Emulate congressional goals: Cut spending but maintain your RV lifestyle

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December 11, 2010

By Bob Difley

Soon the lame duck congress will pass the baton to a new house consisting of many new representatives elected on the platform of cutting costs and reducing debt. A noble effort, as long as the costs being cut do not affect our particular interests.

So with that aim in mind, it would be a good time to look at ways to cut our RVing costs, while not diminishing our RV lifestyle or causing unwanted hardship. At first, some of the suggestions listed below may appear to do that, but in actuality, most are just a matter of changing habits and adjusting priorities. I’m sure you can add some more, that’s what the comment section is for, so you can be heard also.

  • Stay longer at campgrounds.  Check out the weekly rates, sometimes significantly less expensive than the daily rate. You will also reduce your total annual mileage and fuel used.
  • Boondock more often. Save on campground fees and grid electricity usage.
  • Stay at your boondocking campsite longer. Practice conserving your resources, water, electricity, holding tank capacities to stretch your boondocking days. And (Note: book plug coming) consider buying my ebook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands which shows how to become an effective boondocker.
  • Drive 55. Lower speeds produce more miles-per-gallon, and you will enjoy the scenery more at lower speeds.
  • Avoid jack-rabbit starts and quick stops. It’s all about torque and kinetic energy and fuel usage.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. It can save up to 3% on fuel mileage.
  • Install CFL or LED interior lights. These bulbs not only last much longer but use less energy.
  • solar_panelsInstall a solar or wind turbine system providing renewable free power to enable camping longer off the power grid as well cutting back on running your generator.
  • If traveling and staying only one night in a campground, pay less by choosing a non-hook-up site (sometimes called a tent site) or stay at lower-priced regional or state parks without hook-ups, or at stores that welcome free over-nighting like Walmarts, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, and Kmarts.
  • Eat out less. Save on food costs by preparing your own meals in your RV kitchen.
  • Reduce food costs by bypassing the middle man. Buy from farmers markets, roadside farm stands, U-Pick farms and orchards, and other local food producers and ranchers.
  • Reduce cost of food packaging. Buy in bulk from stores that offer this option.
  • Eat right and get plenty of exercise (at least ½ hour per day) and you might be able to cut down on meds and doctor visits–and you’ll feel better.
  • Volunteer or become a camp host, which usually comes with a free campsite.
  • Take a caretaking position. Subscribe to the Caretaker Gazette for opportunities to trade out your skills or presence for free rent–and sometimes with a wage.
  • Shop for quality–but slightly used–outdoor wear at St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, or other charity stores—and you will be helping worthy charitable institutions while at the same time buying quality labels at far below retail prices.
  • Start a book exchange at your favorite campground, or encourage the camp host at RV parks to set one up to cut down on the cost of your reading pleasures.
  • Some libraries have used magazine exchanges where you can get current or one month old magazines for free–you might be able to cancel your current magazine subscriptions and save money having them re-shipped to you on the road.
  • Shop Quartzsite for all kinds of bargains offered by RVers cleaning out their lockers, hard-core flea market sellers, and other interesting folk.


Leave a Reply


  1. Bob

    I’m with you Tex. Bob tries to be apolitical but sometimes/most-times he just can’t stay away from his addiction.

  2. Jim G

    To Tex and all others who post, read and react to blogs on RV.net

    Happy Holidays and safe travels.

  3. one click away

    I would also like to hear more about solar and wind turbine systems. I will keep my political views to myself. I read this web site for RV info not someones political views.

  4. Checking your engine and your gears before leaving can save you a ton of money while on the road. It helps stave off breakdowns, and lets you enjoy your camping without a fuss.

  5. Tex

    Jim G,
    Yup. I see what you mean, now, partner. I agree exactly with what you’re saying; that this forum should remain focused on RV issues, and emulate Congressional goals, as the title of this article suggests! ‘Cut Spending’ being among them.

