Snapshot Of A Monthly Full-Time RVing Budget

snapshotWhether or not one is even interested in the idea of full-time RVing or not, it seems most are at least curious as to the truth about what it actually costs to live on the road full-time. Perhaps because the idea is just downright strange, or perhaps because deep down inside most Americans secretly long to live a life in which the very basics didn’t cost us next to everything we make.

Now, keeping in mind that every situation is different, here is a basic breakdown of a monthly, full-time RVing budget to help give you an idea of how much RV life really costs.

**Please remember that this only a snapshot of a monthly budget and can vary depending on situation, family size, how much you are actually traveling on the road with your RV and of course, what season it is. This breakdown consists of the high and low end situations as it can vary greatly depending on so many variables.

  • Propane (winter: $75-100) (summer: $5 average) We use propane for heat & cooking in the winter and for cooking only in the summer.
  • Laundry  – $100 * family of four in quarters for laundromat
  • Gas  – about $300 for every 10 hours of road travel (in a 2010 Ford F-250 diesel truck towing 38 ft. RV) * figure based on gas price of around $3.50 and of course gas prices may vary greatly (subtract this when you aren’t actually traveling)
  • RV park lot rent – $300-$900 (we try to find parks in the $400-500 range.) *depends on location and season. Currently we are paying $290 per month for lot rent + electric
  • Electric $50-$150  *depends on season (many RV parks include electric in with lot rent. You just have to inquire.)
  • Internet $40-$150 *unless your campground has free wi-fi – which isn’t always reliable.
  • RV insurance – $30-$40
  • Water $0  *most water is included in RV park rent
  • Food  *add in your own normal grocery expenses

I did not include budget items such as food, health/auto insurance, ect. because again, this is only a skeleton breakdown of a RV life budget and there are too many varying scenarios to list so you’ll have to add in any of your own extra expenses.

Please comment below with any questions or additions you have to this post.

About Rachel Rowell

A true southern gal at heart, Rachel was raised and lives in the deep south and spends her days raising her own babies, writing, making music, reading out on the front porch, and cooking supper for her family to sit around the table and enjoy together at nights! Her ultimate girlhood dream was to raise a family in a house just like "Anne of Green Gables" and now she is living her dream and inspiring others along the way.

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22 Responses to Snapshot Of A Monthly Full-Time RVing Budget

  1. Ashley July 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Love it! It gives me a great outline as to what to expect! Thank you!

  2. anotherkindofdrew July 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    Your hot water heater is electric/gas then? I mean, do y’all use the electric setting when parked and hooked in to the grid?

    • Rachel Rowell July 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Yes, our hot water heater runs off electric most of the time but we can flip a switch to convert it to run off of gas if we are boon-docking somewhere or in a situation where we have no electric hook-up. Also, if we want the water to re-heat extra fast (like if we have guests staying and use more shower water) we flip on the gas just to speed it up so we can fit it more showers a bit faster as the gas does heat the water much faster. We rarely do this though.

  3. Pam July 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Health and vehicle insurance? Emergency repairs?

    • Rachel Rowell July 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

      Pam, I didn’t list any of those because those would fall under the category of “individual family expenses” that it would be very difficult to try to breakdown here because it would vary so much from situation to situation. My goal was simply to give a breakdown for full-time RVing specifically rather than try to get a budget for what could be many different scenarios. Hope this helps! 🙂

      • NM4 July 8, 2014 at 1:27 am #

        Thank you for sharing!

  4. Scott July 8, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    What sort of Internet service do you use?

  5. Mark December 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Rachel, I found your blog this morning and have to say it….I love what I see. Very refreshing and honest! My wife and I are about to take off on the same adventure, full time living in a fifth wheel. I have alot of questions that I would like to ask you to get your insight. Is there an email address that I can reach you at? Looking forward to hearing from you!

