For the last few mornings, snow has been blanketing the mountainside but melting off by noon. This is nature’s not-so-subtle warning that one day very soon, we’ll wake up with four feet of the white stuff and have to dig our way out of here. Before that happens, we’ve been making progress getting the rig loaded, checking off lists and eating through our gigantic freezer.
I believe being on the road is cheaper. How about you?
If you know what you’re doing, it’s possible to live more cheaply in an RV than a stick house (provided that you don’t have mortgage or rent to cover).
Being the meticulous bookeeper that I am, I track all of our expenses in Quickbooks. Here’s a general breakdown of what we spent four months at a time on the road, and here at Jerry’s Acres.
January 2010 to April 2010 (on the road)
Booze & Entertainment: $364
Food & Dining Out: $1798
Health & Beauty: $19
Pet Expenses: $624
Home Repair: $115
Truck Repair: $39
TOTAL: $4,803 ($1,201 per month avg cost)
May 2010 to September 2010 (at Jerry’s Acres)
Booze & Entertainment: $400
Food & Dining Out: $2915
Health & Beauty: $138
Pet Expenses: $987
Home Repair $506
Truck Repair: $556
TOTAL: $7,655 ($1,913 per month avg cost).
This excludes business expenses, one-time building upgrades, and static monthly costs like taxes, insurance and club dues. These costs are for two people and one dog.
But yes, living in a stick house is indeed more expensive! Even up here on a remote mountaintop, we find things to indulge in. We eat way more high end good eats when we have a full-sized refrigerator to stock, and a large kitchen to make a mess in. Also, driving the one hour each way to town isn’t cheap either, which is why we only do it twice a week to take Wyatt to his lessons and stock up.
My own tips for living cheaply on the road include:
- Invest in a good solar setup. Doing so will save hundreds by allowing you to boondock in free places.
- Never pay full price for a campground. Passport America and Escapees are the only two discount camping clubs worth the cost. Passport’s 50 percent discount will pay for itself the first time you use it and Escapees 10 percent savings will pay for itself after a few nights. If you’re too cheap to do that, good sites like FreeCampgrounds.com, RVParking.com and FreeCampsites.net are good sites to search.
- Buy the $10 Escapees Day’s End Directory. This guide to free and cheap boondocking spots all over the country will save you tons of money.
- Diesel rigs are the way to go. While diesel may not always be the cheapest fuel, the mileage you get out of a tank will be better than with a gas engine. And their power kicks butt on the highway!
- Stay away from popular places and touristy areas. You’ll pay three times what you would normally pay for a comparable campground outside the entertainment zone. There’s so much more to see outside of these crowded areas.
- Eat in! It’s tempting to try every new eatery in every town you go through, but save those for special occasions.
We’ll have more tips for you as we head out for our fourth winter on the road. Until then, stay warm and be sure to point your rig west…we’ll see you in the desert!