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This page I wrote for my old rv website RVforSaleGuide.com before discovering the Vanabode as the best travel vehicle for long term fun. People still like big rv's despite the much greater cost and trouble to operate, so here's what I know about them.

Full-time RV Budget - America

Below was our budget for retirement in an rv full time on the road with zero housing expense. After reading through this you will see why we switched over to the Vanabode system.

I am attempting to record every single expense we incur during these years of full-timing in a class A motorhome so you can get an idea of what full-time living in a motor home may cost. At the bottom of the page are expenses for traveling long distances Vanabode style followed by newer road trip budgets. Following each months report you will find the average daily spend and monthly total. Keep in mind we are budgeting EVERYTHING including items that have nothing to do with RVing in particular but are nevertheless part of our life, like new shoes, cell phone dues, or Internet access.

picture of us sitting in hot tub near glacier national park montana

This is a rather extravagant spend pattern because we chose to live quite nicely to begin with. For instance many of you may balk at spending $50-$170 a pop for special dinners, but we like to eat.

In other words you can travel MUCH cheaper than we do and still see the same places for less than half of what we have recorded here.

Those traveling in a used rv should NOT discount the $7,000+ we spent this year on the all important and often overlooked repairs and maintenance costs. Budget for it or suffer later.

 

July 2005 Full-time RV Budget Class A Motorhome

22 - weight scale and rv diesel 163, snacks 6
23 - dinner 85, snacks and stone mountain entrance fee 20
24 - dinner 19
25 - car gas 21
26 - Internet access 5
27 - groceries 31, dinner 29, shoes 5, shirts 21
28 - rv diesel 152, coffee 2, camp fees 30, laundry 9, dinner 55, movies 8, arch and Lewis and Clark Film 22
29 - donuts and bread 13
30 - rv diesel 153
31 - dinner 13, groceries 93, camp fees 36
Total July spend = $991, daily average spend = $99

August 2005 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees - 250, rv diesel 145, batteries 5, dinner 18
2 - movies 10, car gas 23, parking fees Rushmore 8, water 6, dinner 8
3 - groceries 29
4 - none
5 - dinner 20
6 - bike tires 18, dinner 8
7 - dinner 14, groceries 77, movies 10
8 - dinner 16
9 - bike repairs 72, plumbing rv 5, car gas 22, dinner 23
10 - national park pass 50
11 - dinner 19
12 - dinner 38, snacks 4, camp fees 34, koa card 14
13 - camp fees 34, car gas 18, groceries 47, dinner 29
14 - dinner 30, video 2, rv diesel 100, camp fees 34
15 - rv diesel 150, camp fees 34
16 - snacks 6, camp fees 34
17 - dinner 15, camp fees 34
18 - camp fees 34, snack 3, dinner 25
19 - camp fees 34, snack 3,
20 - camp fees 27,
21 - dinner 65, snacks 9
22 - dinner 35, snacks 5, movie 10
23 - movie 14, dinner 9, snacks 9, rv diesel 128
24 - rv diesel 185, dinner 59, camp fees 205
25 - groceries 55, dinner 15, movies 12
26 - RV insurance 392, dinner 29
27 - Car registration 29, KK donuts 3, dinner 32
28 - Clothes 9, dinner 37, entertainment 80
29 - Dinner 12, entertainment 20, gym fees 158
30 - Dinner 27, flask 26
31 - Dinner 11, lunch 7, snacks 2, entertainment 20
Total August spend = $3311, daily average spend = $107

September 2005 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees 605, dinner 10, lunch 19, entertainment 16
2 - breakfast 11, lunch 25, dinner 10, movies 12
3 - 0
4 - 0
5 - park fee 5, dinner 20, lunch 28
6 - lunch 11, postage 3, entertainment 190, massage 87, dinner 100
7 - lunch 15, entertainment 20
8 - breakfast 10, dinner 17, movies 4,
9 - movies 12, lunch 15, dinner 6
10 - groceries 103, dinner 41
11 - dinner 24, lunch 10
12 - snacks 3, dinner 21
13 - kids shirts 11, dinner 13
14 - Kelly dress 97, gas 20, entertainment 20, snacks 12
15 - entertainment 67, dinner 143
16 - movies 16,
17 - dinner 82, snacks 4
18 - lunch 8, groceries 23,
19 - lunch 9, clothes 33, snacks 3
20 - dinner 21, running shoes 86,
21 - clothes 74, dinner 25, gas 29,
22 - postage 8, massages 70, dvds 41, snacks 3, dinner 24
23 - movies 13, snacks 11, 31 groceries, entertainment 22, dinner 49
24 - videos 4, dinner 24, lunch 24, entertainment 15
25 - groceries 26,
26 - groceries 44, dinner 26, snacks 4
27 - shoe inserts 21, dinner 24,
28 - curtain fabric 88, dinner 17,
29 - entertainment 19, lunch 28, dinner 13
30 - cleaners 4, dinner 16, entertainment 13, snacks 6
Total September spend = $2913, daily average spend = $97