    I think that Barry N. Schmidt said it pretty well. Bob often baits his readers into going down some of his political rabbit holes.

    I’ve told Bob that, but he just can’t seem to help himself any more than Congressperson Madame Pelosi can resist her weekly 5000 mile round trip commute to SF on our nickel in our government-provided Gulfstream III that gets 0.7825 MPG, using 6390 gallons (568 gallons an hour) per round trip of Jet A at a government-negotiated price of $2.50 per gallon, costing us taxpayers a total $15,975 in fuel per round trip each week, while we would do it in our RV Motor Home at 8 MPG, using 625 gallons of gas/diesel at a retail price of $3.00 per gallon and cost us RVrs a total of $1,875 per round trip for fuel. For two people…no pilot, no co-pilot, no crew chief, no homeland security lackey…maybe a cat or dog. The RV perspective would be much more environmentally friendly than the congressional House Speaker (for now) because of the fuel savings, but sadly would eliminate a few government jobs at additional savings for us taxpayers. I’m with Bob Difley on this one despite the subtle bent toward politics.

    But Mr. Difley provokes thoughtfulness and new information on our RV lifestyle. Right?

    He does!


  6. Jim G

    I do not agree that this forum is the appropriate forum to express political viewpoints. I do agree that the advice in the original post is valid and helpful. Perhaps I should have more carefully reviewed my post before sending it, but as another responder, Gary, said we should stick to the topic, there are many other non-RV forums for us to vent our political sentiments. Okay?

  7. Curtis

    I have done something about saving my money to enjoy being on the road in
    my Motorhome. I invented a green theme black tank and grey tank cleaner and
    a solution to help break down solids in the back tank. A lot cheaper that the
    formaldahyde stuff. Saves me money, I like that, because I can afford the high price of GAS. It is safe for the inviroment too.I am going to put this on the market as soon as I figure out how to do that.

  8. Barry N. Schmidt

    Correcto Mundo! This site is not a forum for politics, but Bob occasionally drifts into politics with between-the-lines innuendo. You should know better, Bob. Not all of us share your political stance, so please just stick to motor home topics.

  9. Michael J. Beck

    To all:
    Would you ‘feel better’ if the title was walmart style ala ‘Save Money Live Better’ some thing like “Spend Less RV More”.

    Personally, I feel the word ‘Duck’ should be removed. Coming or going what’s the diff?

    As Sgt. Hulka said, ‘Lighten up, Francis.’

    Have a Nice Day.

    Just ‘Speaking MY Mind’

  10. Michael J. Beck

    More info on “wind turbine system” for RV’s Please.

    Thanks MJB

  11. Gary

    Come on guys, please stick to RV issues, let’s not ruin an otherwise excellent site.

  12. Tex

    Ummm, so Jim G,

    Are you saying you don’t share Ron’s viewpoint, but his advice, you say is sound and applicable????

    …Huh? Could you please run that by this ole slow-poke again?

    Thanks partner,


  13. Jim G

    I do not necessarily share Rons viewpoint but do not feel that this is the most appropriate forum to point fingers and/or blame about our economic state of affairs. That said, the advice is sound and applicable to both RV and more traditional lifestyles, in my opinion.

  14. Ron

    An Economics 101, actually Economics 001, multiple choice question:

    Money is tight and your income is down. Which of the following would you do?

    A. Borrow as much money as you need to so you can continue living your lifestyle as you have been


    B. Tighten your belt and cut back on frivolous and unnecessary spending till the economy turns around.

    ‘A’ is what our lame brain, er, lame duck congress has been doing for the last 2 years.

    ‘B’ is the correct answer.

  15. hoppe

    Might also want to read a book titled ‘shock Doctrine’. Looks like we are about to get a dose of wealth distribution. Seems the 2% don’t have enough yet. Hang on tight folks, it may be a rough ride.

    The ‘New’, ‘Old’ crowd is already showing their true colors. Gotta be ‘fair’ to those poor, rich folks. AKA “The Best Thieves in the US”.