Thursday, June 30, 2016

Caravan Club 3

Now that I've got a battle plan for buying everything new and magically keeping costs under $1000 per month, I've decided to figure out how to slum it. That doesn't mean I'm going to find a cheap truck with a tow hitch and 100k miles. I still have my family to think about and I'm not about to leave us stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere because my ancient truck broke down. Same goes for the camper. There's a certain level of cleanliness that I require and most of the used travel trailers I've looked at appear to have been used by Walter White before being traded in.

As far as MSRP goes, $20k is substantial but I'm not paying MSRP for a new truck. We're looking at a savings of $8000 for a three year old truck. That gets us a three year old truck with around 30k miles on it. With a lot of TLC, these trucks are good for about 200k miles. It's a fully capable truck for the largest travel trailer we'd buy. The only things we give up are simply creature comforts. Sync 3 with Apple Carplay and the trailer backup assist are not essential but they'd make life a whole lot easier. Seat heaters would be missed on cold days but remote start and a giant gas tank can are not vital since we stop pretty often when traveling.

How much do I save with that used truck? $100 a month or $8400 over the life of the loan. Which seems like quite a bit until you figure in those miles. That's three years sooner that the truck would have to be replaced and three years sooner for a major service. Replacement could be at least ten years down the road and probably then some. The major service is what eats up a chunk of the savings. It's hard to stare down $8400 (plus a little bit more for insurance savings) but at the same time, this is a long term deal so things cancel each other out.

The travel trailer is where I just can't seem to convince myself a slightly used trailer is worth it. RV loans are usually long term so a few thousand bucks over 120 months is about $25 a month in savings. Worth it? No.

In the end, We're looking at maybe $200/month, tops in savings by going used. Factoring in down the road costs like maintenance and fuel costs for the less efficient truck it's more like $150 to $175/month. The question that I'm left with would be how much is convenience worth? I could make up that difference with a few lifestyle changes I'm trying to implement at the moment. Stretching out my wardrobe and abandoning snacks helps. Or we could just abandon the idea altogether and I can get my wife a new car.

Decisions, decisions.

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