By Bob Difley
Back in the good ol’ days when we were all making money on our stock portfolios and our retirement income was healthy, we didn’t have to think much about economizing or how to save money while on the road.
The toughest decisions we had to make was whether to buy the $20 or $40 bottle of wine, go to a 4 star instead of a 3 star restaurant, and whether to stay at RV resorts boasting amenities such as golf tours, swimming pools and hot tubs, and lots of planned activities.
I fear that, except for a minority of us, those halcyon days of yore are gone. The pundits on CNBC are back talking the “D” word, Europe’s woes are making headlines, and street demonstrations are growing. Even the most un-conservative spendthrifts among us have to be thinking of watching the outflow with all this uncertainty.
One of the things I’ve always liked about the RV Lifestyle was our ability to make such cutbacks when the times warranted. That was a hard thing to do when we lived conventionally in nice suburban houses and had more-or-less fixed monthly expenses–gas bill was mostly the same month-to-month, club dues the same, food bill ditto.
But with the RV lifestyle, when the s**t hits the fan, or markets are on the verge of panic, we RVers (at least fulltimers) have the ability to weather the storm by instantly changing our plans and just as instantly cutting expenses until things settle down. For instance, to cut down on your fuel bill stay longer in each location and drive shorter distances between campgrounds.
To save on campground costs, avoid expensive RV resorts (photo), stay at campgrounds for a week or more to save off the much higher day rates, stay at lower priced state parks or forest service campgrounds, or boondock free on public lands–which essentially reduces your campground costs to near nothing. To save on food costs, shop local farmers markets and buy mostly local foods (locavore is the term for eating locally), cook more and eat out less, and when you do eat out look for interesting local and ethnic restaurants rather than tourist traps.
There are many ways to instantly cut expenses until bumpy times even out, and my eBook 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck will give you many more. Then when the economy gains some strength, you can return to you more profligate ways–or you may decide that the changes you made are not so bad after all and you spend the left over money to help someone in need or contribute to your grandkids’ college fund–we know they will certainly need it.
Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and for my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (Kindle version), Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (Kindle version), and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar (Kindle version).