6 Tips For Saving Money While RVing
How We Live Larger With Less
We have always been a frugal family. We love saving money and getting good deals. I grew up in a really frugal home and I’m grateful my parents instilled in me good spending and saving habits, as well as modeled the importance of being frugal!
You could basically call me Fugal Frieda, because it’s a big part of who I am! Even when we were in stages of life where we made good, consistent money, we didn’t change our saving and spending habits. We have always had the mindset that we want to be careful with money, and it has really paid off in times where we experienced job loss or times where we didn’t have a steady paycheck!
Currently, Aaron owns his own business, AG Marketing Collective, which is awesome and comes with a ton of freedom, but also means there is no steady paycheck. I am a contract worker and also can’t count on a consistent income, but we don’t worry about money! Our mindset is always save as much as we can and be wise with our spending.
We don’t budget. We never have. We just try and keep a good cushion in savings and live frugally. So far, our plan hasn’t failed us! We’ve been married for 10 years and have always been happy with how our money situation has been.
Without further ado, I’m excited to share some tips about how we save money in general as well as some tips specific to traveling/RVing.
1. Cook at home
Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than going out to eat. It’s usually healthier too! It can be tempting to try out new restaurants when you’re traveling, but it can really add up. We try and save these occasions for times when we’re meeting up with other people on the road, since it can be difficult to entertain in a small space. Also, instead of ordering four meals and taking home a bunch of leftovers, we usually end up sharing two meals between the four of us. This may not work if your kids are much older and have big appetites, but we can still get away with it with our 7 and 6 year old.
Of course, when it’s nice out, cooking out with others is a ton of fun! Also, on travel days, we pack lunches and snacks instead of stopping to grab food on the way.
2. Look for free entertainment
Most cities have quite a bit of free entertainment if you look for it. I usually do a Google search for “free things to do in (city name)” or “(city name) visitor and tourism information” before we visit a city to find free sources of fun! Hiking trails are usually free, often times museums are free on certain days of the week, and you would be surprised what other fun, free activities you might find! City festivals, market nights, live outdoor music, great parks, historical landmarks…you never know what a city has to offer until you search!
We spent 10 days in Las Vegas without spending a dime on entertainment! Click here to read about that!
3. Price shop for gas
When I started driving, gas was less than a dollar a gallon! Times have changed and in some parts of the country, gas can be as much as $4 per gallon! If you drive a lot like we do, getting the best bang for your buck when filling up your tank can make a huge difference.
GasBuddy is an app (and website) you can use to find the best gas prices wherever you are (we have saved as much as $0.40 per gallon on diesel fuel by using the app and driving an extra half mile down the road!).
Small things like signing up for a rewards program (Shell gives $0.05 off per gallon just by registering for their free program) and using a rewards credit card (up to 3% cash back) usually adds up to about a $30 savings every month.
4. Plan a little
Some places we visit don’t have many or any grocery stores around, so I always check ahead and see what grocery options there are before we hit the road. This helps me know if we need to stock up on groceries before we get there. For instance, at the Grand Canyon, the place we stayed only had one general store and it was super expensive. We knew to plan our meals and buy what we needed before we got there to avoid paying MUCH higher prices when we were there.
Propane was also very expensive at the Grand Canyon RV park, $4.99/gallon! We called a hardware store on on our route in Kingman, AZ and they charged $1.89 per gallon. We saved almost $40!
5. Take advantage of campground discounts and memberships
Click HERE to find the campground memberships we have a love! These memberships have saved us TONS of money since we’ve been on the road!
Boondocking is another term for dry camping, or camping without hookups. We use Campendium (app and website) to find places to boondock. We’ve stayed in some beautiful, scenic spots completely free. Investing in a portable solar panel or a generator can allow you to boondock for longer periods of time!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to save money.
There are LOTS of ways to do this. These are just a few ways I wanted to share with you that I thought others might find helpful!
I’d love for you to share your tips on saving money in the comments below!