How much does it cost to full-time RV?
That’s often one of the first questions on the minds of those considering taking on this lifestyle.
Well, we would like to introduce you to our budget report where we will shed some light on how to spend money while full-time RVing.
Before we can move right onto our detailed report, we would like to clear all doubts on why keeping a check on your RV expenses is of vital importance.
Table of Contents
Why Should We Create a Monthly Budget Report?
There are 3 main reasons as to why you need to determine how much full-time RVing is going to cost you:
- Firstly, you need some form of real data to determine how you are spending your money every month. If you can’t seem to determine where all your money is going, then you definitely cannot work on a budget.Seeing the numbers every month can work as a guide because we don’t ever hit the mark perfectly do we? We can find out where we struggled or even determine a category we spend a lot on. This way we can spot areas we can improve and also track the changes.
- Secondly, if you don’t have a job while full-time RVing, you would need a realistic savings budget like a mini retirement plan before you begin working again. This can only be made possible with the help of a monthly budget report and while ours might be too high or too low for some, you can alter them to fit your lifestyle.
- Recently we got to see quite a few examples of monthly spending reports and we were surprised at the number of things that were left out. Some RVers, for example, left out their entire month’s cost of RV park costs because it had been paid for in the previous month.Some people even tend to leave out insurance costs because they wish to keep it private. Now we understand privacy issues to the extent that it’s alright if you have a personal report which keeps a general idea of the cost.
Granted, full-time RVing has its ups and downs but as long as we keep learning where we succeeded and failed, we would be able to avoid such mistakes in the future. Another idea you need to embrace is to look forward to every day with a purpose. With a monthly budget report, you will be able to embrace what we’re talking about.
How Much Does It Cost To Full-time RV – The Budget Breakdown
1. Entertainment Budget
Here we set a max budget of, say, $200 and this signified the limit we cannot cross. While some may say this is set too high, we only set this to keep a check on our expenses.
At the end of the month, we had paid $15 for the Lake Patagonia State Park and a total of $60 for an evening out with family. Other than these, there were no other considerable expenses to note down but you see how we were careful not to go overboard the entire month.
2. Maintenance/Miscellaneous Budget
Our budgeted amount set here was $100 and we had realized quite soon that this was set too low. We had made some repairs for our tow light package and ended up paying $90 at some RV center. Other than this, we removed and fixed a 7-way connector till we could get it to work. Even the RV center had to conduct test connections and experiments to finally get it working. As a result, we ended up paying just over $200.
(This number signifies charges such as our spending on toilet deodorizer, Camping World charges, etc.)
3. Insurance Budget
Before we move on to the details, we would like to point out that this category is supposed to cover all kinds of insurance. So we went on ahead to include health, road and motorhome insurance. Our agent had set up our insurance budget considering everything we have for a self-insured plan and though $700 was the cap.
That said, we had gone ahead and changed insurance carriers this month. We opted for a PPO plan that would let us visit doctors anywhere we decide to visit in the country. This is why our initial payment surpassed our set amount and went on over to $845.
4. Internet/Phone Budget
In this category, we had set a budgeted amount of $120 simply based on past expenses. This month, we decided to add MiFi into our RV via Verizon and the bill is going to be charged to the next month. This is why our current budget only includes installation charges which totaled to $88. We have also decided to set next month’s budgeted amount a little higher because of the monthly bill of high-speed internet.
5. Propane Budget
Even though we had planned to stay to the south this month to avoid the cold, we had managed to get ourselves into the coldest of weathers. We even got buried in a patch of 8” snow somewhere in Flagstaff.
As a result of this, we nearly went through a full tank of propane which cost us more than our budgeted amount of $25 for warmer climates. Now, however, with the temperatures dropping from extreme, we are sure that we won’t exceed our budget in the following month.
6. Laundry Budget
This month we had managed to do our entire stack of laundry inside the RV Park itself and quickly determined that costs vary in different parks. We have seen highs of $5 per load and some as low as $2.5 per load.
This month we came up with as many as 8 loads of laundry; this is far less compared to the laundry load you’ll have when you live in a house. Somehow we managed to stay within our budgeted amount of $50 and saved $10.
