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Thriving on the Road: 12 Ways To Save Money Full-Time RVing

Full-time RV living is an amazing way to live. It gives you the opportunity to see the world while taking all the comforts of home with you. That said, full-time RVing does come with its own fair share of downsides. One of these is that it can get really expensive really quickly.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways around this problem. Just like those who live in a “sticks-and-bricks” home, RV travelers can cut corners and create budgets in order to ensure they don’t spend too much money each month. That said, in order to do this, you have to know where to start. That’s where this article comes into place.

Below are 12 fabulous tips that will help you save money full-time RVing, making the travel lifestyle a more sustainable one that you can continue to enjoy for years to come.

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1. Invest in Camping Memberships

First and foremost, invest in camping memberships. There are a number of clubs out there that can save you money. But the ones that save full-time RV campers the most are listed below:

Passport America

Passport America is a super cheap membership that gives you 50% off nightly fees at participating campgrounds. These parks often have rules against using the discount on weekends or during particularly busy times. And the discount can usually only be used for a set number of nights. Still, we find this membership ideal for quick overnights while traveling to our next destination.

Save Money Full-Time RVing with Thousand Trails

For many, Thousand Trails is the only way to afford full-time RV living. This campground membership gives users access to parks across the country, which they can use at no cost after paying the hefty original membership fee and yearly dues. The biggest problem with this membership is that there are virtually no parks in the middle of the country.

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome is another membership we love for quick overnights. This one has a low yearly fee, which allows RV parking in the driveways and yards of individuals who have agreed to participate. Some have hookups, but most do not.

Harvest Hosts

Similar to Boondockers Welcome, Harvest Hosts is inexpensive and gives you access to free dry camping on private property. However, these particular campsites are on farms, at breweries and wineries, and sometimes in museum parking lots. So each stay is especially unique and interesting. Guests are typically expected to purchase something from hosts during their stays.

2. Get Set Up for Boondocking

Adding to the value of camping memberships, setting up for boondocking is another smart strategy for full-time RVers. Boondocking is essentially free camping on public lands across the country—think national forests and areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), bringing comfort to the wilderness.

Your setup doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Actually, we’ve done loads of week-long boondocking trips with nothing but a generator to power us through.

3. Book Longer Stays To Save Money Full-Time RVing

Staying at RV campgrounds, parks, or resorts for longer periods can also significantly reduce your monthly costs. It cuts down on gas consumption and allows you to thoroughly enjoy your current destination, spreading out the expenses associated with sightseeing and local attractions over more time.

If you’re parked at a campsite not covered by your memberships, ask about extended stay discounts. Many places offer reduced rates for longer stays, which can lead to substantial savings. This approach not only benefits your budget but also gives you a chance to deeply explore and connect with each new destination (including enjoying all the on-site amenities), making every stop on your adventure that much more meaningful.

4. Consider Switching to Electric

Given the expense associated with propane, it’s worth considering a shift toward electric utilities for your RV needs. Many campgrounds already include the cost of electricity in the stay, making it financially savvy to leverage this for your energy needs.

Transitioning to electric appliances, like slow cookers, pressure cookers, and air fryers, not only reduces reliance on propane tanks but also can add convenience and variety to your cooking routines. Moreover, setting your fridge and water heater to electric mode when connected to a power source, alongside using electric space heaters instead of the RV furnace, can lead to significant savings on propane expenses.

5. Always Have a Plan for Food

The lure of dining out while exploring new destinations is undeniable, yet the expenses can swiftly accumulate. A more budget-friendly strategy involves meticulous meal planning.

By preparing and packing lunches for your outings and relying on your trusty slow cooker for ready-to-eat meals upon your return, you can manage your food expenses more effectively. This approach not only saves money full-time RVing but also ensures that your meals are both nutritious.

Strategically planning your meals and sticking to a list of versatile groceries can lead to considerable monthly savings. Likewise, frequenting grocery stores like Aldi and Walmart that offer affordable options can help with keeping your food budget in check.

