough (winter trips are harder than other times of year, mostly because of the limited daylight, but the basic principle remains the same).

Now.  Your 19 months is not 3 years old (or 4, or 5, or ... we've gotten to 8), your kid's not my kid, you're not me, and on and on.  But count me among those strongly recommending that you try a few shorter trips to decide if this is right for you before setting out on the road (while I 100% concur that renting RVs is costly, renting a tow vehicle particularly for a trailer as light as the one you're describing, may be a plausible option -- I don't know). 

Also, no idea when you are planning to travel, but travelling with dogs in the summertime can be tricky because of the heat and not being able to leave them in a vehicle.  We take ours other times, but leave them home in the summer.  Something else to make sure you've thought through.

All that said, we love our camper and have done a bunch of fun trips.  Hope you're able to find something that works for you.