*This blog post contains affiliate links that we earn a small commission from should you choose to purchase something we recommend.

One of the top questions people ask before jumping into RV living is: “what is the cost of RV living?” It’s a valid question – let’s get into it.

RV living looks different for everybody.

✅  Some people will be retired and receiving a pension
✅  Some people will put away savings so they can do this for a certain amount of time without having to work
✅  Some people will be working full-time from the road 🗺💻  (✋) 

We’re in the latter category, and we are largely living on one income. This means that we make a budget and try our best to stick with it so we can continue to afford this lifestyle.

Budgeting for RV living

7 financial Considerations for rv Living

As we mentioned above, everybody’s RV living situation will look different. No matter your situation – here are the financial components you’ll want to consider before living in an RV full time:

  1. Will one or both of us be working on the road? Full time? Part time? Gig work?
  2. Will we sell our home or rent it out?
  3. Will we buy an RV outright or make payments?
  4. Will we purchase or lease a tow vehicle? (if using a trailer or fifth wheel)
  5. Will we sell or store our things?
  6. Will we purchase memberships that help cut the cost of campsites? Which ones?
  7. What do monthly costs look like? How do they differ from homeownership?

Your answers to the above questions will give you a pretty good road map of what your finances may look like on the road.

We like to help by showing others our exact situation so here’s how it worked out when we decided to RV full time.

Our Financial Setup for RV Living

1. Income on the road

My job could not be done remotely, so we used Beth’s income as a baseline for what we could afford 💰 

2. Sell or rent our home

Sell. We wanted to focus on learning how to do the RV life without the worry of managing renters 🏡

3. Buy an RV or make payments

We started out thinking we would buy the trailer outright with proceeds from the house. Instead, we wanted to save that money for a potential down payment on a little fixer-upper cabin, or in case shit went sideways in our first year and we needed to use it. 🏦

4. Purchase or lease a tow vehicle

We weren’t sure we’d even like this lifestyle so rather than buy a truck, we decided to lease one. We have a family GMC discount (from Beth’s Papa) so it was actually cheaper for us to lease a new vehicle than buy a used one 🛻

5. Sell or store

Sell! We actually used the cash we made from selling our stuff to finance the new stuff we had to buy for the RV lifestyle. It was quite freeing to get rid of all our stuff 👼 Plus, it felt really good that we didn’t have to use any savings or credit to finance our new lifestyle. Zero-sum game, baby. This is a great way to go if you don’t have any monies saved up for the transition 👏 

6. Camping Memberships

Yep! Because we were going to be living in an RV, it didn’t make sense to NOT get memberships that would make it cheaper for us. We initially thought we’d boondock half of each month. Ha! That did not happen. Watch our first experience boondocking 😂 you’ll understand 👇

As for the memberships we invested in…

  1. Thousand Trails Basic Upgraded Membership: We decided to use $7,200 of the proceeds from our house to buy a lifetime Thousand Trails Basic Upgraded Membership.This would allow us to stay within the Thousand Trails network with no nightly fees for 2-3 weeks at a time, depending on the campsite and availability. It also gave us access to an extended network of discounted properties and campsites through Resort Parks International (RPI) 🏕 When we first started out, this membership was well worth the cost. Our winter stays in Florida in year 1 would’ve cost $4,200, minimally. And our membership is good for a lifetime! Now…there are plenty of catches with Thousand Trails, but that’s a conversation for a different time.

We also purchased:

  1. The Dyrt
  2. Good Sam
  3. Passport America
  4. Harvest Hosts

You don’t know which memberships will be helpful until you need them – so we recommend NOT buying them until you need them.

But no matter what camping memberships you end up buying – some, none, or all – the absolute #1 tool we recommend for planning your trips is RV LIFE Trip Wizard 👇

RV LIFE Pro Banner


RV LIFE Trip Wizard has literally saved us dozens of hours, and lots of frustration, when we’re planning our trips. You can plug in all the camping memberships you have and filter by those in your network, you can read reviews, you can estimate when you’ll need gas along the route, and so much more. We’re completely in love with this tool.

7. Monthly Costs

We took our current fixed expenses (lease payments, mortgage, utilities, cell phones, etc.), removed the expenses that would go away without our current home (mortgage, home insurance, water, electric, trash collection, etc.), then added in estimated monthly fixed costs for our new RV lifestyle (new truck payment, trailer payment, increased truck gas costs, campsites, propane, etc.).

We counted on our variable costs (groceries, toiletries, household supplies, etc.) largely staying the same with the addition of categories like firewood, laundry (coin-operated on the road), etc. for our new lifestyle. We could literally go on for 4 more blog posts about this topic – and by “we”, I mean Beth. If you want to use the budgeting software we use, check out You Need a Budget.

You Need a Budget software for financial considerations


YNAB absolutely changed the way we look at money, save money, budget money, and use money. It’s not just a budgeting tool, it’s a new way of thinking and it feels so good to lock in your budget and know that every dollar has a job (their #1 rule of budgeting).

Now it’s your turn!

Go grab your other, put your phones on Do Not Disturb, set a timer for 45 mins, and just start talk through some of these details. This lifestyle may be much more doable than you think ☝️

To get you started, we’re giving you a snapshot of our actual real-life budget in YNAB. This will help you get granular with your cost of living assessment. We make categories for any expense we spend once and know we’ll have to spend again at some point in the future.

Click below to open the full infographic! 👇