Are you wondering what one year of full time RV living costs would be? We just hit our second year of full time RVing, and we are happy to share a breakdown of our expenses throughout our second year. I hope it helps you to budget for life on the road.
Full Time RV Costs Vary
When researching full time RV living you will find a wide range of budgets from many bloggers and YouTubers. There are many reasons for the huge difference in expenses. Below are just a few things that can vary from RVer to RVer that will have an impact on costs.
- Type of RV
- Size of Family
- RV Living Style
- Preferred Type of Camping
- Camp Hosting
- Frequency of Boondocking
- How Long You Stay in Each Location
- And so much more!
Before we hit the road, we knew our travel goals. We wanted to see and do much of what our country has to offer. Our goal was not to live off nothing! We wanted to experience as much adventure as possible within our personal budget. You could live full time in an RV and spend less than we have or you could easily spend more. There are many RVers on both sides of the spectrum. You will find what works best for you once you hit the road.
The video below breaks down our first year of expenses. We were nervous about boondocking during our first year. Once we were no longer afraid to boondock, we were able to reduce campings costs.
Find out what we learned Our First Year Full Time.
Sharing is Caring! Please, feel free to share this picture on Pinterest!
Expenses Not Included
Some of the expenses we did not include are groceries, cell phones, eating out, clothing, RV depreciation, streaming platforms, gym memberships, medical insurance, etc. These costs vary so much from family to family. Our costs in those categories will not help you create your RV budget. My recommendation is for you to use your current costs in those categories, as many will carry over to RV life. Besides, how much I spent on my socks last month won’t help when you make your budget.
One Year Full Time RV Costs Video
What We Spent
Our activities include tickets, admission fees, and any other costs of fun activities. It did not include food or drinks at any venue.
- Year $1830.20
- Monthly Average $152.50
- Disney 4 Day Park Tickets $530.00 (Military Discount from Shades of Green)
- Zipline the Gorge $179.22
- Pontoon Boat Rental in Cooperstown $164.70
- Cooperstown Video with Pontoon boat rental (SO RELAXING)
- Mt Washington Cog Railway (Also a Harvest Host) $133.00
- Segway Tour Gettysburg $113.14
- Misc: $557.64
*Ticket prices are total cost, not the cost for each ticket.
Our fuel cost includes diesel and def for the RV. It does not include fuel for our tow car. We were able to start saving huge chunks of money on our fuel costs once we signed up for the TSD RV Fuel Savings Card. (Click the link for full details on how to save money on fuel!). If you use diesel you need this savings card! It is free to join and only costs you 10% of your fuel savings. So other words it will cost you NOTHING!
- Year $2753.33
- Monthly Average $230
- 7 Purchases with TSD Fuel Card
- Gallons Purchased 286.57
- Saved $142.70
- Saved Per/Gal Average $2.00
- Saved Per/Purchase Average $20.38
- Price Range with TSD $1.71-2.74 per/gal
Our propane costs include onboard propane only. We use propane for the stove, heater, and the water heater if boondocking. It does not include propane for the portable tank we use for grilling and our firepit. I am sorry to say we did not keep adequate records to add that in our costs.
- Year $187.62
- Monthly Average $15.64
Last year we traveled throughout the northeastern part of the country. As you may know, there are many many toll roads up there! We avoided whenever possible, but sometimes it was cheaper to hop on. Being routed 100 miles out to save $20 on a toll will cost more in the long run. Be sure to check your options before automatically saying no to a toll. By the way, it was worth every penny to explore the New England area.
- Year $318.35
- Monthly Average $26.53
Transportation And Parking
This category includes any fees we paid for metros, commuter rails, parking, subways, or any other way of getting around an area while exploring.
