Cost of Living
This is a topic that I know we researched a lot about when we were looking into full-time RV-ing. We watched a lot of youtube bloggers and read blogs about full timing and found that it is generally pretty cheap for everyone! It is quite a common thing for people to live this way so that they can become debt free, which I think is a great reason! We don't have any debts to pay off, but we do have plans to purchase land some day and build our homestead on it, and it turns out that it is pretty expensive to do so. We prefer to pay for things with cash instead of getting loans and paying more money for them than we need to, so it will be a while before we have saved up enough to make our land purchase. While we save up and wait for that day arrive, living in an RV is the perfect situation for us. We are comfortable here in our day to day routine, and we are in no rush to get to that next phase in our lives.
Before we bought our motorhome and started living in it full time, we were living in an apartment paying $1,100 a month for rent. On top of that, we had to pay for our electric, water, and trash removal, which came to like $1,300 or so a month. To contrast, our monthly 'rent' costs are now about $190. It is kind of hard to say what our monthly costs really are, because it varies from month to month. In a nutshell, we have a Thousand Trails membership that we paid $500 for, and that was for the entire year. That membership allows us to camp at any Thousand Trails in Florida and the entire midwest / east coast of the US for up to two weeks at a time, and then we have to stay out of the TT system for the following week. So - 2 weeks on, 1 week off. For our one week out of the system, we either stay in my mom's backyard (free), a friend's driveway (also free), or we stay at a state park or campground, which wills typically run us about $150 for the week. So, if we were to divide our $500 yearly membership cost by 12, and then add that $150 if we do choose to pay for a campground on our one off week, that comes to about $190 for the month. Granted, we paid for the membership up front so we don't actually pay that per month, but I just wanted to draw it out in terms of what it would cost us monthly for the sake of this post.
Our internet / phone bill has gone up since we were living in an apartment. We now pay about $200 a month for our Verizon bill, and $95 for AT&T. Our phones (Verizon) both have unlimited data and I believe we are still paying off at least one, maybe both of them - which is included in that bill. Also included for like $15 or something is David's little watch-phone, which is super cool. It is just a watch that he can wear when he is out riding his bike or exploring and we can call him when it's time to come home or he can call us if he gets lost in the park - lol! AT&T is our wifi; we bought an unlimited hotspot with them that we use for pretty much all of our internet needs, but we also have 5 gigs of hotspot on each of our phones in case we are in an area where AT&T isn't working that great or the servers are too congested. Also included in that bill is Direct TV, so we don't ever plug into the cable provided in most parks. We watch live tv sometimes, or we watch Netflix or Hulu. All in all, I don't mind paying more for our internet and phones, because A.) we are paying so much less for rent and everything else, and B.) we work full time and need to have great reception and internet wherever we go.
Gas and propane are two costs that we have now, but it is really hard to tally up just how much we spend for each of them. For one thing, we're not really traveling full-time and using gas every day. We move from campground to campground every couple of weeks, like 10 - 15 miles at a time. So, a full tank of gas lasts us like 3 months. We don't actually fill up our gas tank and go 3 months before refueling, we prefer to fill up 1/3 of the way once a month. To round up, we probably put about $50 bucks a month of gas in this thing. Again, that is really rounding up. Propane is another one of those costs that are kind of hard to put a specific number on. We don't use our gas furnace because A.) we live in Florida, and B.) our mini split A/C unit does both cooling and heating for us. We only use propane to heat our water and for cooking in the oven or on the gas range. With that being said, we have only had to fill up our propane 2 times in the past year, and that is with following the general rule of only filling up to 80% each time. That cost us about $140 for the year.
Another thing that may be pretty obvious but I will make a point to say it anyway, is that these costs change a great amount in the couple of summer months that we take our road trips and are actually traveling every day. But, for the rest of the year when we are just working full time and living in an RV, these are our typical living costs. All together, it's roughly about $6,700 a year for us to live this way. It is the cheapest way we have ever lived, and it is awesome. We pretty much only had to give up square footage, and like an hour of our time every couple of weeks to pack up and move to a new site. It's a good feeling to be able to actually save up month every month and put it towards a future goal.