6. Buy Reciprocal Memberships To Save Money Full-Time RVing

When it comes to enriching your RV lifestyle with sightseeing, the costs of entry fees to attractions can quickly add up. A savvy solution? Invest in reciprocal memberships. These memberships grant you free admission or significant discounts at a variety of attractions across the United States, from the wonders of science museums through ASTC, the wild beauty of zoos and aquariums with AZA, to the breathtaking landscapes of national parks through “America the Beautiful.

By aligning your travel itinerary with destinations covered by these discount programs, you can explore a multitude of attractions without spending a ton of money, making every discovery more enjoyable and budget-friendly.

7. Take Advantage of Groupon

Using Groupon is a clever strategy for enjoying local dining and attractions at a fraction of the cost. This platform is a treasure trove of discounts, offering deals on everything from meals at quaint eateries to tickets for popular attractions and even amenities at luxurious RV resorts. It’s an essential tool for those who want to save money full-time RVing and simultaneously enrich their travel experience.

8. Use the GasBuddy App

Navigating the open road in your RV doesn’t come without its share of fuel expenses. To ensure you’re getting the best deal on gas, the GasBuddy app is an indispensable resource. By comparing gas prices nearby, you can choose the most economical option, helping you stretch your travel dollars further as you explore the scenic routes and trails that crisscross the United States.

9. Check Your Tire Pressure

An often overlooked aspect of RV maintenance is tire pressure. Properly inflated tires are crucial for achieving optimal gas mileage and preventing premature wear. This not only extends the life of your tires—saving you from expensive replacements—but also contributes to safer travels, whether you’re navigating highways or winding up mountain passes.

10. Slow Down on the Highway To Save Money Full-Time RVing

Embracing a leisurely pace on the highway is more than just a way to enjoy the journey—it’s also a smart strategy to conserve fuel. Adhering to speed limits can significantly improve your RV’s fuel efficiency, reducing the frequency of stops at truck stops and gas stations, and minimizing the risk of costly accidents that could derail your adventure.

11. Change Your Domicile State

For those living the full-time RV lifestyle, selecting a domicile state with favorable tax laws can lead to substantial savings. States like Florida and Texas offer the advantage of no state income tax, presenting an attractive option for RVers looking to optimize their financial situation. This strategic decision can have a profound impact on your annual expenses, particularly when tax season arrives.

12. Stay on Top of Maintenance

Consistent maintenance is the cornerstone of a trouble-free RV lifestyle. Regularly checking systems—from the water heater and furnace to ensuring seals are tight and dry—can prevent costly repairs down the line. Investing time and resources into the upkeep of your RV not only safeguards your mobile home but also ensures your adventures can continue without interruption, making every moment on the road as enjoyable and worry-free as possible.

Integrating cost-effective online tools like RV LIFE Maintenance into your routine ensures your journey remains smooth and worry-free. This cloud-based service keeps you ahead of maintenance schedules by tracking and reminding you of upcoming tasks, along with providing invaluable insights into past repairs, costs, and documentation, all accessible from your tablet, computer, or smartphone for optimal convenience and efficiency.

Wrapping Up Ways To Save Money Full-Time RVing

Embracing the full-time RV life opens up a world of adventure, from exploring national parks and forests to discovering hidden gems across the country. By incorporating these tips into your journey, you can enjoy the freedom and beauty of RV living without letting expenses dampen your spirit.

Whether it’s leveraging camping memberships, enjoying the simplicity of boondocking, or optimizing your RV for energy efficiency, there are countless ways to save money full-time RVing. So pack your bags, plan your route, and embark on the journey of a lifetime with confidence and a few extra dollars in your pocket.

2 thoughts on “Thriving on the Road: 12 Ways To Save Money Full-Time RVing”

  1. Excellent information. Thank you. I’m about to live full time RV. I’ve been vacationing in a 31 C Minnie Winnie but I’m selling my house and buying a 35′ + 5th wheel to park permanently and continue to travel in my 31’C. Your articles have been a big help.

  2. You should look at Upside also to find deals on fuel and dining. It’s an app and you get money back from purchases. It shows participating merchants in your current area and you can select your best options for getting money back.

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