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About the Emphasis on Extreme Efficiency
Whats worse is that they spend thousands in "efficiency" to save what amounts to a few dozen watts costing a few dozen dollars.
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The thing with extreme frugality is many use it as a tool to achieve a financial goal, they focus their energy on think-small money saving tactics that don't move the needle in any meaningful way. They wonder why they aren't geting ahead, as a adjustment they scrimp harder (because the little things add up, right?), sometimes for years before they realize simplifying is better than optimizing/maximizing.
They start making real progress after realizing simplifying > optimizing/maximizing. Their focus shifts to effective frugality (focus on the big expense categories first, then the smaller categories time-cost-effectively), They very quickly realize that a dime can't be squeezed from a nickel (You can't save more than you make) and if their income is insufficient, take on a job paying at least minimum wage, working to live.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Heres why simplyfying is the smart choice. Why Simplyfing is better than optimizing.

Frugality vs Scale, I choose scale with effective frugality (that frugality won't come at the expense of quality of life).

...The other thing is who is to say one is sacrificing or suffering? Most people I have met have made the things they do to stretch their resources second nature. It isn't sacrificing it is just a different way of doing it for whatever reason. ...
The problem with that is their whole world becomes frugality, and they start to view everyone not stretching resources as super wasteful.
see (early retirement extreme - saying NO to fitting in) for more.

(09-26-2017, 12:13 PM)Every Road Leads Home Wrote: I think you think people put much more emphasis on those things than they actually do. It's a reoccurring theme of yours that everyone that vehicle dwells pinchies every penny possible by trying to get the most mpg's possible or they build the most extreme light weight vehicle possible and go with out comfort items in order to save even more weight and I've just never seen that to be true. ...
I see a select sub-set of the mobile dwellers like that, like fewer than 1%. I also see a far higher percentage of mobile dwellers (like over 50%) living modest lives with their rigs, not sacrificing, suffering, or scrimping and work to insure they don't fall to a point where they're forced to.
Working to earn my CDL so I can get ahead & LIVE LIFE!

Time saved is Time Banked* & value added.  *in quality of life context.

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(09-25-2017, 12:35 PM)debit.servus Wrote: I notice a lot of RV dwellers emphasize extreme efficiency on their rigs. This is not to belittle anybody, however do realize most of us are living in the cheapest digs short of being totally homeless.
Well, no. I am an editor for a small publishing company, and I make quite a nice living, thank you very much. I can afford to do whatever the fuck I feel like doing, any time I feel like doing it.  (shrug) 
That said, my rig is what many would call "minimalist". That has nothing to do with "cheapest digs short of being totally homeless". It has to do with my own personal level of "needed" comfort and convenience. I backpacked for almost 50 years, and believe me, I know, deep down inside, what "deprivation" is like. For me, van-dwelling, even with the simplest and least complicated equipment, is palatial: you'd be surprised what feels like LUXURY when you don't have to carry it around on your back for weeks.
When I first started out, 2.5 years ago, I intentionally did up all the equipment in my van to be as simple as possible, expecting that I would upgrade everything, one piece at a time, as I went along. Instead, what I found was that (1) I was not using particular pieces of equipment anyway and had no real use for them, and (2) with a very few exceptions, all of the simple equipment I already had was doing the job I needed it to do just fine and dandy, and there was simply no reason to replace it. And so, today, I have essentially the same setup I started out with.
Is it "comfortable"? Am I living like a "homeless person"? Well, "comfort" is an individual and subjective thing, and it varies from one person to another. Some people are "comfortable" with nothing but a rolled-up sleeping bag in the back of a Chevy, while other people are not "comfortable" without a half-million-dollar Class A apartment on wheels. 
My rig suits me just fine. I am as "comfortable" as I was in an apartment--I sleep warm and comfortably at night, I can cook just about anything ZI want whenever I want it, I can do my computer work, read a book, watch TV or a movie, visit a museum or zoo or park, or whatever else I want to do, just as I did in an apartment--with the added bonus that I can now move my "apartment" to any place in the country that I want to go, any time I want to go there. For me, "efficiency" has nothing to do with money--it's all about maximum comfort and convenience in minimum space. If that means a homemade alcohol stove that cost me less than a dollar to make, that's great: if it means $700 for a solar panel roof system installed, that's great too. I'm fine spending money or not spending it--as long as I end up with the comfort level that I want to have.

