Full Time RVing Costs: Van Life Edition – August 2017

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What does it cost to live out of a camper van full time? In this post we share the fourth month of variable van life costs for full time travel. Continue reading for a detailed breakdown of costs.

For a six month average, watch the video below.


Full Time RVing Costs: Van Life Edition – August 2017:

Statistics:

Total Miles Driven: 1,048
Avg. MPG: 14
Nights of Paid Camping: 3 (Cape Lookout State Park)
Nights of Free Camping: 28 (Harvest Hosts, Casino CampingStreet Camping, Driveway Surfing)
Meals Eaten Out: 4

Variable Costs Breakdown:

Food $369 – groceries and dining out
Gas $197
Campground Fees $35
Gym Membership $22
Misc $70
Total Variable Costs: $658
Cost Per Day: $21

Fewer miles on the camper van resulted in a big drop in our gas bill this month. We’re also happy to report that our MPG is back up to 14. Kait likes to remind me that she did more driving in August. Not sure what that has to do with our MPG though ?.

Miscellaneous costs continue to drop and Kait still hopes to get it under $50 every month. As we get more accustomed to van life, we’re finding new ways to keep costs down. One tip if you’re traveling through Oregon is to look for clearance produce at Fred Meyer. They usually have bags of fruits and vegetables discounted to $1.

Fixed Costs

Costs such as cell phone plans, health insurance, vehicle insurance, club memberships like Costco, Escapees, Harvest Hosts, and Elks gym are not included. The reason for this is we’ve found that fixed costs for RVing can vary dramatically depending on your situation. Below are some examples for reference.

If you pay cash for a used RV, you won’t have an RV payment and insurance will be lower on an older vehicle.

We pay about $150/month for an unlimited cell phone plan that we need for all the content we upload. You may only need a pay as you go cell phone or not even need one.

If you work for a company that pays for health insurance, you won’t have that as an added cost. Since we work for ourselves, we pay for our own health insurance.

Being avid readers, we have the Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription which runs about $11/month. There are other subscriptions and services that you may choose to have that can increase fixed costs.

We did share our fixed costs when we started out. If you’d like to get an idea of what those costs were for us, head over Cost of RVing in a Motorhome for One Year.

View More Van Life Cost Reports or click on the banner below.

Thinking of the best van chassis for your camper conversion? Check out our Top 6 Van Chassis for your Camper Van Conversion.

Cost of Living Full Time in a RV

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18 thoughts on “Full Time RVing Costs: Van Life Edition – August 2017”

  1. Joe & Kait, we just discovered you while we were researching which type of RV we are going to get. You both are very inspiring. I’ve literally started a spreadsheet and am adding many, many of your equipment and methods to my list. I really like seeing the foods Kait makes in such a small space; wonder if maybe you’ll do a cookbook with recipes someday? I’m impressed with all the details you share and hope you don’t mind if we become copy cats 😉
    We wish you safe and fulfilling travels! And offer you our carport for driveway surfing if you are ever up in the rainy Seattle area. We grind our beans every morning too 🙂
    Kevin & Robin

    Reply
    • Hey Kevin and Robin! Glad you found us and finding the content helpful. We’ll definitely take you up on your offer to driveway surf when we make it up to Seattle. Let us know what RV you end up with.

      Reply
  2. My wife and I are now fulltime in our motorhome, although still working fulltime until Jan. of 2018. I am wondering if you would provide details of your health care expense. Type of plan, deductible and monthly cost. We are not eligible for medicare so like you we will have to buy ours.
    Thanks,
    Paul & Carole

    Reply
    • We’re going through the ACA exchange in Texas and picked one of the high deductible plans. It’s only good in Texas unless we have an emergency and then it only covers us during the emergency. Example, if I break my arm, I will be covered to go in and have it cast, etc but once that’s done, any other treatment or removal of the cast would have to be done in Texas if we wanted to be covered. We decided to pay cash if we need to see a doctor and have the plan in case anything serious comes up realizing that we may have to drive/fly back to Texas to get treatment.

      Reply
  3. Hi Joe,

    How many nights were Harvest Hosts? Since the expectation is that Harvest Host guests will make purchases to show appreciation for their stay, did you track that spend?

    Reply
  4. Hi Joe and Kait,
    Thank you for posting all this great information. My husband and I have been following you two for a long time and are thinking of going full time in a van or smaller rv soon. I have a question about your paid camping this month. I see you spent $35 for 3 days of paid camping which I thought was a great price. When I looked up those sites I noticed they are at least $20 a night for a tent site and $31 a night for an RV site, did you use a discount? If so what kind? We are hoping to save as much money on camping as possible when we hit the road and appreciate any tips and tricks you can offer. Happy Travels!

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the info on monthly expenses. One item you missed under vehicle costs is insurance
    & Taxes. I may have missed it but also know you have no RV payments and few maintenance expenses. But did enjoy the post.

    Reply
      • Hi Joe, Your cost for health insurance is under $6k a year. Could you give me some insight into plan and coverage? We are retiring before we reach medicare age and i’m interested in finding information on costs before pulling the plug on my job. We’ll be traveling a lot (Pickup and trailer), but not full time. Thanks Bob

        Reply
        • We’re going through the ACA exchange in Texas and picked one of the high deductible plans. It’s only good in Texas unless we have an emergency and then it only covers us during the emergency. Example, if I break my arm, I will be covered to go in and have it cast, etc but once that’s done, any other treatment or removal of the cast would have to be done in Texas if we wanted to be covered. We decided to pay cash if we need to see a doctor and have the plan in case anything serious comes up realizing that we may have to drive/fly back to Texas to get treatment.

          Reply

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