After a late start leaving the Twin Cities of Minnesota, we arrived a few hours later at Neshonoc Lakeside Camping Resort near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Tom’s daughter and son-in-law live nearby so this is the perfect place for us to stay at. Plus this is one of our favorite Encore Trails Collection parks. Total cost for nearly 2 weeks of full hook-up camping with a view of the lake, $0 with our membership! But more on that later…
We also found out that Justin Beiber and his wife had stayed at Neshonoc a few months earlier in his RV. He parked at one of the lake view spots that we had previously camped at…pretty cool! Watch the full video here!
This is one of our most requested videos! How much does it cost to live full time in an RV for a year? (See our expense update here!)
First, your expenses could be A LOT different than ours. Expenses will vary with the type of RV you own, if you buy new or used, where you camp at, how much you travel, how many mouths you have to feed, what food you like to eat, if you eat in or out, how much adventuring you do or entertainment you consume and a bunch of other factors.
A few years ago, we released a video entitled “RV Under $1000 Per Month, Could You Do It?”. Many viewers said it could not be done! However, a few said they actually do live on less than $1000 per month. If you want to live in an RV on the cheap, check out that video! There are also great tips in the comments! Just doing a little research. There are RV parks in the south that have monthly spaces as low as $200 a month or less, so you can live on the cheap if you want too.
Then we did our 30 Day Boondocking Challenge to save money and see if we could do it. And that’s why we don’t boondock much anymore! Haha! And we didn’t really save money! Check out that video series here! Some viewers said those were some of their favorite videos.
Plus some of our RV YouTube friends have done videos that you can watch to help compare expenses.
Check out Phil and Stacy’s video from You, Me & the RV one year of RV expenses, Brian & Shawnna from Lyf Uninterrupted released one year RV budget review, and Kyle and Olivia from Drivin’ and Vibin’ RV life monthly expenses.
By comparing a few other RV living full-timers yearly expenses and analyzing your own lifestyle, that will help you to budget for your expenses. Plus if you are already full time in your RV, share some of your expenses in the comments or tips on how you save money on the road.
Note: All of our RV life expenses are from the previous full calendar year, subscribe on YouTube so you catch our updates. We will make a new video updating our current year expenses after this year is over. We are looking forward to seeing our savings over last year, plus the impact of our newer purchases like our Ford F450 and Jeep Wrangler.
We are big fans of the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early). See our FIRE video here! This year we became credit card debt free and paid off my old truck in May (that payment was $460/month). Our Prius was purchased for $4000 cash a few years ago. That was such a great purchase and was an excellent adventure car! The fuel economy was amazing at 40 – 50 miles per gallon.
We also upgraded our RV from our 2013 Columbus to a 2019 Grand Design Momentum. Our RV payments went from $425 per month to $617.90 per month, partially due to a shorter loan term, 15 years instead of 20. RVs are not easy to get financed, so paying cash or buying a used RV may be a better way to go for you. Check out our entire series of finding, financing and purchasing our new-to-us RV!
RV LIVING YEARLY EXPENSES
The big one! Camping fees totaled $8604.40 or an average of $24.17/day. This is a little higher than our goal of $20 per night (which is why we joined a bunch of camping memberships to cut down on RV park expenses, we will analyze the campground fees next year to see if they go lower….crossing our fingers!)
We needed a break from crunching numbers! A local favorite in La Crosse Wisconsin is Dublin Square Irish Pub & Eatery. We met Tom’s daughter Cassie and her husband Alex for drinks and dinner! We shared an awesome meal together!
We also took Cassie to one of her favorite places to visit in the fall, Ecker’s Apple Farm in Trempealeau Wisconsin. This time we got to catch the Fall Fest that we missed when we visited last year. The apples were already picked, but they had apple pie….which was to die for!
RV MEMBERSHIPS THAT SAVE US MONEY! (These costs are not included in camping fees above)
- Thousand Trails (TT) $4150.00 This was an extra large one-time expense because of purchasing a used ELITE membership. The membership is lifetime and gives us the ability to go from one TT RV park to another TT RV park without any breaks. Plus we can stay 21 days at each park and reserve up to 120 days in advance! The monthly fees are just $56.84 after purchasing the membership. Check out all of our Thousand Trails videos here!
- IMPORTANT: If you are interested in a “used” TT membership, contact Kimberly at Campground Membership Outlet. She has the experience to help you navigate the complicated transfer process. Contact Kimberly at http://enjoythejourney.life/TT or 800-272-0401.
- If you would rather try a TT camping pass for a lot less or buy a “new” membership (and save $100 off). Contact Aaron at Thousand Trails directly at Aaron_Massa@equitylifestyle.com or 360-489-4407. Aaron will make sure you get the best price on your retail membership! Let Aaron or Kimberly know that Tom Kenemore (Enjoy The Journey.Life) referred you! Thank you!
