Are you in the market for a new RV, a BBQ, perhaps an annex or your phone needs upgrading (having read my article on ‘LET’S TALK Phones, Modems, Antennas & Wi-Fi”)?
The problem is where to buy and what price to pay and the first thing you notice is that prices vary from ‘too good to be true’ to ‘damn right outrageous’ for the exact same item depending where you go shopping?
As the internet gets faster and we get slower it becomes more & more daunting looking for a good deal in the electronic world unless you are still in diapers. Let alone know who you are dealing with and who to trust. We constantly hear of online scams that are targeting unsuspecting older and internet illiterate people.
Then there’s the kids:
Are you worried about the education your children/grandchildren are getting? It’s not the algebra that bothers you it’s the apparent lack of life skills that is of concern. Important subjects like budgeting, saving for their future, negotiating, conversing face to face with another human, all seem to be overlooked at school these days, yet are so important for their survival in later years.
Here’s a solution to both problems:
When you want to purchase any big-ticket item have your children/grandchildren do it for you.
They are tech savvy, so they know where and how to find virtually anything on the net (including all the things they shouldn’t be looking at!). It may turn out to be a local business that has the best deal but it’s the kids that can help you find it.
But how to do you get them interested in helping you?
Pay them 50% commission. Yes, 50%...it got your attention, so it is guaranteed to get theirs.
First you find a price for the item you want yourself, this becomes the benchmark. Then offer them the chance to earn 50% of any amount they save off that price. The more they save you the more they earn. Translated; if they find a price that is say $300 cheaper they will earn $150. If it’s a new caravan that could be in the thousands of dollars.
- They learn valuable budgeting/research/saving lessons.
- You save money and without all the hassles.
- A win-win for all parties (except the salesman!)
Take them along to the shop/caravan lot and have them involved in the final negotiations, which might include having the salespeople throw in extras to sweeten the deal. They’ll soon learn; how to save or make money through negotiation and the potential to earn more in the future by buying items as cheaply as possible (and potentially selling for a profit).
This same rule could also be applied when you wanted to sell something. Teaching young people how to budget, make their dollars go further and not rely on credit cards is a valuable lesson that will help them for years to come.
The next step is to encourage them to invest that commission, so it grows on its own, by introducing them to Hudson’s Financial Planning. They will thank you later in life.
Meanwhile you have what you wanted for less and you have youngsters who see you with different eyes.
Greed is a wonderful thing!!!
This article is an extract from Chad’s monthly RV Newsletter ‘Aussie Life On Wheels’ which, thanks to Hudson Financial Planners, you can grab a copy FREE of charge by clicking this link: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com/free-issue.html
An entertaining read and a useful tool for all Caravan & Motorhome owners and would be owners.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). Chad has spent years researching vans and equipment, knows most of the ins and outs of living on the road and how to earn a living from their van. All of which is revealed in Aussie Life on Wheels
“If there was a 60% decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying Europe, China, Oceania, Africa and North and South America. Scary isn’t it?
Nature's destruction of is as dangerous as climate change.
Destruction of natural habitats is the biggest cause of wildlife loss, much of it to create farmland. Three-quarters of all land on Earth is now signiticantly affected by human activities. Food is the next biggest cause - 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction - while the oceans are being decimated through over fishing.
The proportion of the planet's land that is free from human impact is projected to drop from a quarter to a tenth by 2050, as habitat removal, hunting, pollution, disease and climate change continue to spread, the organisation added.
This crisis is 'unprecedented in its speed, in its scale and because it is single-handed', said Marco Lambertini, the WWF's director general. 'It's mindblowing... We're talking about 40 years. It's not even a blink of an eye compared to thie history of life on Earth'.
The report also found that 90 percent of seabirds have plastics in their stomachs, compared with 5 percent in 1960, while about half of the world's shallow-water corals have been lost in the past three decades.
The group has called for an international treaty, modelled on the Paris climate agreement, to be drafted to protect wildlife and reverse human impacts on nature.
