rv budget
projected year 2 costs 

We recently created a video and wrote a post sharing the cost to RV full time in our first year. We broke down exactly how much we spent in our first year and the monthly average. If you haven’t watched it, click here to see the full post and video. Spoiler alert; it was a lot of money. Our first year cost us way more than we ever expected and apparently our budget scared a lot of people! That brings us to today’s post; a follow up to our 1 year cost to full time RV, our projected year 2 RV budget. Here’s the good news; we’re expected to cut our costs by 1/3 in year 2, which makes our the cost to RV full time much more affordable! Take a look at the difference between our year 1 and year 2 full time RV budget and see what we feel is a more realistic idea of what it cost to RV full time. Watch the video below to get all the details!

So as you can see, an RV budget of $3,609 is a much more affordable monthly cost to full time RV. We realize everyone has a different budget, income, and full time RV lifestyle, so the actual cost to RV full time will vary from individual to individual. There are so many different set ups, ways to travel, and full time RV that you can’t consider any one way “right or wrong”, it just is. There are people who can live for $2,000 a month total as they full time RV, and people who live for $8,000 or more per month full time RVing. So while we are sharing our budget with you, please remember this is our budget; it reflects us, our income, how we like to spend our money, and our style of RVing. We’re simply sharing this information with you hoping it helps you gauge, or better estimate what it may cost to RV full time.

While the budget I’m sharing below is our projected year 2 budget. This means these numbers are what we are budgeting for each month, it does not reflect how much we actually spend. We will update this post at the end of year 2 so we can compare our budgeted amount to the actual amount spent (hopefully we spend less if anything). Either way, it will be a great way to see expectations vs. reality of what it cost to RV full time for us at the end of year 2.

Year 2 Projected rv Budget Total Monthly Average: $3,609

Item Monthly Cost Annual Cost
RV, Truck, or Motorcyle Repairs $150.00 $1,800.00
Insurance (RV, Truck, Business, Motorcyle) $275.00 $3,330.00
Fuel, Gas, Propane $650.00 $7,800.00
Cell Phone/Internet $270.00 $3,240.00
Groceries $1,050.00 $12,600.00
Camping (Actual RV sites/State Parks) $350.00 $4,200.00
Health Insurance (Premiums & Visits) $250.00 $3,000.00
Memberships $59.00 $708.00
Play (breweries, wineries, excursions, tours) $325.00 $3,900.00
Miscellanious Household Items & Upgrades $150.00 $1,800.00
Pets (Food, Litter, Vet Visits) $50.00 $600.00
Parking Car & Uber/Lyft $30.00 $360.00
Total Projected Cost $3,609.00 $43,308.00

Comparing year 1 to year 2

Full Time RV Budget | What it cost to full time rv for us

Groceries | $1,050 per month We realize our budget of $1,050 is expensive for most. We typically buy health food products, which are often more expensive than generic or more popular brands you’d find in any store. It’s one of the reasons we like to shop with Thrive Market, which delivers our healthy products to us where ever we are in the USA for typically 25% – 50% discount from health food store prices (if you want to try it out, see our blog post & video here as well as the link to get 25% off your first order). That helps us save on groceries. We also eat in the house 95% of the time which means we spend less overall on food compared to eating out 25% of the time or more. If you actually break down the average of 30 days in a month, three meals a day, we’re only spending $11.66 per serving or $5.86 per person per serving! We feel pretty happy with that number considering we eat really high quality food that is organic, natural, fresh, and as local as possible. Since your grocery budget is your own, take a look at what you spend now and add $100 – $200 to stay on the safe side. We spent almost that much before we lived in an RV full time, so it will likely stay relatively the same for you too.

Play | $325 per month Some people weren’t sure why we included in this in our budget in our first video. We suggest budgeting some money each month to excursions, outings, and little indulgences while traveling, we call this our “Play Budget”. Let’s just be honest, we’re going to spend money as we travel, so why not allocate a certain amount we can spend each month, rather than pulling from our savings or worst of all, spending more than you really wanted to, or have to spend! While our budget is on the moderate side, we feel it allows for a nice meal or two out a month, a few breweries or wineries, and possibly an excursion or two (depending on how costly the excursus is). If we’re going to a big city or big destination we may save up for a while and spend less so we have more to spend once we get to our big destination. Another way to save here (and what we’re doing more often now) is doing lots of FREE outdoor activities; hiking, biking (if you have bikes), free sight seeing, and just being outdoors. Rather than paying for a gondola ride up a mountain for $50 per person, we’ll hike up the mountain. It’s a great workout, we probably we see more (possibly animals too), and the views are just as rewarding.

We suggest budgeting….

