Can I Afford to Live in an RV Full Time in 2023?

white and brown rv trailer on green grass field under white cloudy sky during daytime

Living in an RV full time is a dream for many people, especially those who love adventure and desire the freedom to travel. But one question that keeps popping up is, “Can I afford to live in an RV full time?” It’s a valid concern, and one that we, as an experienced team of RV enthusiasts at RV Brands™, can help you answer. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the cost of living in an RV full time and provide valuable tips and insights, so you can make an informed decision whether this lifestyle is right for you.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in an RV Full Time?

When it comes to the cost of living in an RV full time, the answer varies depending on your lifestyle, preferences, and location. However, we can provide an estimation based on our survey and personal experience:

Initial Costs:

  • RV Purchase: Depending on the type and age of the RV, prices can range from $10,000 to $300,000. You can opt for a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome, whatever suits your preferences.
  • Insurance: You’ll need specialized RV insurance that covers liability, collision, and comprehensive damage. The cost depends on the type of RV, coverage limits, and your driving record. Expect to pay around $1000 per year.
  • Maintenance: RVs require regular maintenance, including oil changes, tire replacements, and repairs. You’ll need to budget around $1000 per year for these expenses.
  • Campground Membership: Some campgrounds charge an annual fee, while others offer a one-time payment that can last for a few years. Expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $3000 per year for campground membership.

Ongoing Costs:

  • Gasoline: The cost of gasoline depends on your driving habits, the RV’s gas mileage, and the price of gas in your location. Plan to spend around $500 to $1500 per month.
  • Food: You can either cook in your RV or eat out. Cooking in your RV is cheaper but requires meal planning and grocery shopping. Expect to pay around $400 to $800 per month for groceries.
  • Laundry: You can use laundromats, campground laundry facilities, or install a washer and dryer in your RV. The cost depends on your location and choice of laundry method.
  • Education and Healthcare: If you have children, you’ll need to factor in the cost of education. If you need health insurance, you’ll have to look for coverage that fits your budget.

Is it Cheaper to Live in an RV than a House?

a trailer parked in front of a house

Now that we’ve looked at the cost of living in an RV, it’s natural to compare it with that of a house. Here’s a breakdown of how RV living stacks up against a traditional house:

Pros of RV Living:

  • Lower mortgage payments: RVs are cheaper than homes, which means you can pay off your purchase quicker, and payments are typically hundreds of dollars cheaper, depending on your lifestyle.
  • Mobility: RV living means you can travel to different locations, avoiding higher costs of living in expensive regions.
  • Lower utility bills: RVs have smaller spaces and are more energy-efficient, meaning that utility bills tend to be significantly lower.
  • Minimal to no property taxes: With RV living, there is no need to worry about paying property taxes.

Cons of RV Living:

  • You may experience unexpected RV maintenance and repair costs.
  • RV parks charge fees for hookups, which may become expensive.

How Do People Afford to Live in an RV Full Time?

Living in an RV full time does require some financial flexibility, but it’s entirely doable, regardless of your income level. Here are some savvy money-saving tips to help you stretch your dollar when living in an RV full time:

1. Keep a Budget:

Making a budget helps you track your expenses, stick to the essentials, and identify areas where you can cut back.

2. Plan Ahead:

Before hitting the road, research the low-cost and free campsites to park your RV overnight. Websites like Campendium list locations that permit free overnight camping.

3. Cook Meals In Your RV:

Cooking in your RV rather than eating at restaurants can save you approximately $300 to $600 per month.

4. Seek Steady Income Sources:

Blogging, remote work, and rental properties—you can have any of them generate steady income while you travel.

5. Join RV Membership Clubs:

Discount programs like Passport America offer deals on campgrounds, while the Good Sam Club has a variety of discounts and perks for RVers.

Quick Tips and Facts:

Here are some interesting facts to keep in mind when considering full-time RV living:

  • The cost of living in an RV can be lower than that of a traditional home, but it does require financial planning and budgeting.
  • RVs can last for decades, but the lifespan of any RV depends on driving habits, maintenance, and care.
  • Mobile and Internet access is crucial for anyone looking to travel full time in an RV.
  • Full-time RVing isn’t free, but it can be done on a budget with research, budgeting, and planning.


Q: Is it financially smart to live in an RV?

A: Full-time RV living can be financially smart for those who have studied the cost implications and exercised budget discipline.

Q: Is it cheaper to live in an RV than a home?

A: RV living can be more affordable than a traditional home, but it depends on your lifestyle and budgeting habits.

Q: How much money do you need for RV living?

A: The amount of money you need for RV living depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of RV, your location, and your lifestyle. A budget of $1500 to $3000 per month inclusive of regular expenses is a good place to start.

Q: Can you make money while living in an RV?

A: Yes. You can work remotely, start a blog, and rent out properties to generate steady income while RVing.

In Conclusion,

Living in an RV full time is a viable option for anyone with a sense of adventure and the flexibility to embrace a different way of living. By researching, budgeting, and consulting with other RV enthusiasts, you can prepare for a life-changing journey and create memories that last a lifetime. We hope that our guide has provided you with valuable information other than the cost of RV living, and it has indeed answered your question: “Can I afford to live in an RV full time?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.