October 2005 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees 690
2 - entertainment 13, breakfast 22, groceries 87
3 - lunch 24, gas 30, movies 7
4 - movies 10
5 - dinner 21
6 - dinner 60
7 - snacks 8, snacks 7, movies 10
8 - groceries 67
9 - movies 13
10 - dinner 11, movies 6
11 - drinks 3, lunch 18, dinner 30, groceries 87
12 - movies 12.50, snack 3, sun screen x 5 $25
13 - lunch 7, bath product 10, dinner 5, snack 6
14 - gas 30, RV tag 47
15 - dinner 26, snacks 3, groceries 61
16 - clothes 7, movies 11, lunch 22
17 - misc. 8, snacks 10, dinner 32
18 - dinner 87
19 - dinner 12, Christmas gifts 32
20 - movies 4
21 - movies 13, misc. 8, lunch 32
22 - dinner 27, snacks 8
23 - groceries 18, dinner 23
24 - movies 12.50, CD 15, dinner 50
25 - groceries 82, dinner 93, snacks 4
26 - dinner 56
27 - dinner 30, candy 1
28 - gas 27, movies 11
29 - lunch 15, zoo 14, dinner 8, entertainment 10
30 - lunch 23, snacks 2
31 - mail rent 80, dinner 26, post office 2, snacks 2
Total October spend = $2380, daily average spend = $76

November 2005 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees 690, dinner 42, movies 12.50
2 - dinner 23, movies 4
3 - lunch 25, dinner 41, mailing 2
4 - dinner 23
5 - dinner 54, drink 6
6 - groceries 65, movies 10, dinner 10
7 - dinner 58
8 - dinner 23
9 - mailing 8, shirt 12, dinner 50, show 40
10 - dinner 50
11 - dinner 25, movie 10, snack 2
12 - groceries 65, movie 5, snack 1.50, inverter 46
13 - 0
14 - rv battery 121, lunch for four 65
15 - drinks 38
16 - breakfast 15, red rock 5, dinner 44
17 - lunch 6, gas 27
18 - dinner 22, drinks 15, movie 17
19 - dinner 30, dessert 8, show 108
20 - dinner 25, movie 13, late night food 31
21 - post office 6, MGM Grand hotel 41, dinner 16
22 - water 2
23 - movie 11, dinner 12
24 - groceries 104, dinner 110, show 64
25 - snack 11, Bugsy food 9, movie 13
26 - water 8, lunch 46, red rock 15
27 - dinner 27, movies 5
28 - misc. 10, post office 20, gas 20
29 - snack 2, breakfast 18
30 - lunch 9, dinner 9, movies 8, shoes 32, misc. 13, post office 2, fuel 11
Total November spend = $2646, daily average spend = $88

December 2005 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees 70, dinner 53
2 - show 66, dinner 45
3 - lunch 24, movies 11, dinner 18
4 - snacks 3, diesel 107, dinner 18, groceries 18
5 - snacks 20, groceries 41, fuel cap 7, diesel 163
6 - diesel 157
7 - dinner 21, diesel 135
8 - diesel 159, dinner 27
9 - camp fees x1 week 171.50, groceries 50, car battery 41, movie 12, dinner 25
10 - dinner 31
11 - gas 23
12 - groceries 45, dinner 19
13 - movie 12
14 - rubbing compound 39
15 - camp fees to finish month 372
16 - weights 12, game 22, book 18, groceries 65
17 - dinner 53, movie 17
18 - breakfast 15, gas 24, dinner 27
19 - shirt 22, Disney 57, gas 10
20 - books 13, gas 24, lunch 24
21 - rv door part 4, groceries 106
22 - movie 5, dinner 57
23 - groceries 30, Walgreens 8
24 - gas 18
25 - gas 15
26 - lunch 20, movie 12
27 - dinner 14
28 - groceries 67
29 - car body work 250, rental car 130, lunch 7
30 - rv supply 5, mall 42, dinner 25
31 - lunch 14, sheets 31, gas 23, Zoo 57
Total December spend = $3,347, daily average spend = $107

