If you are an adventurous person and love exploring the country, being close to nature, sampling the taste of travel on all the highways and routes the country has to offer, then RV living could well be the life for you.
When you live and travel in an RV, you get to experience unlimited freedom and endless possibilities for adventure. You can meet different people on the road and have many wonderful experiences.
While it can be a great idea, you may wonder how much does it cost to live in an RV? Well, we wanted to find out the RV cost of living and give you all the information you need.
Here we cover aspects such as living in an RV full-time cost, the cheapest way to do it, what you need, and answering the question of how much does it cost to live in an RV park?
There are many things to consider before signing up to live in an RV such as living costs, gas, food, and maintenance. Let’s dive in deeper and take a look at the RV living cost.
Is Full-Time RV Living Affordable?
If you are committed to living in an RV then, there are several ways you can cut the cost of RV living and make it easily affordable.
A) Set a Budget – Setting a budget is very important when you are out on the road because you keep track of monthly or weekly expenses. You can keep track of your costs by creating a google sheet and typing everything down. If you see yourself spending too much, you can cut back on your expenses to save money. Setting a budget will also give you an idea of different tips or techniques to use next time you experience a particular problem and how to handle it cost-effectively.
B) Plan your Route – If you plan your route correctly, you will know where you are going and where you can stay for cheap, or free. Try to stay on campgrounds for a more extended period. Most campgrounds give discounts for an extended stay so you won’t be driving as much and you will save on gas. Walmart parking lots are very RV friendly, and they will let you park overnight for free. You can look at the Walmart app that Walmart allows overnight parking to make it easy for yourself.
C) Avoid Eating Out – Most RV’s come with a full kitchen. Try cooking your own food in the RV, it will save you lots of money, and you can also avoid eating unhealthy outside food. When you are traveling, you do not want to eat unhealthy food and be sick on the road. It is better to stock up groceries when you park your RV somewhere, and you can cook your own meals on the road.
The Cheapest Way Of Living In An RV:
There are some ways to cut down the cost of living in an RV and if you’re smart about it, then it can be very cheap.
1) Boondocking – It is also known as dry camping or free camping, or dispersed camping. You can look for free campsites and stay there. You can find several books on dry camping or look up on the internet for free camps grounds.
If you cannot find free campsites, you can look for electric and water-only sites to save money and use the dump station when you are leaving. If you stay in a national forest, they are mostly free if you stay near the woods and save money. You can also stay at a place like Cabela’s where not only do they allow you to stay, but they have a painted parking lot laid out just for RV overnight parking.
They will also provide you with a dump station and fresh water at no extra charge. They also have a dog kennel, so you can leave your pet there while you are shopping.
2) Get an RV Membership – Getting an RV Membership can save you lots of money on various campsites. You can get memberships like Passport American or Good Sam. Another great tip for saving money is getting a physical fitness gym membership so you can use their facility to shower and use their pool.
3) Get RV Insurance – Getting and RV insurance or a roadside assistance membership for RV can save you lots of money if any maintenance arises. The memberships are cheap and they will save you money when you need help.
Cost Of Living In An RV:
RV Payment – You may need to take out a loan or another finance option to buy an RV. Your monthly payments will vary but you’ll need to factor this into your budget. Your RV payments depend on the size of your RV and other amenities that come with it. Some RVs are very basic, and you can pay them off quickly, while some are very expensive and come with lots of amenities.
Gas – Gas can be a considerable expense depending on how much you travel. You will be paying a few hundred dollars a month, or you will be paying less than that if your route is already planned and you do not waste your gas going on unknown trails. You’ll need to factor this in before your trips.
Campground Rent – How much does it cost to live in an RV park? Well, campground rental depends on the location where you are staying. It also depends on the time of the year and the length of your stay. Campground rental can range from around $60 to a few hundred dollars a day.
You can stay at free campgrounds and save money on rent. Most Walmarts offer free RV overnight parking, and you can use the dump station and the accessible freshwater service. Cabella’s has a specially painted parking lot for free RV parking.
Insurance – RV insurance will vary depending on a wide range of different factors. There are several good RV insurances out there if you do your research correctly. You can compare prices and choose the one that best fits your budget.
Utilities – It would be best to get a propane tank every month, depending on the temperature outside and how much you are cooking. Sometimes you have to pay extra bills for electricity and internet at your campsite and if you want these luxuries, you’ll need to add them to your budget.
Food and Groceries – It depends on how much you eat outside and how much groceries you buy to cook your food. When you are on the road, it is best to cook your food yourself, saving you a lot of money.
Maintenance – You need to keep extra cash for maintenance. You may need it to replace the RV water pump or any other repairs in your RV. Sometimes some repairs need to be done immediately, so you should have extra cash in hand for any unexpected expenses.
Fun and Miscellaneous Activities – When you live the RV life, you want to have fun outdoors, so keep extra cash for different activities like hiking, snorkeling, and eating in restaurants. You may want to try a different activity, so it’s always good to factor in some enjoyment.
