As the days go by, it appears that more individuals are beginning to consider quitting their typical lifestyle in favor of living in an RV in a bid to save money. This seems like a great idea, given that doing so will free you from high rent or having to pay a mortgage.
All you simply need to do is sell the things you do not need, and get on the open road. The money you’re able to save by simply living on the road can be put towards retirement savings or to help pay off debt.
Not only does this help create an improved financial life for you, but it also enables you to do so while traveling across the nation and waking up to beautiful sceneries such as mountains or beaches.
Nevertheless, there is one thing you have to bear in mind, and that is living in an RV will incur living expenses just like living anywhere else, however, it can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it.
For one, there are luxury RVs that cost hundreds of thousands and look like what a celebrity actor would live in while on location. These RVs have massive flatscreen TVs, fireplaces, marble floors and even sound systems.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are folks that simply take the backseats out of an old family van, lay a mattress down and get on the road. It is easy to spot which of these RV setups are bound to have cheaper living expenses, helping you pay any debt you have off.
The average individual interested in living in an RV to save money is likely going to search for an RV that falls right in the middle of our spectrum. If you are reading this article, you are most likely interested in living in an RV to save money.
This article aims to provide context, factors to consider as well as breaking down the costs associated with living in an RVs to help you determine if it is cheaper than a typical living situation. Let’s begin
This item will carry the bulk of your expenses when you begin your plans. There are numerous varying options to select from, with the cheapest being $10,000 and the most expensive costing more than $300,000. They are:
- Travel trailer: This attaches to your vehicle via a tow hitch; however, you will require a truck that is able to handle the additional weight of the travel trailer.
Camper: This is typically the smallest choice and is usually made from dedicated travel campers or converted vans
- Fifth wheel trainer: This is a trailer that has a U-shaped hitch which enables it to be attached to a vehicle, such as a pickup truck to be towed.
- RV or Motorhome: This is a complete home, that just has wheels. You are able to seamlessly operate them and the larger ones enable you to tow a vehicle behind.
For those interested in having a sufficient amount of space, fifth-wheel trailers and motorhomes offer the most amount of space.
This will be a large consideration when selecting your RV type. If you are traveling with others, or perhaps have kids or pets, it would be necessary to get a bigger vehicle.
For those individuals that are traveling alone, a travel trailer or a camper will be a better choice. This is because they are smaller and to drive around in.
That being said, if you are interested in getting the biggest option, and you choose an RV, you should know that it is possible to spend more than $100,000 on a brand-new RV.
If you require something that does not cost as much, a preowned travel-trailer can cost anything from $10,000 to $20,000. Brand new fifth-wheel trailers cost about $35,000.
With these costs in mind, there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself. How would you be able to pay for the RV of your choice?
If you intend on selling off your home to fund your RV purchase, is your home fully paid off, or is there enough equity in the house to help cover the cost not only the mortgage but that of the RV as well.
You should also ask yourself if you have a sufficient amount of cash to purchase one of the cheaper options. Do you intend to take out a loan to cover the cost of your RV?
Whilst living in an RV enables you to travel all around the country, it does not necessarily mean that you have to do so. Realistically, it is possible to find a spot to park the RV and live right on that spot for weeks.
If you intend on going from place to place like most people that purchase an RV do, however, there will be quite a large expense to note down. That expense is fuel, and the amount you spend largely depends on the size of your RV.
If your reason for living in an RV is to help save money, you can choose to reduce fuel expenses by traveling slow or staying put for a while.
Typically, there are 2 differing forms of insurance that you will have to bear in mind when calculating the costs associated with living in an RV. They are health insurance and RV insurance.
If you intend on driving your RV on the road, it requires insurance and this can cost anything from $1000 to $2000 a year.
You might think a way to get around this is to not own the RV outright, but that makes no difference as you still have to insure it.
It is difficult to find traditional health insurance, given that most plans do not work outside the state of their issuance. To help counter this issue, most RVers that travel on a fulltime basis, use healthcare sharing ministries.