So, why am I sharing this with you?
The whole point of RV’ing, be it in Australia, Europe or USA, is the freedom to explore our natural wonders and interact with wildlife at a multitude of places away from our crowded cities.
We are blessed in Australia with a small population living in a huge continent, yet we continue to destroy our environment as much as any other nation.
With the explosion in demand for RV’s also comes demand for places to stay, purchase supplies and fuel even in remote areas. This results in habitat being destroyed to build campsites, roads and shopping centres, and let’s not forget waste disposal!
We are part of this global crisis. Our habits could be improved.
Hudson’s & I ask that all RV’ers set an example wherever possible. Be aware of your carbon and eco impact. Encourage others to keep our free camps & national parks clean and ensure all waste is disposed of properly.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). A published author and adventurer.
Aussie Life On Wheels is his newsletter for RV owners and potential owners, which thanks to Hudson Financial Advisers, you can download your free trial copy by clicking this link: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com/free-issue.html
You’ve both spent a large proportion of your life working hard so you can enjoy some of life’s luxuries. Invested wisely (silly me - you must have as you’re with Hudson Financial Planning), the rug rats have finally left home -phew! And you can now look forward to doing some of the things you’ve always wanted to do or put off until now.
Retirement is fast approaching? You’ve discussed the proverbial bucket list and on it, like many before you, is to buy a caravan and head off on an adventure around Australia?
Are you nuts?
Divorce lawyers are making more money from retirees who have bought a caravan than any other age group (don’t quote me on that!).
How can that be you ask? We’ve been happily married for 40 years and still love each other.
Now please don’t get me wrong, RV’ing (caravan, motorhome or camper trailer) can be one of the best things you’ll ever do, just look at us – 10 years later and we are still rolling along quite happily in our little box on wheels.
But it’s the ‘box’ that can do the damage and lawyers are now giving up ambulance chasing in favour of Caravan Chasing – much more lucrative!
I want you to imagine you’ve just had a visit from the fun police and they’ve told you that for your past indiscretions you’ve been sentenced to 4 – 6 months in a maximum-security cell just 20ft x 8ft in size – which you get to share with your partner!!!
Naturally, it has all of life’s necessities – miniature kitchen, toilet, tiny shower, table for 2 and a cosy bed. You will be allowed access to phone and internet and TV - when reception permits!
You’re going to be moved from your very spacious home, where you have lots of personal space, to a tiny box on wheels with absolutely no space to yourself. This will be the first real test of your marriage – and you thought it was tough when you first moved in together!
Jesting aside. This can be a serious matter. But I would like you to look at it as part of the adventure that you will be sharing with your long-time partner. Enjoy the excitement as you plan all the things you wish to do and places you’ve always wanted to visit.
But part of the planning should include experiencing what it is like to spend more than a few hours together in a small confined space. By this I mean – do not rush out and buy a new or used caravan based on what you’ve read, or friends have told you is best for your needs.
I recommend you hire, borrow, steal a van first. Take it off on short getaways, perhaps to a music festival, rodeo, steam rally whatever rocks your boat. Or just a week in the bush or caravan park not far from home. That way you will be doing real research and get hands on experience to see if this new lifestyle will work for you – before you part with $70,000 (or more)!
RV’ing is nor for everyone and I’ve seen far too many cases where the loving couple have spent up big on, not just the rig but all the extras they ‘think’ they need, headed off into the sunset only to be seen arriving home a week or two later with a ‘For Sale’ sign hanging on the shiny RV in the drive.
“You can take me home…NOW! Or we carry on and you can make an appointment with the divorce lawyer at the next town” – one such ultimatum I’ve heard, usually coming from the Females mouth. For some reason the males love the new lifestyle, the closeness (more cuddles!), the adventure and no more lawn mowing. For the ladies – it’s often the equivalent of being thrown into just one room of your beautiful spacious house, with your husband who has been at work for the past 40 years, then told you cannot come out for months at a time.