How Your Expenses May Change Over Time?
Your expenses may change over time depending on how much you are traveling and how much you are eating out. It also depends on how many activities you are doing outside and how much maintenance is required for your RV.
Some of the expenses that may come up are blowing a tire, shattering a brake pad, or having a propane leak. You will need to change your oil and refill your propane tank regularly. Sometimes the fuel pump breaks down, and you will need to buy a new one to replace it and get back on the road.
Other expenses that may change over time are your spending on luxuries or basics such as needing new clothes. If you’re doing more activities on your route and need to buy any gear for it, expenses can also add up over time.
Campground rent can also change from one place to another, and also your insurance costs may increase over time. You’ll always want a little breathing space in your budget should your expenses increase.
Does RV Living Cost You Cheaper Than House Living Cost?
When you are living in an RV, you can travel wherever your mood takes you. You are not bound by day to living activity or a 9 to 5 job schedule. You can be on the road, or you can choose to stay at a free RV park and pay zero dollars.
RV living is cheaper than living in a house. You can cut back on so many things compared to when you are living in a home. When you are living in a house, you must pay a mortgage or rent, which can cost you from $900 to a couple of thousands of dollars in mortgage payments. You are also paying utility bills, lawn maintenance. Water bills and electricity bills can also run very high.
When you are on the road, you can cut back on a few things, for example, staying in a free campground or using a dump station to cut back on utility bills. If you are boondocking, then you do not pay any dollar amount to stay anywhere. Most Walmarts and Cabella’s are very RV friendly, and they allow you to stay overnight for free, including dump stations and access to freshwater service.
There is also a considerable difference between RV insurance and homeowner insurance. By estimate the cost of RV insurance ($400 / year) vs. home owner’s insurance ($850 / year). It depends on many factors, such as what type of insurance you have and what is covered, but home insurance owners are much higher than RV insurance.
There is also a massive difference in the utility bills when you are living in an RV. When you are living at home, you are paying your various bills such as your cable, lawn maintenance, water bills, electricity bills, but when you are staying at a campground, sometimes you are provided with free Wi-Fi, water, and electricity which can save you a good amount of money. You can use the money you have saved up for your activities on the road and have more fun with your outdoor adventures.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q) Is it cost-effective to live in an RV?
Yes, the cost of RV living is fairly low. If you do your research correctly and plan everything out, you will live a very comfortable RV lifestyle without spending a lot of money. If you plan and learn the tricks on saving money and where to save on gas and utility bills, you can make the RV lifestyle a cost-effective lifestyle for yourself.
Q) Is living in an RV cheaper than an apartment?
Yes, the cost of living in an RV is less than living in an apartment. You can save on your utility bills, and if you are staying at a free campsite, you can save on your rent too. It also depends on your location, where you are traveling, and how much you will be on the road. You can pay as low as $500 a month by spending zero dollars on lodging and shopping at supermarkets wherever you stop. If you are staying at free campgrounds, you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and access to fresh water and the dump station.
Q) Where can I live in my RV for free?
You can search for places in your area where you can do boondocking. You can go to campgrounds that offer free stay, or you can go for overnight Boondocking at stores, parking areas, truck stops, or permissible rest areas.
To find out where you can live in an RV for free, there are plenty of books on the subject but you’ll also find a huge amount of resources online.
If you are on the road then, it will be beneficial to download the Walmart app and look for Walmart that offers free overnight parking for RVs. When you reach a Walmart, it is also best to ask them if it’s okay with you to park overnight in the parking lot.
Q) Can you live permanently in an RV?
Although RVs are mainly for recreational travel or camping purposes, it is possible to live in an RV permanently if you don’t mind the different lifestyle. You can live permanently in an RV if you are okay with traveling from one place to another without having a permanent home.
If you feel like you need to take a break, you can stop at one place for a month, such as a friendly RV resort, and enjoy all the amenities the resort has to offer. You will need to make arrangements to receive your mail and other packages at some permanent address.
Q) Can RVs stay overnight at truck stops?
Yes, you can park your RV at a truck stop. Truck stops are not just for trucks. They are also for large rigs and tractor-trailers. RVs are parked at truck stops across the country every day as long as they follow the truck stop rules.
How much does it cost to live in an RV? Well as you can see, the actual cost will depend on a wide range of factors but it can be considerably cheaper than other ways of living.
Owning or renting an RV is awesome. If you are a devoted traveler, camper, love adventure, and love being on the road, you will love your RV. If you do your research correctly, you will learn some tricks on saving money.
You park at free campsites or nature parks and enjoy the wilderness, or you can be on the road for an extended period. If you are a devoted traveler with an adventurous spirit, RV living will be ideal for you.
If you’re worried about the RV living cost, then you should be. If you’re sensible then your monthly outgoings will be minimal.