Full Time RVing Costs: Motorhome Edition – November 2015

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It’s our third month of full time RVing and we seem to be finding our groove! We’ve continued to try and take it slow in order to save money on fuel. Although we drove nearly 900 miles in two days from Tucson to San Antonio! Food expenses were quite a bit more this month because we restocked on many essentials items at Costco. For those of you with a Costco Membership, you know how easy it can be to spend money there. It took a lot of self control not to fill up two carts worth of goodies.

To view all reports, RV Living Costs: Full Time in a Motorhome for One Year.

Full Time RVing Costs: Motorhome Edition – November 2015:

Total Expenses: $2,929
Cost Per Day: $97.63
Total Miles Driven: 2,609
Generator Hours: 21
Jeep MPG: 18
RV MPG: 6.5
Nights At RV Parks: 6
Nights Spent Dry Camping: 24
Meals Eaten Out: 19


Our expenses went up this month, spending a total of $2,929 compared to $2,686 last month.

Here are a few notes about our expenses this month compared to last month:

  • Food costs were much higher for two main reasons. We stocked up on many essential items at Costco that should last us quite a while. More social activities means more eating out. Kait’s parents visited us in Tucson, Arizona for three days and we got a chance to meet up with fellow RVers.
  • We didn’t have any dog expenses last month, but Leo needed flea treatments and more food this month, adding $83.
  • More savings on fuel! We drove fewer miles which saved us just over $190 on gas. GasBuddy continues to help us find the best gas prices. Check out the Essential Mobile Apps for RVing.
    • Miles on the RV: 1,405 – avg mpg 6.5
    • Miles on the Jeep: 1,204 – avg mpg 18
  • MPG on the RV dropped this month. We’re getting more comfortable driving and consequently setting the cruise control at higher speeds (around 70 mph).
  • We spent more nights dry camping than at RV parks.
  • Still haven’t paid to dump thanks to the Allstays Camp & RV App! We did buy a ladder holder and ladder so we could clean the windshield and the RV.

November 2015 Expenses

Lessons Learned:

Some things we learned this month that we’d like to pass along.

Drive slower and shed some weight! When we increased the setting on our cruise control from around 62 to 70 mph, we noticed a decrease from 7 to 6.5 MPG. We consulted our Ford chassis manual and found that for every 400lbs we shed, we gain about 1 mpg. Since we do a lot of dry camping we always top off our fresh water tank (75 gallons) whenever we can. This means we typically drive long distances with an extra couple hundred pounds of water. Shedding the extra weight will help increase the MPG. We’ll start looking for potable water at destinations to try and lose some water weight.

Stocking up at Costco can be expensive but saves us money in the long run. Before we left on this trip, we stocked up on items like canned goods, oils and spices, alcohol, etc. At the end of October, many of those items ran out and we made a pilgrimage to Costco to replenish. Most of the items we picked up should last us a few months (if not more) which means our grocery bill next month won’t be as high (hopefully). Stay tuned for a separate post on how much we spent at Costco and how long those items lasted – broken down on a per day cost.

Cracker Barrel is better than Walmart for overnight RV parking. We’ve found that Walmart is hit or miss in terms of allowing RVs to park overnight. When we call ahead to ask if we can park, we’re told yes – but when we arrive we’re told they do not allow overnight parking. This has happened on multiple occasions and can throw a wrench in our plans. Many Cracker Barrels have dedicated RV parking spaces and they are always friendly and consistent with their overnight policy. Learn more about Overnight Parking at Cracker Barrel.

To view all reports, RV Living Costs: Full Time in a Motorhome for One Year.

RV Living costs


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17 thoughts on “Full Time RVing Costs: Motorhome Edition – November 2015”

    • Don – no, we specifically got an RV that had the Norcold in it. We did this because we planned to boondock quite a bit and the residential fridge uses up a lot more electricity – which means more batteries and getting more solar or running the generator more often. It’s worked well so far except for when we were in CO at high altitudes.

  1. New follower and enjoying your blog. I am now researching which rig to buy kind of the same situations you went through. My prefer size is less than 35′ as well and looking to travel full-time.

    You both seem young and am very impressed and courageous in leaving behind your jobs and your home. My wife and I just turned 40 and want to enjoy while we are healthy and able to have this dream. They said to make more memories than to have more dreams.

    Hope to meet you along the way.

    • Don – thank you so much and we’re very happy you’re enjoying the blog. Love your attitude on life and we couldn’t agree more with why you want to get on the road.

      Under 35 is good size but we’ve found that most National Parks limit you to 30′. It’s hard to do now, but the more you figure out the style of camping you want to do, the easier it will be to nail down a good size. If you need help or have more questions, feel free to email us at info@weretherussos.com

      Look forward to seeing you on the road!

  2. I’m visiting your site on my phone from a link on Reddit. I don’t see any ads on your site. That may be why ads aren’t being clicked. Some viewers aren’t seeing them.

    • Thanks for the feedback Juliet – unfortunately with the mobile site, the ads are all the way at the bottom of the page and we’re looking for a design that works better.

  3. When you mention that you drove 2,609 miles for the month, does that combine both Jeep and RV miles? It is 867 miles from Tuscon to San Antonio. That leaves 1,742 for just driving around and doing stuff. We have a 5th wheel and get around 10 when pulling, but still only get around 13 to 15 normal if not in city traffic. How did you rack up the miles this month??? We are prepping to leave for full time soon and using gas is one of the big budget items which is why I am curious. Thanks for the posts.

    • Hey guys!

      In our reports, we have a section for notes on our expenses and break down the mileage by vehicle – so it was 1,405 on the RV and 1,204 on the Jeep. We didn’t move the RV too much until we made the trek from AZ to Texas. We won’t be doing that long of a drive for a while so our mileage this month should be down (in the RV at least). Looking at our September report to now, gas has been a big expense and hence why we’ve slowed down rather than driving a couple hundred miles every couple days.

  4. When you dry camp and run your generator, that changes your fuel consumption. Have you computed that in your mpg figure as well as your increased speed? Just curious what a typical dry camp overnight on generator during the different peak seasons will run $ wise.

    • Dona – Yes, we do consider generator hours when we calculate our MPG. We figure about 1/2 gallon per hour to run the generator. However, when we were driving from AZ to TX we didn’t use the generator at all and were able to calculate the exact MPG which was 6.5 (that’s also when we really started driving faster).

      The answer to your question about dry camping is – it depends. When we dry camped in Tucson for 8 nights, we never once ran the generator because we were using our portable solar panel. If we don’t get any sun, then we typically run the generator for about two hours to charge up the batteries for the day. There are exceptions when it’s VERY cold or hot, we will run the generator longer to heat/cool the RV.


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