I may joke about it, but it is a subject you should take seriously before parting with that hard-earned nest egg.
And the best way to start is by subscribing to my monthly newsletter (not quite as good as an investment with Hudson’s but it may potentially save your marriage!) www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com
Here you will find Priceless RV Tips, Stories, Jokes, Places to Discover and On the Road Money-Making Skills. But most of all – an entertaining read for all owners, & potential owners, of caravans and motorhomes. A wise inexpensive investment.
But more importantly…
Test drive a caravan or motorhome before you buy - which you can easily do by visiting anyone one of these sites:
https://www.camptoo.com.au (Australia wide)
https://www.camplify.com.au (Australia Wide)
https://www.apollocamper.com (Mobile Homes - Australia Wide)
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). Chad has spent years researching vans and equipment, knows most of the ins and outs of living on the road and how to earn a living from their van. He is also a published author his book 'Deckers, Punters and Dead Ants!' - (Around the World in a Double Decker bus!). – is now available from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/198198349X - A fun read for anyone, especially those over 55.
Protecting your investment, with an RV Insurance policy.
Like all the insurance we cover ourselves and our property with, not all policies are the same. Ensuring that the type of policy you take out is comprehensive enough to protect you against a whole range of potential incidents is far more important than whether you save $100 per year on the premium.
It is not only damage to your caravan or motorhome, should you be involved in an accident, that you need to consider. What about rocks being thrown up by trucks, falling tree limbs at campsites, weather related damage, water ingress (more common than you would believe even in brand new RV’s) are to name but a few you should be aware of.
Let’s not forget, once you’ve bought your new RV both of you are going to have a ‘must have’ list of perceived justifiable essentials that will be coming with you on your holiday, adventure or big lap.
Believe me, Hubby is going to do his upmost to convince you that the large amounts new fishing gear he just came home with will help keep the bills down because he is going to be catching dinner every night. Or is he a golfer and sleeping with his ‘heavy’ precious clubs is not out of the ordinary?
Wifey is not going to be any different. The Master Chef range of pots & pans and cooking implements is never going to be not on the shopping list – after all how on earth could she do justice to the beautiful specimen of a fish you just brought home? Then there’s the all-important cushions!
Jointly, you’ve read all the RV magazine articles and you have concluded that a generator is a must, even though you have enough solar energy on the roof to light an entire suburb. (Before rushing out and buying one, read Aussie Life On Wheels, it could save you thousands of dollars).
Bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, generators, satellite dish, spare wheels, solar panels, annex poles, fuel and water containers, even folding boat trailers and kayaks are all items commonly seen externally on RV’s – are they included in an RV insurance policy for theft or damage?
Unfortunately, theft is a fact of life these days and RV’s are an easy target in some areas, which means you’ll need to be aware of what Contents Cover – actually covers! And, do not overlook all the added extras installed during manufacture or after market, as these may not be classified as part of a stock standard RV so additional cover may be required.
Things to look for in a policy:
- Replacement value in first two years from registration?
- Agreed value (most are market price only) be careful on this one.
- Emergency repairs?
- Towing costs to nearest repairer due to mechanical breakdown of tow vehicle or motorhome?
- What distance will the towing cover? (within city limits is not a problem but out on a lonely highway?)
- Costs to return caravan to your home, in the event of a breakdown or accident?
- Temporary accommodation whilst being repaired following an accident or breakdown?
- Hail, flood, wind damage? (wind damaged awnings are the number 1 claimed item)
- Fire, explosion? (You have gas on board and batteries, all can potentially ignite or explode)
- What contents cover is included. Can it be increased?
- Malicious damage (vandalism) Is this important?
- Electrical motor burnout (water pumps, fans, fridge motors)
- Windscreen replacement (Motorhomes)
- Choice of excess payable – the higher the excess the lower the premium.
- Legal & personal liability
- Is a discount offered if you have certain safety devices fitted e.g. electronic stability control, anti-theft measures?
