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Ashley Mann spent three years living full time in a 38-foot, 5th-wheel RV with her husband Josiah and their cat, Kitty. Her favorite thing about RV life is the challenge of finding the perfect way to organize a space, and she loves seeing all the creative and clever ways people come up with to customize their RVs.
One of the biggest questions many aspiring and wannabe full-time RVers have is, “How much does full-time RVing cost?”
The answer is that the cost of full-time RVing varies…a lot! Many people assume that living in an RV would save money, but this isn’t always the case. Factors that can influence the cost of living in an RV and whether it will save you money include:
- The type of RV you purchase
- The condition of your RV
- Whether you finance your RV or pay cash for it
- How frequently you move from place to place
- Where you live or travel in your RV
- Your lifestyle and how much you spend on things like sightseeing and meals out
There truly is no one-size-fits-all budget for full-time RVers, because so many aspects of the RVing lifestyle are customizable.
For the best details on what the RVing lifestyle is like, we highly recommend grabbing a copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV.
Still, it can be helpful for those weighing the pros and cons of full-time RVing to get an idea of what others in situations similar to their own spend in order to know how to budget for things like campground fees and propane, and to become aware of potential expenses they may have not yet thought about.
By reading about what others spend, you can compare your spending habits to create a realistic budget. Below you’ll find 10 monthly expense reports from RVers, ranging from extremely frugal to far more expensive.
1. Heath & Alyssa
Monthly Cost: around $2,500
Heath & Alyssa started full-time RVing with a one-year, fifty-state honeymoon in their renovated RV. They ended up full-timing for six years and adding a baby girl to the mix as they traveled.
Heath & Alyssa like a blend of campgrounds for their amenities as well as boondocking sites and free Harvest Host stopovers. They detail all their expenses—from groceries to health insurance—on their website here.
Heath & Alyssa are no longer full-time RVing, but now RV part-time and are on a mission to RV around the world. Follow their adventures on Instagram.
2. The Simple Venture
Monthly Cost: around $1,200
Luke and Laura run The Simple Venture, a travel blog and marketing service related to the RVing lifestyle. This couple travel in a 32 ft 1994 Four Winds motorhome with their 3 dogs. They are no longer on the road full-time, but shared their expense report while living on the road. In their blog post, Laura explains how surprised she was at how affordable full-time RVing really can be. They share their tips and how they were able to RV full-time on a budget of $1,175 per month here.
3. Mortons On The Move
Monthly Cost: around $2,800
Mortons on the Move is the travel blog and YouTube channel of full-time RVers Tom and Cait Morton. The Mortons travel in a 2005 DRV fifth wheel. Tom and Cait are frugal travelers who preferred to live a frugal lifestyle even before becoming RVers. This couple averages a total spent of $2,500 to $2,800 per month. The Mortons save money by cooking at home, DIYing anything that they can, and taking advantage of free camping and free experiences whenever possible.
4. Let’s Travel Family
Monthly Cost: around $5,000
Jill, Tony, and their 4 children make up Let’s Travel Family. This family of 6 travels full time in a 33-foot Jayco Class C motorhome. Let’s Travel Family shares their average total monthly expenditure of around $4,891 on their website here.
Their total expenses related to RV life come out to $2,091. Other monthly insurances for their family include health insurance, groceries, phone bills, eating out, and more, totaling an additional $2,890.
5. Chickery’s Travels
Monthly Cost: around $3,500
Sean and Julie Chickery of Chickery’s Travels travel full time in a 30’ Arctic Fox fifth wheel. The Chickerys share their RV life and financial journey on their YouTube channel and website. This couple likes to stay exclusively in full hookup campgrounds rather than boondocking, and they enjoy spending money on exciting experiences. They share details about their average monthly expenses in this blog post. They are experts in saving money on RV expenses and have authored an online course to help people get out of debt and create a budget for their RV lifestyle.
Click here to check out the Chickerys’ online course about budgeting for RV ownership!
6. Crazy Family Adventure
Monthly Cost: around $4,200
Crazy Family Adventure is another full-time RVing family of 6. Craig, Bryanna, and their 4 kids travel full-time in a Keystone Montana fifth wheel. This full-time RVing budget includes an RV payment and car payment and all living expenses for the entire family. Crazy Family Adventure takes advantage of camping discount programs like Thousand Trails to save money on camping, and they cook at home to save money on food. Read their entire budget breakdown here.
7. Called to Wander
Monthly Cost: around $3,000
Chris and Lindsay of Called to Wander share their full-time RVing expenses that average around $3,000 per month on their website here. This couple travels full-time in a Lance truck camper that they custom modified to fit on a flatbed truck. Chris and Lindsay’s largest cost is often fuel, they love to travel! This couple takes advantage of free camping opportunities whenever possible, and prepares their own meals to save money on food.
8. We’re The Russos
Monthly Cost: around $3,000
Joe and Kait Russo are We’re the Russos, a full-time RVing couple that have been on the road since 2015. This couple has traveled in many different rigs throughout the years, but their expense report was written while traveling in a Newmar Bay Star Class A motorhome. The Russo’s average monthly expenditures came out to around $2,932 after tracking their budget for a full year. Joe and Kait consider themselves to be budget travelers, seeking out free or inexpensive experiences, camping opportunities, and more. They save money by boondocking and cooking most of their own meals at home.
9. Trading Travelers
Monthly Cost: around $4,700
Brittany and Charlie of Trading Travelers tracked their full-time RVing monthly expenses for their first month of RVing in their Grand Design Imagine travel trailer. The total for this couple’s first month came out to just under $5,000 – but they traveled over 3,000 miles! Their first month RVing was packed full of travel and adventure, so it’s easy to see why their costs came out so high. Read about their first month of full-time RVing and detailed expense breakdown here.
10. Camper Chronicles
Monthly Cost: around $9,000
Have you ever wondered just how much you might spend on a month of full-time RVing if you had a breakdown or needed repairs? In September of 2020, Lee and Tracy of Camper Chronicles had to do just that! Their full-time RVing costs for September 2020 came out to $9,057 while traveling in their 40’ Open Range fifth wheel.
If they hadn’t needed these costly repairs, their full-time RV monthly expenses would have been closer to $3,800. Check out their budget breakdown here.
The Cost to Live in an RV
As you can see, the cost of full-time RVing really does vary!
The affordability of the RVing lifestyle itself will vary from person to person, depending on how you like to camp, how fast you like to travel, how much income you’re earning, and what experiences you want to have. Another huge variance is personal budgets! We all have similar personal expenses like groceries and cell phone bills, but no two budgets look alike.
Hopefully this collection of RVer expense reports shines a light on just how affordable living in an RV as an alternative to traditional housing truly can be. If you’re interested in RVing but worried about making it work financially, compare these budgets to your current budget–you might be surprised!