Healthcare sharing ministries are US organizations that help to share the cost of healthcare amongst members that share a particular religious or ethical belief.
It does not act as a traditional healthcare insurance policy provider, nor does it accept risk. It is just a way for RVers to have healthcare coverage whilst they are on the road.
Choosing to live in an RV, in this regard is the same as living in a home. There will be repairs to make as things break and it has to be fixed. If you buy your RV brand new, it is possible to have a few of the breakables covered under warranty, however, you are paying a bit more upfront simply because it is new.
For example, if you purchase a large RV with only a smattering of service centers able to handle its repairs, it can be a bit of a burden to fix your RV if it develops an issue while traveling.
Whichever option you go with, having a bit of money set aside to cover repairs is an important necessity if you are going to live in an RV.
When deciding to live in an RV to save money, you have to consider your job, especially if you are aiming to travel.
The best and most feasible scenario would be to work remotely, however, if you are unable to work remotely, do you have something you can do to earn money? This has to be considered before you make a decision.
The majority of people that live in an RV pay for a spot to park their RV in. Below are a couple of places where your RV can be parked and the amount you might have to pay for the privilege:
Driveway surfing doesn’t cost a dime, as it involves you parking your RV in a family member or friend’s driveway.
Considering that you will need to get rid of your waste and refill your water, it might be courteous to pay for parking every now and then.
This is free, as you simply park your RV on free areas such as Grocery Store lots, Bureau of Land Management sites, and other areas. Typically, these options do not have amenities and lack hook-ups. Additionally, you will also have to be security conscious of your parking location.
Public campgrounds tend to cost around $20 per night. A few examples of these venues are national and state parks with some having amenities like showers.
Certain public campgrounds have hook-ups, however, this is not the norm across the board.
These venues can cost anything from $25 to $80 per night. There are also monthly rates available and these are usually cheaper than day rates.
Private campgrounds and RV parks are available with electric and water hook-ups, as well as a place for you to dump your waste. More expensive parks might have amenities such as rec rooms, a pool, golf course, and more.
How do you receive your mail?
While in today’s world it is possible to pay the bulk of your bills over the internet, there are still a few things that will have to be delivered via mail.
To ensure your mail gets to you no matter where you are, you will have to sign up for a mail forwarding service. This would typically cost anything from $85 to $130 per year.
It does not matter if you live in an RV or you live in a traditional house, you are going to require an internet and cell service. The majority of private campgrounds and RV parks will have Wi-Fi capability.
However, combining remote working and fulltime travel will require you to fork out a bit more for internet and cell service, especially one that has a larger coverage map. It might also be necessary for you to purchase extras such as a hotspot or a signal booster.
Heading back home
Living in an RV doesn’t actually mean you have to go far away from everyone you know and love. However, if you are traveling a large distance, it is likely that you will take some time out to head back home for a visit.
There are numerous reasons why you might want to visit back home, for one, emergencies might arise, special unmissable events such as anniversaries or birthdays might pop up. Going home during such a time might be unexpected and with that comes an expense.
Most people do not consider it, but switching from a regular, immovable home to a trailer or an RV means that you will have to downsize, regardless of if you get the largest RV there is. What this means is that you will have to find a place to put all your stuff.
You could choose to either sell everything which could earn you additional income to help with any inevitable repairs, fuel costs, or even living expenses.
The second option would be to store your stuff. There are two ways to do this, either to store your things with generous family members that do not mind your things taking up their entire basement.
The other way would be to lease a storage unit. Leases on a storage unit typically cost anything from $60 to $180 per month for a basic unit. The price range goes up to $75 to $225 per month for a unit that’s climate-controlled.
Food: if you are traveling from place to place, your food budget might be high if you are the type of individual that loves to try out the local cuisine.
Laundry: some fifth wheels and RVs might have a sufficient amount of space for a dryer/washer combo, which can help reduce your laundry costs, however, if your RV doesn’t, you might have to pay to have your laundry done.