This is the report that several people have requested, and which we had always planned to include on the blog. Today we’re going to talk about what it costs us to live this lifestyle.
First, a couple of caveats. Every RVer is different–different rig, different diet, different interests–so our expenses are unique to us. Also, I’m not going to share every single personal expense that we incur each month, but only the ones that are directly related to our RV life in some way.
Now, a quick recap of where we’ve been for the last two months, as this directly impacts how we spent our money.
On September 1, we pulled in to the Escapees Rainbow’s End RV Park in Livingston, Texas, where we spent the entire month. The RV did not move except for one day when we had to drive it into town to get it inspected in order to have it registered in Texas. We paid the monthly rate of $340 for the RV site, rather than the nightly rate, plus a separate charge for electricity which was metered at the site.
We left Livingston on October 1 and headed to New Mexico, which meant we drove a lot more miles, using more fuel, in both the RV and the truck. Since we’ve been in New Mexico, we’ve moved around several times, mostly staying at state parks. We bought the annual pass for $225 which allows us to stay in any state park campsite for free, plus $4/night if we have electrical hookups which we always opt for if they are available.
That said, here’s how the expenses stacked up.
Camping fees + Electricity
September: $439 (1 location for the entire month)
October: $323 (7 different locations, but primarily in state parks at $4/night.) We bought the $225 annual pass for the New Mexico State Parks which is actually good for 13 months. For purposes of this monthly expense report, we’re pro-rating that cost over 13 months.
Fuel for the RV
September: $61 (Drove 302 miles, 7.5 MPG including 10-12 hours of generator use the night before we arrived in Livingston.)
October: $452 (Drove 1,335 miles, 8.3 MPG)
Fuel for the Truck
September: $159 (20.1 MPG)
October: $245 (21.5 MPG)
Interesting note: We’re paying less for groceries on the road than we did in our sticks-and-bricks home for a couple of reasons. First, Mississippi charges sales tax on groceries where Texas and New Mexico do not, so that’s a 7.5% savings right off the bat. Second, since we have a lot less storage space, we are a lot more careful about planning our meals and avoiding waste. We primarily eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet so we buy a lot of fresh produce and whole grains, along with wine/beer. We buy very little processed foods in boxes and cans (although we do buy canned beans and tomatoes), and we’ve recently developed a dangerous addiction to the $.50 mini-pies at Walmart!
These numbers include coffees and snacks that we buy when we’re really there just to use the wi-fi. 🙂
household / furnishings
These numbers include things like toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, small household items for the kitchen, etc.
These numbers include cat food, litter, treats and the occasional toy for our two kitties, Maggie and Molly. Will also include vet visits when needed.
verizon cellphone / internet
These numbers include a prorated charge for the purchase of our iPhones when we bought them last fall. We both have the iPhone 8+ which we use for internet access as well as hotspot wi-fi for the laptop and the Roku. We are on the unlimited data plan which gets throttled before we get through the month. Once the phones are paid off next fall, the monthly charge should drop significantly unless the plan rates go up.
We did not need to have any mail forwarded to us in September because we were staying at the Escapees park in Livingston where our mail service is located, and we could just pick up our mail daily. In October we had one batch of mail forwarded to us in Albuquerque that also included our absentee ballots for the November election, for which there was an extra $10 handling charge.
We had to do laundry more often in September due to the high humidity in Texas–our clothes got smellier faster, and so did the laundry bag. Here in the cooler, drier climate of New Mexico, we can go longer between laundry days.
attractions / entertainment
These numbers include our subscriptions to Netflix, Audible, and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited book plan, as well as entrance fees to places we visit.
October: $60 (annual renewal for Costco membership)
Equipment for RV
September: $77 (water hose/nozzle, roll of reflectix, 6-gallon fresh water jug)
October: $207 (new surge protector to replace one that got fried in a thunderstorm, two vent covers for the roof, extra set of leveling blocks, and other miscellaneous items)
RV Maintenance & REpairs
October: $46 (kit to repair leaky toilet, new gasket seal for bathroom roof vent)
truck maintenance & repairs
September: $12 (plate holder for Texas tag on the front bumper)
We have insurance through Progressive and get a multi-vehicle discount. Right now we’re paying $57/mo for the RV and $40/mo for the truck.
VEhicle License and registration
Of course we paid the annual license and registration up front in September but for expense tracking purposes, I’m prorating it across the year. It’s $22/mo for the RV and $17/mo for the truck.
So those are our RV living expenses for the last two months:
September Total: $2,043
October Total: $2,605
It obviously makes a huge difference whether you’re moving around a lot or staying in one location for an extended length of time. We’re in the process of planning our itinerary for November, and it will likely include more time in New Mexico state parks at $4/night, and then our first forays into dry camping or boondocking as we head toward the warmer weather in the Arizona desert.
We’ll continue to closely monitor our expenses and will report them here on a monthly basis. So if you’re interested, be sure to subscribe to this blog so you get all our updates. You can also find us on Instagram at Instagram.com/JustCallUsNomads.