  • $100 – $200 if you’re trying to be conservative with your budget, although you will miss out on a lot of opportunities or activities as you travel.
  • $225 – $350 if you’re in a moderate budget, trying to save and be on the lower end while still enjoying some activities and outings.
  • $375 – $650 if you’re able to spend a bit more per month and not as conscious of keeping a lower budget. You will get to do a lot with this budget

Repairs | $150 per month Things will break, repairs will be needed, and maintenance is a must. It’s inevitable no matter what year rig you have or what your set up is. It’s best to start off with a “safety net” to cover any big unexpected items we suggest around $2,000. Each month, put your allotted budget for repairs into a special “Repairs” savings account. That way, when something does happen you have money saved up for it and it doesn’t break the bank as bad (hopefully). We were shocked at how much we spent in our first year on repairs and hope we won’t have the same experience in year 2. We suggest budgeting….

  • $100 – $200 if you’re trying to be conservative with your budget, although this may or may not cover all of your needed expenses monthly.
  • $200 – $350 if you’re in a moderate budget. This should cover your bases but may have a few repairs that cost more than this.
  • $350 – $500 if you’re trying to cover all your bases and never be tight on RV repairs that are needed.

fuel | $650 per month This category includes diesel, gas (for motorcycle and generator), and propane. We traveled a lot in our first year. We didn’t stay in one spot for very long and covered a lot of ground. In year 2, one of our goals is to go at a slower pace staying in one place longer. It allows us to see more of the area we’re visiting, save on fuel, and camping costs overall. Fuel costs will differ for everyone because of your specific mileage, and your travel plans. We get around 7.5 miles to the gallon in our diesel dually truck (which is terrible). The average cost of diesel at the time we did our trip was $3.50 for diesel. The more your travel the higher this expense. The less you travel the more savings you capture. This will also greatly differ from full time RV’er to full time RV’er based on their rig, type of fuel, average cost for fuel at time of travel, and MPG rating of your vehicle.

to estimate your fuel budget needed….

  • Determine your “route” more or less on google and get an idea of the miles you will travel that month or year.
  • Assuming your already know your vehicles average mile per gallon you can use the following formula…
  • (Total miles of trip ➗ Average vehicle MPG) ✖️ Average Fuel Cost at Time of Travel (per gallon) = Rough Estimate of Cost $ for Fuel

Camping & RV Parks | $350 per month Even though you no longer have a brick and mortar house, you still need a place to park your home on wheels. You save on property taxes and insurance, but that is made up for in your cost to camp. This budget varies from person to person based on their preferred style of camping such as mostly or all RV parks or boon docking for cheap or free, long term camping like one month or more or shorter term which you pay by night or week. Costs also vary if you have any memberships that help give you further discounts or potentially free camping, like Boondockers Welcome or Harvest Hosts (mention Eat See RV when you sign up and get a month free). Rough Costs for camping….

  • RV Parks: $30 – $60 a night with hookups (can be more if you’re in a big city). Paying by the week often brings the rate down slightly. Paying by the month brings it down greatly, but you do pay for your electric usage when it’s by the month.
  • State Parks: $15 – $45 depending on the state if you’re in a moderate budget, this won’t cover big one time upgrades though! Most states offer a discount card for in state residents or seniors which lowers your camping fees by nearly half!
  • National Parks: $15 – 45 often with no hookups and typically has a fee to enter the park (not included in camping fee). If you have a senior pass this lowers your camping fees by nearly half!
  • Boondocking: Free – $15/$20 depending on if it’s true public lands, national forests, or paid public lands (it varies).

We suggest budgeting….

  • Mostly boondocking, $200 – $350 is a good estimate for a budget.
  • Half and half, closer to the $350 – $500 mark is a safe estimate for your camping budget.
  • Mostly or all RV parks, $800 – $1,000 a month is likely (if your traveling, less if your in one spot the whole month).

Household Items & Upgrades | $150 per month

We spent a lot of money in our first year upgrading our RV to meet our needs as we full time RV. Think of it like buying a house or moving into a new apartment. While some of your old items work in your new space, you will likely purchase new items that better fit your needs in your new home. We have a video that talks about the items we needed immediately after buying our RV to be comfortable (or in general – use it). That alone was a lot of money. As we traveled more, we realized there were items we wanted to upgrade to give us a more comfortable lifestyle on the road. Luckily our first year is done and most of the upgrades we wanted to do have been completed. Our budget in year 2 is FAR less than year 1 because we’ve spent the money already, now we get to enjoy the benefits of our upgrades! Important to note, this area of our budget also includes random things for your home like pillows, brooms, kitchen items, books, movies, etc. Anything random you’re buying for your RV as if it were a house is put here! If you want to see what we upgraded in Year 1, take a look at our post here.

We suggest budgeting….

