Reducing Expenses as a Fulltime RVer

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Turning Down the Cost Knob
Reducing Expenses as a Fulltime RVer

Reducing Expenses as a Fulltime RVer

As with most other lifestyles, living in an RV fulltime can be pricey. Fortunately, just as with other lifestyles, there are many ways to spend less. Always in an effort to be frugal, we have done a lot of experimenting along the way. These are just a couple of tips you can use to save money on campgrounds, food, and fuel, to mention a few.

Related Read: Budgeting Expenses as a Fulltime RVer

Spend Less on Accommodations

First, when you’re traveling, try to drive straight to your destination. The fewer stops, the less you’ll spend on campgrounds and snacks. If there is more than one driver in the rig, you can take turns at the wheel while the other naps.

Second, if you do stop, consider boondocking as an inexpensive option. Apps like AllStays show nearby parking lots that allow overnights.

Lastly, you can use those apps to compare campground rates. Join the RV club of your choice to enjoy discounts at select parks. Most park listings indicate which (if any) they honor. Also, state and national parks often cost less than other campgrounds. However, by camping off-season you’re likely to enjoy reduced prices anyway.

Related Read: 5 Best RV Clubs to Join for New RVers

Spend Less on Fuel

Take the most direct route by using your GPS and check out Gasbuddy or Gasguru so you can find the cheapest fuel on your way. Then, fill up.

Follow general steps for increasing your fuel efficiency, such as making sure tires are properly filled, driving slower, and avoiding rush hour. It also decreases the vehicle’s weight by driving with the water tanks empty.

Related Read: 10 Tips for Boosting your RV MPG

Heat and Cool Efficiently

Unless you use solar energy, keeping the interior temperature of your RV comfortable requires diesel, gasoline, or propane. Fortunately, there are several ways to minimize use.

Add insulation to the back of your cabinets and along gaps in your underneath storage. Pink board or spray foam and insulating curtains are really pretty easy to install and can make a big difference.

To increase warmth without using your heater, park in the open with your largest windows facing south or west for warmth. Park under the shade facing north or east to cool and open the windows.

Wear seasonally appropriate clothing and use adequate bedding to avoid running the heater or air-conditioner.

Eat in When Possible

One of the benefits of living in an RV is being able to cook your own meals nearly wherever you go. Even when you’re traveling, try to pack enough cold food like sandwiches and snacks so you aren’t tempted to grab fast food or convenience store fare on the way. When you’re parked, you can further increase the efficiency of your meals by decreasing the amount of energy used for preparing them.

Cold meals take very little energy to prepare and there are many hearty, nutritious, inexpensive options for every meal. Along with traditional sandwiches, consider salads, cold meat, cheese, and veggie trays, as well as fresh fruit or hummus.

Outdoor grilling is a great option. Not only can you cook a full meal without the use of any electrical appliances, you aren’t heating up the kitchen. This means you won’t need to use additional energy to cool the RV afterward.

Related Read: Slow Cooker Recipes for the RV

When you do cook inside, the crockpot requires less energy than other traditional methods. Its slow cooking method draws less than quick-cook appliances like a microwave or even a toaster. Plus, most dishes prepared this way require only the one pot. This reduces energy used for the water heater and water pump during clean up.

Spend Less Eating Out

On occasions you do choose to eat out, use an app like Yelp to find inexpensive eateries nearby. Check out options that have “early bird” or daily specials. Plus, many restaurants provide incentives to draw customers in during their slowest days and times. Consider eating out on Tuesdays or ordering from the discounted lunch menus to keep costs down.

In Conclusion

Of course, these are only a few of the tips we have used that are the easiest to implement. There are many others including scouring websites for coupons, comparative shopping, joining local co-operatives, fueling up at certain times of the day, and even trading in for a more fuel-efficient rig. Basically, if you want to spend less, there are many ways to tweak your lifestyle to save big bucks down the road.

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Carrie Todd


Carrie Todd

Initially, Carrie became a freelance writer, editor, and artist to support herself doing something she loves that also allows her to travel. Living in her Tourmaster coach, she has spent no more than five months in one place since October 2013. This ensures that she gets to experience the constantly changing scenery that accompanies the yearly seasonal changes, as well as meet new people across the country. She has since become a LuLaRoe Independent Fashion Consultant, as well to further this endeavor. In fact, Carrie considers herself fortunate, as most people have to be of retirement age to enjoy the sort of freedom she has, with every day bringing something different.

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