  6. Denise January 5, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    Great budget outline! My husband and I (with two small/med dogs) are renovating our recent purchase of a used 40ft diesel motorcoach and are off on our adventure! Newbies to the whole thing we have done alot of research and love your blog. thanks for sharing, see you on the road! Denise

  7. Brittney February 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    Here is what our bills are: rv spot WITH electric $430 in the summertime, but then we have to move to another spot because in the winter, the first spot charges $75 on top of the $430, but the second spot is $425 for their winter fees which includes electric (their summer rate is $600!!). So we will move between the two every six months. Internet is wifi through both places for no charge. Same with water – no charge. We have a truck payment, food, laundry, satellite TV, kid diapers, propane is about $75-$100 depending on how much cooking is being done. It’s not really having a lot of bills as much as its how much those bills are! Compare it to what you pay for rent or mortgage. Gas to heat the house versus propane to heat a trailer, electric in house versus possibly free electric for the trailer, having your own laundry versus having to pay for it (water bill at the house for laundry versus paying for laundry), food, Internet, TV, insurance, etc you should have all ready either way. Our camper insurance is $42 a month …but again, that versus homeowners insurance. Definitely a lot of thinking about before jumping into an rv and going.

  8. sunni June 23, 2015 at 11:32 pm #

    Looks pretty accurate to me. We try to spend some time in state parks and occasional boon docking (4-5 days tops at a time) which does trim the lot rental budget somewhat. Also pay by month if we’re staying that long in one place. We travel in a 36′ Winnebago Journey motorhome.

  9. Janie B November 7, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    My husband and I are in the planning stages, this information and all the comments are very helpful and informative. Thanks everyone.

  10. Dixie November 10, 2015 at 3:27 am #

    We are just now embarking on rv living. We are planning to work camp. So excited. My husband and I are both leaving high stress jobs for a simpler life. Thanks for the info.

    • Marie McCammon November 17, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

      Being a work camper can be a great experience. We worked 6 months in Jackson, WY and 6 months in the Florida Keys. It’s a great opportunity to not only have rent and utilities at no charge (varies with different campgrounds) but many also pay the campers, both of ours did. We met many wonderful people and made friends with other work campers that we stay in touch with. Like all jobs there can be odd circumstances and some people may be challenging but just do your homework and have fun!

  11. kimschroeder1203 December 27, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    My husband and I are going to be looking into buying an RV and traveling, but I don’t think we want to do a whole lot of sitting in one spot. Is that a feasible idea. What do you all do for income? I think that we are going to try flea market circuits. IS that possible?

  12. Gary March 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    I am looking at RVing next summer. Have to find anRV first. It looks like communications “blog” posting is how communications are done. Has any one thought of “ham” radio for an alternative. Draw back is getting licensed to opporate a radio. Studying to take the exam. There are alternatives to ham radio. GMRS, FRS. Radios. These are instant communication radios. (Once a person gets comfortable talking on the air, it’s fun. I used to be on the air with a small hand held walki talki. I let my license go. I’ll need to redo it. Any how this seems like work, it is, but it is fun. By the way, no internet connection required. Radio waves and antenna.

  13. Danielle Vincent April 29, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    So cool! Thank you for this! I have of course fantasized about it… and now I see it’s about what we’re paying in our current place! 🙂 It’s nice to know that it would be a pretty straight transition.

    My hope is to buy a few acres and live in the RV while we get a cabin built (my husband is a handyman), and periodically travel with the “kids” (our dogs) as we wish. 🙂

  14. Jordan August 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    What do you do for wi-fi when it isn’t reliable/available?

    • B.C. August 6, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

      We had that issue! It’s called library or suffer! Unless you can find out who the reliable provider is in your area and pay for a wifi hotspot of your own. With so many people sucking up the Internet, especially those who stream, you just have to check your emails, etc early morning or late at night. The unfortunate reality of it all!

  15. Eric Lynch December 13, 2016 at 1:59 am #

    Thank you for posting this and being so transparent. It really helps those of us who have the same dream of RV living that you have. Grace and peace to you this Christmas season.

  16. Loretta January 22, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

    I lived in a RV for a year and my total expenses ran about $750. After paying out $30 a week for laundry, I found a small RV machine. I saved quite a bit even using the dryers. Some spots allowed light hanging meaning only a few items until dry. I really miss it and dream of my retirement going back fill time.

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