- Year $226.37
- Monthly Average $18.86
- Transportation $110.20
- Parking: $116.17
We love rallies! Every rally we have attended has been amazing! Last year we attended the first ever Escapees Hangout in Swanzey, NH. We watched the town of Keene commemorate their history with murals painted by the world renowned Walldogs. But the most fun was the Amazing Race that Escapees set up for us! You have got to see all the desperate things we did to try and win the race while touring that little part of the country! Did we win? Check out the video to find out!
We also attended the RVillage rally last year. It was amazing! We had the best time and met so many wonderful people! We were guest speakers at the rally so we were able to attend for free.
- Escapees Hangout $ 349
- Video Above
- RVillage Spirit of the Road Rally $0
These days everyone uses the internet. Most of us stream YouTube, movies, and regular TV. Many of us also check email and bank online, so connectivity is a must. When uploading large videos, occasional park wifi won’t work for us. We need a reliable, fast internet plan.
Unfortunately, the company we were using went out of business during COVID. We paid for the year upfront and lost a few months of service when they went belly up. We are now searching for a new plan that will work for us. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel if you want to see what we choose.
- Year of AT&T $700 (paid in full in November)
- Monthly Average $116.67 (only received 6 months)
Insurance is another item in the budget that has many factors that contribute to the overall bottom line. Some of those factors include the age of RV, type of RV, the insurance company, full time or PT status, zip code, and personal driving record. Your insurance costs may be much less or more than ours.
Some insurance companies will not cover any type of recreational vehicle while others will as long as you are not full time. Shopping around annually is a must! We have used Progressive the last 2 years.
- Year $2121 (paid annually to reduce costs)
- Monthly Average: 176.75
Our RV maintenance costs have been much less each year than I expected. But again, this will vary from rig to rig. Remember keeping up on your monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual maintenance will save you money in the long run. Don’t ignore those maintenance items. We have a free excel maintenance spreadsheet to help you get started.
- Year $1123.15
- Monthly Average $93.60
- Tiffin Service Center Hose Repair $344.64 (See video below)
- Bay Diesel $288.36
- 2020 cost breakdown is in the Tiffin video (link above)
- DIY sink repair $73.69
- DIY Broken Shower Head Replacement $34.08
- DIY Misc: 466.07
I thought when we sold our sticks and bricks and moved into the RV we would stop the upgrades. Boy, was I wrong! Last year we upgraded to Battle Born Lithium (GAME CHANGER). This year our big upgrade was solar. Of course, I have a few more ideas for updates to the RV this year! So, I guess it never ends!
- Year $3763.81
- Monthly Average $313.65
- DIY Solar $3185.62 (Video Below)
- Magne Shade Wheel Covers $220
- DIY Bathroom Backsplash & Faucet $194.59
- DIY Penny Tile $163.60
We have several RV memberships that we use all the time! We could not RV without these them! Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts have provided us a free year because we have created several videos about their amazing memberships. You will see how often we use them both a little further in the blog!
- Year $248.01
- Monthly Average: $20.66
- Escapees $39.99
- Escapees Mail Service $90.25
- Boondockers Welcome $0
- To save on your membership use our affiliate code: YMRV
- Harvest Host $26 (Golf Courses Added while leaving FL)
- To save on your membership use our affiliate code: YMRV
- RV Trip Wizard (MUST HAVE FOR TRIP PLANNING) $41.77
- Copilot $30
- Plan to Eat $20 (half price in December)
Mail forwarding is still one of those necessities. Although all of our bills are paperless, we still occasionally have snail mail. I have looked at Escapees’ levels of mail services and the lowest tier is still the best option for us. But you can choose the tier that works best for you, including envelope scanning. The cost below only includes the postage to have our mail sent to us.
Oh, and it would have been cheaper if Phil had not sent an Amazon order all the way to our domicile address! Of course, it included several boxes including a case of RV toilet paper (cheapest on Amazon).
- Yearly $142.95
- Monthly Average: $11.91
Full Time RV Camping Costs
Now the moment you have been waiting for!! Our actual camping costs.
