How Much Does It Cost When You Living In An RV Full-time?

How Much Does It Cost When You Living In An RV Full-time?

If you love traveling, living in an RV full time would be a great idea. However, you might get confused for this new living style with a special house. Almost beginning RVers will wonder whether they can afford it or not. With the desire of giving out a detailed viewpoint of the life in an RV, this article will show you the monthly fixed expense that you have to pay to fulfill the living requirements.

RV Fulltime Living

Source: Photo by Larry Page

Monthly Cost of Living in an RV Full-time

Wherever you live, you have to spend a part of your budget on daily activities such as food, phone, the Internet, laundry, clothing, etc. Keep on reading to have some advice about costs when you live full-time in an RV.

Food – $500/month

It is obvious that you cannot work well without eating every day. So food is one of the specific costs you have to pay monthly. However, the budgets for food will not be the same for every month; it can widely vary based on your dietary preference. If you often eat out, you are probably to spend more for food category.

To cut down on the costs for food, you should spend more time on supermarket or groceries to buy fresh food and cook by yourselves. Because of the limited space for cabinet in RVs, you may shop from one to two times per week.

I will break down the budget for food as follows:

  • Groceries:                         $100
  • Breakfast & eating out: $150
  • Supermarket: $250

Laundry & Clothing – $70/month

Another consideration is the costs for clothing and laundry. It is not a good idea to buy a dryer or a washer when you live in an RV. You should use the laundry services to make it more convenient. You can gather dirty clothes and get them to the laundry every 2 or 3 weeks.

The laundry fee might be various at different locations; some places offer free laundry service, but some places cost up to $6 for a load of clothes. So, I just recommend the average cost for a load of laundry is around $2-$3. As a result, the laundry might take us around $10 to $15 every month. It is not a big amount of money.

On the other hand, you cannot wear the same clothes for all seasons or during many days. You should plan for a balanced selection for the changes of climate throughout a year. That is why you have to take into account the clothing fee.

Because there is not much space to put a huge wardrobe in the RV, the only choice is to shop for new clothing to well adapt to new venues or each local weather. However, instead of shopping continuously, you should buy a wardrobe to store some quality staples for another use.

Internet, Phone, and TV – $250/month

In the modern society nowadays, communication and the Internet play an essential role in our life. To work well, to contact with friends, people, to catch up with the current affairs, you need to keep online.

The best choice for you might be a jetpack that supports unlimited Wi-Fi for your smart facilities such as mobile phone, TV, laptop, Ipad, etc. I highly appreciate Verizon MiFi Jetpack due to its reliability and good service, especially when you are on the road. A package of 20GB data will support a strong Wi-Fi connection to your equipment, and you won’t need to worry about interruption transmission line.

You are also able to cut down the fee of the phone call by using social network with the support of the Internet such as Facebook, Skype and so on. Similarly, a smart TV which is connected Wi-Fi will provide enough TV programs for you to watch.

Campsite Costs – $400/month

The cost for the campsite is not unchanged; it will vary from location to location, or the public campground will offer cheaper fee than the private one. You also have a chance to enjoy free campsite when doing volunteer or boondocking. Besides, staying your RV in the RV Park would be a great idea to save money. The fee for a public campground will be varied from $5 to $50 per night and sometimes, is free.

RV at Redrock Canyon State ParkSource: David~O

Fuel and Maintenance Cost – $500/month

The cost of fuel is one of the highest monthly expenses when living in an RV. However, the amount of money for this criterion is fluctuated based on how far and how often you travel. The size of RV also determines how much cost you have to spend for each time of pouring.

  • A small RV Class B might get from 15 MPG to above
  • An M-size RV Class C is possible to get up to 14 MPG
  • A large gas RV gets less than 10 MPG, depending on its chassis’ ability
  • A diesel RV is normally heavier so it might also get less than 10 MPG.

Keep in mind that the price of diesel is usually higher than the price of gas and these prices are strongly impacted by the world fuel market, which is never a stable affair. To compensate for some sudden changes of the fuel market, you should calculate for extra budget.

The RV is a kind of vehicle, so it needs the maintenance service for a specific of time to run well. I budget to spend from $1500 to $2500 for RV maintenance cost per year, including the routine services such as filter & fluid change, worn tire, pushing change, worn brake, etc. Sometimes, you might get unexpected breakdowns like an entire rebuild of the engine. So, it is better to keep some extra cash aside for flexible handling.

Some sub-services like car washing or flat tires should also be included in the maintenance costs.

If you’re towing your RV with a truck then you will have a cost for a weight distribution hitch.

Propane – $50/month

It is obvious that propane brings a huge of benefits to your life in an RV as you can cook food, furnace, or even hot water. In fact, you can tweak the system whenever you don’t need to use. So, I will share the propane cost for a year and find out the average monthly cost; it is around $50.

There are some tips to reduce the cost of propane such as using a vent free propane heater, wearing more clothes in the cold weather, staying in campgrounds and using their showers or RV parks to hook up the electricity here. The refrigerator is not required to run continuously, just hook up when needed.

RV Insurance – $150/month

The RV insurance cost will be widely varied based on which state you live in, what kind of your RV, and which insurance company you get the benefit. RV insurance is essential especially when you live in an RV, and some accidents might happen unexpectedly.

You should choose a reputable company even though the fee is rather higher. One of the insurance companies that I believe the most is Good Sam. Their roadside service is really good, and they are willing to reimburse if the customer won’t satisfy with the service.

Registration Costs – $10/month

When living in an RV full-time, you are required to pay money for residency cost every year. Each state will offer different amount of fee, and it will vary from $30-150/year/vehicle.

Total cost: $1926/month


Someone chooses the RV lifestyle because of their hobbies while some others decide this in order to save money. It is obvious that the living expense of each will not be similar. Whether it shrinks or grows, it depends on your circumstances.

The recommended lifestyle in this writing is certainly not a lavish or thrifty one. Personally, I find the total expenses within a month don’t widely change whether living in a common house or living in an RV. So, I highly recommend you to try and experience this lifestyle once you tend to do; it is much more challenging but interesting. Do hope that this sharing will be useful for such a prospective full-time RVer.

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