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Budgeting

Mr. C from Texas asks...
(Planning for Monthly and Emergency Expenses)

Budgeting.... How do I plan for full time RV life budgeting and expenses beyond the obvious? What are some things I need to plan for both on a monthly and emergency basis?


Coleen, the RVing editor comments:

When we first went full-time in the RV, our monthly expenses dropped in every budget category. That included fuel and vehicle expense.

Our biggest expense was insurance. Vehicle insurance. Trailer insurance. Full-timer's liability insurance (compares to traditional homeowner's liability). Life insurance. Health insurance.

Some expenses look different, but you've probably been paying them all along. For example; laundry. If you have a washer and dryer now at home, but you won't have one in your RV, you may see going to the laundromat as an added expense. But, you've been paying for water and electric to do your laundry at home, so it really isn't extra.

Some things people tend to overlook:

~ Laundromat charge
~ Mail forwarding charges
~ Increased cell phone time
~ Souvenirs to send back to the kids and grandkids

Eating out increases for some folks. You may have more opportunities to try new things and regional specialties. That may mean you eat out more often. Conversely, some folks spend less at restaurants as full-timers, because they are living a slower paced lifestyle and have more time to cook.

Entertainment can be free or very expensive. Will you go hiking or to theme parks? Will you go to free concerts and plays at the local college or will you go to plays and concerts with high admission fees?

Where your RV travels take you will affect your costs. When you go to Alaska, you may spend a considerable amount on flightseeing tours, fishing charters, and day cruises to see glaciers. When you spend a winter as snowbirds in the Rio Grande Valley, you may stay so busy at the RV park that you seldom go anywhere else for entertainment.

Full-time RVing allows you to be flexible on some budget categories that are fixed in a traditional home. When you are in a traditional home, your monthly mortgage or rent payment is the same month after month. When full-time RVing rent can vary greatly from month to month. You might stay in an expensive luxury resort one month and boondock in a national forest the next.

Likewise with fuel. You can opt to drive a few hundred miles several days a week, week in and week out. Or, you can stay in one area for a month, or an entire season.

Your health insurance premiums and medical costs may or may not change.

One thing that people forget to plan for is repairing and replacing the RV. Another is savings. Also, people tend to forget that prices usually increase, whether it's food, fuel, gifts, campground rates, whatever.

Budgeting is one of those things that varies considerably from one RVer to another. Maybe some of our readers will chime in with their thoughts.

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