The Breakdown of Living In An RV Full Time Cost

Millions of Americans have embraced the RV lifestyle, and a great number of them do this full time. It sounds exciting as you get to new places and don’t have to follow the daily bindings of urban life. Everything sounds enticing for new RVers to jump on the bandwagon, but they should be aware of living in an RV full time cost.

People think RV living expenses are less than living in a traditional house. Some people even think they don’t have to spend on anything except for gas and food. The reality is different. You have to pay for such things that you might not have even thought about when living in a home.

Living in an RV Full Time Cost: A Breakdown

Having a clear idea about your finances and the possible costs is one prerequisite of RV living. Some people don’t feel comfortable diving head-first into the money matters but it is important to figure out whether you can afford that lifestyle or not.

So, how much does it cost to live in an RV? Here’s a breakdown of the fixed and other expenses.

The Fixed Cost of Living in an RV

The fixed cost of living in an RV does not differ much from month to month. It could fluctuate a bit, but the average monthly expenses are virtually the same.

RV Payment

Chances are high that you have taken a loan to purchase an RV for full-time RV living and travel. In that case, you have to pay a fixed monthly installment. Also, there is insurance payment for the towing car. The expenses could be up to a few hundred dollars per month, depending on the insurance company, insurance policy, models of the RV and towing car, and your driving record.

how much does it cost to live in an rv
You have to pay for RV loan and insurance.

Insurance

The two more insurance policies you have to pay are the RV insurance and your health insurance. The second one is likely to cost up to $250 per person unless you have a corporate job, and it covers for your full family.

RV insurance is cheaper comparatively. It could be anything between $20 and $50 per month depending on the type of the vehicle.

Campground Rent

This is another fixed expenditure that can vary widely depending on several factors. You may don’t have to pay a single dollar if you can find free parking on BLM lands and National Parks. Remember that most free parking facilities don’t offer any access to hookups. Boondocking is fun sometimes but you will need access to showers, dump stations, water, and other facilities at some point.

The campground fees vary based on the season, location, the facilities offered, and the duration of your stay. The prices may range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per night.

Gasoline

Another fixed cost of RV living that can fluctuate depending on your usage. It actually depends on your traveling distance. It could be several hundred dollars if you like to roam around. But living in campgrounds for most of the time won’t cost you much.

cost of living in an rv
Travel much? Be ready for extra gas expenses.

Propane

Living in an RV full time cost should include propane expenses. Some people use alternative heat sources like electric heaters or heat pumps. But you will still need propane to cook and heat water.

Exchanging a 10lb. tank or refilling it will cost around $20. You can do it at truck shops like Loves and Flying J. If you are careful with the usage, there is no need to refill it every month. For example, you can use an electric heater, use campground showers whenever possible, and cook outdoors on the grill sometimes.

Food/Groceries

If you love to eat fresh produce and best-quality meats, the food expenses will be nearly $1,000 for two people every month. However, you can keep it within $500 with some calculations. These might not be the greatest foods in the world, but you will live.

Utilities

While you no longer have to pay for sewer, water, and trash bills, living in an RV full time cost still includes some utility bills. You have to pay the dump fees when dry camping. Some campgrounds charge for electric and internet bills but most of them include these into the rental cost.

Cell Phone and Internet Bills

Except for paying separately, you can combine both costs by taking an Unlimited Plan from a carrier that has good coverage all across the country. Then, use the cellphone to set up a hot spot for the internet.

cost of rv living
Set up a hot spot for using the Internet.

Related: Internet for RV: What Are the Best Options?

Laundry

Most campgrounds offer washing and drying services. If you use an interdependent washing service like Launderama, a washing and drying combo for a load will take less than $4. You may save the cost by hanging clotheslines but most parks and campgrounds don’t allow it. You can also purchase an RV washer dryer combo for laundry on the road and saving money from washing service at campgrounds.

Other Cost to RV Full Time

Living in an RV full time cost includes some extra expenses that you may or may not avoid depending on the situations.

One such expense is RV repair and maintenance. You may not have to spend every month but it will be wise to keep a $100 budget every month for this. You have to consider some personal expenses too like personal care items, pet care products (if you have a pet), credit card payments, subscription fees of memberships, medications, etc.

rv living expenses
Set a budget for miscellaneous expenses.

Budget one or two hundred dollars for monthly outings like eating out in a local restaurant, going to the movies, going for recreational activities like hiking, fishing, or snorkeling. Some miscellaneous purchases can also account for 2% or 3% of the living in an RV full time cost. You may need to buy some tools for the maintenance purpose such as RV wax, wheel bearing grease… some kitchen gadgets, or one or two pieces of living room furniture, appliances like RV dehumidifiers, RV vacuum cleaners or RV air conditioners,…

Overall, something between $2,000 and $3,000 seems standard for two people RVing full-time. Of course, it can be more or less depending on your lifestyle and lots of other factors including the campgrounds you live in, traveling distance, the cost of your rig, and more.

If you want to be a full-time RV campers, there are helpful RV living tips you need to learn from experienced RVers. These tips not only get you ready for the new lifestyle but also save you a good amount of living cost.

Last Updated on June 25, 2021

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guide in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

2 Comments
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  1. I have an aunt and uncle that went full time campers. Instead of $700 rent plus utilities they have $165 camper payment. They pay $100 a month for their dues at the camp ground and I do know they had a one time purchase of the property for around $5,000. So they are saving a lot of money plus they own the land so they can sell later.

  2. Saw a couple on YouTube that tracked their funds for 1 year. They had 2 young children with them. They stated it was about $33k a year for them (their camper & car were paid off). Of course, the cost varies based on how often you drydock, travel (gas & park fees), etc. They both had remoting jobs. You can often volunteer to host at camp sites to stay for free. I don’t recall them doing that.

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