How to Budget for the Best RV Lifestyle

If you’re dreaming of an RV adventure, making a budget can help you turn your dreams into reality

Learn how to budget for an RV lifestyle, and you’ll be on the road in no time. There are many ways to afford RV travel. Whether you plan to live in your RV full time or just enjoy the occasional getaway, you can make it work with proper budgeting.

If you need some help getting started on your budget for RV life, read on. Here are the best ways to plan for RV-ing.

Be realistic about your budget

The most important piece of a successful budget is realism. It’s easy to write out a plan, but if it’s not based on your real numbers, you’ll have trouble sticking to it. You need to come up with a plan that you will actually follow – otherwise it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Sit down and think about what you will need for your trip – be honest with yourself! If you’ve got dreams of luxury RV resorts and fine dining, but a minuscule budget, you’ll run into trouble. It’s important to accept what kind of RV lifestyle is actually within your reach.

Likewise, if you plan to pinch pennies but don’t have it all written down, it’s worthwhile to do so. You may find that you have more wiggle room than you think, which means you can add extra trips or more interesting sites to your itinerary.

Start with your monthly expenses

Start by writing down all your monthly expenses. This will be the bulk of your budget, and it will give you a good idea of your fixed costs each month. Total it all up. Now you know that you need this amount of money each month to afford your travel.

Here are some expenses you will want to plan for:

  • RV payment
  • Campground or resort fees
  • RV insurance
  • RV maintenance and repairs
  • Health costs such as insurance or medications
  • Food
  • Gas (or diesel)
  • Household (such as toiletries, laundry, etc.)
  • Cellphone
  • Entertainment

Add savings to plan for the unexpected

Now that you’ve anchored your budget with all of your monthly expenses determine how much you will set aside each month for a savings fund. You may be tempted to skip this step and put that money towards expenses, but that’s not a good idea.

There are many variables to traveling, and having a plan for the unexpected is important. Life happens, and there will always be a few surprise expenses here and there. A flat tire, a bout of the flu, a last-minute birthday gift, these things can be covered easily with a little extra set aside.

Find ways to save

Once you have your budget in place with your expenses and savings, it’s a good idea to brainstorm a few ways you can save. Just because some RV travelers like to spend a lot of money, doesn’t mean you must to enjoy the lifestyle.

In fact, many RV-ers enjoy life on the open road with a relatively modest budget. If you want to keep your expenses low, there are a few ways you can save money.

Choose campgrounds and RV parks that are inexpensive. RV resorts with lots of amenities can add up over several nights. Look for campgrounds that don’t break the bank, such as state and national parks.

Use your RV kitchen. You can meal prep and save a lot of money by cooking your own meals. Plus, it can be fun to cook together with your travel companions. Make it fun and save some money by cooking your own healthy meals.

See if you can think of other ways to creatively cut down on your costs so that you can easily fit into your budget each month.

Create an income

If you don’t already have an income, you can create some on the road to help you stay on track with your finances. Retirement-age travelers often choose to live in their RV instead of moving to a retirement community.

Pre-retirement aged people (or people of any age who desire an income on the road) have access to many types of remote work.

There are many ways to bring in an income while you travel in your RV. If you have computer access, you can take an online job that goes with you anywhere. You can also create art, jewelry, or take remote customer service jobs.

Some RV-ers take odd jobs at campgrounds and parks to bring in a little side income to help out with the budget. Whatever you decide to do, bringing in a little extra money is a good idea if you want to RV full time.

Budgeting for travel

The RV lifestyle is within reach if you budget well. By tracking your expenses, preparing for the unexpected, finding ways to save, and creating some income, you’ll be well on your way to affording to RV full time or otherwise.

Interested in joining our community and becoming an RV Co-Pilot Member? RV Co-Pilot membership has its perks and is a must-have if you want to keep within a budget! Benefits include discounted RV parts, exclusive coupons, access to premium content, and more. Sign up today!