  • $50 – $75 if you’re trying to be conservative with your budget, although this may or may not cover getting items you want or need.
  • $75 – $150 if you’re in a moderate budget, this won’t cover big one time upgrades though!
  • $150 – $200 if you’re trying to cover all your bases and never be tight on items you want in your home or upgrades.

internet & cell phones | $270 per month

Since we operate a real estate investing business from our RV it’s imperative that we have good connectivity. We have AT&T for our cell phones which currently has 12 shared gigs of data. We also have a Verizon Mifi Jetpack that has 200 gigs of data per month. The plan we have for the verizon jetpack is no longer offered (we found out after trying to refer a friend), so this cost could change for you based on the current offerings of the service providers – which changes all the time. As far as we’ve seen our budget seems to fall pretty smack dab in the middle and sees to be comparative to other’s plans and budgets for this category.

vehicle insurance | $275 per month

Like many of the other categories here this will change dramatically based on your rig and set up. We need insurance for the truck, motorcycle, and RV so our insurance is higher. We also didn’t do a ton of shopping when we got our insurance and could probably get this lowered if we shopped around more.

We suggest budgeting….

  • $100 – $200 for one to two newer (10 years or newer) vehicles.
  • $200 – $300 for two or more vehicles.

health insurance | $250 per month

Health insurance is it’s own topic and is why we’re dedicating a separate post and video to this very subject. We still wanted to share with you our costs for this category to give you an idea. We’re both very healthy and almost never go to the doctor. The coverage we currently have is for out of pocket medicine for Liz that she was getting monthly for about 8 months of this 1 year budget, and Dennis’s Health Insurance. We also had Liz’s previous employees coverage for 3 months out of our budget so we didn’t have to add this cost up until later on in our trip. We are budget $250 per month for this moving forward.

memberships | $59 per month

Memberships are a totally optional category of full time RV’ing. That means it’s not a bare-essential or requirement for this style of living. We have several memberships now that we feel are essential for us on the road. Here are the following programs, or memberships we pay for each month. If you’re interested in joining any of them please click the links below to help us out! We do receive affiliate commission from some of these programs although we are referring them because we are members and believe in them, our opinions of them are our own.

“Cable” Memberships/TV Membership….

  • Hulu (stream cable TV, get access to movies, & stay up to date with your favorite shows without commercials) $11.99 per month
  • Netflix (stream TV and movies – this is a must for us since we don’t have cable or satellite) $7.99 per month
  • Prime TV (a part of Amazon Prime’s membership)

Mail Memberships

General RV memberships

  • Escapees (we joined our first month but are no longer members since trying to keep costs down). Has a great network for RVer’s to meet up and learn!
  • Harvest Hosts (camp at farms, breweries, vineyards, and historical places throughout Canada and the United States. There’s nothing like a free spot to camp with wine!) Mention “Eat See RV” when you sign up!
  • Boondockers Welcome (camp in backyards of fellow RV’ers and make new friends. Beautiful locations, wonderful people, and best of all free camping!)
  • National Park’s Pass ($80 one for 1 year).

pets | $50 average per month

Obviously this category would only be applicable to you if you have pets. We feel our budget of $50 a month is on the low end. We don’t have many vet visits, so this really covers litter and food for a month with a bit left over just in case. If your pet may require additional attention or higher food costs, then budget a bit more in this area. It’s better to budget slightly more and not have a big surprising bill (that you don’t have the money for) after an unexpected vet visit!

Uber & Parking | $30 per month

This is another part of our budget that falls into the non-essential category of full time RVing hard cost. We added it in because we spent money on it in year 1 and imagine we will again spend money on this in year 2. We almost exclusively used this category when we visit big cities. This is definitely a luxury cost to add to your budget and we’ve enjoyed having the treat of either Ubering a few places, or having the opportunity to drive into town and see the sights parking our car somewhere close. Join Uber (Xergu) Join Lyft (Use Code LIZ663987)

We suggest budgeting….

  • $5 – $10 if you rarely visit cities (where you’ll need to pay to park) or Uber/Lyft on a super rare occasion.
  • $10 – $20 if you plan on visiting a few cities in your trips, even 1 a month will eat up this budget.
  • $30 – $50 if you want to Uber/Lyft when you’re in cities and plan on visiting several bigger cities during your travels.

We hope this was helpful for you! Please comment with any questions or suggestions you may have for us about RV full time budget.

2 Comments

  1. Catherine Shemonic

    In your video, you mentioned, “the jar method”. Could you share that with me please?

    I’ve been watching your videos now for about 3 months. Thanks for all the info.

    Best Regards,
    Cathy Shemonic

    Reply
    • adventuretime

      Hey Catherine! Thanks so much for watching. Glad you find it helpful. We’re going to be posting to additional videos on how we make money on the road, and a break down of the “jar” system. Stay tuned! 🙂

      Reply

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About Us

About Us

We are Dennis and Liz! We’re two travel loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America full time in a Grand Design fifth wheel toy hauler. We share our lessons learned as full time RV’ers, travel tips and tricks, and the best places to eat and see in the US with you!

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