How much is life in an RVs

Many people who are searching to buy campers at ZeRVs are also asking the big question: “How much does it cost to live in a camper?”. With this in mind, we interviewed a couple who has been on the road for more than two years and below is their transcript. 

RV budget is something that you have to take into consideration if you’re going to be living full-time. Taking a four-month RV trip is a very different lifestyle than living on the road full-time and having to manage your normal day-to-day expenses. 

Today, we’re gonna share with you one full year of our budget on the road so that hopefully you can get an idea of what it may cost to live full-time. 

Before we begin it’s important to note that this is our budget, this is not going to be a blanket budget for everyone and we are not saying that this will be the same exact costs for you.  We are just sharing our experiences hoping to give you guys some insights and guidance if you’re looking to go full-time and want to have an idea of what it costs other people. 

So some things we’re actually going to leave out of this budget review is, as our financing costs for the RV itself and the truck, because you might not pick the same rig, you might not pick the same truck, you might get a better deal than we did.  We don’t know. You might even buy the truck cash and finance the RV. There are all kinds of different ways that that sort of arrangement could happen so we’re leaving that out and we’re going over just the bare necessities of living. We’re also going to be going from the most expensive items to the least expensive items. 

This is a whole year of expenses of a couple and as mentioned, there are a lot of factors as to why different RVs, different campers, and different people have different costs of living on the road. Location is another factor. So, before planning to buy an RV through ZeRVs or any other platform, make sure to take a look at the following budget. 

DESCRIPTION MONTHLY COST ANNUAL COST
Foods and groceries $980 $11,760
Fuel, Gas, Propane $630 $7,560
Camping (Actual RV sites/State Parks) $360 $4,320
Breweries, wineries, excursions, tours $280 $3,360
Mobile phone and Internet $265 $3,180
Insurance (RV, motorcycle, business) $245 $2,940
Health insurance $250 $3,000
Miscellaneous (upgrades and household items, books & magazines) $180 $2,160
Vehicle repairs (RV and motorcycle) $160 $1,920
Memberships (clubs, gyms, software) $80 $960
Pet supplies $60 $720
Parking, Uber $35 $420
Clothing, apparel, accessories $50 $600
Total $3,575 $42,900


Since we are not paying any rent and both of us are working as freelance content writers and photographers, we say we can have better savings if we are not paying on our RV. 

Major expenses

Groceries

Our biggest expenses are obviously on food and groceries. We are not vegans and we are not picky about foods. We don’t know if there could be a price change if you are a vegetarian.

Fuel

We traveled to 16 States last year from Texas up north to Alaska. Your time on the road and the distance is a big factor in fuel consumption. 

Camping

We spent most of our summer on different camping sites up North.

Insurance and the Internet are the two most important things after groceries and fuel. We both work online and we cannot survive without the Internet. Insurance is a must for travellers as accidents are always a threat whether we are on the road or inside the jungle. 

While the budget above is our actual spending last 2019, we could have lowered our 2020 if we stayed on the road. Because of some travel restrictions earlier, we decided to stay home. We projected to cut at least $3,000 from our 2020 budget.

2020 is supposed to be our 3rd year on the road but because of the pandemic, we are forced to stay home since April but we are planning to resume hitting the road again this January. We had $48,000 in our first year and we learned a lot from that. As you can see on our 2019 spending, we cut by $6,000.

Every day is learning when you are travelling so expect to have a bigger budget at first. You will discover how to lower it later. Some people have lower spending than us but some have higher. There is really no standard when it comes to budgeting. It depends on the individual’s needs. 

We met someone in the Grand Canyon who is spending $900 and another person who spends $2,600 a month. It really depends on many things. 

RV repair can be a big problem if you buy a vehicle that has a bad history. When you look for a van to buy, especially at ZeRVs, make sure to know the history of the vehicle. If you are not sure or has no experience with engines and under-chassis, bring a mechanic to check the vehicle. Take note that when you start hitting the road, your life depends on it. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road because your van breaks down and you don’t have money to pay for towing. Having a vehicle breakdown is the last thing any traveller wants. 

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