Almost all RVers want to save money on the road. If you’re among this group of frugal-minded campers, remember that the definition of the word ‘cheap’ is entirely based on a person’s values and experiences.
What you think is frugal someone else might view as extravagant.
I wanted to share with you some of the tips that I use to save money on the road.
General Cheap RV Living Tips
Most cheap RV living tips aren’t easy to come by, we stumbled onto many of them.
Since becoming a full-time RVer in 2007, I’ve learned that buying a rig I can afford, keeping a monthly household budget and staying out of debt is the best way to save money and have a great time on the road.
Avoiding RV mortgages you can’t afford and acquiring better money management skills will enhance your life, whether you’re a part-time or full-time RVer.
Once you have a grasp on your financial situation you can invest in fun modifications to your RV that will save you money.
The single greatest investment that helped my husband and I save money RVing was a rooftop solar power system.
Getting our energy from the sun enables us to bypass RV parks and camp without electrical hookups in the country’s most remote and beautiful locations.
LED Lighting Will Save you $$
Another no brainer is converting your RV’s standard interior lights to LEDs. LED lights are better than ever and you’ll notice the energy savings as soon as you complete the installation.
Luckily you don’t need to be a tradesman to get this RV mod complete. Watch this video by TheRVgeeks to get the ball rolling on your LED upgrade.
You’ll probably discover, as we did, that it’s easier and cheaper than you thought.
Cheap RV Living Tips by Region
RVers incur different costs depending on where they call home.
Generally I find cheap camping spots are more plentiful west of the Mississippi River, mainly because public lands were established long after the eastern half of the U.S. was settled.
Thousands of free or low-cost campsites and open recreation areas are ready for RVers on Bureau of Land Management acreage located throughout the western states.
If you prefer the convenience of RV parks or are in an area with few public lands, turn to the Passport America RV Club which offers 50 percent off nightly rates at hundreds of RV parks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
For just $44 a year you can enjoy rent as low as $12 a night in some very nice parks, including beachfront campgrounds in San Diego!
We’ve been Passport members since 2008 and can vouch that the membership always pays for itself.
A bigger investment but one that’s worthwhile for RVers who don’t roam as much is Thousand Trails. This club offers an all-access membership that enables members to enjoy free stays at hundreds of highly-rated RV parks around the U.S.
They also offer a “Zone Camping Pass,” which gives RVers the opportunity to purchase smaller yearly memberships based on the geographic region they’ll visit the most.
Cheap RV Living Tips for Snowbirds
Many snowbirds save money by waiting out winter at free public lands in America’s southwestern states.
But for snowbirds who want to earn extra money, taking a short-term job as a seasonal “workamper” is an ideal way to refuel the bank account.
From Halloween to Christmas, thousands of temporary helpers are needed around the nation to sell Halloween pumpkins, Christmas trees and more.
In addition to earning an hourly wage, many workampers receive free rent and completion bonuses. One of the best resources for RVers to find seasonal holiday employment is Workamper News.
Cheap RV Living Tips for Couples
RVing couples who work well together can earn and save money nearly anywhere their travels take them.
Many tourism-based companies have a strong preference for hiring working couples because they’ll have one less stranger to screen and recruit. The employer can be fairly certain the company will get two employees who can work together as a unit, which means fewer management hassles.
Working Couples is an organization that matches couples to employers from a variety of industries and the Caretaker Gazette is another way to find “couples wanted” jobs ranging from short-term house sitting to long-term ranch hand work.
Cheap RV Living Tips for Pre-Retirees
Seeing the country when you’re young and full of energy is a great reason to go full-time RVing.
However the trade-off to forgoing a traditional career path is forcing yourself to save money for health care and retirement.
One way you can cover these necessities is by becoming more self-sufficient.
For example, learn to cut your own hair, fix your own RV and barter with friends for services and goods.
Finally, the biggest step you can take to live cheaply on the road is to hone in on your best talents and start your own micro-business.
As a nomadic entrepreneur you’ll enjoy numerous tax savings that reduce your cost of living and make being your own boss the ultimate in self-sufficiency.
The book “Start” by Jon Acuff will give you the kick-in-the-pants to get there.
As I hope you can see, living a life of adventure doesn’t have to be expensive or extremely frugal, no matter what your age or where you live.
As long as you’re willing to go outside of your comfort zone and explore more cost-effective ways to save money RVing, you can create unforgettable, life-changing experiences that will last a lifetime. I hope you enjoyed these cheap RV living tips and safe travels!
Have a cheap RV living tip? Please share it in the comments below!