Ways to save money while/for rving:
1. We save gas when travelling by carefully planning
meals and then trying to go food shopping only on days when we move or every 4
or six days…not going out to grab one or two things every few days. Move day is
errand day…food shopping and anything else that needs to be done. Do plan in
site seeing days though while travelling.
2. We stay in a lot of state parks and use them
well…hiking the trails, kayaking, biking. They are usually cheaper than rv resorts and sites are much more roomy. We make our own activities that help keep our weight down.
3. We bought a Passport America one
year membership $44. and when they offered us a lifetime for $340 (?) we went for
it. It will well pay for itself in our many trips even using it
4. Patronize farmer’s markets, flea markets for good deals on
produce, staple items, and needs.
5. Do as many fixes on your rv as you are
able and/or ask for help from others for things you might have questions
6. Wash your rv yourself at home or at a coin operated station where
your rv will fit. Hire a kid.
7. Some areas of the country have used rv parts (think rv
junk yard)…Florida is one of these.
8. Participate in an online forum to
learn all you can about your motorhome or trailer. Here is a good one http://www.rv.net/forum/ You will get many responses and help for your queries.
9. Make a travel budget
based on good solid research (campgrounds/boondocking, estimated mileage,
sightseeing expenses) and then STICK to it. Be somewhat generous with your
guestimates…err on the high side…so you don’t go over it.
www.HarvestHosts.com $40/one year. Stay at farms/vineyards for free but do spend a little money on their goods.
11. www.Boondockerswelcome.com access to free boondocking at fellow rver's homes. one year $19.95 - $24.95 Overnights are limited by owner.
12. Books? They can be free
and hard to find…get a Kindle and download free books. You will have a wealth
of things to read. You can download FREE books from your local library; pay them a visit or give them a call to find out how.
13. Shop at Walmart and other discount stores.
a points card for gas and then pay it off before any interest charges are
15. Get a Pilot/Flying J card for rv’s that saves you 2/3 cents off on
gasoline…compare prices first.
16. Use gasbuddy.com to find the least
expensive gas along your route.
17. Stock up on non perishable sale items at
your grocery store. Often Shop-rite will have pasta on sale for less than I can
get it at Walmart.
18. Walmart will match sale prices from competitors…use it
19. Comparison shop and ask for discounts. When we wanted to replace
our feeble little vent fan with a fantastic fan and a cover, we shopped around
online for pricing. Then printed and took the best pricing to a camping store
and asked them to match it. They came very close and we bought it. Hubby
20. Do as much of your own repairs/fixes/upgrades in your home
and rv as possible….giving you more money to travel.
21. Look for ways to
overnight for free: rest areas, walmarts (only some), etc. Remember you get
what you pay for...sometimes!!!
22. This is a tough one…travel for longer periods of
time! (We will be taking a trip out west from east coast and we are staying for
three months…lots of gas used to get out there…so just stay!)
23. Do use our
public lands well…we pay for them. BLM lands, national forests, dispersed
camping anywhere it is allowed.
24. Check tire pressure on vehicles as this
25. Bring a portable hot plate/one or two burner stove and small
electric heater and use those at campgrounds where they will pay your heating
costs and cooking costs.
26. Cover your tires when not in use and they will
27. Shop around for well rated tires (rated by users) and then
try your local guy to see if he will match…possibly avoiding shipping costs from
28. Eat in most of the time…selecting your dinner out spots
for recommended spots…see tripadvisor, ask your campground folks.
tires before they give you problems on the road…emergency road service can cost
you and be very inconvenient. If tires are still okay, sell them cheaply to
someone who might just need something to last a short time or for travelling
30. Drive frugally…not at high speeds to save some gas money and get
you there safely.
31. Wear your clothing until it wears out. Who does that?
Buy good quality and then wear it out. As an rv’er I am going to guess you are
not a clothes horse, so this shouldn’t be too hard!
32. Think of something to
make you money while you travel. We are artisans doing juried art shows so we
can make our own schedules (within reason)…some call us semiretired...I don't think so!
Barter your services for services you need.
34. Streamline your
phone/internet services. Do you really need a landline and cell phone? Do you
need two cell phones? Do you really need an Iphone - try straight talk.
35. We ditched our cable a year ago as there seemed
to be not a lot on those 100+ channels and way too many reruns. Now we borrow
dvd’s from library (what they have in house and order more through inter-library
loan) and we stream tv shows a week after they have aired.
36. Rent out your
rv locally (to someone you know for $$...introduce them to rving and earn some
37. Instead of home trading do rv trading. Someone we met traded
their rv use here in usa with someone who was in Europe and used their
38. It is all about keeping money in your wallet, having fun. Remember
it is you that has to earn that money and how hard you worked for it.
