Everyone makes a trade-off at some point in life. For example, your family may skip eating at restaurants for a year to save money for a kitchen remodeling project. The questions to ask yourself are, what do I want and how can I get it?
Those of us who travel around the country by RV choose to give up many of our personal possessions in exchange for new adventures and friends. We must run a tight ship, so to speak, in order to afford the “upscale” vagabond lifestyle. Since so many people have asked me how we can afford RV living, I have prepared a list of money saving tips for the basic necessities.
- Food – Clip coupons and shop the sales, especially buy
1 get 1 free deals. Stir-frying on the grill is a healthy and
affordable. Crockpot meals = leftovers for a second dinner. Instead
of going out to eat, buy a good quality frozen meal for a special meal. Eat
lighter and get in shape!
- Clothing & Household Items –Shop end of season clearance sales and make routine visits to thrift shops. Go yard-sailing. Save time and find the best variety online using the free ship-to-store option. Choose multi-tasking items like apparel pieces that you can mix, match, and layer (another example: a Pyrex measuring cup for measuring AND microwaving foods).
- Shelter – Shop around for the best RV deals and bank
interest rates; don't rule out pre-owned models. Weigh comfort and
storage needs with style, and factor in the cost of maintenance.
Consider adding a portable patio room to a small unit for increased living
space. Ask about single night campsite discounts for
boon-docking (dry-camping with no hookups). Skip the park and take advantage of free overnight
parking (some Wal-marts and Cracker Barrels allow it, but always ask
first). Make reservations for state and national parks or VFW
campsites. Most RV parks offer discounted lot rates for monthly and
seasonal rentals. Barter your expertise or services in exchange for
- Transportation – Tow a light, economy vehicle (we call these toads). Buy a scooter, which can get up to 75 miles per gallon of gas. Plan to stay in walking or bicycling distance to a grocery store or a discount department store; bring backpacks along to carry your purchases back to your campsite (baskets for bicycles). Long-term RVers might consider trying to find a campground near the public bus route. Taxis are for emergencies only!
Stay tuned for more tips in part II of RV Living Frugality...