At the heart of every great adventure lies thoughtful planning. Full-time RV living and exploring new horizons should be a liberating experience, unburdened by financial stress.
That’s why we’ve developed this user-friendly RV Living Cost Calculator to provide you with a clear roadmap for estimating your monthly expenses and making informed decisions.
RV Travel & Saving Money
Start Budgeting for RV Living
Use this free RV budget calculator to help you quickly estimate your total costs for full-time RVing.
This tool and the essential tips below will kick-start the planning process for your dream life on the open road.
To use the calculator, enter your estimated monthly costs for RV and auto loan payments, health insurance, fuel costs, and other monthly expenses to find out how much you’ll need to budget for the RV lifestyle.
NOTES: We have added placeholders for each category to give you a rough estimate of RVing costs. Rollover or tap the info icon for more information on each field requirement.
Estimating Your RV Living Expenses
Here are some quick tips for estimating numbers for the RV Living Cost Calculator above.
- Use the RV gas cost calculator linked in the fuel section above to estimate your fuel costs.
- Remember that full-timer RV insurance will be more expensive than typical RV insurance.
- Use an RV loan calculator (Credit Karma) to estimate your RV loan costs
- Remember to account for increased entertainment expenses when exploring new destinations, such as sightseeing and eating out.
- RVers who plan to work remotely or need consistent high-speed internet on the road should budget accordingly ($150 – 200 per month).
What is the Average Monthly Cost to Live in an RV?
This is the one quesiton all future full-time RVers want answered.
The truth is full-time RVing can be cheap or it can be pretty expensive. If you live and travel with an average amount of comfort and basic amenities RV living will most likely cost you an average of $3,000 – $5,000 per month for solo or couple RV travelers.
The above estimate depends on:
- Where you’re traveling and the time of year
- Amount of miles you travel each month
- Your campground choices (state parks, RV resorts, free campgrounds or boondocking)
- Number of people in your party
- Other variables include your type of RV, RV/auto loan (if any), health insurance costs, etc.
Dive in deeper on this topic with our post on the full-time cost of living in an RV.
5 Tips for Planning Your Monthly RV Budget
Planning a monthly RV budget is essential for a successful and stress-free life on the road. Here are five tips to help you effectively plan your budget as a full-time RVer:
- Account for All Expenses: Start by listing all potential expenses associated with RV living in addition to your usual living costs. This includes campground fees, fuel costs, maintenance, insurance, groceries, entertainment, healthcare, personal care, and any other specific expenses you anticipate. Creating a comprehensive list will ensure you don’t overlook any essential RV costs.
- Break Out Your Spending Categories: Categorize your expenses into fixed costs (those that remain relatively constant, like insurance and loan payments) and variable costs (those that fluctuate, like fuel and entertainment). This breakdown will help you understand where your money is going and start to identify areas where you can save.
- Research Campground Fees: Campground fees vary widely based on location, amenities, and time of year. Research potential RV destinations and their costs to estimate your monthly campground expenses. Be prepared to balance more expensive stays with budget-friendly options like boondocking on public lands.
- Build in a Budget Buffer: Unexpected expenses are inevitable – whether a broken-down tow vehicle or a busted RV air conditioner. Plan to have an emergency fund to cover unexpected repairs, lodging if needed, medical expenses, or other unforeseen circumstances that might arise during your travels.
- Track and Adjust Regularly: Once your budget is in place, diligently track your expenses to ensure you’re staying within your allocated amounts for each category. You can use budgeting apps like Mint or a simple Excel spreadsheet. Regularly review your spending patterns and adjust your budget based on real-world spending data.
BONUS TIP: Embrace cost-saving strategies to stretch your budget. Cook meals in your RV instead of dining out, take advantage of discounts and memberships for campgrounds, and use apps to help you find the best fuel prices along your route. Get all 15 of our tips for RVing on a budget.
Top Resources to Plan for the Cost of Living in an RV
Here are more articles and tools to help you save money while RVing.
- The Real Cost of Full-Time RV Living — check out this breakdown of RVing expenses, plus our average monthly spend
- Best Discount Fuel Cards for RV Owners — get ideas for saving on diesel and gas for your RV
- RV Gas Cost Calculator — use this tool to estimate your RV trip cost or average cost per month based on miles traveled
Final RV Budgeting Tip
Remember that flexibility is key when living on the road.
Your budget will most likely need adjustments as you adapt to different destinations and circumstances while full-time RVing.
Planning carefully and staying vigilant about your spending can help you make the most of your RV lifestyle while maintaining financial peace of mind.
Want to find out more about RVing on a budget?
Check out our complete guide to learn how to save on gas costs, find free camping, and confidently budget for RV living.