What Does It Cost To RV?

Have you ever wondered what it actually costs to RV? The truth is there is no way to tell. Picture this. Two women walk out of a grocery store carrying a paper bag. How do you know how much they spent on groceries? The only way to tell is to look inside the bag. Lady #1 has a variety of meats and gourmet snacks. Her bag holds $200 worth of groceries. Lady #2 has a bag filled with toilet paper, a box of cereal and a few bananas. Her bag holds $35 worth of groceries.

So too, an RV budget depends on the priorities and lifestyle of the traveler. Here are a few considerations:

Do you own the RV?

Do you own your car?

Do you need internet?

Will you live in parks or Boondock?

How often will you travel?

Let’s take a look at these questions and see how they affect your overall budget.

Do you own the RV?

Owning a rig has pluses and minuses. If you own your rig outright, you forgo monthly payments. If you bought a new rig, you will experience rapid depreciation. If you buy an RV on payments, you may be able to write off the interest as a first or second home, but you have to be able to afford it. Always check with a tax CPA before making a purchase.

Do you own your car or truck?

If you plan to pull a 5th wheel, you will need a big truck that in most cases is bigger and more expensive than you may expect. Do you already own a truck? If so, you will save that monthly payment. If not, add it to your budget.

If you plan to work online, you will need at least $200-$350 per month set aside for cell phone data that can be converted into internet access. If you stay in a park you may be able to get free WiFi, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Will you live in parks or Boondock?

Renting space by the month is far cheaper than renting by the day. Boondocking (parking without hookups) can be cheap and in some cases nearly free. Where you park your rig can really stretch your wallet. A little advance planning can go a long way.

How often will you travel?

The average RV gets eight miles to the gallon, so fuel costs can add up fast. If you stay in one place, you may save money. On the other hand, if you are RVing to see the world, then fuel costs need to be allotted for.

In addition to the costs above, you must consider RV and vehicle insurance, health insurance, food, debt and any mechanical repairs your RV requires.

So what does it actually cost to RV?

Here are a few examples.

Couple #1 Spends $2,050 a month. They have no vehicle or rig debt. They use a pay as you go cell phone and park for free most nights. They use Skype for phone calls and Verizon MiFi or WiFi Internet hot spot for $88 a month. They rarely eat out and are over 65 so they have Medicare for insurance. When they travel, it costs them an additional $500 a month.

Couple #2 Spends $4,000 a month. They have $650 payments on their RV. They also have some credit card debt and travel as much as possible. They save money by Boondocking as often as possible. They are young so they only pay $425 a month on health insurance.

Couple #3 Spends $1,500 a month. They own an older travel trailer and truck. They rarely travel and use long term parking space for free in Arizona as much as possible. They are careful with every dollar they spend, but since they have no debt they can live inexpensively and enjoy a slower pace of life.

So what will you spend? Here are a few suggestions for minimizing your expenses:

Choose a state for your domicile that offers you the most tax savings as possible. Health insurance can be a big cost so investigate opportunities for RVers in each state.

Own your RV and vehicle and minimize your debt prior to hitting the road.

Work with an RVInsurance.comagent to find the most affordable insurance for your rig. RVInsurance.com specializes in finding you the best coverage at the best price possible.

Plan meals ahead of time and shop only once a week. Limit eating out.

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