- Our next membership is actually part of the Thousand Trails membership. It’s called the Encore Trails Collection and it gives you access to a lot more parks and some of the nicer ones like Sunshine Key RV Resort in the Florida Keys and Neshonoc Lakeside Resort (where we are staying at during this video). Again, contact Kimberly or Aaron above to add the Trails collection, we highly recommend it!
- Coast to Coast has a one-time membership fee of $995, then annual dues of $160 offering up to 2 weeks in some pretty nice RV parks and campgrounds for just $10 per night. (Contact Kimberly above to add this membership).
- Resort Parks International (RPI) This is an add on membership to your Thousand Trails upgraded membership. With annual fees of $179, it operates very similar to Coast to Coast. You get access to RV parks and campgrounds for $10 per night for up to 14 days at a time. Plus there are some other cool benefits like discounts on cruises, condos and other types of travel. (Contact Kimberly or Aaron above to add the RPI membership).
- Harvest Hosts (HH) Our cost $73.71 (but this is a locked in lower rate) With Harvest Hosts, you can stay at over 1400 unique locations like wineries, breweries, museums, golf courses and more! This is one of our favorites for quick overnight dry camping (or drydocking) as we are traveling. Plus you can score a 20% discount through end of the year by using our link http://geni.us/winedock
- Passport America (PA) Our cost, just $4 (because of referring other campers like you). Passport America is the original 50% off camping membership! You can get half-price on RV parks and campgrounds during the off-season or during the week. This our favorite membership for quick overnight RV parking with full hook-ups! Membership is just $44 per year, sign up at http://enjoythejourney.life/HalfOffCamping
- Boondocker’s Welcome $30 per year. Our final membership is an old favorite! Boondocker’s Welcome hosts are other RVers that have space on their property for other RVs. Some even have hook-ups, sign up at http://geni.us/boondockers
OTHER RV LIVING FULL TIME EXPENSES
Cell phone/internet $3095.77 I know, this is not cheap! But we have been enjoying our upgraded Iphones and AT&T service. This expense also includes purchasing upgraded WIFI at RV parks and campgrounds that offer it. Share your cheaper alternatives for cell phones and internet in the comments!
Truck maintenance $3566.08 Another huge expense because of body damage from RV Crushes Truck, major work to alignment, front suspension, etc. and a busted hose in the mountains. Follow the links to see our videos on the challenges we had with my older Chevy Silverado truck.
RV Maintenance $1306.71 Actually this is not bad! All of this is related to our old RV except for moving over the washer and dryer to our new RV and repairing the dryer (which was broken from the start).
- RV $1670.60 A little higher with owning 2 RVs at the same time for a few months.
- Truck and car $1638.26
- Truck $3086.35 This was before we discovered the TSD fuel card which has been great for saving money on diesel! Currently on some fill ups, I save over $15! Find out more about the TSD fuel program here http://enjoythejourney.life/RVfuel (please mention Thomas Kenemore referred you, thanks!)
- Car $1713.70 This might seem high for a Prius compared to the truck, but remember, once we get to a campsite, the truck basically is parked until we move again. The Prius aka adventure car (currently a Jeep) takes us to all of our adventures, grocery shopping, etc. for weeks at a time.
Storage $1040 Yes, I unfortunately still pay for storage for some items. I know we need to get rid of this expense soon!!
Rallies $160 Grand Design RV Rally! This was soooo much fun! We loved meeting new friends like you and seeing old ones! We hope Rallies return safely soon! Watch the video here to see ‘some’ of the fun we had!
Tolls/parking $130.20 Not too bad for this year!
What we didn’t include: medical and dental, groceries, clothing, eating out and general entertainment like Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.
BUT HERE IS A BONUS: Dental $1173.68 Mostly in Mexico, Cheri and I had a significant savings by going to Mexico and my US dentist confirmed that they did good work. Here is our dentist http://www.drabduldental.com/
Again, Note: All of our RV life expenses are from the previous full calendar year, subscribe on YouTube so you catch our updates. We will make a new video updating our current year expenses after this year is over. We are looking forward to seeing our savings over last year, plus the impact of our newer purchases like our Ford F450 and Jeep Wrangler.
Now back to Neshonoc! My youngest son Alex also stopped by for another visit and to try out an ebike! We can’t say enough about how much we love our Lectric Ebikes!
We also went to an old favorite of ours! Holmen Locker Meat Market in Holmen Wisconsin has the best cuts of steak and jerky we have ever had. If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop in! Tom stocked up, but quickly ran out of jerky within a few short weeks.
This was another family visit that went by too quickly, but we stayed at Neshonoc Lakeside Camping Resort until they were closing for the season. Most of the RV parks and campgrounds close around mid-October in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Plus the nights are getting colder so that means it’s time to go south before the snow flies.
Thank you for reading, watching and subscribing and sharing this with your RV friends. And again, share what your expenses are and how you save money each year on the road! Safe travels friends! Say hi if you see us on the road!
Tom, Cheri & Logan
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