Cost of Full Time RV Living in a Class A Motorhome with a Tow Car

Cost of Full Time RV Living in a Class A Motorhome with a Tow Car

What does it cost to full time in
an RV for one year?
We get this question all the time.
We’ve tracked our expenses since we
started this adventure over a year ago.
Today I am going to break
those costs down for you.
Now for us we are two adults,
we have one dog and we’re in a
Class A gas RV.
So your expenses are going to differ
depending on how many people you have.
What kind of RV you’re in.
What kind of lifestyle you like to lead
and what you do for fun
entertainment and food.
This is all going to change.
But this will give you a great idea
if you’re planning on full time RVing.
I’ve got our expenses right here.
The first thing I’m going to touch on
are our fixed annual costs.
These are things like our RV payment, medical insurance,
RV insurance, the insurance on our tow car
which is a Jeep Wrangler, and memberships, etc…
For the entire year we spent $15,755
which breaks down to an average
of $1,313 per month.
Next are our average variable costs per month.
These are things like groceries, going out to eat
gas, cell phone bill, things that will
change month over month.
On average, we spent $1,619 on these items.
Combined, our fixed and variable costs came out to an average of $2,932 per month.
Now this average monthly cost includes
things like our RV payment.
We had a $600 per month RV payment.
For the RV and the tow car, average per month
we drove 2,128 miles.
Now, this accounted for close to $400 in spending every single month.
That’s a lot of money on gas,
but we were moving and
going and seeing a lot of different places
wherever we went.
If you’d like a more detailed breakdown
go to and at the top
we have a section called RVing.
In a submenu there we have a Cost of RVing.
Just click on that and you’ll see the post
with all the details.
Here are some of the lessons learned over
the course of a year
that either helped us save money
or were tips and tricks we found along the way.
We can look up gas prices along our
entire route
and figure out which place has the cheapest gas.
The Allstays Camp & RV app.
We use it to find places like a BLM land,
forest service,
places we can camp for free.
The app costs $9.99 and it is more
than paid for itself.
For all the free parking and camping
we found with this thing.
Plus we can look up where Costcos are,
Walmart and all sorts of other services
that we need.
We’re giving away a free download of the Allstays Camp & RV app
For Android or iPhone.
If you’re interested in entering,
leave a comment below and let us know.
Free camping is not always available.
We were in a lot of places where they had
city ordinances or just areas where you
weren’t allowed to park your RV overnight
This becomes especially true
when you get to the east coast.
It’s something we had to learn to work around
That leads me into, full hookups are worth the splurge.
It’s really nice to get free parking on BLM
or forest service land.
However, it is even nicer sometimes to go
to a campground, plug-in, have abundant hot water,
electricity, run the AC or the heat
especially when it’s hot and humid outside.
So we definitely try to hit up a campground
every once in a while just to recharge
not only the coach but ourselves.
Drive slower and shed some weight.
We noticed when we start putting the
cruise control down at a slower speed
we increased our MPG.
Same thing we didn’t carry as much
weight in the RV
and didn’t travel with a full tank of water
Stocking up at Costco.
Buying in bulk and buying certain items from there
has definitely helped us save money.
Including getting most of our gas
and even our propane at Costco locations.
If you’re wondering whether or not
a Costco membership can save you money
we’ll link to a video we did all about that.
Research tax rates.
If we don’t need something right away
we’ll check to see if the next state over
has a lower tax.
In some cases we’ve saved up to 3.5%
when we go on our Costco runs.
Cracker Barrel is better than Walmart for
overnight parking.
This doesn’t really have to do with our expenses,
but we found that free parking is not equal.
We’ve called a lot of Walmart’s ahead of time
that say they allow parking
but when we get there
the manager in store tells us
we’re not allowed to park there anymore.
That can throw real wrench into our plans.
Cracker Barrels are consistent.
They’re really friendly and many of them have
designated RV parking spots in their back lot.
Once the Cracker Barrel closes for the night
the parking lot is dead quiet.
That’s a huge difference compared to
a 24 hour Walmart.
The best part is, when you wake up
you can have a delicious breakfast inside
and just relax.
A 10 GB data plan for us wasn’t enough.
We work from the RV and
most RV parks don’t really have decent wi-fi.
If they do it’s enough to maybe check your email.
We end up tethering and using the data
on our phones quite a bit.
What we found is we had to go from
10 up to 20 and even then we have to be
conservative with how we use our data.
If we need really good Wi-Fi
we end up spending our time at coffee shops
or places like that to get our work done.
Expect the unexpected.
For me, this is the big one.
We gotta rock chip on our window
and had to pay for that.
We’ve found nails and our tires and had
to have them replaced.
There are all sorts of things that can
crop up along the way and just make sure
you have a safety fund on the side to
cover things that you’re not expecting.
Save on propane with an electric cooker.
When we’re at an RV park plugged into
their electricity
we try to use it as much as we can
and save our propane for times when we’re boondocking.
We’ll use things like a Crock Pot or
Instant Pot
to make our meals and save on that
precious gas.
Street camping for an extended amount
of time is not ideal.
Although free street camping may sound great
when you’re trying to keep your expenses down.
We found we can only do it for so long
because we can’t put our slides out.
And honestly with all the traffic,
the buses, the trash trucks
things like that going by
it’s really difficult to live out in front of
someone’s house for more than a few days.
Buy the National Park pass.
If you like to see the national parks,
The national park pass is well worth its
weight in gold.
$80 for a year.
You can take one vehicle in or
an RV with your tow car.
Into all the national parks that you
see along the way.
And it allows you to park on a lot of
forest service
and BLM land that’s out there.
And the best part is, if your senior it’s only $10
That is an awesome deal.
In enclosing, the biggest lesson we’ve learned
is to just slow down, relax.
Enjoy not only the destination, but
the journey to get there.
You don’t need to see it all at once.
Just relax and have fun.
Thank you very much guys for watching.
If you enjoyed this video, please share it with your friends,
give it a thumbs up and leave us some comments to let us know what you thought.
Thanks guys! We’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “Cost of Full Time RV Living in a Class A Motorhome with a Tow Car”