Living in "Ziggy the Snail Shell" since May 2015
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I can only speak for myself as a new person who's only been on one trip, albeit a long-ish rather glorious one.  Here are a few things I learned on that trip:

RV Parks are expensive.
RV Parks don't typically come with a view.
RV Parks don't give me enough breathing room.
My house battery died a couple of times because I did not know how to charge it properly. (Now I know I shortened my already old battery's life significantly because of that).
I also did not know how to conserve power properly because I'm used to my house, which is fully paid off btw.  I am not in financial need of moving into a van.  I'm thinking of doing it because it's the best thing that I can think of to do in terms of fully Living my Life.
I had very little space and had taken Nothing, a suitcase, that's it.
Gas is expensive.
Repairs are expensive.
Eating out is expensive.
Having a small fridge is expensive.
The van was Way expensive.  I messed up there bigtime!

So in my case, RV life or vandwelling life, is More expensive!!!  So why do I want to do it anyway?
I love the outdoors.  I love traveling.  I love camping.  To quote someone who really inspired me, I have a "gypsy nomadic heart."
Lodging and airfare?  Forgetaboutit-expensive.  So it's still cheaper than that.

One of the things that attracts me so much to CRVL and a few other sites and channels is the incredible knowledge and experience that is out there.  I can watch a van build video, and go "WOW, that is SO efficient!"  If I had any building skills at all, I would have wanted to go that route.  In a tight space, efficiency is hugely important to me.  I know because my factory Class B is inefficient.  Does not mean I don't love her.  I pretty much have to love her now, we're married.  I give her everything I have, and she gives me Freedom and a changing View and a more Livable Life.  That's a good thing.

I can see how some really get into it and can get super super super efficient to the point of sacrificing other things, but hey, it's their choice.  Maybe that's what makes them feel happy.  For me, it's a balance.  And it's because I'm lazy.  I don't want to spend a whole day packing up camp, driving out many miles, getting services, returning to the same camp and re-setting up.  I'm willing to make some different energy sacrifices for the gained ability to stay longer without having to move my happy behind from chair in the desert.

Maybe it's just me.
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson   
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(09-26-2017, 05:12 PM)debit.servus Wrote: The thing with extreme frugality is many use it as a tool to achieve a financial goal, they focus ....They wonder why they ... they realize .... They start ... Their focus .... They very quickly realize 

It seems to me that if you sent one-tenth as much time looking at yourself as you spend looking at others, your life might be a whole lot better than it is. For every finger you point at others, three are pointing back at you.
2015 GMC Savannah 2500 van, 480 watts of Solar Panels--and a wonderful furry best friend named Cody. I'm out to change the world!
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....I'm just new here but, thank you Bob. I dug into the blog from the OP and..well... he/she certainly enjoys writing, so do I.
That said, It's not my cup of tea (no offense to writer, it's your thing) as so many articles are dripping with animosity, are condescending
to a certain population and I just find that very mean spirited. But, that's just my take.
title~ "Deliberate Discharge", 2 'Stinkin' Badges',  1 'Flying Manure Spreader'  1 'Pink Elephant' Big Grin
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tx2sturgis (09-27-2017)
OP, all your posts are sermons and lectures.

Take inventory of your own life and maybe you'll realize you've drunk the Kool-Aid. Most of these retire-at-30 bloggers and Tim Ferris disciples are just part of a big pyramid scheme. They get people to visit their websites, subscribe to the email lists, take their courses, do their workshops, and buy their e-books, all of which is to teach you how to put up a website, get subscribers, and sell courses and workshops and e-books so you can find your own disciples and sycophants, and on and on it goes. No thanks, I've got better things to do.
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(09-26-2017, 03:22 PM)bardo Wrote: Whats worse is that they spend thousands in "efficiency" to save what amounts to a few dozen watts costing a few dozen dollars.

