Cost Of Living

Types of expenses

RV Depreciation might be the biggest yearly expense - also because RV does not appreciate like traditional house. You can buy used RV instead of new, but not too old: consider the cost of repairs.
Many of the expense classes you can control better than is traditional lifestyle:

  • Cost of fuel: if you are not in the hurry, you can stay for couple of days/weeks in same place, exploring it. some guesswork
  • Camping fees: In many areas in West, you can park for free (or for a minimal seasonal fee) on public land/public forest, or work part-time in a campground for free camping. Weekly and monthly feel is less than daily fee.
  • Taxes: you can switch domicile into tax-friendly states (if you live full-time in RV).
  • Food: You might eat out less than in traditional vacation, because you have your own kitchen with you.

Detailed analysis of expenses - some stick-house expenses are completely eliminated. Budget is $3000 including rig upgrades, $2500 without, and down to $1500 with lots of workcamping (or boondocking).

More details: Main expenses and how to reduce them - and more.

Sample budgets:

RV Maintenance

  • Simple rule: when buying gas, put equal amount to maintenance funds, so you have money for repairs.


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  • Fuel in perspective - based on 10,000 travel miles per year and 8.5 miles per gallon, even $5/gal adds just $170/month extra (compared to $3.75/gal), it's not tragic and can be balanced, ie. by 6 more nights boondocking.
  • Don't use your dashboard air conditioner.
  • Saving the Earth at 8 mpg - how RV lifestyle is frugal with resources, including fuel.


FL for $12/night - Flying J


  • Eat in. If you eat out, lunch is cheaper than dinner. Sunday papers have grocery coupons. Casino food is cheap. Farmer's markets and roadside fruit stands. Senior meals at the senior citizen centers. The early bird specials are usually the best deals.

Financial calculators

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