Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-18-2009, 05:13 AM   #1
Almost There
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 85
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Need bus-as-home over RV
Chassis: still looking
Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

I know most RV stuff is more expensive for a reason - whether its additional ruggedness to deal with the road, or the ability to work other than perfectly level (a problem i've heard with certain appliances, I forget which) or just being compact to save space, but where can you skimp if you absolutely have to save money? I'm not going to be able to afford $1000 for a fridge or $850 for a rooftop air conditioner, but I can grab a $50 fridge from the thrift store, and a $100 window AC unit from Walmart if I have the electricity for it. A more compact RV washing machine is obviously nicer but if I have the room why not a normal house one?

Do I really need an RV furnace for safety reasons or can I improvise around it? How much of all this can I do with extension cords and garden hoses for simplicity? I'll probably be hauling in water in 7 gallon blue camping cubes for instance, I dont think i'll have a 'central' freshwater tank the first year.

I'm not planning on driving much. It wont be a full time home never moving, but I need the ability to periodically move to try and take advantage of potential work for instance, or wearing out a welcome parking on someone's farm, or to pick up a busload of free (whatever) offered by someone or something on craigslist.
nearhomeless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 362
Send a message via AIM to baadpuppy Send a message via MSN to baadpuppy Send a message via Yahoo to baadpuppy
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

rv stuff is not more rugged, regardless what you might think.

Marine stuff on the other hand *is* more rugged.

Typical RV stuff is expensive because there is a tiny market for it. Low demand = higher prices.

You can save money in every one of the ways you mentioned. Many of the conversion threads on this forum do combinations of what you have listed.

A schoolbus conversion is almost always more rugged than all but the highest quality RVs. And I'm sure some of those are arguable.

The most important thing to get from the RV or Marine world is the toilet. Mobile toilets are designed to expect sloshing, and house toilets are not. Quality varies.

I lived in an old travel trailer for almost a year with just the rooftop AC that it came with for cooling in the winter and a few electric heaters in the winter for heat. And an electric blanket. That was our coldest winter in about 10 years. Bear in mind that the travel trailer had perhaps 1.5" of insulation, no fresh water, no septic hookup, no phone. There was just the satellite hookup, internet connection, and the RV power and a second extension cord for the extra heater.

The fridge was missing, so we used that panel to bring in all the wires. We put a piece of 1" foam insulation in the fridge opening to try to conserve energy.

I didn't use propane at all.

In your conversion, the thing to NOT cheap out on is insulation. Putting more money in insulation will save you usage costs for power/propane/etc down the road.

hope this helps,
jim
baadpuppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2009, 03:07 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
TygerCub's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 784
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Genesis
Engine: Detroit
Rated Cap: 14
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

Just some thoughts from a camper point of view that I hope to use in my own bus...

Cooking:
Use a coleman stove to cook at first. When hurricane Isabel blew through our area in '03, our block was without power for 2 weeks (and it was HOT). We had a two burner coleman stove that ran off a small propane cylinder (not a tank, just a cylinder) and cooked for MONTHS on a single cylinder! Yes, we liked cooking with gas so much that we continued to use the little propane-powered camp stove LONG after we had power again. These little stoves and fuel are cheap. And now that camping season is here, you won't have trouble finding a source of propane cylinders. You can get a Greatland 2 Burner Propane Stove from Target for under $50.

Food Storage:
Small refrigerators are expensive! Even the dorm style can cost up to a couple hundred. Do yourself a favor and invest in an "extreme cooler". Again, Target has a Coleman Ultimate Extreme 50-qt. Cooler for $80 that has wheels so you can easily roll it up to the ice machine. Keep your ice in a large tupperware container (like a cake topper or bread saver) or some other water-tight container to minimize leakage into your food. In a pinch, those gallon ziplock bags work well enough (though there is some leakage after a couple of uses).

Food in general:
When you can't get fresh food at the grocery store, take advantage of canned foods. They are relatively inexpensive, keep for long periods of time without spoiling, and you can keep both meats (tuna, chicken, ham, and beef) and vegetables. Buy a club membership at SAM's, COSCO, BJ's, etc. Those bulk buy places really WILL save you money when shopping for food. And you only have to shop once a month or so. My husband and I did the math, and we saved about 40% off our normal food bill! WOW! Of course, the variety is aweful, but the tradeoff makes it worth while.

Bathroom:
As someone else said, look into a composting toilet. Make one if you can for a LOT less money. As long as you maintain the composting process, you should be okay.

Water:
Those 7 gallon jugs of water are HEAVY. Get yourself a collapsable cart that many of the elderly use to carry their groceries home.
As for drinking and cooking water... If you trust the water coming out of the hose, then use it. Otherwise, boil everything you use for consumption first, then store it in a recycled 2 or 3 liter bottle for use later. Personally, I hope to use those huge jugs that Walmarts/Lowes/Homedepot often carry outside that are recycled constantly. Just turn the empty jug in for a new jug, or refil it at the vending machine.

This is just the basics, but should help at first. Look to the camping world for quick solutions and add more substantial items as you have time and money. With a little ingenuity, you can stretch the dollar quite far!
TygerCub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2009, 07:35 PM   #4
Almost There
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 85
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Need bus-as-home over RV
Chassis: still looking
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

Cool, useful answers the first day, thanks.

