Happy Holidays, everyone!
Time for our monthly expense report where we share the costs associated with our full-time RV life.
First, a reminder of the 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.
We’ve just completed our third full month on the road. Starting with this post, I’ll be sharing the most recent three months’ expenses each time for comparison since line items can change drastically from month to month.
We spent the entire month of November in New Mexico state parks, taking advantage of the annual pass that we purchased in October which allowed us to camp for $4/night, paying for electricity only. We only changed campgrounds twice so we didn’t have to drive the rig a lot, saving on fuel. However, we did make a major investment in some solar equipment this month that will allow us to do some free boondocking.
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.
November: $137 (Nov 1-3 @ Elephant Butte SP, Nov 4-17 @ Leasburg Dam SP, Nov 18-30 @ Pancho Villa SP, all at $4/night on annual pass. Expense number also includes prorated cost of the annual pass.)
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)
November: $79 (Drove 172 miles, 8.8 MPG)
Fuel for the Truck
September: $159 (20.1 MPG)
October: $245 (21.5 MPG)
November: $52 (17.7 MPG)
November: $31 (12 gallons) – We use propane primarily for cooking. In November we began using the onboard propane furnace more as the temperatures got colder, running it for a little while in the early morning to supplement the small electric heater.
We primarily eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet so we buy a lot of fresh produce and whole grains, along with some wine/beer. We buy very little processed foods in boxes and cans, although we do buy canned beans and tomatoes.
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.
November: $5 (we were well stocked up from October)
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
November: $254 – This month we upgraded to the next higher level for unlimited data so we won’t get throttled so much.
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.
November: $16 – We had mail forwarded twice, but also requested one additional shipment when Andy’s mail-order prescription meds came in.
November: $22 – We did laundry twice, first in Truth or Consequences where the machines were bad and expensive, and the second time in Deming where the facilities were much nicer and less costly.
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)
November: $49 (annual renewal for Sam’s Club 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)
November: $2,215 (ordered solar kit including three 100-watt solar panels and a Kodiak portable solar generator. Shipment should arrive in December, so stay tuned for our review! Here’s a link to the kit we purchased.)
RV Maintenance & REpairs
October: $46 (kit to repair leaky toilet, new gasket seal for bathroom roof vent)
November: $22 (changed out the water filter)
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 three months:
September Total: $2,043
October Total: $2,605
November Total: $3,852 ($1,637 excluding the purchase of the solar kit)
It obviously makes a huge difference whether we’re moving around a lot or staying in one location for an extended length of time. Except for the huge hit on the solar kit that we purchased, November was a very good month in terms of expenses. We lived very well while spending very little.
We’re in the process of planning our itinerary for December, and it will involve some big changes in our camping style. We’ll be boondocking a lot (that’s why we bought the solar kit), so our camping fees should reasonable as we’ll only opt for a paid campsite occasionally when we need hookups for some reason. However, we’ll be moving around more, so our fuel costs will be higher. It’s all a balancing act!
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 to stay up with us between blog posts.