A couple laughs and lounges in deck chairs off the patio from their parked travel trailer.

RV Life Is Hard, But It’s Cheaper Than Renting If You’re Stationary

It can feel chaotic when gas, housing, and rent costs all go through the roof. Lately, it seems more people are embracing RV life despite its challenges. If you do it right, you can save money and make memories while living in your RV.

Today, we’re looking at how RV life can be tricky but cheaper than renting. Let’s get started!

A couple laughs and lounges in deck chairs off the patio from their parked travel trailer.

What’s Hard About RV Life?

Many people rush into RV life thinking every minute is full of joy and excitement. This is often because they’ve only used an RV for recreational purposes. It was their home away from home on weekends and vacations. However, it can be overwhelming when your RV becomes your full-time dwelling.

Even the largest RVs aren’t more than a few hundred square feet. Compare this minimal space to the average 2,500-square-foot home, and you can quickly feel claustrophobic. Living tiny isn’t easy and requires minimalism.

The construction of RVs is also very different from traditional homes or apartments. They typically lack insulation, and it can be challenging to control the climate during extreme heat or cold weather. It can be frustrating and require more effort to get comfortable.

There are many places where it is legal for an individual to live in an RV. However, particular areas have restrictions regarding what constitutes a dwelling. Some local ordinances prohibit using any RV for full-time living. You’ll want to talk to your local code enforcement or country ordinance department where you plan to live.

A young blond stepping into her home, a travel trailer parked near a bench surrounded with a privacy fence.

If you’re transitioning to RV life, you’ll want to check with the proper authorities before purchasing land or getting too far into the process. We have heard of RVers buying land, parking their RV, and receiving a visit from code enforcement later, letting them know they’re in violation.

That’s an expensive mistake!

Can You Live Year-Round in an RV?

Living year-round in an RV is possible, especially for RVs with a four-season rating. These RVs typically have increased insulation and an enclosed underbelly, making the interior climate easier to control. However, it can still take some effort to stay comfortable.

During winter, you’ll want to insulate the bottom of your RV as much as possible. Many RVers construct skirts using insulation boards to keep the wind from getting under their RV. You can also purchase custom-made RV skirts, but they’re costly and can be tricky to store.

Keeping cool can be challenging when living in your RV during the summer. You’ll likely need to run your AC to keep the temperatures down inside the rig.

If you can park in the shade to keep the sun off your rig, it will prevent your RV from getting too hot. However, expect a generous electric bill as RVs can require you to run your AC units 24/7 during extreme heat.

Is RV Life Always Cheaper Than Renting?

Many people jump into RV life thinking it will always be cheaper. However, depending on your lifestyle, you can quickly pay more than renting.

Many make the mistake of buying a very expensive RV, a brand new truck to tow it, and expect to stay in luxury RV parks every night. If that’s the case, you’ll spend thousands of dollars every month to enjoy the RV life.

An Airstream trailer parked in the desert with a beautiful deck and patio furniture.

However, RV life can be cheaper if you already own an RV and the truck to tow it, have land or a spot to park it, and aren’t expecting to crisscross the country constantly. RV life can be as cheap or expensive as you want to make it. 

How You Can Save Money Living Stationary in an RV

There are a few ways to save money while enjoying RV life. Staying stationary will give you the biggest bang for your buck. This can help you avoid burning through gas or diesel.

Let’s look at a handful of other ways you can save money while enjoying stationary RV life.

Create Your Own RV Campsite

Creating your RV campsite is the best option if you own your land. You’ll want to ensure you can legally live in your RV on the property. Having your campsite allows you to customize the spot for your needs. If you enjoy having a cozy site to sit around the campfire, you can build it.

Some local ordinances might require you to have power, water, and sewer run to the property. However, all it takes is a quick phone call to your local zoning authorities to find out the requirements for your local area.

Be Picky About Long-Term Campgrounds

If you don’t own your land, be picky when choosing long-term campgrounds. Many long-term campgrounds offer steep discounts for monthly or full-time stays. They’ll often require you to pay for your electrical or water usage, but you can still save money.

Look for a campground that meets your needs and offers amenities you’ll use. If you’re not into swimming or pickleball, then you don’t need a campground that has them.

However, these can be relatively inexpensive sources of entertainment. So don’t discount a campground because you don’t think you’d use all the amenities. You never know how bored you might get without them!

Invest in Insulating Your Rig

Dealing with extreme weather can be difficult when you’re stationary in an RV. If you’re planning to sit somewhere that experiences severe winter conditions; you will need insulation for your rig. Skirting is a must in these situations and can help keep warm air inside your RV.

You should also invest in a heated hose and pipe insulation. It’s not uncommon for the plumbing in an RV to freeze when subjected to extreme temperatures for an extended period.

When your pipes freeze, you may be unable to use toilets, showers, or drink water. The more you insulate your rig, the more comfortable you’ll be during the winter months.

Consider Work Camping

There are many work camping opportunities country-wide. Many jobs are positions where the campground or employer provides you with a spot to park your RV.

Whether you’re a camp host, maintenance worker, or work in a campground office, this can be a significant way to make money and avoid costly campground fees.

One of the benefits of this option is that you can find spots in the climate that best fits your situation. If you want to be in a particular geographic region of the country or elevation, you can find campgrounds and other employers in that area.

Make quick money on the road by harvesting beets.

Grow Your DIY Abilities

Maintaining an RV can be expensive, especially if you’re paying a professional to fix every issue. Expanding your DIY abilities and learning how to learn from YouTube videos is vital. It might surprise you how many things you can fix on your RV without professional help.

Stay Put and Save Money

RV life may be challenging, but you can save a large chunk of money if you stay put. We have experienced some of the highest prices for fuel and campground fees that we’ve ever seen.

So find a place where you can park your rig and live comfortably. You may even find a job at a campground and earn money while camping. Who wouldn’t love that?

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