Is RV living cheaper than a stick house?
Are you thinking about full-time RV living, but wondering if you can afford it? Not only is cheap RV living possible, but RV living can probably be much cheaper than the life you’re living in a sticks and bricks house.
There are so many things you can do to cut back on expenses while maintaining an amazing nomadic lifestyle.
Yes, you can keep RV living costs low. Just follow our top 5 secrets to cheap RV living.
1. Prioritize and budget
Decide what is important to you, and what you need to be happy and comfortable in your RV. When you are thinking about buying something, ask yourself if you will really be much happier if you have it next week, or even the week after.
Typical RV living is pretty simple because unlike living in a sticks and bricks house, your RV will get cluttered fast if you buy many of the things that we have in a sticks and bricks house. Even the addition of clothing and shoes need to be considered carefully because of the limited space in an RV.
Another thing to consider is how important traveling is for you. Your fuel and vehicle maintenance expenses will largely depend on how much traveling you do. You don’t need to travel to live in an RV full-time, but for many of us, it’s an integral part of RV life.
2. Save money on campsite fees
Many campgrounds offer a significantly discounted rate if you book a seasonal spot for between 3 and 5 months. The rate difference between seasonal and nightly or weekly rates can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
If you don’t mind parking for a season, getting a seasonal site is definitely a cheaper way to go. Even if you only get a monthly or weekly rate for your site, you’ll still save money over paying nightly camping fees.
You may also want to consider RV clubs such as Passport America, Escapees, and Thousand Trails to save money on camping fees at select campgrounds. Or, if you are up to it, check out workcamping opportunities to trade work for your RV campsite. There are many companies that offer workamping opportunities such as KOA and Amazon. You can also find great resources on Workamper.com.
3. Go boondocking
The best things in life are free. Boondocking in unserviced sites is a great way to save money on camping fees. Some of the campsites are beautiful, with easy access to lakes or rivers for swimming or fishing. Other boondocking spots, like those in big box store parking lots, are definitely more suitable for a handy rest stop on a road trip.
“We can orient our RV however we like in the boondocks to take advantage of the wind, sun, or the view, unlike a campground with a predefined space to park in,” Dave Helgeson shared in this RV LIFE article.
There are free campsites near almost every major town and city. It’s easier than you think to find great boondocking spots, thanks to the internet. These are a few of our favorite websites for finding great boondocking spots.
- Boondockers Welcome: This subscription service has a listing of host profiles and a listing of boondocker profiles. You can book an overnight spot at one of the thousands of Boondockers Welcome hosts, wherever you may be.
- National Forest Dispersed Camping: Check with USFS to learn more about free camping on National Forest Land.
- RV LIFE Trip Wizard makes it easy to find campsites, fuel stations, dump stations, and other points of interest on your route.
4. Do your basic RV and tow vehicle maintenance
Are you handy? Can you do a pretty great job on maintenance tasks? If yes, then you’ll be even further ahead financially. Keep up with general maintenance tasks like changing the oil, rotating tires on tow vehicles, or maintaining your slideouts. You will save a lot of money in repair bills down the road.
RV LIFE Maintenance is an amazing RV maintenance resource that will fill you in on what you need to do to keep your RV on the road. Not only can you keep all your maintenance records and documents in one place, but you’ll receive timely reminders via email when maintenance is due and potentially avoid a costly repair or serious accident.
5. Eat well at home!
You can save loads of your hard-earned cash just by avoiding eating out and preparing meals at home. After all, whatever RV you have, it’s probably equipped to cook fantastic meals at a very low cost. And you can dine wherever you are, often with fantastic views.
When there is no cozy campfire to cook over, an Instant Pot or Air Fryer makes it super easy to prepare delicious, healthy meals in less time than it takes to read a menu. If you need recipe inspiration, try out these 15 Delicious Instant Pot Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day.
For more cheap RV living tips, check out this video from popular Youtubers Keep Your Daydream on how to save money while RVing:
You may also find useful tips in this article on How To Live And Travel On Less Than $2000 A Month.
Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne began full-time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com