RV Purchase & Initial Outlay

This post chronicles the purchase of our travel trailer and the immediate outlay for all the “extras” we felt were needed right after the purchase. Hopefully, this post will be helpful to those contemplating buying an RV or perhaps interesting to those who may be curious. I will provide lots of details, including the financials as I want this post to be very useful to my readers. Just remember please, our experience is at a newbie level, not an expert.

As background, Dan and I went to an RV show at the St. Louis Mills shopping mall about 7 years ago. There we saw a Class C, a Coachman Freelander. We loved it. If I recall correctly, the price was $52,000. It was brand new, and our country was still coming out of the great recession. It was a great deal. However, we would have had to take out a loan, and that is not good. Also, back then, we were both still working full time, so we questioned how much we would actually be able to use it. While certainly not as much fun as getting it right then and there, we decided to save up for the purchase.

Through the years, our interest in an RV ebbed and flowed. But we still kept saving. For about a year before our travel trailer purchase, we were quite keen an an Aliner Expedition. Its simplicity and easy towing ability was very appealing to us. We did have some concerns though – like a bathroom and its small size as we hoped to travel and live in it for an extended period of time. Our plans were to purchase an Aliner at the February 2019 RV Show in St. Louis; however, we went to an RV show near our home the September before, and everything changed. There we saw the Flagstaff MicroLite 23FBKS, and we knew this was the one for us. We liked the bathroom setup. Dan could stand up in it; no small feat as he is 6′ 8″ tall. At only 23 feet long, it was spacious with the Murphy Bed configuration. It was only $3,000 more than the Aliner Expedition we had priced out, and for us, it offered so much more.

While we could have waited until February, we made the purchase at the show. On one hand, we would have saved money by waiting, as we were only able to camp 3 nights before needing to get it winterized. On the other hand, our journey and learning curve began, and we were able to research and make plans for the coming spring. Dan was also still working at the time which was helpful with all the related cash outlays the purchase required.

So, on September 22, 2018, Dan and I purchased a 2019 Flagstaff MicroLite 23FBKS. The purchase price was $23,000. The sticker price at the show was $24,000, but seeing how interested in it we were (we kept hanging around there), the sales rep asked the dealer if they could sweeten the deal. They did, and we signed. Middleton RV, our dealer, also offered an extended 84 month warranty with the purchase. This soothed our minds, just a bit, as we had heard the lamenting stories regarding the quality of RVs.

We also asked what portion of the price could we put on our credit card. This was for our credit card cash back exclusively as we intended to pay it all off immediately. They allowed 10%, basically the down payment. This cash back amounted to $46, but hey, we’ll take anything.

There is always a debate on whether an RV should be a new or used purchase. While it is very true, the value drops as soon as one leaves the dealership, for us, we knew we wanted a new travel trailer. We did not plan to upgrade and change models, like so many do. We planned to keep it for many years and would take the very best care of it. Dan’s cargo van went to a million miles, and our current 2010 Prius has nearly 315,000 miles on it. So that tells you something about us.

The van would be gone soon due to Dan’s nearing retirement. And with the Prius being a Prius, we still needed to purchase a tow vehicle. At the RV show, Middleton offered to store our trailer until we had our tow vehicle. We got to work on finding a tow vehicle right away.

It took about a month. Our selection was a used 2010 Ford Expedition, and so far, we have been very happy with it. Click here to read about that purchase and how we decided on that vehicle.

After buying our MicroLite, I researched online what other items would be needed for our travels. When we went to pick up the trailer, I brought in my list. I knew we would pay more on the items by buying them at our dealer, but we felt there was value working with Timmy who answered all our questions and gave us advice.

The following is a list of all the items we bought on the day we picked up the trailer. I’ve included the purchase price, along with any comments related to each particular item.

