RVing is an adventurous lifestyle. Living on the road takes preparation, planning, and money. Staying full-time in an RV can be just as expensive as residing in a stationary home. However, it is possible to go RVing on a budget. Here are a few ways to save money when you’re on the road.
For RVers, the three most expensive necessities are campsite fees, food, and rig repairs and maintenance. Finding ways to reduce these expenses is a great place to start if you’re RVing on a budget.
Boondocking is Great for RVing on a Budget
Boondocking is dry camping on public land or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. You won’t have water or electricity hook-ups, but boondocking is usually free. With a bit of internet research, you’ll find plenty of locations to park at no cost to you. There are areas near National Parks, and you can find smartphone apps with lists of places to camp for free.
Become a Member
If you prefer amenities and boondocking is not your idea of a relaxing time, RVers have access to clubs and campground memberships that offer camping at a discount. Discount programs have their own rules, fees, and requirements, but you’ll benefit from a membership.
Saving Money on Meals
RVers, especially those who frequently move from place to place, spend a lot on food. People new to the lifestyle aren’t as practiced in planning and preparing meals for the road. As a result, they eat out at restaurants and purchase more pre-prepared food, which can get expensive.
To save money while RVing, learn to cook in your rig. Create a budget and develop a meal plan for a week or two in advance. Planning helps you use ingredients wisely and allows for leftovers to be repurposed for the next day’s meals. If you grill chicken, create a menu that includes chicken salad or chicken soup later in the week. Purchase veggies with a long shelf life and learn to use what’s in the fridge. There will be less food waste, and you’ll save money.
RVing on a Budget? Learn DIY Maintenance
If you’re planning to RV full-time, learn basic upkeep and maintenance of your rig. There are some repairs and updates you can do yourself.
- Check the air in your tires. It seems obvious, but tires are often overlooked. Make sure your RV tires are inflated to the correct psi. If you’re uncertain, refer to the owner’s manual. You’ll be safer on the road and extend the life of your tires.
- Learn to clean your RV’s air conditioner coils. This is a simple project you can DIY, and it will keep your rig cool and comfortable in the summer. Plus, your air conditioner will work more efficiently.
- RV leaks are a common concern. Keep the roof clean and watch for signs of problems. Inspect the roof for holes, cracks, and leaking seams. Water damage is a serious issue and can be costly to repair. Catching problems before they become major will save you a lot of money.