“What is the cost of full-time RVing?” is a popular question in fulltime RVing Facebook groups and RV lifestyle discussion forums. That’s because this lifestyle gives people one of two impressions: that living on the road is incredibly cheap – or hideously expensive. As a 14-year nomad, believe the reality is somewhere in-between. Here’s why for most people, the cost of fulltime RVing is not too different from living a traditional lifestyle.
We all make different spending choices and that includes the kind of RVs we own. These factors influence how much you spend on fulltiming. And there is not one single spending plan or fulltiming budget that applies to everyone. The only common factor between us is that when we budget and set financial goals, we can enjoy this unpredictable lifestyle a whole lot more.
Know the cost of fulltime RVing by understanding what you spend today
All full-time RVers budgets differ. Our spending and lifestyle choices are all different. We own different RVs with individual costs of ownership. Some folks travel a lot, some just a little. Some prefer to boondock in free campsites while others can’t live without hooking up at an RV park. Our personal comfort level determines how much we spend on the top three costs of fulltime RVing: fuel, camping fees, and food. If you’re brand new to RVing, aim high when guesstimating your monthly travel costs.
- Visit websites like campgroundreviews.com to learn what rent costs at places you want to visit.
- Estimate fuel expenses with a tool like KOA’s fuel cost estimator.
- Compare your living expenses with this Family Budget Calculator
Keep in mind that estimating the cost of ownership for specific RVs is difficult if not impossible. There are so many variables in condition, usage and age of a person’s rig. The best way to get a sense of what your preferred make and model costs is to talk to owners of the rig you want to own.
Next, create a fulltiming budget and give every dollar a name.
When you know exactly how much you earn and spend each month, you can create a plan to lower the cost of fulltime RVing and reach your financial goals. Online budgeting software like You Need a Budget makes the process super fast and easy. With simple fine-tuning, the app securely connects your new budget with your bank account transactions. Each time you earn or spend, the transaction amount gets attributed to your monthly budget. This makes it easy to know if you’re sticking to your fulltiming budget
Finally, stay disciplined.
Being on the road puts you in the path of sweet temptations like great restaurants, awesome RV resorts and entertainment opportunities like RV-friendly festivals. But just because we have the ability to travel to great destinations whenever we want, that doesn’t mean we should. Full-timing for my husband and I means constantly balancing our yearning for fun versus our need to make money so we’re not broke in old age. To help us stay disciplined and focused on reaching our financial goals, we spend our downtime with full-timing friends who share similar attitudes about spending money.
Living on the road doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be if you let it. Adhering to a monthly budget and savings goals will enable you to enjoy the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to achieve and keep you moving with as few roadblocks as possible.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Rick Bechard says
I would say that after 13 years of full time RVing, you should have been able to provide a few case studies for different scenarios.
Rene Agredano says
Great idea for a follow-up article, thanks Rick.