How To Save Money While Full-Time RVing
Just like any other way of living, full-time RVing can be an expensive lifestyle, or it can be incredibly cheap. It’s really up to you how much you spend on full-time RV living monthly costs. That said, you might have to get creative in order to cut those costs.
If you’re looking to get on the road but are worried about full-time RV living monthly costs, or if you’re already on the road but looking to reduce those costs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will give you our top tips for saving money while RVing full-time.
Buy used, pay cash
First, we highly recommend buying a used RV that has been well cared of, rather than investing in a brand new rig. This will save you from the enormous amount of depreciation that happens as soon as a new RV is driven off the lot.
On top of that, we also recommend paying cash if at all possible in order to avoid spending thousands on interest.
Save money on camping fees
Camping fees are one of the biggest full-time RV living monthly costs. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cut back on camping costs or even eliminate this expense entirely.
Give boondocking a try
Boondocking for free on public land is one of the best ways to save on camping fees. Many of these locations are absolutely gorgeous, and campers are allowed to stay up to 14 days before moving to a new location.
You might want to invest in a good solar setup and learn how to make the most of your RV holding tanks before heading out. That said, once you get those things taken care of, you can likely spend the majority of your time hopping from one boondocking location to the next.
Seek out free campgrounds
Believe it or not, there are a huge number of free campgrounds out there. Many of these are located in city parks, and a surprising number even have hookups. You can see what other RVers are saying about these campgrounds on RV LIFE Campgrounds.
A few free campgrounds are listed in the following articles:
Invest in camping memberships
Finally, you might want to consider investing in some campground memberships, in order to save money. That said, you will want to research each membership thoroughly and carefully select the ones that make sense for your travel style.
Some favorites of full-timers include:
Cut back on fuels costs
Fuel is another thing that tends to make up a huge chunk of any full-time RVer’s budget. While you won’t be able to avoid spending money on fuel entirely, you can definitely do your best to make your monthly fuel budget more affordable.
Move less often
The easiest way to spend less per month on fuel is to simply move less often. Sitting in one spot for a longer period of time means you won’t be spending as much money on filling up your RV or truck. It also gives you a chance to really explore the area. You may also save money on weekly or monthly RV rates.
Hop short distances
You might be surprised by how much there is to see and do in-between major tourist destinations. You can also save money on fuel by taking the time to stop and experience those in-between spots for awhile. This will mean driving shorter distances, and when paired with moving less often, will lead to less driving each month.
Make use of space heaters
Gasoline or diesel is one type of fuel RVers have to budget for. Another fuel RVers use often is propane. RV furnaces go through propane in no time. You can save money on fuel by using space heaters instead of the furnace whenever you’re in an RV park with electric hookups.
Save on sightseeing
Lastly, there is sightseeing. This is another one of those full-time RV living monthly costs that can add up really quickly. Spend less on sightseeing by using the tips below.
Experience the outdoors
Activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking don’t cost anything at all, once you have the equipment you need. For this reason, we recommend picking up an outdoor hobby and experiencing all nature has to offer in the areas you visit.
Look for free activities and attractions
Most towns and cities have some free things to do. Parks with cool playgrounds for kids, libraries with free classes, and seasonal festivals are all great options. There are museums and zoos with free admission (or free days), as well as some national park sites that don’t charge a fee.
Track down these free ways to experience a given area and skip those expensive tourist attractions.
Grab a reciprocal membership
Want to be able to see some of the paid attractions without spending a fortune? Reciprocal memberships are a good option. Many museums offer museum members reciprocal admission to other museums across the country. Some zoos do the same.
There is also a nationwide national parks pass (known as the America The Beautiful Pass) that is perfect for those who want to see the country’s most beautiful outdoor spaces.
Get tips from other RVers
These are some of the best ways to cut back on full-time RV living monthly costs, and they are sure to make RV living more affordable. You can spend less time worrying about money and more time making memories.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
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