Is RV living cheaper than other living arrangements? I wish I could say “Yes” or “No”. Unfortunately it is completely dependent on your personal needs, spending habits, and location. Let’s take a look at RV living costs.


Updated November, 2017
RV Living Costs, Monthly RV Budget
Typical Monthly Costs – Details below

RV Costs

The costs of RVs varies greatly. You may buy yours outright and not finance (big savings!).

Need to finance?

Your monthly payments will vary depending on down payments, interest rates, etc. Also, do you need a tow vehicle? Do you need to finance that? If you’re not sure whether buying new or used is the best option, read about the pros and cons here or watch below.

 

What we did:

In our case, we financed both. We went with a new 26 ft travel travel and an almost 10 year old truck. Even though the RV was new, it was about $20k and our truck was about $15k.

Our Monthly RV & Truck Cost – $543

Our insurance for both is about $150/month




RV Living Costs

Accommodations

The costs of campgrounds and RV parks also vary greatly.

What to find out during your research:

How much for your stay?

Does it include electricity?

Are there sewer hookups?

Are there laundry facilities and how much per load?

Do you charge for more than 4 people and how much?

Do you charge for pets and how much?

Find out more about Finding the Right RV Park in the blog post or watch below.

What we do:

We usually stay at RV parks for a month or more at a time and we stay at parks that include electricity and have on-site laundry facilities.

Monthly RV Park Costs – Generally below $500, but we have paid as much as $800

Additional Information:

If you are looking to save on RV sites, there are various clubs that offer discounts, boondocking/wild camping (details available here in our How to save on RV Parks & Campgrounds blog post), and workamping (you work in exchange for a free site).




Other Costs

Food.

Our food costs increased greatly on the road. We have a tiny fridge and a pantry that has to double as toy storage and paper towel/toilet paper storage.

The small storage means…

We can’t stock up when prices are low or during BOGO deals.

What we do:

We eat at home as much as possible…EXCEPT travel days.

What we are trying to do:

Eating at home even on travel days!!

We have started planning better for travel day by stocking up on some of our favorite snacks and easy to manage lunches.

Monthly Food Costs: – $600 – $800

This is about $200 more than when we were in a traditional home (As of November 2017, we have been able to bring this cost down by at least $200).

RV Living Costs

Fuel.

Yeah, we have one vehicle…a BIG diesel truck. It gets thirsty…especially on travel days.

Diesel isn’t always cheap (varies by region) and we go through quite a bit of it…especially when we are moving about a lot.

Things to keep in mind:

The more often you drive, the more your fuel costs (Duh)…

Running a generator  whicle boondocking/wildcamping? Well, you will save on RV sites, but you will need to factor in the cost of the gas you use to run that generator! Our generator costs less than $7/day (way less than RV parks).

Our Monthly Fuel Costs – Around $400




Propane.

This one is the hardest for us to track. We use the most during winter and when boondocking/dry camping.

How we use it:

Cooking – we use our stove and oven daily. We only have a few kitchen gadets that use electricity, none that we use daily.

Hot water heater – especially when boondocking/dry camping.

Refrigerator – This is only true when we are boondocking/dry camping.

Heat – we use our propane heater during the winter months. While trying to stay in mild climates, we still find ourselves needing to run the heater.

How we try to conserve it:

Cycle between the propane heater and some small electric heaters. This can be a big saver, especially in RV parks that don’t charge extra for electricity.

Our Monthly Propane Cost: $10 – $40

RV Living Costs




Final Thoughts

If you’re considering the full time life, or have already been on the road for some time, creating a realistic budget and keeping track of RV living costs will help you plan ahead and avoid nasty surprises.

We summarize our biggest money saving tips in this blog post: How to RV on the Cheap.

Need more information? Check out Technomadia’s detailed post: “How Much Does it Cost to Full Time RV?” Don’t forget to tell them we sent ya. 😉

Thank you so much. Please let us know if you have any questions about RV living costs or anything else. We are happy to answer any and all questions. Sign up for email notifications and never miss another post.

Please note, we receive a small commission from purchases made via Amazon and Redbubble links.

I’m a blogging, YouTubing, RVing, roadschooling mama of two who is married to the fantastic Robert (the other half of Exploring the Local Life).

Jessica – who has written posts on Exploring the Local Life.


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4 thoughts on “RV Living Costs – Full Time RVing

  1. We did a 3 week road trip. Parked in a school parking lot and hooked up the solar panel. the only real cost was the gas that is costly here in Canada compared to the States. Right now in Winnipeg 91.1 cents per litres Breaking it down is 4 litres is 1 gallon of gas. Come to about $3.64 for 4 litres or a gallon. for the 3 weeks it costed us $400 a day driving for gas, we drove for about 2 weeks straight with and with our the trailer 2 camp grounds we also parked in families driveway. Food $3544.83 thats just for the 2 of us.Buying soveniers christmas presents and grave marker, oh and loading up on products that we don’t get but would love to have in Canada Pumpkin spice international delight about 8 large bottles of that and 12 boxes of Zatarans dirty rice ( that was discontinued about 2 years ago).
    Going to the states is dangerous for us lol.

  2. Wow…that is expensive fuel!! I can understand wanting to load up on items that you might not get elsewhere…I bet that will last you awhile too. 🙂 Sounds like you had a fun road trip though! 😀

  3. Hi Jessica, I am a new to full time living in my RV. It is a 35 foot travel trailer w/ two slides. I pull it with my half ton pick up with V/8 gasoline power Right out of the gate I knew saving money was the number one item on list of things to do. I am single so that does help, but do have a rv mate, my Golden Retriever who keeps me on my toes. My expenses are quite a bit less than y’all. I sold our home and bought the rv outright. Also paid for the insurance for a year. I do still make a truck payment and the insurance on it. I do all my own cooking and may eat out one or two times a month.
    I have learned that every time you add some thing to the RV, some thing has to come out to keep weight under control. I do catch as many sales at the grocery stores chains in the area we are staying. Also staying at rv parks that electric is included is a plus or if they have a flat rate like the one we are at now. Like y’all a month stay is the way I go unless when we leave here in March. We will spend not more than a week at each stop as we drive up to Maryland.
    Thanks for a lot of helpful info as I put a lot to use. I am in the process of writing a book about “My Adventures with Diesel” which tells the story of our year long road trip.
    Best Regards,
    Gary and Diesel

    1. Hi Gary! Yes, buying the RV instead of financing it saves a lot of money. We have been working on decreasing our monthly food expenses as well. That’s a tough one with 4 to feed, including 2 growing kids! Yes, we work hard to stay at RV parks that include electric. It can really make a big difference. I’m glad that we have provided helpful information. Let us know when the book is available, that is very exciting. Thanks for reading and commenting. – Jessica

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