7. Gas Budget
Considering this is a very important part of our budget, we believe we did pretty well here. This is the case especially considering the fact that we saw tons of sights and chased all over the country. Also, this part of the budget signifies gas for our motorhome and gas for the road. That said, we had driven over 250 miles on a weekly basis!
Our budget was set at $500 and we reached a very close total of $481. This isn’t a mere coincidence because we have learned quite a few tricks along the way because of our monthly RV budget. We have learned that you can’t just pick gas stations at random. Flying J and Pilot gas stations are meant to be for larger rigs and if you have a membership card, then you could actually avail $0.05 per gallon.
How should you look for these gas stations? Well, you know how to use Google Maps, don’t you?
8. Food Budget
By the looks of this budget, it would seem that we had elected to go overboard with this budget. This is because we experience all the local food scenes wherever we visited and never turned down a local pizza joint.
Well, we had set this particular budget on the basis of eMeal and its planned dietary restrictions for us. This is how we came up with the budgeted amount of $700. We tried to control our spending habits accordingly. Adding everything we ate this month, we overshot our budgeted amount by about $250 and you can see why.
Seeing this problem in our budget, we can make appropriate changes in the coming months. One thing we’re going to be doing a lot in the future is to make more food and not order takeout too much.
9. Camping Fees
This category from our budget is another one which is very important because it can easily be your biggest expense every month. We included every expense that had to do with our campground accommodations and we found that $42 per night is more than sufficient.
We already knew that campground expenses vary from sight to sight and expected to see our actual amount higher than the budget. Well, we had daily showers along with a lot of conveniences that the RV Parks had to offer.
We had divided our monthly budget to a weekly one and therefore, knew exactly how much we should be spending at each RV Park. Spending 2 weeks where we felt comfortable at lower rates. We also kept an eye on discounted rates at RV Parks while selecting our next boondocking spot.
To our surprise, we ended up spending a little less than $900 from our originally budgeted amount of $862. It goes without saying that we are very happy that we have $100 to spare and this will act as a cash flow for other expenses we may have overshot.
Getting Prepared for Something That Will Need Repairs
While the above-mentioned budget consists of every large expense you need to keep an eye out for, we wished to explain the importance of planning for contingencies. Things are definitely going to break because, well, you are driving around your entire house at about 60 – 65 mph. Your belongings are expected to shift and move all along your travels and may break eventually.
This is the reason why you should expect to have something working one day and being completely unresponsive on the other. Why is this consideration important? Well, a leaky slide out, icing issues on the AC, and even door lock malfunctions can bring about a sudden trail of unexpected expenses.
We have met a number of full-time RVers that love to go out on extended trips and may have already seen a real gamut of experiences. Some families love this lifestyle so much that they actually despise planning every step of it. Well, if you are avoiding planning because the effort can be disappointing, you are still going to be disappointed by all the hiccups you face in the future.
Living in your motorhome is very different from living anywhere else in the world. If you can prepare yourself substantially, you will be in for the adventure of your lifetime. Now that you have a monthly budget for RVing expenses, you will be much better at rolling with the punches. Sure, you’ll get knocked down a couple of times but a rough month means you’ll have a better month next time.
Laughing At Yourself Is Key
You’re in for an adventure for a lifetime, so go ahead and have fun with it! With time, you will learn how to have fun with all your mishaps. You may even find yourself laughing at the fact that you once questioned, “How much does it cost to full-time RV?”
Money Shouldn’t Really Be a Problem If You Are Earning While RVing
Would you like to make money while you hit the road full-time? Well, there are a lot of people out there who use their creative skills to fuel their adventures, earning a little more to spend. Imagine having no limit to where you can drive off to and still be able to connect with customers or employers? Wouldn’t that be ideal?
Well, you can visit this page and learn everything there is to know about businesses you can launch out of your RV and some creative ideas of businesses. If you follow the link, you will also find a lot more helpful information regarding RVing.
It’s truly a new world out there. Why not explore it more efficiently? Our guides can help you.
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