There is another angle to extreme efficiency - building an electrical system with extreme "conservation" & efficiency, to the point where you minimize wire runs because of power transmission losses & scrutinize house battery voltage every few minutes. Endless, relentless tweaking to save milliwatt hours (milliwatt is 1000th of a watt, volts times amps equals watts) on 12v devices, putting the 12v fridge on a timer to minimize duty cycles because the compressor needs extra power to start up or not having a fridge at all because of cost.

Extreme energy efficiency through sweltering in the summer to save energy, in some cases not even running a fan because of energy consumption. In the desert where one can take advantage of evaporative cooling - thinking "solar powered A/C or nothing" versus running a 5-gallon evaporative bucket cooler. Cooking dinner in a microwave and eating food with altered taste versus cooking it on a propane stove or low-watt hotplate or induction stovetop and have normal tasting food save a few dimes worth of propane or a small amount of watt-hours. Choosing recipes based on their cooking times over choosing recipes you love. Pouring water over your head instead of using a small 12v pump to save at most 10 watthours. Switching out interior lights with LEDs which burn out within two years instead of sticking with incandesents that last indefinitely. Walking through your home with a flashlight in your hand to save turning on overhead lighting, looking like a miser in the name of saving milliwatts. Plugging and Unplugging 12v devices because of the tiny draw of a status LED or the milliwatt hour phantom power draw.

Bundling up in the winter, even as temperatures drop below 0 F. Having young kids, babies, partner, friends and family do the same - breathing frigid cold air and risking colds and flu.

Screaming at your partner, friends or family - to turn off the lights, get out of the shower the second the timer rings, and to shut down the laptop because the house batteries indicator says 49.5% full. Being a consumption nazi - spoiling fun moments & tainting trip memories by always watching every watt hour, gram of fuel, liter of water, every cent and every cent those costs. Subjecting your kids, partners, or friends to roughing it and doing things manually - in the name of savings.
Working to earn my CDL so I can get ahead & LIVE LIFE!

Time saved is Time Banked* & value added.  *in quality of life context.

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For those looking for a real life story of someone who chased extreme efficiency, I found one here. I'm passing no judgement to this user, even if the person tore down the decor to revert back to bypassing the decor.
The persons efficiency method included going without interior decor. Their rig was so efficient that it came at the expense of emotional wellbeing !!

(10-28-2017, 09:03 PM)Zardor Wrote: I think the decor (Your personal style) is just as important as solar panels. I learned that the hard way. I spent so much time and money getting my rig to be efficient and bypassed the decor. I never felt comfortable in it until I broke down and bought some paint and fabric. Such a simple thing, but not doing it was painful on an emotional level.
Working to earn my CDL so I can get ahead & LIVE LIFE!

Time saved is Time Banked* & value added.  *in quality of life context.

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(09-26-2017, 03:15 PM)Thirsty Boots Nomad Wrote: My initial thought(s) when I first opened the thread was; while expenses are (usually) greatly reduced when living a mobile lifestyle, often so is a person's income ...

In my own life, pre-nomad, but living fulltime by choice in a 5th wheel while still working in my career field (airline pilot), what I look forward to when I quit my job in a few years is the elimination of job stress that I believe makes it impossible for me to stay in peak health.  I am in very good health, but I believe that my job is slowly killing me because stress triggers cortisol, which triggers insulin and that to have insulin present so often leads to disease.   

To live a "normal" life not only means to have the normal jobs, income, and expenses, but the overhead of one's time to maintain and repair all this stuff prevents any time to be creative and expressive.   It takes a LOT of free time to actually pursue ones true passions, especially to turn that passion into a source of living, which to me is the wholistic way to live vs. working for someone else. 

I have a small business to take on the road with me and that will be my source of income.  As I deconstruct my old life (wrap up a divorce, sell the house, kids out of the nest, etc...), and nail down my plans for the nomad life (vehicle, camper, etc...), I will keep my job for a few more years, accumulate a nest egg specifically to be a cushion for the transition and hit the road.   

Outside of the expenses from my past life, my current living expenses are $1200ish for the campground lot rent, electricity, insurance and loan payment.  I ain't slumming it here....I love where I live and how I live, but I want to do this on the road.  I'm bored walking the same path, seeing the same scenery when I know there's a beautiful natural world waiting for me to explore it.
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