RV life is getting more and more popular these days. With so many people choosing to hit the road in an RV, you have to wonder: Is living in an RV to save money a viable option?
This article will answer why people choose to live in RVs and how you can get your RV life costs as low as possible. Let’s get into it!
Why Choose to Live in an RV?
People all over the world choose to live in RVs for a variety of different reasons. And, for some of them, that reason is to save money!
Living in an RV to save money is a valid and feasible option for many people who can’t (or don’t want to) afford traditional homeownership. Some people also live in RVs to focus more on experiences rather than material items. Others choose to do it to see the country.
Of course, some people choose to live in an RV for all of the above reasons. And yes, you can too!
Full-Time Stationary RV Living
Full-time stationary RV living is living full-time in an RV in one place or one general location, like a long-term RV park. Those who choose to live in stationary RVs need to remain in the same place for work, school, or other commitments.
In this case, long-term RV parks provide a great low-cost solution for living in an RV to save money. If these parks are not available, there’s always the option to go from park-to-park within the same area, although it may not be cost-effective.
Full-Time RV Living and Traveling
Rather than taking up a somewhat permanent station at an RV park, you could also live in your RV while traveling full-time. Believe it or not, this can save just as much money (if not more) as living stationary at a long-term RV park.
How can that be when traveling is expensive? Well, any full-time traveling RVer will tell you it doesn’t have to be!
The only significant living costs for many full-time traveling RVers are gas and the occasional campground fees. It’s possible to camp for free in many areas of the United States, making this a pretty low-cost way to see the country.
Pro Tip: Unfortunately one big RV career opportunity, Amazon’s CamperForce, is no longer operating. Find out why!
How Much Does It Cost to Live in an RV?
Living in an RV can cost as much or as little as you want it to—no two people (or families) RV alike. Just like with regular, stationary living, RVers all have different lifestyle preferences.
Many RVers love to stay at luxury RV resorts with all the amenities: heated pools, private patios, private casitas, and more. Others are fine boondocking out in the desert with no hookups, no amenities, and no neighbors for miles and miles.
If you travel slowly, you don’t spend as much money on gas. It’s just another living expense like rent or utilities.
There’s no set answer to how much it costs to live in an RV, but here are some examples from full-time RVers:
- Here’s our article about our RV lifestyle expenses from 2015-2017, where we averaged monthly living costs of around $2,000 per month.
- In another article from RVers Heath and Alyssa, the bloggers traveled on around $2,500 per month.
- Chickery’s Travels share a blog post showing they average around $3,500 per month in RV lifestyle costs.
As you can see, it’s definitely possible to live a comfortable RV lifestyle at around $2,000-$3,000 per month, especially if you invest in upgrades to make boondocking easier!
How to Save Money by Living in an RV
There are many ways to save money while living in an RV. We’ve listed our top tips here.
Join Discount Camping Memberships
First of all, join discount camping memberships! There are so many to choose from, and all of them will save you a bunch of money.
Boondockers Welcome is a camping membership where you can camp for free with participating hosts nationwide who offer their property to RVers passing through.
Harvest Hosts offers free overnight stays at places like wineries, vineyards, museums, and more.
Thousand Trails is a discount camping club that saves you tons of money on campgrounds throughout the US.
Passport America saves you 50% at participating campgrounds and is only $44 per year. This camping membership pays for itself within the first two uses.
Low-Price RV Parks
When you’re booking RV parks and campgrounds, look for the lowest price! State park campgrounds are usually a good place to find low nightly rates.
Pro tip: Book weekly or monthly stays instead of nightly stays for highly-discounted rates.
Boondocking is perhaps the number one best way to save money while RVing. This camping style is also called dry camping. That’s camping without electric, water, or sewer hookups.
You can legally camp for free on most Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest land all over the United States. Many full-time RVers save money while traveling by taking advantage of this land.
Tips for Boondocking
Dry camping is amazing. You get to stay in beautiful places and experience solitude you may have only dreamed about. But you can make a few upgrades to your RV to make it a more comfortable experience.
Adding a solar setup to your RV and upgrading your RV batteries will allow you to have more power for longer, so it won’t feel like you’re roughing it.
Additionally, consider making the switch to a composting toilet so you can be more self-sufficient and never have to dump black water again. You can even convert your black water tank to extra grey water storage after you make the switch.
Traveling slowly is a great way to help you save money on gas; plus, it’s more fun! When you stay in one place for longer, you have time to explore it like a local. This is one of the best parts of RV life!
Cook Your Own Meals
Eating out all the time gets expensive. Like, really expensive! If you’re still looking for an RV, the kitchen is a vital part. Choose a kitchen setup that will make you want to cook meals at home, saving you money in the long run.
When you’re living in an RV, minimalism is non-negotiable. You can’t buy a lot of stuff because you have nowhere to put it! Practicing simple living by holding off on buying things until you’re sure that you cannot live without them is a surefire way to save money while RVing.
Will Living in an RV Really Save You Money?
If you live thoughtfully, you can absolutely save money while living in an RV, even while traveling. But, if you’re the kind of person who wants to stay at luxury RV parks and spend money on food and experiences, you might find it just as pricey (if not more so) than stationary life. There’s no right or wrong here. Saving money is really up to you and your lifestyle preferences.
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