“Ways to Save” Theme Week – My Two Cents

author image

November 8, 2008

By Bob Difley
The theme this week on “Ways to Save” has produced many practical ideas for saving money as the new government settles in and the economy struggles to pull itself up by the boot straps. So for my two cents I thought I would offer the following basic list of money-saving ideas, some already mentioned, some not, of tips I’ve learned in my half century of RVing. Add yours in the comments section, I’m always looking for new ideas to add to my seminar programs.

• Stay longer at campground. Reduces mileage driven and gasoline used.
• Drive 55. Lower speeds produce more miles-per-gallon.
• Avoid jack-rabbit starts and quick stops. It’s all about torque and kinetic energy.
• Keep tires properly inflated. 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.
• Boondock more often. Save campground fees and grid electricity usage.
• Install a solar or wind turbine system. Provides renewable free power to enable camping longer off the power grid.
• If traveling and staying only one night in a campground, pay less by choosing a non-hook-up site or lower-priced regional or state parks.
• Eat out less. Save on food costs by preparing your own healthier meals.
• 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.
• Volunteer or become a camp host, which usually comes with a free campsite.
• Take a caretaking position. Look at the Caretaker’s Journal http://www.caretaker.org/for opportunities for free rent.
• 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 at the same time.
• 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.
• 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. 1/2 canadian

    Other than staying near 55 mph, I’ve discovered that using the cruise control greatly improves mileage. The electronic control of the throttle is far more steady than a human foot, thus eliminating minor but constant micro-pumps of fuel. I didn’t think it made that much difference until my last 600 mile trip, where I stayed mostly at 57 mph, used cruise control nearly the entire way (except steep hills), and went from the usual 6.5 mpg to nearly 10, saving about 32 gallons of $4 diesel. In the higher-speed freeway sections, I bumped up to 65 where the Allison would just shift into 6th, but I stayed at the minimal posted truck speed.
    Western freeways commonly post at 75, but did you know the maximum stamped on diesel pusher wheels is 75? Why push it.
    Slow down and use your cruise.