Full-time RVing: Save on your top three expenses

Full-time RVing: Save on your top three expenses

By Bob Difley

Photo: Nick Youngson

Three of the biggest expenses for full-time or near-full-time RVers are fuel, campgrounds, and eating out. But one of the great advantages of RVing is that you can easily change any one or all three of these expense categories to adjust to the changing economy or the fluctuation of your personal finances.

To save on the fuel expense, drive fewer miles between campgrounds, stay longer at each destination, drive 55 mph, avoid jackrabbit starts and quick stops, and keep your tires properly inflated. Go online to find the cheapest gas stations in the areas you travel. Join the Pilot Flying J RV club to get discounts on every fill up.

Save on campground expenses by staying at public campgrounds, like in the national forests, that don’t have hook-ups or better yet, by boondocking free on public lands for several days a month. Stay longer at campgrounds and RV resorts where you can get a cheaper weekly rather than day rate. When on the road spend the night free at Walmart and Cracker Barrel restaurants. Check campground fees in a campground guide or online before choosing where you will spend the night.

You likely aren’t pressed for time like you were when carrying a full work schedule, and therefore have time to cook. Your RV’s galley, no matter what size, is fully capable of making tasty and nutritious meals. By shopping at local farmers markets and farm stands you can enjoy the freshest and healthiest foods. Make cooking a creative event, rather than something to get out of the way quickly. You will amaze yourself with how enjoyable relaxed creative cooking can be–and how much money you will save over expensive restaurant food.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.

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5 thoughts on “Full-time RVing: Save on your top three expenses

  1. Denny wagaman

    Owning a motorhome isn’t inexpensive living depending what it is compared to.

    The purchase price is just for starters. Proper maintenance with annual lube, oil, FILTERS changes can be several hundred dollars or more., Replacing 6-8 tires every 5-6 yrs is several thousand dollars. Add insurance, state licensing, roof maintenance, optional TV satellite connections, and the other unexpected repairs that do happen when you have a home in wheels.

    Then there is the nightly, weekly, monthly cost to stay in a campground.

    Really now why do we expect the cost for a nights stay to be low, when every other cost associated with living continues to rise. Many of us like to stay in a nice safe environment with water, electric, sewer connections.

    The notion that motorhome ownership is cheap depends on what you consider cheap to be, with all the RV’S that are being sold there is bound to be an
    increase in more than a few items above. It’s an issue of supply and demand. One fellow camper said his wife was so unhappy with him as he had persuaded her to sell their paid for home, buy a MH and start RVing. The lure of the open road. He said we didn’t realize how well we had it. Now it’s an every day nightmare for us. Sad.

    Where you stay and what maintenance you choose to do is certainly up to you. The notion that RVing is a cheap way to live depends on ones definition of living.

    We are not full time RVers. We travel up to six months choosing not to stay on our beautiful RV resort lot because we choose to travel and see before the time comes that I cannot no longer drive.

  2. Danny Wells

    I’ve been telling our family and friends that ” On days we have to buy gas, we don’t eat.”

  3. Cletus

    I also agree that cheaper diesel prices can be found at other stations than Flying J and Pilot. I have found the Muphy stations associated with Wal-Mart Super Centers to be consistently cheaper than others in the area. I didn’t have too much trouble entering and exiting them when I pulled a 36 foot 5th wheel and now that I have a truck camper it’s even easier.

  4. Robbie

    As fulltimers, we go out to eat maybe once a month. We rarely travel more than 500 miles per month. We try to boondock at 14-day sites….then one day at the cheapest RV park we can find to replenish our tanks. Our fuel tank is huge on the motorhome, which gives us the ability to “shop” with Gas Buddy to get the best fuel price on our route.

  5. Steve Sims

    I don’t agree with the implication that Pilot / Flying J discounts are worth much (if anything). When I consider that I’m in the “highest discount” range for diesel fuel at these stations, I still usually find myself paying a few cents more, after discounts are applied, than I would at other stations.
    We do, admittedly, use Pilot / Flying J because we’ve got a large rig and a toad and it’s generally easier to get in and out of the fuel lines than at other stations.
    But to suggest that the Pilot / Flying J discounts will save one more than just smart shopping (Gas Buddy is your friend; Google it!) is not accurate.

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