Re: How far will $1000 get you in a conversion?
I haven't done it, so I can't say for sure, but if you have the time and ability to scrounge for parts rather than buying everything new, you can save a lot.
Some people have torn apart old camping trailers to get all the hardware, plumbing and mechanicals, and then scrapped the hull. I have heard of cases where an old camping trailer, perhaps water damaged, can be had for just taking it away. I should be so lucky. I almost had one lined up, offering to help a now-retired co-worker demolish an old camper. He only wanted to re-use the trailer frame to make a utility trailer. But after retiring, he got a new truck and Travel Trailer, and now he and his wife are home less than 6 months per year. I did get one or two boxes of old "goodies" cleaned out of his basement.
I save old switches, nuts, bolts, boards, and plumbing parts. If I need a particular bolt and can find it in the bolt can, that saves maybe 85¢ at Home Depot and the $3.60 in gas to get there and back. Multiply that by a dozen or so and it begins to add up. With electrical it is even more. An old radio or appliance headed for the dumpster might have a switch or relay that would be worth $10-$15 new. A good piece of left-over plywood from a shipping container saves at least $20. My tool boxes have better-than-new replacement latches from shipping crates, and one has a handle saved from a 1960's fire truck radio. And new copper pipe is being priced out of existence.
Most of the towns around here have one day per year when the highway departments will pick up large items for disposal. You can cruise the neighborhoods to find old counter tops, cabinets or sinks among the old bicycles, fake wood entertainment centers, arm chairs and the like.
Some people give things away on Freecycle.
To be frugal, you need advance time, storage space, and the ability to visualize re-purposing cast-off or yard sale items. These method will not work if you buy a bus and are in a hurry and need to be full-time in 3 weeks for a new job at the other side of the country.
I'm also shocked by the price increases of everything. Last year's $1000 seems to be this year's $1300.
[GEEZER VOICE] "I remember when you could but a BRAND NEW car for $1595!" [/GEEZER VOICE]
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.