  1. Got this is from a Casey Neistat vlog: Experience does for the soul what education does for the mind.
    – – – I've circled the country by Jeep for a month, gone to eastern maritime Canada by motorcycle and toured Florida by RV. Many wonderful memories of hitting the road early in the morning, awesome sight, met lots a interesting people and saw wonderful sunrises and sunsets.

  2. The National Park Pass … That's $10 for LIFE. Guess they don't think we'll live too long. A great deal, we use ours more at the Corps of Engineers RV parks, a great deal for usually $15 a night.  Another benefit of being born when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

  3. Come on, all those vids of you two eating out and you only averaged 16 hundred a month?! LOL Great video! Actually minus the RV payment and you'd be doing pretty good. Lots of miles traveled each month though. Do you get bored easily?

  4. Great video!! I would love to enter you giveaway contest we just purchased our RV this year and I think this app would definitely be beneficial for us to utilize going forward!'

  5. a very informative video, much appreciated. we purchased our senior national park pass last year, the important thing it's lifetime.

  6. Good video! I'm trying to help the Hubs work on the slowing down part LOL please enter me to win the Allstays app, Ive been eye balling that

  7. You have really grown into creating good video presentations. Whether giving a tour of an RV, demonstrating a recipe, or giving a yearly report…you are full of good information presented in an organized and interesting manner. Thanks so much…very helpful….especially with the links.

  8. Great video! Lots of good info there , it all helps as we get closer to retirement my wife will retire next year and I have just a little over 2 years to go , but one good thing I have 7 weeks vacation!


  10. As always, great information. I love the videos with Leo, he is adorable! Please enter me in the Allstays app giveaway! Enjoy your travels!

  11. Strong video! Subbed to see your adventures. As a fellow Jeep fan, love where you are headed. State park passes are also worth while if you are going to explore that state a bit.

  12. I like your set up with the Jeep and your way of living. the jeep can be pull with the Leisure Travel Van.
    Question, You have a monthly payment on the Jeep or was paid in full??
    You demonstrated that is possible to enjoy life in an affordable manner.
    I can jump in with those numbers. Thanks for the information. .

  13. I'm new to your videos and have a question. Have you ever done a cost analysis of using rental cars at a destination vs owning a car that you are making monthly payments , maintenance, insurance and the added weight that you are towing?

  14. I'd love the AllStays app. Please enter me in the drawing. Love your cost analysis-very helpful for those of us new to RVing.