January 2006 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees 372 until Jan. 14, lunch 32
2 - propane 63, groceries 42
3 - lunch 23, books 13
4 - misc. at Walmart 30, Winn Dixie 3
5 - dinner 30, gas 20, rabbit food 7, rv part 12
6 - running gear 45, dinner 19
7 - gift 27
8 - lunch 25, pleasure island 11, CD 11, dinner 13
9 - car maintenance 438, gas 23
10 - groceries 31
11 - groceries 63
12 - dinner 50
13 - movie 12, gas 28
14 - movie 12, camp fees $50
15 - Sam's membership 35, food 52, computer, printer, and accessories 1200
16 - lunch 30
17 - groceries 89
18 - snack 6, notebook case 45, verizon broadband card 121
19 - lunch 32
20 - lunch 8, dinner 10
21 - diesel 75
22 - lunch 15, groceries 117
23 - dinner 50
24 - car insurance 307
25 - lunch 10, snack 13
26 - table/chair for josh 64, dinner 28
27 - dinner 54, groceries 45, gas 23
28 - snacks 8,
29 - dinner 73, movie 13
30 - groceries 93
Total January spend = $4121, daily average spend = $138

February 2006 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - dinner 40, groceries 50, gym membership 160
2 - movie 18, dinner 20, lunch 11
3 - gas 24, lunch 17, snack 3, movie 13
4 - lunch 12, dinner 57
5 - dinner 35, coffee 4
6 - road toll 6, parking 2
7 - road toll 6, parking 4
8 - gas 23, food 27, misc 35, school 360
9 - lunch 20, dinner 15, misc. 13
10 - dinner 66, movies 18, groceries 12
11 - groceries 32, dinner 95
12 - snack 9, lunch 17, movie 4
13 - lunch 25, racquetball balls 3, gas 23
14 - massage 120, movies 13, lunch 21
15 - lunch 6, groceries 86
16 - dinner 23
17 - dinner 15, movies 16
18 - lunch 20
19 - groceries 15
20 - hotel 85, lunch 33, snacks 6, dinner 30
21 - lunch 8, dinner 40
22 - rv maintenance and repairs (front brakes rotors and pads and bearings, steering, oil change, gas regulator and vaporizer, wipers, generator repair, roof A/C repair, furnace repair) 3838
23 - gas 20, groceries 28
24 - movie 16, snack 5, dinner 50
25 - diesel 75, shoes 53, groceries 61
26 - dinner 31, movies 18
27 - lunch 16, dinner 35, coffees 4
28 - MOSI in Tampa 50
Total February spend = $6116, daily average spend = $218

March 2006 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - Yankee candle 12, dinner for three 98, shoes 32, clothes 9, magazine 5
2 - Cocoa Beach surf shop 314, dinner for three 102, gas 23
3 - books 21, lunch 15, pizza 20
4 - lunch 15, ice cream 18, diesel 185
5 - diesel 123, lunch 7
6 - diesel 150, rv park 63
7 - lunch 17, dinner 30, misc. 67, snack 10, parking 6
8 - groceries 60, diesel 158
9 - gas 25, diesel 94
10 - hat 14, diesel 104
11 - campground 10, movies 17
12 - campground 20, breakfast 9, snack 5, dinner 35
13 - movies 6, lunch 18
14 - campground 30, groceries 93, lunch 5
15 - misc. 6
16 - snack 6
17 - diesel 83, propane 70, movies 19, dinner 19
18 - gym membership 100, office depot 4, lunch 25
19 - misc. 132, lunch 26, groceries 20, purse 54
20 - post office 16, gas 25, lunch 20
21 - lunch 43, dinner 28, misc. 48, RV repair (alternator) 710, kayak cover 90
22 - dinner 62
23 - dinner 170, dessert 16
24 - lunch 28, movie 19, misc. 17, snack 11
25 - dinner 58, drink 11
26 - breakfast 6, income tax nondisclosed
27 - movies 5, dinner 40
28 - VCR to DVD 150, gas 26, groceries 47, dinner 11, dessert 6
29 - lunch 11, gifts 56, clothes 11, dinner 62
30 - drivers license 27, lunch 13, dinner 30
31 - dinner 25
Total March spend = $5001, daily average spend = $161

