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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to cut your RV lifestyle expenses

The theme of the last election, cutting the deficit, eliminating waste, and becoming more efficient, will become the focus of the new government as it takes control of the House. New ideas will be proposed, changes made, and the economy will continue its struggle to pull itself up by the boot straps.

So for my two cents I thought I would offer the following list of money-saving ideas, tips for reducing costs, and becoming more efficient--just like at the bigger House in D.C. Add yours in the comments section.

• Stay longer at campgrounds or boondocking sites. Check out the weekly rates, sometimes significantly less expensive than the daily rate. You will also reduce your annual mileage driven and fuel used.
• Drive 55. Lower speeds produce more miles-per-gallon, and you will enjoy the scenery more at lower speeds.
• Avoid jack-rabbit starts and quick stops. It’s all about torque and kinetic energy.
• Keep tires properly inflated. It can save up to 3% on fuel mileage.
• Install CFL or LED interior lights. These bulbs not only last much longer but use less energy.
• Boondock more often. Save campground fees and grid electricity usage.
• Install a solar or wind turbine system. Provides renewable free power to enable camping longer off the power grid.
• If traveling and staying only one night in a campground, pay less by choosing a non-hook-up site (sometimes called a tent site) or stay at lower-priced regional or state parks, or at stores that welcome over-nighters like Walmart, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, and Kmarts.
• Eat out less. Save on food costs by preparing your own meals in your RV kitchen.
• Reduce food costs by bypassing the middle man. Buy from farmers markets, roadside farm stands, U-Pick farms and orchards, and other local food producers and ranchers.
• Reduce cost of food packaging. Buy in bulk from stores that offer this option.
• Eat right and get plenty of exercise (at least ½ hour per day) and you might be able to cut down on meds and doctor visits--and you'll feel better.
• Volunteer or become a camp host, which usually comes with a free campsite.
• Take a caretaking position. Look at the Caretaker’s Journal for opportunities to trade out for free rent.
• Shop for quality–but slightly used–outdoor wear at St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, or other charity stores—and you will be helping worthy charitable institutions while at the same time buying quality labels at far below retail prices.
• Start a book exchange at your favorite campground, or encourage the camp host at RV parks to set one up to cut down on the cost of your reading pleasures.
• Some libraries have used magazine exchanges where you can get current or one month old magazines for free--you might be able to cancel your current magazine subscriptions and save money having them re-shipped to you on the road.
• Shop Quartzsite for all kinds of bargains offered by RVers cleaning out their lockers, hard-core flea market sellers, and other interesting folk.

Learn dozens more ways to save money on the road and spend more time RVing in my RV Bookstore ebook: 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck.


  1. You shouldn't list "Eat out less" right under staying free at Crackerbarrel Restaurants. I for one am going to chow down when I overnight at CB, both to thank them and to make my tummy happy. Rollin in SC.

  2. Under the book exchange theme --

    Take your laptop to the local public library. Most have a small collection of audio books on CD. Rip the CDs into your laptop, and load them into your MP3 player later. If you purchase audio books, do the same, and store them on your computer. At a campground, ask around to see if anyone does the same. Swap audiobooks.

  3. has lots of older (75 years +) books, and text to speech converters if you want to listen.

  4. provides free Kindle software for your PC/laptop which you can use to download and read thousands of free or very cheap books. It also lets you highlight passages and add notes!