How big does my
Full Time RV Budget
need to be?

"We're going full-time in our Motorhome, How much is our Full time RV Budget going to be?"

It's often the first question I hear from an aspiring full-time rver, and it's arguably one of the most important. If you ain't got the cash to feed your Full time Budget, it's gonna a be a little bit tough to do much Full-time RV Boondocking!

The pretty weak "sounding" answer, of those in the know, is "How much do you have? That's how much your budget is going to be!" I know it sounds kind of vague, but it really is the most honest answer to the question.

When people go Full time RV Boondocking or just Full-timing in general, they most usually maintain the the same "level" of lifestyle they were living before. Leopards really don't change their spots!

If they went out to eat four times a week back "home" they'll pretty much stay to that routine out on the road. They tend to buy the same magazines, wear the same clothes and do the same things.

You seldom see a couple move from a 6 bedroom, 4 car garage, estate into a used 20 foot class C Winnebago! There ain't one thing wrong with the Minnie Winnie, but it just doesn't fit their "view" of things! And that's just fine.

Likewise, folks like me, a little further down the economic structure,(lol) seldom move out of our brick and mortar homes into a 45 foot diesel pusher.

They sure are nice, but they don't fit my lifestyle. There's the point. Even in the RV community, (a lot smaller than the general society around us) everyone is different, with their own ideas of what fits and what's right for them. (some of us a little more "different" than others!) With those differances are widely differing expenses.

About the only thing that really changes much are your "housing" expenses and fuel costs.

In our own Full-time RV Budget case, the fuel costs will be up a bit (marginally) but our "housing" costs will drop dramatically! Virtually eliminated since our rig is or will be clear of any debt.

The end result, for us (after eliminating ALL debt) is our Full time RV Budget will only be approximately 50% of what our "brick and mortar" lifestyle expenses were ................... not too bad right?

That's the key I think to cutting your Full-time RV Budget expenses. If you can clear the debt on your rig, you can live pretty much as you used to, on a lot less money! That should help stretch your retirement savings or income shouldn't it?

If you, like us, still have to work some, it lets us work a lot easier! Not so many hours! A lot more time to go fishing! or kayaking or whatever else toots your full time RV Boondocking whistle!

The numbers are going to vary widely according to each persons individual situation. Me making a statement here, that "Your RV Boondocking adventure is going to cost you X number of dollars", would simply be fiction, and less than useless to you.

I like telling stories, you might have guessed, but not ones that end up misleading and hurting folks!

Actual Full time RV Budgets that I have seen have ranged from maybe $1,500 a month to well over $5,000. If you got it, spend it! Just adjust how you live to your circumstance.

The only way for folks to accurately know or project their expenses, for a Full-time RV Budget, will be to sit down with a calculator, a sharp pencil, some blank paper, a large pot of coffee and start cypherin'!

Oh, and turn the stereo on. Might as well make this a pleasant exercise! The sound track to "Monte Walsh" suits me pretty fine!

Full time RV Budget Ideas.

These are just my ideas and what has worked for us. Tweak or overhaul them for your own use, where ever your personal requirements for a full-time RV Budget lead you.

  • List all your current budget expenses of your current lifestyle.
  • Subtract your mortgage payment and related costs.(prop. taxes, etc.)
  • Subtract anything else you will be eliminating in your preparations to go Full-time RV Boondocking.
  • Add back in any RV/RIG financing expenses you intend to maintain.
  • Full-time RV Insurance - it is usually more expensive than your old policy.
  • Groceries. We allow $400 per month. Usually we can beat that.
  • Misc. expenses. This one is very much according to your bank account. This is basically your pocket money. We allow ourselves in the vicinity of $24 per day average. I expect lots of folks can do a lot better than that.Needing to spend less is fine and proper as well. There was a time half that would be a stretch for us!
  • Decide on a mileage budget and then figure fuel costs based on expected fuel cost and the fuel efficiency of your RV. I do my calculations based on $4 diesel. Insures I have plenty of fuel! I also calculate a two part fuel budget. Part one(1) is for the truck running bob-tail (18+mpg). Part two(2) is for the truck hauling the fiver (12+-mpg)
  • Medical Insurance?
  • Don't forget all the little things, ie. cell phones, satellite tv, doing the laundry at a laundro-mat etc.
  • Dumping. Often you'll be able to dump for free or will be part of your parking fee ............ but........
  • Estimate your propane and generator gas consumption. This is your new "utility" bill!
  • Parking. This one is all over the map. (lifestyle issue) Are you going to use National Forest sites or private RV Parks? If on National Forest are you going to stay in developed campgrounds @ $8-$14 a night? or go RV Boondocking for $0? Make that calculation and add her in!
  • *******************************

    Our full time RV budget for parking is $180 per month. I am "luckily"? a disabled vet, so I only have to pay 50% for National Forest Svc./ Park Svc. fees. I figure off the top end of around $14 and figure on 30 days. We are usually able to take a lot of the sting out of our Full-time RV Budget with long camps of 10 to 14 days. The money is in the budget if we need it, but RV Boondocking, with zero parking fees when "dispersed camping", allows us to just let it stack up ............. for emergency use, or just in case, down the road.


  • You probably want to list some sort of budget category for a "tourist" allowance. Entry fees to attractions and the like.
  • "Annuals". We have a budget item for all those annual payments. Veh. registration, memberships etc.That way, when they come due, it's no sudden strain on the budget. The cash is already collected and sitting there waiting!
  • Rig maintenance. Don't overlook or postpone this! Take care of your rig. It's a pay me now or pay me later deal! And, generally speaking, if you pay later it is a LOT more costly!
  • Emergency fund. Left un-attended, this can be a full time RV Budget breaker! This is one last important area that needs addressing. We have, or will, from the sale of our house, $10,000 set aside in an emergency fund for big, off budget expenses. (blown transmissions etc.)

The more effort you put into preparing your full time RV Budget for your adventure, the more likely you'll have a "more harmonious outcome!". The more likely you'll be able to overcome unexpected "situations", with less "tribulation", and the more likely you'll be able to sustain the adventure, long term.

Many years ago, in the U.S. Army, we had a rather crude saying. "Remember the 7 P's".

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

Um ............. I did use "pathetically" in place of the "crude" term we used back then ............... in light of the forum here, and who might read it, I thought I might should exercise a little decorum!

Put your ducks in a nice neat row. Get your Full time RV Budget solidly prepared. Then get out there and get Goin' RV Boondocking!

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