Recreational vehicles and motor-homes have become increasingly more popular because they allow people with modest incomes to make their traveling dreams come true. Traveling and living in an RV can be a great way to explore the world at a relatively low cost compared to other types of traveling arrangements. Backpacking is probably the only type of traveling that is cheaper than an RV, but it is also much less convenient and definitely not for everyone. The RV offers considerable comfort on the road at a low cost, and that is probably why many people, from young travelers to retirees, often decide to make their RV their only home for prolonged periods of time. This article will show you why this also makes economic sense with a simple cost-effectiveness analysis for cheap RV living.
For people who own their apartment or house, cheap RV living can save them a lot of money if they decide to rent out the apartment/house to tenants. This stream of monthly income can more than offset the costs associated with RV traveling, like gas and parking. This option is great for people who like to alternate between work and travel – working for a year and saving money, then traveling for a year, and so forth. It is also a great option for travelers who are planning a long tour of the country, say for two years. During that time, they could basically travel for free if the monthly cost of using the RV is smaller than the rent they collect from tenants during that time, which shouldn’t be very hard to achieve, because RV living can easily be turned into cheap RV living.
Budgeting for Living Cheaply in an RV
Here is a sample monthly budget for cheap RV living. You should put away $100 as savings for future repairs/emergency fund and $100 for vehicle insurance on a monthly basis. Then the remaining costs would be either a monthly parking cost while you remain in a specific spot or a monthly expense on gas while traveling (but no cost for parking). The average monthly parking fees at camping/RV spots are about $450 and this is what you would be spending per month when you are not driving, rather you are enjoying one spot for a while. It is worth noting that often times it comes out a lot cheaper to pay a monthly fee at an RV park than a collection of 30
day fees. In other words, if you want to minimize your cost, the best strategy is to stay at one spot for a full month when you feel like having a break from driving. That’s a total expense of $650, excluding food and clothing, which are regular expenses regardless whether you are traveling or not. For that amount, you get to enjoy an unexplored destination for a month, with access to all the usual amenities found at RV parks like hook-ups, laundry facilities, and a bath house.
How about cheap RV living on the road? If you are on the road, then you shouldn’t be spending anything on parking and you should take advantage of publicly available parking space for free. No matter where you’re going, you should be able to easily find some. All you have to do is to do a bit of research online, which is easy enough. Your only expense should be on gas, and the amount you spend would depend largely on the kind of the RV you own and on fluctuations in the price of gas. Still, as an indication, it would take about $500 a month on diesel fuel to drive between 25 miles and 100 miles a day in a 36-foot motorhome. Combining this with insurance and savings, that’s $700 a month and a whole lot of miles!
Please keep in mind that we used average values for this calculations – if you take extra caution to find cheaper RV parks or you have a fuel-efficient engine then you can enjoy some really cheap RV living. In addition, this is the monthly cost no matter whether one or three people are sharing the RV – the cost per person is much smaller when you are travelling with a spouse, a girlfriend or a couple of wonder-lusting friends.