  • 2 Step Step Above – $255.29 –
    • These steps replaced the standard steps that came with our travel trailer. We are a tad older, so we love these steps. Most of the RVs at the show had these steps.
  • Jack It Bike Carrier – $227.09
    • We love riding bikes, so this was a must. The dealer put this together and installed it for us, so we were happy to pay for this to be done. Read more about our experience with Jack It here.
  • Power Tongue Jack 3500 lb w/Limit Switch – $200.00
    • This is a great purchase. As a side note, our unit had issues after our first camping season. Middleton RV replaced the unit without charge; it was still under warranty.
  • Ladder rear 5 step flagstaff – $67.50
    • Our travel trailer did not come with a back ladder, so we added one.
  • crate – $20.00
  • Freight – $122.00
  • Syncronizer Brake Control – $62.90
  • Brake Control Harness – $19.07
  • Install brake control – $50.00
  • Install ladder – $50.00
  • 3 bike rack – $136.07
  • Adjustable Coupler Lock 2 5/16 – $56.96
    • We use this every single time we camp and when we store it.
  • Power Cord Adapter; For connecting Source; 50 Amp Male to 30 Amp Female; 50 Amp; 12 inch Dog Bone – $13.40
  • 30 Amp surge protector – $95.30
    • We use this every single time we plug in.
  • Water Regulator Lead Free – $12.50
    • We use every time we connect to city water.
  • Stick on Level White – $4.85
  • 4 pk 1 ply Value Tissue – $3.05
    • We now use Angel Soft.
  • Fresh Water Hose; Aqua Fresh; Not Heated; 1/2 inch Internal Diameter; 25 Foot Length – $15.65
  • Fresh Water Hose; Aqua Fresh; Not Heated; 1/2 inch Internal Diameter; 25 Foot Length – $15.65
    • We did buy 2 of these. So far, we have only ever needed 1.
  • X-Chock Tire Locking Choc – $50.75
  • X-Chock Tire Locking Choc – $50.75
    • We did buy 2 of these, but we have never used them. I am not sure when we would need them.
  • Tri-Lynx Leveling Kit – 10 pk – $43.28
    • We have used these every trip.
  • 6 pk 8 oz Aqua-Kem – $14.57
    • We do not put solids in our toilet. So far, we’ve been able to stick to that. After a year camping, I believe we still have 2 of these left. We do use Fabulosa in our toilets as per Dennis, a fellow camper’s suggestion. Read about that trip here.
  • Rhino Flex Sewer Hose – $37.70

Total – $1719.02

In the coming year, we did purchase an adapter, so we could plug our travel trailer into our home. We usually do this one day before we leave on a trip. This purchase was from Harbor Freight, and we used a 10% off coupon. The cost was minimal.

At one point, at a Boondocker’s Welcome site, we needed a 30 amp extension cord to reach our host’s 30 amp outlet. However, our host provided one to us. That is the only time so far we have needed a 30 amp extension cord.

There were lots of other things we bought, but these items were more of choices rather than must haves for traveling. We did purchase a new Roku for the RV – kind of a must have for us. We were able to supply most of our RV kitchen needs from our very own kitchen at home.

Going forward, we plan to have an awning installed over our slide; the official name is a slide topper, I believe. This is something we wish would have been recommended to us when we bought the trailer. A topper keeps out the rain and leaves. This will be done before our 2020 camping season begins. The cost is about $400.

On a final note, there are still some costs I have not covered. These include insurance, storage fees, and personal property tax. We also joined Triple A. When traveling, one must add in gas and the cost of camping. As a side note, my records indicate our average nightly camping fee is $33.65. The costs do add up, but I am glad to say our costs do not include even one penny of interest.

Before our purchase, I would often analyze which was more cost effective – to make an RV purchase with all its related costs – and savings – or to just travel in our Prius, stay in inexpensive hotels and watch our restaurant costs. One fellow RVer we met on a cruise ship thought the costs eventually come out about the same. Maybe that’s true.

All I know is for me, I love our trailer. I love being able to head out on the road with all the adventures in front of us. I like to be in nature and to meet all the nice campground folk. I love to see new places. I love taking a morning walk around the campground. I love settling in in our cozy trailer at night, especially after a day of activity and discovering. I love playing Scrabble with Dan in our dinette. I like organizing our cabinets. I even like doing up our dishes after Dan cooks our dinner. Our trailer is our home on the road. We’ve worked hard to have our Micro Lite 23FBKS, and for us, it is the way to go, go, go.

9 comments

  1. Hi Betty. Welcome to RVing. It’s a lifestyle for sure. Yes we have to watch our costs but we also have to enjoy life. Good for you!

    Like

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