RV Living Expenses and Budget Worksheet

RV life has its perks and can be quite cost effective compared to traditional housing, that is, if you are prepared and educated. So what does it really cost to live full time in an RV? Let me break it down for you. I've even provided a budget worksheet below to help you prepare or plan for the switch to RV living. 

RV Payment 
The cost of an RV varies tremendously and is dependent on many factors. New vs used, travel trailer vs motorhome. The most important thing is to decide what works best for you and your family and how you are going to pay for it. If you're not purchasing it outright, you will have a monthly payment. 

Tow Vehicle 
Depending on what type of RV you purchase you may also need a tow vehicle if you don't already own one. Trucks aren't cheap but again, just like RVs, prices will vary based on many factors. Just remember to keep this monthly payment in mind if you are unable to pay upfront for the vehicle. 

Just like a vehicle, your RV must be insured in order to be on the road. Many insurance companies now offer RV insurance at an affordable rate. 

Site Rent
Unless you plan on living off grid, or "boondocking" you will need a place to park your camper. Site rentals can vary greatly depending on time of year, area that you're in, etc. If you're having trouble finding an RV park that provides affordable rates, consider looking at mobile home parks. Most mobile home parks have some sites fitted with RV hookups and it can be much more affordable compared to an RV park. Another option is AirBnB, search for "unique stays" or "RV sites" in the area you desire. Often times you can find some pretty gorgeous and private places to stay through AirBnB. 

Propane fuels your stove, your oven and your water heater in the RV. If this is all you are using your propane for you can usually get by without spending much. However, if you are RVing in a cold climate and will be running your heat often this can become quite an added expense. Our 20lb tank last us about 1-2 weeks in the winter if we had our heater on whereas in the summer we could usually go 5-6 weeks before refilling. Each refill cost about $25. Luckily our new RV has an electric fireplace which is a huge cost cutter. Electric heaters or electric fireplaces are a great substitute for propane and will save you money in the long run if you plan to RV in cold climates for an extended period of time.

RVs require maintenance, especially older models. We budget $100 per month to cover ourselves in case anything needs repaired. Luckily we haven't had to make any major repairs but it's always good to know that we are prepared. 

An excel worksheet with monthly expenses and income to budget for RV living


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