See this is why I ask, I have a pretty good brain and figured out some pretty good things but since I haven't done it yet there's things that I wouldn't have really thought of right away like the RV toilet sloshing issue. Seems totally obvious yet it wasn't on my master list of problems i'm trying to solve at the design phase.


Not planning on skimping on insulation, actually I made what I hope is a useful post on the 'external insulation' thread (or something like that) someone else started so i'm suggesting using roofing polyurethane to solve several problems at once. Spray on poly is likely to be vastly superior to every styrofoam factory insulated RV on the planet based on what I keep hearing and anything you can improvise by yourself. It's probably going to be better than an insulated house of the same size.

Canned foods i'm planning on using over refrigeration, however i'm worried about freezing in the winter and I don't plan to live in the RV full time always. (if work is available out of town i'll be driving there for 1-2 weeks then come back to block-frozen ruptured cans) I'm trying to figure out a way around this. :-/ I might be building a small underground storage setup just below the frost line in the ground to try and prevent this if i'm parked on land i'm allowed to. Hopefully 7 feet down it will all stay just above freezing...

Didn't know RV stuff was not more durable, thank you for telling me now. Going to look for used marine stuff then or get a friend out on the coast to watch local want ads for me.


Probably not going to have electricity from the grid. If i'm lucky I might get a 50 watt solar panel or two and a couple batteries to run a laptop, computer use is vital as i'm hoping to do work through the computer. I have a too-big 3kw chinese gasoline genset that would use fuel too fast to be used with any regularity, unless there's something that can efficiently dump all the wattage into rapidly charging batteries to slowly drain down. If i get my strawbale 'garage' set up with a green roof i'm hoping a small window AC unit will provide extra coolth to make things tolerable if I can get one of those tiny 650watt generators to run during the hottest hours of the hottest days when it's interfering with the ability to get work done on the laptop. Then again I might be dreaming about an unaffordable luxury...

Not worried about the heavy 7 gallon jugs, it's good exercise. Exercise just keeps you healthy.
nearhomeless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2009, 05:11 AM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: California, Just NorthEast of San Fransisco
Posts: 539
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

You might want to think about a swamp cooler for the hot days... Its as simple as a tupperware full of ice water, a cloth held up with its end in the water and a fan to blow on the damp cloth.

My grandfather showed me this on a hot day. But he used an old washcloth, drywall mud (rectangular) bucket, wire coat hanger, and boxfan.

The other method you might try, Copper Tubeing, a fishtank pump, and bucket/cooler, and a fan... http://www.gmilburn.ca/2005/06/15/pe...r-conditioner/

Even easier, several frozen 1leter bottles, a plate for drips, and a fan.
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...eapest_ai.html
Sojakai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2009, 02:19 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New England
Posts: 1,009
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Ward Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/MT643
Rated Cap: 77
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

An apartment-sized gas stove is $150 or so used & converted to propane. That's what I did.
__________________
Jarlaxle
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Optimism is a mental disorder.
Jarlaxle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Savage, MN
Posts: 472
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Rated Cap: 14
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

If you can get by without an oven I'd go with either an electric burner (1 or 2 burner) Or get an electric skillet grill. I personally have a propane skillet grill (Coleman) and both an electric and a propane burner stove.

Big brother in his green bus has 2 8000 btu air conditioners in the back windows. One on each side and blowing forward. He has said when he is parked in the shade just one handles the bus fine. unless it is mid 90's then he would run the second one.
wmah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2009, 12:11 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New England
Posts: 1,009
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Ward Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/MT643
Rated Cap: 77
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

Two words: baked chicken!

(And if nothing else, it's storage, probably for less money than a counter-top range & a cabinet.)
__________________
Jarlaxle
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Optimism is a mental disorder.
Jarlaxle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2009, 01:51 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 135
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

Another reason RV appliances may cost more is because many are dual fuel, i.e. that fridge and water heater may be able to be run off of either propane or electric. Run off of propane while going down the road or when boondocking (so you don't have to run that expensive generator), and run off of electric when you're at a campsite that charges a flat rate (might as well use all the electricity you can).
josetann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2009, 07:19 PM   #10
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Carriere Miss.
Posts: 97
Year: 85
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: G.M.C. 6000 series
Engine: 366 G.M.
Rated Cap: 60
Re: Where to save money? :( (vs expensive 'RV' stuff)

The way the economy has been going the price of R.V. eouipment has dropped a lot in my area,(Gulf Coast Miss.. I lived in Elkhart, Ind. some 20 yrs. ago known as the R.V. center of the world. The people back there tell me you could have a gun fight in the center of town and nobody would see anything. Another words the market is depressed. Shop around. Russell
Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to convert your bus and save thousands. coakes69 Conversion General Discussions 8 01-11-2014 09:08 AM
SAVE on LV Purses swinada Conversion General Discussions 3 06-14-2009 07:25 AM
OMG! Somebody save this from the scrap heap! TygerCub Conversion General Discussions 5 06-01-2009 12:58 PM
tip to save you gas... 1 of a kind Conversion General Discussions 4 10-18-2007 03:17 PM
Save Dem Feet Zen Ken Conversion General Discussions 2 02-28-2006 08:18 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.