  15. Thanks for info!!! I full time in a 1986 24.5' Tiffin Allegro. They build a GREAT rv .Even back then. Took my time on R&Ring most systems on rv. Tires,bearings,breaks,shocks,belts,hoses,alt,seams,etc. Preventive maint. is a' must do' every year. ok… i have a 30 year old rv. But when i'm going down the road. it;s all about safety. Peace of mind of limited break downs.In the long run. You will save alot of money too.Thanks again for"all" your vlogs. Super helpfull.

  16. We've been full timing for about 6 months now and are always looking for ways to save on cost. Thanks for the video! Dave and Katie

  17. Thank you guys for sharing so much throughout the past year or so. Always love the latest content,and budgeting is always at the top of my list.C-Ya!,,,,Peace!

  18. Thanks Joe, good info (FYI – your vid resolution looks great, especiallt on my 5k iMac, we just installed Google fiber gigabit internet and you stream at 4K)

  19. Hey Russo's, thank you for these videos. They are so informative. Please enter me in the give away! If you are ever in the Sacramento area a meet up would be awesome! Happy holidays!

  20. Great video! Good to know my budget is pretty good. With just my wife and I two dogs instead of one and a lifestyle somewhat similar to yours we should be in the same ballpark. Our budget should only be off from yours in two areas, less coffee and more dog food. We are getting closer to full timing as the house is due to settle on 12/28, we have a rental to move in to for a while and have the dealer ready to place the order for our Tiffin so we can get all the features/colors the way we want them. Leo likes like quite the party dog dressed up in red!

  21. When you talk about "working from the RV", does that mean your website/youtube related stuff, or do you have a "real" remote-access job?

    (I didn't want to just leave a comment that said 'Give me the app! Me! Me!' )

  22. Joe, You guys do a great job on your videos. In regards to your RV living costs I would think that deprecation of your RV should be considered in your Annual living costs. Maybe you could elaborate about this on a future video, especially since you will be selling your 2015 Class "A" RV. I would think that would add on about $1000 more per month but maybe when you sell your RV you will break even or maybe even make more money on it when you sell it? We could use your guidance here on the overall cost as my wife an I want to full time like your doing. Thanks again for those wonderful videos.

  23. Thanks for the break down!! We've done our own math on what things may end up costing and it's good to see we're spot on with our estimates!
    Thanks Russos!

  24. Great info….I was wondering how u manage ur mail on the road? Sorry if u made a video for that already….was curious.

  25. Thanks Joe! Would love a free download of that app you spoke of. We are selling our vacation home in Florida and buying an RV to live in for (hopefully) 4-6 months out of the year! Love your channel, keep up the great work!

  26. Helpful information! We've decided on something used. We're in the process of making all of those important decisions. My husband still works full time, so it will be a little while before we head out on the road. Your videos have been very informative. Thanks!

  27. I just found your channel, so I suppose the contest is over. 🙁 Than you for the URLs in this video. Don't know when my house might sell, so I can RV full time, but I'm getting all the knowledge I can in the meantime. Leo is so reserved. How did tht happen? 🙂 Max

  28. Thank you for the info. My gal and I have been thinking of selling our house and living full time in a RV, (I have a 24 ft ,5th wheel and we do weekend camping and know what we will be getting into) and travel around the US. We are looking at a Class A and not sure if we should go with gas/diesel or what size would be best for us, any info would be helpful. Happy & safe Travels. Bob & Lesley

  29. Awesome video! We are thinking of taking an enclosed trailer with (2) 4 wheelers, but also wanted to tow a GMC Sierra for transportation. To keep the weight down we were even thinking of carrying the four wheelers on the bed of the GMC with this cool configuration i saw online, but want to know your opinion on what would actually be more cost effective. Renting a car if needed at each location, or towing the configuration I was speaking of above. What are your thoughts?

  30. Thx for sharing the tips and tricks of the road. I took great notes. Would you guys recommend me RV-ing alone as a single woman? Sometimes my son will be with me. Other times my parents. But I’m the passionate traveler of the family. Are there any suggestions for type of RV’s with best reputation in quality, warranty, and repair costs?

  31. If we pay in Lum sum amount on RV & not worry about it then what type of expenditure will I have in endure on the trip . Regards khalid izaz khan .

  32. I plan on living in a RV full time paid in cash. I don't plan on traveling much since I work and go to college. I would be able to park at a relatives house.

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