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In Lake Isabella we stayed at the Happy Haven RV Park. Here are our expenses for space rent, utilities, transportation, groceries and entertainment.
RV Park Rent
The Happy Haven RV Park charged us $475. This cost included electricity and there was no tax, so the only thing we needed to worry about was how much propane we used. Oh, and due to the temperatures in the 20s and 30s, we also bought two lengths of rope lights at the local hardware store for a total of ~$26. We wrapped these around our fresh water hose to keep it from freezing. It actually snowed (snow showers) one night, and we never had any problems with frozen plumbing. The lights take up so little space that we decided to keep them for now.
The park is very small and privately owned. There aren’t that many spaces, and several of them are taken up by full-timers in either RVs or manufactured homes. But everyone is very nice, from the managers to the neighbors. There is a very nice grassy pet area, and a fire pit. There are also bathrooms with showers, a laundry room and a rec room. We went by the other RV parks in Lake Isabella, and this one was definitely the nicest. Further out there is a KOA but it is not close to anything. This one is conveniently located to town.
Before we left Las Vegas we topped off our propane for $24.00.
On our way out of Las Vegas we bought gas in the amount of $108.53. This filled up our tank and lasted us all the way to Lake Isabella. We took the bus to and from Kernville, which cost $2/person each way for a total of $8.
We shopped at the small, rather expensive market in Kernville once and the Isabella Market twice. I got a 15-pound bag of potatoes at Isabella Market but they didn’t have enough selection for us to keep going back. Otherwise, we shopped at Von’s (owned by Safeway and with comparable prices and selection) and bought some nuts from Family Dollar, because they were cheapest there.
When we visited Kernville, we were there for so long that we had some lunch and spent $30.80. This was our only time eating out during our stay.
Total costs for living in an RV in Lake Isabella: $1184.03
In my mind, this was a good month. We were able to keep costs low and I put $1000 extra toward student loan payments and $750 into savings. Part of this money came from getting a refund of about $90 from our car insurance (we finally got the title to our Prius and were able to finish up the sale). The $500 refund from Les Schwab finally happened too.
We also knew from awhile ago that we needed to replace the serpentine belt and tensioner on the motor, but had a hard time finding a place that was willing to do it. When we asked the park manager for a recommendation, he told us his nephew was a mechanic in town. The nephew agreed to do the work for us in his free time. He looked at the RV to see what it needed, then picked up the parts and brought them to us with the receipt. He did the work in about an hour and was done. Parts and labor cost $152. In Las Vegas, we were quoted about $450 and we would have to drive to their shop ($600 if they came to us). This way the manager’s nephew got to make some extra money right before the holidays, and we saved big time.
Sticks and Bricks Living in Lake Isabella
I just checked rentals in Lake Isabella:
- 1-bedroom apartment: $450/month, including water and garbage
- 2-bedroom house: $525/month, including garbage
Here is property for sale:
- Lakefront home, 3 beds/2 baths, 1842 sf on almost 3 acres: $395,000
- Mountain and lake views, 3 beds/1.75 baths, 1902 sf on .72 acres, $275,000
- “Cottage,” 1 bed/1 bath, 500 sf on .16 acres, $38,500
- “Starter or retirement home,” 3 beds/2 baths, 1440 sf on .18 acres, $49,950
We really liked Lake Isabella. I’ll be putting together a post on our time there soon.