How much does it cost to live in an RV?
We get this question a lot.
To answer the question you really have to go back and think about how you’re not just adding the expense of living in an RV to all your other expenses, but that you’re totally changing your lifestyle to live and travel in an RV.
Luckily many full-timers have shared their expenses openly and show what it costs them to live like this.
If you’ve been researching it for very long, you have probably come across one or two tables full of expenses.
How do the numbers look to you?
When we first started researching it, I thought we’d have to keep track of every little expense, and that worried me a little.
I hate keeping track of my expenses.
But, you know what?
I realized I can make sure all the bills are paid. Then whatever amount we budget for spending is thrown into one lump sum, and I don’t have to detail those unless I want to.
Below I outline many of the main expenses you’ll come across while on the road. As you go through the list also keep in mind the cost of rv itself.
We purchased a used RV outright, but many people take on a loan for their rig which increases the rv cost of ownership, and can increase the rv living costs.
In the beginning, you’ll travel faster and do more because you still have the 2 week vacation mentality.
Your mentality will change after 3-4 months. After that you’ll stop racing to your next destination, and realize that the journey is the destination and not the points of interest on the map. There will be some early months adjustments you’ll want to make.
You will also realize rv living full time can cost less, depending on how you downsize from your current living situation.
Cost of Full Time RV Living
Motorhome Payment: For some people, having the newest motorhome is a must so they incur the monthly payment to get a newer model. The range for a new one is huge, anywhere from $350-900/month.
If you don’t mind getting an older model, and can pay for it after selling your vehicle (like we did), then you won’t have this cost.
Motorhome Insurance: Motorhome insurance is usually a combination homeowners and vehicle and can range from $50-150/month.
Healthcare: Having a high deductible health insurance premiums works for many and can run from $150-250/month per person.
Internet/Cell Phone/TV: Staying connected on the road is a big deal to a lot of RV’ers, and they are willing to pay to make sure they can surf the web or watch their favorite show. Usually $70-230/month
Registration costs: Yearly cost to register your RV and car if you tow one. $35-115/year per vehicle
Mail Service: There are several mail forwarding services just for RV’ers. It usually runs from $25-50/month
RV Campground Fees: This can vary depending on how you’re traveling. Are you boondock camping a lot or are you staying in an RV Park every night? $0-1000. On average it’s about $500/month to stay at an RV Site.
If you are looking for frugal rv living, then you’ll want to search out free rv parks, frugal rv camping, and cheap rv parks. To help with offset the cost of living in a rv park, you can use Free Campsites website.
Propane Fees: For many this can be an average of $15-50/month, depending on your setup.
RV Maintenance: This is your home, and it’s on wheels so things will likely happen. During our first 3 weeks on the road, our starter went out inside Big Bend National Park and we had to be towed 50 miles to the nearest town.
Luckily we had insurance. After a weekend stay and $500 repair bill, we were back on the road. Most people sock away $50-150/month to handle these kinds of incidences.
Food: This is a huge variant for many. We enjoy cooking in the RV when we can and we love trying new restaurants in different towns. On average, we have $400/month groceries and $250/month for eating out.
Personal: Again this is more to your personal needs, but haircuts, clothing, grooming can all be lumped in here. It can vary widely depending on your personal needs.
Laundry: We use laundry facilities in cities and typically our laundry bill runs about $40-60/month
Gas/Diesel: If you want to travel a lot then this fee can be your largest expense.
With the average price for a gallon at $2.00 (in 2016) and the average mile/gallon is 8-12, this likely will contribute to you slowing down and taking a more leisurely approach to the new full time living.
Toad Payment: If you plan on towing a vehicle, you might have a payment on that so figure the range of $200-600/month depending on what you have.
What Others Say About the Cost of RV Living
We’ve also rounded up the information from other full time RV’ers to show you how they calculate their full time expenses.
Did We Miss Anything?
What are some expenses that you think should be added to this?