- Overnights: 3 nights FREE (Walmart, casino)
- Disney Fort Wilderness
- 4 nights
- Total $450
- Nightly Average $112.5
- Disney Fort Wilderness Campground Review
- Tampa RV show
- 6 nights
- Total $240 (full hookups)
- Nightly $40
- Tampa RV show video
- Volunteering with A Year to Volunteer: 8 nights FREE
- We had an amazing time volunteering at Florida Caverns State Park. See the great work done by all the volunteers.
- Head to their website to find out how you can join them!
- Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds
- 13 nights
- Total $195
- Nightly $15
- Find out how you can save 50% on COE campgrounds
- Florida Water Management land: 15 nights FREE
- Boondockers Welcome
- 22 nights
- Paid Hosts $30 for electric
- Nightly Average $1.36
- Save on your membership with the code: YMRV
- Driveway surfing: 25 nights FREE (THANKS FRIENDS AND FAMILY!)
- Harvest Host
- 29 nights
- Golf Course Membership Add On $26
- Nightly Average $0.9
- Save 15% with the code: YMRV
- Camp Host: 32 nights FREE (many hours of work!)
- Thinking of becoming a camp host? Find out everything you need to know including how to find a camp host gig in our camp host blog post!
- Military Campgrounds
- 44 nights
- Total $1173
- Nightly Average $26.66
- Are you a military veteran? You might be eligible to use military campgrounds. Find out how in Veteran Access to Military Campgrounds.
- National/State/County/City Parks
- 44 nights
- Total $1238.05
- Nightly Average $28.14
- One of our favorite state parks is Letchworth State Park. Check out their 3 waterfalls in our video.
- Private Campgrounds
- 107 nights
- Total $2487.24
- Nightly Average: $23.25
- Total Camping costs
- Year $5813.29
- Average Monthly $484.44
- Average Nightly $16
**Camping costs did not include the Escapees Hangout. Rallies are budgeted in a different category for us.
I know what some of you you are thinking we could have saved money with a Thousand Trails membership. We looked into Thousand Trails but decided it was not right for us. Check out our blog post to see why we opted out of Thousand Trails.
BLM is Not Free
When people think about BLM land or Water Management Land many times they envision living for absolutely nothing! But there are costs many people don’t consider. We discovered this our first time boondocking in Quartzite, Arizona. They may not add up to a ton of money but they can sneak up on you if you are planning for a budget of zero! I have included a few costs to calculate in your boondocking budget.
- Generator Fuel to Charge Batteries
- Propane for cooking, hot water, and heat
- Potable Water Fill
- Black and Grey Tank Dump
- Laundry Mat
One Year Full Time RV Total Cost
- Activities $1830.20
- Fuel $2753.33
- Propane $187.62
- Tolls $318.35
- Transportation/Parking $266.37
- Rally $349
- Internet: $700
- RV Insurance $2121
- RV Maintenance $1123.15
- RV Upgrades $3763.81
- RV Memberships $248.01
- Mail Forwarding $142.95
- Camping 5813.29
TOTAL CAMPING COST: $19,617.08
Track Your RV Living Costs
Wondering how we tracked our living costs over the year? We used an excel spreadsheet created by Christina from Our Epic Field Trip to track our camping costs. It is a great tracker that breaks down your daily costs with graphs. You can download a copy of the Camping Costs Spreadsheet for free!
Don’t have Excel? No problem. Upload the spreadsheet to Google Sheets and you can save and edit from Google!
We tracked the rest of our expenses using Quicken. It is a budgeting program you can purchase online or at most major box stores. We have been using Quicken off and on for years. It is very easy to navigate.
RV Living Costs
I hope our annual RV budget breakdown helps you as you work on your full time RV budget. Our budget falls in the middle of most RVers. You can RV for less or you can RV for more. It depends on what your goals for the road happen to be!
Thanks so much for stopping by. Hopefully, someday we will see ya on the road!
Virtual Hugs, Phil & Stacy
Author: Stacy, You, Me & the RV, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2020