- Does it have Australia Wide cover for everything listed?
- Will your RV be insured whilst in the driveway or garage at your home? Or is this part of home contents insurance?
- No claims bonus?
As you can see there is a lot to consider.
Take nothing for granted when it comes to ensuring your RV, and its contents, are automatically covered by a standard insurance policy.
Some items are cheaper to replace yourself than pay out the excess and potentially lose your no claims bonus, so may not be worth insuring in the first place.
Apart from researching policies I also recommend you do some due diligence into finding out which insurance companies specialise in caravan insurance. But, MOST importantly, what they are like to deal with in the event of a claim. Ask around, look at online feedback, Facebook etc.
If Travel Insurance is anything to go by, then I can tell you from experience as a travel agent, that there is a chasm of difference between companies when it comes to the all-important payout time.
Some go out of their way to make claims difficult and time consuming (hoping you give up) while others are excellent at processing claims quickly and efficiently – these are the ones you want even if their premiums are slightly more expensive.
A policy is only as good as the payout (not the premium!)
So where to start?
Get a quote from the most publicized companies - CIL Insurance and your state RAC equivalent.
Just about all motor vehicle insurance companies are now getting onto the Caravan/RV bandwagon and they tempt you by offering a 10% discount if you combine it with car or house insurance.
From what I’ve read some are very basic policies, which is OK if you just use your rig to take short two-week local holidays, but if going further afield or for longer then you really need fully comprehensive nationwide cover.
No Caravan/RV salesperson worth his salt is going to let you get your new purchase off his lot without trying to sell you their recommended RV insurance! After all he is on commission and that includes insurance.
Be prepared before collection day, have a policy in place or get one from the seller there and then – your new home on wheels is going to need protection before the wheels hit any bitumen.
An insurance broker is a good alternative, they will do all the research for you, but make sure you know exactly what you want covered and for how much before approaching them.
They may have never owned an RV nor be familiar with the needs of owners. This does not stop them finding the perfect policy on your behalf if they know what to look for. Brokers are also a good point of contact come claims time – let them do any ‘stick up the bum’ chase ups!
Don’t forget to refer to the list I supplied above when looking at potential policies to ensure you are getting protection for the things that matter to you most.
Now you know the facts about insuring your pride and joy – will you still need that extra fishing reel or copper coated frypan I wonder?
This article is an extract from Chad’s RV Newsletter ‘Aussie Life On Wheels’
- Sign up for the September issue where Chad discusses, ‘Ways to enlarge RV kitchens Pre-& Post purchase, plus space saving and equipment ideas in his RV Master Chef Series. Tips on Motorhome rental overseas. Phones, Modems, Antennas & Wi-Fi – Information that every RV’er really needs to hear… Go to: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com
An entertaining read and a useful tool for all Caravan & Motorhome owners and would be owners.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). Chad has spent years researching vans and equipment, knows most of the ins and outs of living on the road and how they earn a living from their van.
Written by guest author and Hudson member J.D. Chadwick
I raise this question because recently the number one topic amongst RV’ers on the road, seems to be Solar Panels. How many do you have? How many do I need? What happens on a cloudy day? Do I need a generator?
Let’s forget the technical side and focus on the practical for a moment.
From my research, I determined that most new off-road vans, come with a minimum of 2 x 150W panels, several were offering double that. And owners were adding panels after purchase.
The motto seems to be more is better. But at what cost and for what?
The point here is to determine why so many panels are needed to primarily keep your beer cold and your food fresh. Oh, and let’s not forget the all-important – charging of mobiles, tablets and computers.
Which raises another question; why so many RV’s come with compression fridges rather than three-way versions, be it manufacturer supply or owner requesting. I discuss the pro’s & cons of these in a separate article in August issue of Aussie Life On Wheels, so no need for me to go into the technical stuff here.