Bicycle or scooter for those short distances while rving (or not).
40. Use a
bank account with no fees….credit card with no fees.
41. If you have stocks
or mutual funds, use a low cost provider such as Vanguard.
42. Change your
light bulbs at home to compact fluorescent bulbs.
43. Turn your hot water
down to a temperature that is more than adequate for showers.
44. Install an
outside light at your house with motion detector so you don’t have to leave the
45. Combine shopping trips and errands to be one big trip and save
46. When you buy a new computer, don’t pay for Microsoft office (saved
$100 in our case)…use Open Office.
47. NEVER pay interest on credit card
bills…if you cannot pay the bill when it is due…don’t buy it. Emergencies are
okay however…fluffy stuff no.
48. Pay for your rv in free night stays! When
we purchased our trailer and recently our 24 foot Jayco escapde, I vowed to
“pay” for them with free nights. I keep track of each night we spend out in it
when we don’t pay for a campsite (anything counts as long as it is our “house”
for that time period…walmarts, rest areas, dispersed camping, visiting relatives
afar, etc.) I will put a dollar figure on each night in the end…vowing to
eventually pay for the vehicle. Okay, I am a frugal girl.
49. Have a garden
to save money. Maybe sell some of your extras and put it in the travel
50. Eat less, eat better, live longer.
51. Get more exercise! Get up
and move! Save on a myriad of health costs (including doctors and meds).
52. Eat breakfast or lunch out instead of dinner...it will save you money if you must eat out. However, generally speaking that breakfast will pack on the calories.
53. America the Beautiful Pass covers National Parks and other fed operated sites--a steal at $10 if you are over 62; otherwise, $80 (so use it well).
54. Do a periodic cleanout of your rv to make sure you are not carrying unnecessary weight.
55. Grow a garden at home and on the road. If weather is right, we grow basil and parsley to make
fresh pesto on the road. Gardening can be done in containers if you have limited space.
56. Join Escapees RV Club $70 and get the Days End Guide (think boondocking dry camping for free) $10 additional. www.escapees.com
57. Get set up to dry camp, boondock. You do not need a generator or solar panels to do a few nights here and there if you are frugal with your tankage/batteries. Camp for free. Disclaimer: sometimes you get what you pay for!
58. Buy and rv that is easy on the wallet such as maintenance costs, gas mileage, ability to wash it yourself, repair costs (diesel...do you really need it).
59. Travel during the shoulder or off season to take advantage of campground discounts, less crowds.
60. Camp longer in one place. Some campgrounds offer special pricing for multiple nights or weeks.
61. Take advantage of regional perks, bargains, offerings. Florida's homegrown strawberries are at peak during the winter/spring season.
62. Trade boondocking/dry camping spaces with people you meet along your travels. Come stay in NY for a night or two.
63. Maintain your RV like it was your home. Do routine maintenance, don't let it grow rodents/keep it clean and free of food, prop open your refrigerator after you clean it from a trip, cover it, cover the tires, use it often and well.
64. Casino Camping: look online to find casino's that allow you to overnight at their facilities...most won't have utilities. I think there is a book as well on this but it may not be as up-to-date as the website. http://www.casinocamper.com/
65. Take advantage of sale pricing when you are at home or travelling. Do a "buy-in" to stock up on
non perishables and paper goods. Buy enough to last you awhile and take it when you go travelling.
66. Buy one of these hot water heaters for your stick home: GE GeoSpring Hybrid-Electric Heat Pump Water Heater. Do it now or do it when you need a new one. We paid $1,000 and got a $400 rebate...sometimes there may be better sales.
67. Go fulltime...give up the job or maybe you are already retired, give up the house, give up the megastuff, the garage (and all that goes with that), the sheds, and in NY the property taxes!
68. When you are going to make a purchase (of any thing), make informed decisions. Do not buy willy nilly. Read reviews for products or services and make sure you are getting quality that will last.
Examples: any kind of vehicle tires, hot water heater, vacuum cleaner, automobiles (based on
longevity, warrantees...not pretty factor or status).
69. The quarter jar...you know every time you get change...well come home and put it in an old vitie
jar to be used for laundry while on the road. OR hand wash your laundry??? We did that the first year in Florida and I quickly determined that it was cheaper in Florida for me to just pay and do it. It is cheapest at state park campgrounds that have washer/dryers. No more handwashing for me!
70. Bag your lunch if you are still working, it hopefully will be healthier and save you a lot of bucks.
71. Brew your own...coffee or tea. This can be a big saver. Grind your own beans for maximum flavor.
72. Work "uniform"...if you are working have 5 - 10 outfits (max) that are your work uniform so to speak and wear them well.
