We moved into our fifth wheel on May 9, 2005, but we didn't actually start out on the road until August 3, 2005. That's when we started keeping track of our "full-timing expenses".
However, those first few months way back then are hardly relevant anymore, so we've basically eliminated 2005 to make calculations easier.
So, let's look at our annual averages from January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2016, eleven years worth of data.
In our first 113 months on the road as full-time RVers - August 2005 through December 2014 - we've kept track of every single penny we have spent.
The following charts show the monthly and annualized averages of what we call our Basic Living Expenses.
Note: What these charts do not show are what we call Our Major One-Time Expenses, which are large outlays of cash for lifestyle upgrades/improvements and unexpected expenses. We have not included those expenses here because they have been largely discretionary, and they distort our costs and averages of daily living. Not everyone will choose to have such large expenses and not everyone will be fortunate enough to have some of the funds we had when we started to cover those large costs. Still, we put them out there so everyone can see our entire expense picture. Perhaps it would be helpful to review the Understanding Our Full-timing Costs page before reading this one. :)
The first chart is a summary and the next two charts show the details of the two line items in the first chart.
Basic Daily Living Expenses are month-to-month expenses that we have control of and can adjust as necessary (campground fees, food, entertainment, etc.). Annual Fees, Taxes, Insurance are expenses we pay monthly or annually that we have little control over once they are in place (health insurance, life insurance, umbrella insurance, vehicle insurance, vehicle registration fees, vehicle property taxes, etc.)
In addition to the totals, we have broken the expenses down by "Non-Workamping Months" and "Workamping Months". You will notice significant differences in the Basic Daily Living Expenses. We have made this distinction to show that workamping has saved us and can save others quite a bit of money in the full-timing lifestyle. See Note 2 below the chart.
You will see that our line item expenses DO NOT include any RV payments or any other kind of debt payments. That's because we have no debt and we are adamant about keeping it that way. So, if you are trying to put together a budget based on our numbers and you have debt payments, you will have to remember to include those in your overall expenses.
Though I have shown all of our line item expenses for the periods of workamping versus not workamping, the only line items that really matter are Campground Fees, Diesel/Gas, Groceries & Dining Out, Clothing/Laundry/Hair Care, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous.
In those categories alone, we have consistently saved $1,000 a month or more when we workamp versus the months when we are traveling. Of course, the biggest savings are in Campground Fees (free campsites) and Diesel/Gas (simply because we are staying put and not eating up fuel), but there are small savings in the other categories mentioned as well.
You probably know that we have a truck and fifth wheel combination. Well, in looking at the numbers, you will also note that we also have a Jeep Liberty as a second vehicle. Linda follows behind the fifth wheel when we are traveling from place to place, and then we use the Jeep for all of our local errands and exploring.
We have about $130 per month in extra insurance and maintenance expenses for the Jeep. You will also note that we have Gas expenses for the Jeep whereas our Diesel expenses are just for the truck as we tow from one location to another. In doing our analysis of expenses, the extra gas expenses for the Jeep are offset by the savings we get from NOT driving the fuel-inefficient truck around for errands and local exploring. In other words, though we have additional fuel costs with the Jeep, if we did not have the Jeep, our Diesel expenses would be much higher, and probably well over what we spend in Gas.
Because we have maintained Kentucky as our state of residence for various reasons, we have to pay property taxes on our fifth wheel, truck, and Jeep. We have averaged around $1,000 per year for those taxes (they go down with the vehicle values each year). However, we feel we have saved that much due to relatively inexpensive insurance in Kentucky.
I tell you that because there are many states that have no personal property taxes on vehicles. Those taxes can be avoided when choosing a state of residency.
As we get more and more years on the road, these averages start to mean less and less. Because costs continually increase, the lower costs in our earlier years dilute the higher costs in more recent years when average in. So, while these averages may be helpful, looking at the more recent years' numbers individually will likely give a more accurate picture of current costs.