Simply by having a 12v compression fridge in your RV means you need a constant supply of power to keep it cold. Many a traveller will make that extra effort to seek out the cheapest slab of their favourite brew, but never consider what it is actually costing them to keep their cans cold and frothy.
Solar panels don’t come cheap and they weigh a lot (13 - 17kg on average). Add the cost of the panels and the extra fuel required to lug them around and that $2 saving on the cartoon is looking shaky.
With a reliance on solar panels you need sun and plenty of it. But what if you are experiencing inclement days or spending time in the southern states where clear blue skies are not guaranteed?
Batteries will only store so much, regulated by how many you have installed, and the amount of drain imposed on them (again weight comes into the equation with batteries being very heavy at 20kg each). 3-4 days is the max before you start go in search of a powered site or rush out and buy a generator at $2000!
What’s the alternative?
We have owned the same 2 x 80W solar panels since we started travelling 10 years ago. One fixed on the roof and one moveable, that way we can park in the shade and use it when on camping trips away from the caravan to charge the car’s auxiliary battery.
Our preference is to spend much of our time ‘off grid’ or in non-powered sites. My generator would still be classified as brand new due to the lack of hours it has run.
I run a business 5-days a week from our van (tablet, printer, laptop, phones x 2, wi-fi). Add to this the TV, Radio, Music System, Satellite, VAST box and wall fan which all run off 12v. We have LED lights throughout, to save power.
Our wine and cans never get warm and more importantly neither do my chocolate bars! The fridge, with large freezer section, is 190 litres (household size). We only run the 12v car fridge (a 40-year old Engel) when we go shopping or I’ve caught too many fish - so not often in other words… This runs off a second car battery that can be connected to our van for solar charging if necessary.
How is this all possible?
We have a 3-way fridge and run it on gas when away from powered sites. Works beautifully whatever the temperature (see July issue of Aussie Life On Wheels for tips on keeping your fridge cold and running efficiently).
A bottle of gas will last 16 days for cooking, showers and fridge and at $23 (the amount I just paid in Broome, WA) that’s just $1.44 a day!!! And it doesn’t matter if it rains cats & dogs for a fortnight I can sit inside watching the footy with a cold one in hand.
We NEVER use an INVERTER! They eat up the power for no good reason.
That is in fact a lie, Eva insisted we had one, so she could grind her coffee wherever we were camped (I’d been bashing the beans with a hammer, until then. Apparently, the greasy metallic taste does not enhance the Black Arabic!)
I charge and run all my electronic gadgets off 12v (purchased a 12v power adaptor for the laptop and printer) In case you were unaware computers and printers run on 19v, they all come with built in adaptors to reduce the power from 240v to 19v – why not go up 7 volts instead, it uses far less power?
Our 2-onboard deep cell 12v batteries will run all our appliances for weeks without charge.
How do I know this?
Something every RV owner should do – when at home, turn off the battery charger and leave on a light or two and the TV to see just how long the power will last. I accidently turned off the battery charger when we were on a powered site, a MONTH later and we wondered why the lights were beginning to fade….
Which brings us back to the debate of ‘how much power do you really need’?
There is no doubt that more is better but anyone buying a new or used caravan should spend a bit of time looking at exactly what electrical equipment you will be needing and how best to source that power. Also discuss with the manufacturer which is the best type of fridge for your new van, if you do not intend to go off road exploring then a compressor fridge is not an essential item.
My thanks to Hudson’s for allowing me to pass on these experiences which I sincerely hope assist any potential or existing RV owner.
This article is an extract from his RV Newsletter ‘Aussie Life On Wheels’ which thanks to Hudson Financial Planning, you can grab the first issue FREE by clicking this link: www.AussieLifeOnWheels.com/free-issue.html
Here you will find other informative ramblings, plus lots more tips, laughs and exciting places to visit in your RV. A good read.
Chad and his partner are veteran caravaners. (10 years into a 2-year trip around Australia!). Chad has spent years researching vans and equipment, knows most of the ins and outs of living on the road and how to earn a living from their van.
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