73. Do you really have to buy a new rv? There is money to be saved on buying a gently used unit
and making it your own. I may not be talking about a total renovation job here.
74. Take good care of your things with regular maintenance and repairs as needed and they will last
longer and you won't have to replace often.
75. Find an additional source of income whether it is temporary or part time. When we decided to
pay off our mortgage early, (we decided that when I saw that our $70,000 mortgage was going to
really cost us over $250,000) we needed to find an additional source of income. As a stay-at-
home mom, it needed to be something we could both do. We chose to do craft shows and made
wooden toys for a period of about five years. In that time we paid off our mortgage.
76. Join Good Sam Club and get that $25.00 coupon good for free to almost free camping. They have other deals that are good throughout the year...like $25 off your purchase...no strings attached.
77. Sell of some of your "stuff" that you no longer use, extra vehicles, etc.
78. Downsize your house to a smaller version that has cheaper costs.
79. Turn part of your house into a rental unit.
80. Build a spread sheet to track your finances...do you have enough to retire? Do you know how much money you even spend per year? Do you know how much money you need to live on? If you knew, I bet you would be surprised, shocked. I was and its not even a lot...way less than most.
81. Pay off all credit card debt and keep it that way. Remember interest is meant to be earned, not paid.
82. Try Progressive insurance for your rv insurance. Their quote was $457 and Good Sam's was $1200. Disclaimer: I did not compare the coverage...you need to do that. We also had the ability to put Progressive's on winter lay up (where some of the coverage was minimized) which saved us another maybe $70?
83. Save money while travelling. Travel for longer periods (if you can) but do fewer travels; it is more efficient.
84. Check out Walmarts clearance areas that pop up in obvious spots around the store; you can get some pretty good deals there as they try to wipe out stock due to store resets, overstock or whatever. Like $2 or $3 crewneck sweatshirts for men; $2 or $3 women's simple v neck t's or tanks. We are talking NEW items and not thrift store finds here (which I am not a fan of...I just don't go there.)
85. Does boondocking scare you? Make baby steps...while you are commuting to a campground, stop somewhere to make or have dinner out, then stop for the night at a welcome center or well used area to spend the night WHEN you are ready to sleep. Then progress from there.
86. Try workamping. Jobs that pay a variety of wages in return for a spot to camp in (sometimes) and other perks. www.workamper.com This is not something we have tried or will try in the future but lots of folks do it.
87. Take your job on the road. If you can do it on a computer, you can do it on the road.
88. Turn down that thermostat at night! Make it 50 degrees and pile on the blankets.
89. Get rid of your contract cell phone and go prepaid and you will save money.
90. Sign up for a voice over IP phone (example Vonage)
91. Get more product from your tubes of suntan lotion, body cream (etc)...cut the end off and use what is left inside, cut more off/repeat...there is more in there than you think!
92. Shop around for medical care; prices can vary tremendously. Ask for cash price versus through you high deductible health insurance.
93. Eat at least one meatless meal per week. Pasta, Mexican night, etc.
94. Buy in bulk when you buy paper towels/toilet paper - they really don't go bad!
95. Shop end of season at Outlet Malls to find great deals. Call and ask when they are closing out each season's products.
96. When you buy socks, buy MANY pairs of the same socks (think 48)...they will match when you have a hole in one. No I am not going to suggest you darn the hole! This took me years to figure out!
97. Eat out less. Train your spouse to cook a meal or grill or do something. I am trying:)
98. Lose the gym membership; buy free weights (used craigslist) and walk...a lot!
99. Cancel subscriptions you don't use; they are probably at the library if you need them.
100. When you are cooking up a meal, make more and freeze a nights worth - saves cooking time and you can buy in bulk.
101. Plan meals around items that are on sale.
102. Avoid convenience foods as they are not cheap!
103. Never, ever throw out food. I will eat the same thing for a few meals rather than do that or freeze it.
104. The comment below also reminded me of something. My friend Patty introduced me about Goodwill Outlet stores. It is a rather mind boggling place with big trays of clothing dumped in them and you rummage through and pay by the pound! Takes some time to sort through the things I would consider borderline rags and find the "gems" but it can be fun when you find some name brand almost new garments or clean work clothing.
105. If you rv is parked at home, rent it out nightly on airbnb.com. There is one near us that goes for about $100 per night...you can specify two night minimum. This might best be used if you have your own dump station.
106. Some casinos offer buy one get one free meals when you sign up for a players card.
107. Stay at farm stands, wineries, etc. When you are out and about and stop to purchase something, ask if you can overnight at their place. Do this only if it is later in the day and tell them you plan to leave by 8 or 9 am....don't over stay your welcome.
108. Check out comments below for more ideas.
Do you have any frugal ideas to add to this list that I may have missed? Please comment.