8 Easy Ways to Save on the Costs of Full-Time RV Living

Hey friends. We are here in South Beach, Florida. We just finished a beautiful day at the beach and we're sitting on Ocean Drive.

How can you save money living in an RV and traveling? Here are seven tips that we use to save money, so we can take vacations like this one.

Ibotta app

1. Ibotta

Number one is Ibotta. Ibotta is a great shopping app that you can download on your smartphone. It’s saved us so much money for things we buy anyways.

They put money in your account and you can withdraw it with PayPal whenever you want. We already saved over $100 in rebates, and that’s money you can apply towards fun stuff like this.

You can use Ibotta at regular places you go to, like Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods. There are so many places on the app and it’s really user-friendly.

2. Amazon.com

You’re probably familiar with Amazon, but did you know that you can set your shipping address to wherever you’re going to be staying with your RV, and they will send that order to you in advance?

I’ve even shipped packages to post offices where I’m going to be located. Then, I go pick up the package with my ID. It’s just so easy.


3. Restaurant.com

When you are traveling around places like Miami, there are so many great restaurants. They’re not cheap, but you can check out restaurant.com and save 50% on dozens and dozens of restaurants throughout the city. They also have an app. It’s a great way to save money.

Saving money at restaurants

4. Groupon

Another way to save money on restaurants is with Groupon. I’m sure you’ve heard of Groupon. We used it on our first. We went to a really nice restaurant on the ocean.

Using apps for cheap RV stays

5. Use apps for cheap stays

Can you save money living in an RV? A good way to do so is by using a couple of different apps to find places to stay. The first is Passport America, where you can save 50% on stays from Sunday through Thursday.

We’ve paid as little as $19 to stay at a campground overnight. It’s so user-friendly. It shows you the whole entire map. You click on exactly where you are, and it gives you a number of options, with links to the website of the campground. It’s saved us a lot of money.

Membership is like $50 a year, so after two or three stays at campgrounds, you’ve got it paid for.

Allstays app and website

Another app, if you want to know all the locations, from boondocks to Walmart to Cracker Barrels along the way to stay at, not necessarily for the long term, is the Allstays app or website. There’s a free version and a premium version.

It’s always great to check that first before you try boondocking (what we call dry camping) at a Walmart because some Walmarts don’t allow it. It’s better to check ahead of time.

We always call, just to get official permission, even if the Allstays app says it’s ok, because laws change, and sometimes it’s a city ordinance kind of thing. You don’t want that knock in the middle of the night from the police saying, “Hey! You need to get packing…”

Staying at an RV campground

6. Negotiation

You can offer to pay less, no matter the expense that we are talking about. I stayed at a campground years ago for about $100 a week, full hookups. It was off-season, and all I did was say, “Hey. This is my budget.”

We stayed for six weeks in that location in the Black Hills of South Dakota, just a few miles from Mount Rushmore — an amazing location in the mountains. 

7. Trade

Another way to save a lot on items that you use at campsites is trade. A few months ago, we stayed in Arkansas on trade for a drone video. We had a really nice golf RV resort campground kind of thing. 

When you show up to a place or even call in advance, ask what they need help with. Social media? Marketing? Whatever skills you have you can work out a work-camping opportunity.

We had a friend who was a leader of a great band and he negotiated to play in the club on the weekends and get the price knocked down for his monthly stay. He also helped build firepits.

You never know what their needs are, what your skills are, and what you can bring to the table. It never hurts to ask for a lower price or for a trade. The worst they can say is no.

8. Happy Hours

It’s fun to go out and hit the happy hours. You get a great drink and food price. They always have small bites. It’s an inexpensive way to have dinner out and have a great time.

We used to have a Whole Foods dinner, where they had a personal pizza night special. We would split a personal pizza for like $6. We picked up a bottle of cheap wine at Whole Foods. They would cork it for free, and we would eat for less than $10, including tip. It was a great date night.

A couple of drinks at half price, some appetizers, and we got dinner covered. On average, it costs around $20-$25, whereas you can spend $50-$100 for a typical night out. It’s so expensive here in Miami.

Save on the costs of full-time RV living

What are your tips? How do you save money on the road and when traveling? Can you save money living in an RV? Let us know in the comments.

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 1 comment
  • Lbo15128297 Lbo15128297 on Mar 29, 2023

    We lived in our motorhome for several years and cut the cost by volunteer camp hosting at state and federal parks.