How To Save Money Living in an RV

I tried living on the road full-time several years ago and if you'd ask me how to save money living in an RV, oh boy you might be surprised on how much adjustments I made to fit in my budget.

Save Money Living in an RV

I often catch myself eating out often whenever I’m on the road exploring quite a bit, so I made some adjustment by waking up extra early than I used to and prepare my food and packed my lunch. I have master saying "not now" to all my must-try foods in every area I visited. This has saved me a huge money.

I’m not the best at saving money and it can definitely be a challenging task when you’re not used to saving. On the first three months of my travel, I was on a honeymoon phase and found myself going a little overboard trying out new foods. Yes, the food is absolutely the most amazing perk of living like a local but it was a budget-breaker; it was draining my wallet really fast.

These are just one of my experiences that made me discover different ways to save money on RV life costs and this is what I’m about to share with you today. I’m going to share with you eight simple, but brilliant ways to save money while traveling in your RV. So please keep on reading below!

The Best Tips To Save Money While Living in an RV

First and foremost, if you are planning to start living in an RV then you need to choose the right RV. I chose a used RV and this is a huge saving for me from the start. With some good negotiation strategies, you can get a great deal.

Tip No. 1! Pick the Right RV

First and foremost, if you are planning to start living in an RV then you need to choose the right RV. I chose a used RV and this is a huge saving for me from the start. With some good negotiation strategies, you can get a great deal.

Choosing the type of RV that will be the most suitable for your travel plans is another important factor that could give you extra savings down the road. For instance, if you are up for an adventure, you can opt for a motor-home but if you just intend it for resting a season in one location then a fifth-wheel could be your best bet.

Tip No. 2! Plan Ahead

The number one thing that attracted me to the road is definitely its spontaneity. But the road taught me that living in an RV is not all about freedom and flexibility. The moment I got caught short without a place to stay, enough gas in my tank and enough food for my dinner, it gave me a costly lesson.

Which leads me to my next piece of advice.

Tip No. 3! Choose a good destination

Obviously, New York will cost you so much more than Alabama, whether it for a stay or just a short visit. Of course, you should still go even if your dream destination happens to be luxurious; I doubt there will be an alternative trip that can satisfy your craving for that specific experience.

But if you are willing to be flexible or still figuring out which route to take, consider the overall costs of your potential destination. I highly suggest that you search for the rea campground feeds ahead of time, check out the cost of grocery staples as well as the day-to-day purchases and activities.

Generally, my recommendation would be to skip the big cities, including the coastal areas. But this doesn't end here, you should also consider when you go, it definitely matters. In fact, National Parts can even get surprisingly expensive during crowded summertime. So always make sure you have an idea on the place you are getting into.

Tip No. 4! Look for free spots to park

Fortunately, there are now several websites and apps that could help you find free RV spots all over the country. I often used Ultimate Campgrounds, All Stays, and Campendium for this. There's also which is just amazing, it has a good guide in finding free spots to park, it even also gives good explanations of your choices for "dispersed camping” on County and City Parks, USFS, BLM and so much more.

And if you're looking for just a quick overnight stay, it is always possible to park for free at Cracker Barrels, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas and Walmarts. Just take note though, that not all locations allow it across the country so make sure you verify it ahead of time.

If you are hoping to find free camping as often as possible, why don’t you try to learn to boondock? If you're not familiar with what "boondock" is, it actually refers to camping or RV'ing without any hookups (sewer, electric or water); it is also often referred to as Wild Camping. Now I know you're quite puzzled, you're probably asking why would anyone want to camp without hookups?

Well, this may not start out fun, but this experience has absolutely grown on me. Not does this save me lots of hard earned money but it has led me to some of the most remarkable camping spots. Anyway, I used All Stays app which is a great tool in finding these spots.

Tip No. 5! Save Money on Gas

Take note that even if you own the smallest and the most efficient RV, it can still be a gas eating beasts than what you usually drive in the city. For instance, big Class motor-homes can often get as little as six miles per gallon. And oh, have I told you that the gas tanks can hold up to 150 gallons of fuel?

So before you start rolling your eyes at driving extra miles just to save a cent or two in every gallon, you should start doing the math. You will want to save every centavo you can when it comes to filling up a tank like that. I’ve been using the app called GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas station. It’s very helpful especially during long travel days. I have saved up to 10 cents per gallon using this app.

Staying in one location longer is also one way to save up on gas. You can avail extended stays at RV campgrounds and parks, most even offer weekly or monthly rates, which reduces the nightly cost.

Tip NO. 6! Learn New Skills

One guaranteed thing to happen when you’re RVing is that something will eventually break. Apparently, it will not be cheap and even be difficult to ask for professionals to do repairs during your vacation.

So I highly suggest that you take this opportunity to develop some of the basic handyman skills and you will surely save a ton of cash that would have gone into the mechanic’s pocket. 

You can begin with easier things such as changing a tire or patching the leak in your roof. Even task that may sound to be complicated such as having the sewer vent replaced are not really as difficult as they might seem.

Tip No. 7! Make use of the memberships

There are plenty of memberships that you can join in the RV industry and these will help you save money on different RV costs such as discounted RV campground and park fees. You can check out Escapees and Good Sam, both are offering discounts as well as extended social networks and support.

Are you looking for unique yet cheap camping experiences? You can also join Harvest Hosts, they will match you up with farms and vineyards that will let you spend a night or two on their property.

Tip No. 8: Make sure to keep a budget

When I first hit the road, my expenses skyrocketed. I was traveling almost every day, I was looking forward to staying in higher-priced RV campgrounds and I was eating out at restaurants almost every night because I wasn't feeling comfortable cooking.

But this did not last! I've learned my lessons the hard way, so I created a budget and developed more disciplined about sticking to it. After that, I find traveling in my RV affordable and was even able to save money while I was on the road.

So make sure you create a budget for the new lifestyle you've chosen and done your best to stick to it.

Final Thought

Living in an RV can be a frugal way to live, but for most, it can be more expensive than traditional forms of housing. But with the right budgeting habits and process things can be a bit easier to navigate. Take it from me: if you plan appropriately, this will be one of the best decisions of your life.

How about you? Have you traveled extensively in an RV? What are your favorite ways to save money while full-time RVing? Let us know if the comments!

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