April 2006 Full-time
Budget Class A RV

1 - snack 6, dinner 56
2 - propane 129, groceries 95, movies 19
3 - lunch 34, show 120, dinner 38
4 - 0
5 - 0
6 - lunch 32, dinner 30
7 - dinner 25, movies 13, club 42
8 - misc. 7, auto part 3, dinner 48
9 - dinner 11
10 - dinner 20, wine 16, snacks 4
11 - groceries 84, postage 1, dinner 15
12 - gas 29, spark plug 4, dinner 47, misc. 6
13 - dinner 54, movie 13
14 - dinner 23, coffee 4
15 - 0
16 - dinner 55, propane 88
17 - lunch 35, dinner 31, post office 14, gas 28
18 - lunch 8, snacks 11
19 - camp fees 429, lunch 24, movies 4
20 - 0
21 - 0
22 - groceries 80, movies 10, dinner 63
23 - movies 13, dinner 20
24 - 0
25 - post office 49, misc. 52, lunch 18, dinner 14
26 - lunch 10, gas 32
27 - post office 3, books 40, dinner 40,
28 - massage 48, movies 13, drinks 20
29 - dinner 18
30 - dinner 45
Total April spend = $2343, daily average spend = $78

May 2006 Full-time Budget Class A RV

1 - camp fees 80, dinner 74, movies 21
2 - post office 46, lunch 15, groceries 33, dinner 25
3 - lunch 18, snacks 12, show 63, dinner 28
4 - dinner 178, show 300
5 - camp fees 170, movies 6
6 - dinner 55
7 - lunch 27,
8 - misc. 9, gifts 65, camp fees 94, dinner 43, snacks 5
9 - lunch 5
10 - camp fees 243, lunch 41, groceries 71
11 - movies 13
12 - movies 19
13 - dinner 30
14 - dinner 10, gas 18, groceries 48
15 - dinner 50, snacks 7
16 - dinner 47, misc. 33, groceries 107
17 - sheets 70, misc. 27, lunch 16, dinner 70, camp fees 216
18 - dinner 30
19 - misc. 45,
20 - dinner 28, snacks 4,
21 - dinner 24, movies 13
22 - dinner 25
23 - misc. 67, misc. 130, dinner 7
24 - breakfast 8, camp fees 300, dinner 42
25 - sporting goods 169, dinner 33
26 - waters 3
27 - ended diary as record keeping is getting too time consuming
Total May spend = $3436, daily average spend = $128

November 2006 - January 2007 Vanabode Budget

Class B like RV/Van with bike rack and no campground fees.
Dates traveled:
November 11, 2006 through January 31, 2007
States traveled: Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida.
Total Miles: 10,215
Total spent on fuel and one oil change: $1,565
Total for groceries, lunches and dinners out with family and friends, tolls, misc., movies, and two nights in a hotel: $2,517
Grand Total for 81 days on the road: $4,082
Daily average spend = $51 (see Vanabode budget for more recent trips)

May 2008 - July 2008 Vanabode Budget

Class B like RV/Van
Dates traveled:
May 9th 2008 through July 16th 2008
States traveled: Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona
Total Miles: 10,112
Total spent on fuel, one oil change, groceries, dinners out, tolls, misc., movies, and three nights in a hotel:
Grand Total for 69 days on the road: $3459
Daily average spend = $50.13 (see Vanabode budget for more recent trips)

Living full time from a Vanabode, motorhome, rv or travel trailer and traveling all over the United States is one of the best ways to spend your money. Make memories with your family while you still have them. We never know how long we have.

Big bull bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park on the South side

Above: Both the Theodore Roosevelt National Park on the South side and the National Bison Range in Montana had big bull bison and plenty of nearly deserted trails and lands to explore. This one walked right past our campsite and was so quiet it was unnerving.

 

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