Donna and I get asked a lot of questions about how we live. I believe this is the number one question – How much does it cost to full-time RV. This is an impossible question to answer for anyone else because most people make it work with the income that they already possess. I can show you how I budget. I have written about that in a previous post.
Here is what I think you should figure out before you jump into full-time RVing.
- What is your source of income? Do you have a reliable retirement income, a job that you can do remotely or do you plan to work camp?
- Is your RV paid off? Do you need to purchase a RV? If so your RV note (and possible truck if have a travel trailer or 5th wheel) and insurance will be the biggest monthly expense. If you have a motorized RV, will you have a tow vehicle? Is that vehicle paid off?
- How fast do you plan on traveling? The more you are on the road the more gas you will use, increasing your cost. Our current gas budget is $400 per month. Many RV Parks have different rates, one for daily use and the other will be a weekly/monthly rate. You will almost always pay less fees for a weekly or monthly rate.
- Where do you plan on traveling? The Northeast has less boondocking and the cost of RV parks is more expensive than the South and Southwest.
- Maintenance and repairs. RVs are in need of continuous maintenance. Something will break at the most inopportune time. If you are not handy this means getting a qualified RV Tech. These folks are not cheap. You must budget for your RV and any engine that you have.
- Health Insurance. Do you have it or do you need to go into the Exchange? This is a big one because one health issue could put you into financial jeopardy if you don’t have a plan.
- Cost of food, dining out and entertainment will probably be similar to what you are paying right now. Most folks want to maintain their same standard of living while living in a RV.
The biggest take away that I can suggest is be realistic. Yes, you might save money if you live a RV. However, if you were not a huge saver before you lived in a RV, you will be taking those same money habits into your RV life. Use your current budget and see what will no longer be an expense once you are on the road. Think about how you like to travel. Be honest. Don’t state you will boondock 14 days out of the month if you want to have full hookups every night. We don’t need a lot of amenities so $700 for campground fees is fine for us. However, if you want pools, activities and the like, you will need to budget more.
Once you have done this you can make a plan to get on the road. Donna and I researched a lot. We made our first budget and ran with that for a few months. We adjusted when we realized we had over budgeted in a few areas and under budgeted in others. We have met folks of all different income levels who are living happily as a nomad. They, just like us, are making it on what they have.
What kind of research or budgeting did you do before you got on the road full-time?