Saturday, September 14, 2013

RV Living Frugality - Part II

Continuing with the tips listed in RV Living Frugality - Part I, here are some other ways you can save money as a full time RVer:

5. Utilities – Always ask if electric, water, and sewage is included with the lot rent before you book a campground site – if it isn't, use free campground facilities as much as possible. Motorhome owners should consider purchasing an Extend-a-Stay hose connector, which conveniently connects your grill's propane tank to the RV's propane tank. It save's your gas mileage from driving the rig up to a propane filling service. Consider bringing a portable electric oil heater for daytime-only use. 

6.  Phone/Data – Google Voice has a free domestic calling plan, but you will need to buy an Obi Talk device (costs less than $40 on for use in your RV. For mobile phone service, prepaid is the most affordable option; I pay $100 per month for 2 smart-phone lines (had to by our own phones) for my daughter and I. We can tether them and use them as a wifi hotspot if necessary, but they are excruciatingly slow for this purpose. My husband, who has no interest in data services, uses a Tracfone for less than $100 per year. If you are going to reserve a long-term site and use the internet frequently, your best bet is signing on with an internet service provider (usually not an option in remote locations). 

7.  Entertainment – Many campgrounds offer free cable television, but if yours doesn't, low-cost alternatives are available (Free: Website programming, Crackle/Low cost: Roku, Netflix, Amazon Prime). Better yet, get out of the RV and do something – bike, hike, treat yourself to a matinee movie, or attend a local festival. Most museums participate in reciprocal program memberships; the annual fee includes free admission to many different museums within a geographic area (North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association, Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) Passport Program, Empire State Museums Reciprocal Program). Some campgrounds offer discounted group rate excursions to casinos or tourist attractions. When you are exhausted after a day of exploring, relax to the crackling sound and warmth of a bonfire – grab a bottle of wine and invite the neighbors over.

8.  Healthcare – The most cost-effective way to save money is through preventative care and physical fitness. That being said, some of us do need more advanced treatments and maintenance medications. Having a good Primary Care Physician is essential, even though you may need to use Urgent Care facilities in a pinch. You really can't afford not to have health insurance, so make sure to visit the “Health Insurance Marketplace” website for the most recent, affordable options. Take advantage of community health clinics for vaccinations, screenings and testing. Use a nationwide pharmacy with online refill services to avoid costly, time-consuming prescription coordination errors. Sometimes you can get an over-the-counter medication at a lower cost as a prescription and vice-versa. Anticipate emergencies, and be prepared by carrying your medical record summary and insurance cards at all times.

Stay tuned for more tips in part III of RV Living Frugality...