Big picture RV costs
Big picture costs factor into your
choice of RV
When you budget for an RV – just like when you budget for an automobile – you have to consider expenses beyond the purchase price, like fuel, maintenance, insurance and storage.
The following list includes some of the larger expenses you are likely to encounter as an RV owner. Keep in mind:
- You may be able to offset expenses somewhat if you are able to deduct the interest you pay on your RV loan.
Newer RVs do a great job of combining lightweight materials with wind-resistant design, nevertheless, the fuel economy you will experience is not comparable to your automobile. Even if you’re towing the RV with your own car, the additional weight will affect your fuel costs.
Whether you’re towing the RV or towing a car behind your motorhome, make sure your vehicle will handle the weight and that you have the proper tow package installed or you can afford to have one installed. This is no time to pinch pennies on an inferior tow assembly.
An RV is your home away from home, and like your primary residence, it occasionally needs TLC. If you can do the maintenance yourself you can save some money. If not, be sure to budget for maintenance.
An RV is a big purchase. Make sure you protect it, but don’t overpay for insurance. Shop around to get the best rates, or use an insurance agency that will do the shopping for you.
Storage and parking
At some point you will need to park your RV and store it during the off season. If your community doesn’t permit RV parking at your home, you’ll be paying for parking and storage. Check local prices and include that in your budget.
While there are free camp sites, most camping with facilities and amenities comes with a fee. Often that fee goes up with the size of the RV. The fees are typically minimal, but they can add up if you camp a lot.
On the one hand, purchasing an RV with a full kitchen can save you a bundle on food costs. On the other hand, a smaller RV might be a better fit with a smaller budget, just don’t forget to include the cost of dining out if you won’t be doing much cooking on the road.