HIBOY US:16 May, 2023

Would It Be Cheaper to Live in an RV Than a House in the U.S.?

An RV parked in the shade


The popularity of RVs is seeking no end, making people shift from traditional homes to living in an RV full time. While living in an RV is cool, exciting, and saves costs to no bounds. But is the experience worth it? Or there’s a lot more hidden from your naked eyes? 

This post unveils the pros and cons of living in an RV and compares the average monthly costs of home ownership and RV living in the U.S. So stay tuned if you hope to invest in a recreational vehicle. Let’s get started.

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Average Monthly Costs of home ownership in the US

Average American households spend roughly over $5000 monthly. Generally, housing, transportation, taxes, and food comprise approximately 78% of the budget. However, the budget varies if you are an individual or a family person with kids. Here’s a quick breakdown of typical American households. 

List of Expenses and items 

Average Monthly Household Expenses in the U.S.


$1050 ($1784 monthly with mortgage interest, property tax, maintenance, repairs and insurance)





Utilities and household costs




Health care


Social security contributions, etc. 




Cash contributions 


Clothing and services 




Alcohol and tobacco


Personal care 



Average Monthly cost of RV living in the US

RVs have some predictable expenses that come with the lifestyle, including fuel, insurance, maintenance, storage, and camping fees. Typically, you should be prepared with an RV monthly budget of around $2000-$5000 for a great travel experience. Here’s a quick breakdown to decide if living in an RV suits you. 

1. Gas and Propane

It takes around $500 a month on gas and $50-$100 in propane.

2. Campsite fees

The campsite fee can range from $14-$40 per night, but it varies by location and season.

3. Food

Groceries and dine-out can take hundreds of dollars depending on your diet and preferences.

4. Rig Repairs and Maintenance

Ordinary expenses include brake jobs, oil changes, filter replacements, and tire rotations. So ensure setting a budget of $200-$300 monthly for repairs and maintenance.

5. Electricity  

An RV takes an average rate of $77 monthly. However, you can use solar generators as an alternative energy source to lower your bills by up to 40% and reduce your carbon footprint.  

6. Vehicle Insurance 

It costs around $800-$1000 annually. 

7. Health Insurance 

A basic health insurance plan costs around $400 monthly for individuals and $1000 monthly for families.

8. Phone and Internet Plan and Entertainment 

While phone and internet plans can cost $50-$100 monthly, entertainment can range between $100-$200 monthly. 

9. Other costs 

Besides the items mentioned above and services, laundry, RV wash, mail service, tolls, and pets can cost you between $50 to more than $100 monthly, depending on individual needs. Even parking rates are budget friendly and can cost around $15 to $40. 

Is it lawful to live in an RV in the US?

The craze for RVs is seeking exponential growth and has become a symbol of freedom and safety. Though living in an RV can get complicated, it is legal to live in one. However, every state has its laws and guidelines for RVs; you must adhere to them if you plan to get one. 

Anyway, it is totally legal to live in an RV, and you don’t even need a special license to drive. However, you must declare a state of residency to have a legal address, vehicle registration, and a state driver’s license. Also, some organizations make new regulations for RVs, so ensure abiding by them before investing in one. 

Group of people having a picnic in front of the RV

The Pros and Cons of RV Living Full-Time

Living in an RV is a great experience, but before investing in one, you must thoroughly consider its pros and cons to gear up for intelligent decision-making. So let’s have a look at them.


  1. Travel with the comforts of home 

As the RV is your home, living in one brings comfort during the trip. You can avoid packing/unpacking in hotels and even minimize your packing list. You can sleep in your beds and prepare soulful food in the kitchen.

  1. Mobility and flexibility 

RV allows you to travel and move whenever you want, anywhere. Most importantly, it is flexible to frequently change your location and home base, allowing you to move and change places according to the season. Also, it gives you financial freedom by saving money and flexible time. 

  1. Minimalism 

Though living in an RV full-time simplifies your life, the transition can be challenging. It requires minimalism to set up a traditional home in a limited space completely. RVing helps you cut emotional ties with worldly possessions and benefits for the rest of your life.

  1. Cheaper lifestyle and cost savings 

Living in an RV is more affordable and lets you save money on utilities, rent, and mortgage. However, you must prepare a budget for campgrounds and fuel, but many membership clubs allow you to save money on campsites if you plan ahead and use them frequently. 

  1. Eco-friendly lifestyle 

RV is more eco-friendly than traditional homes, and the lifestyle emphasizes consumption and resource usage. You can invest in solar, create power, and find ways to conserve water. You can also look for ways to minimize waste and dispose of your trash constantly. 

  1. Other benefits
  • Adventure and experiences 
  • Freedom 
  • Quality time 
  • Find new neighbors 
  • Skip the messy and tiring yard work 
  • Closer to nature 
  • Great for traveling with pets
  • Vacationing is a way of life 


  1. Limited storage 

An RV has limited storage, so you cannot keep all your prized possessions. Instead, you must get creative with the storage solution, downsize your kitchen and cookware, and take advantage of vertical storage.

  1. RV maintenance 

RVs run on wheels and are built with lightweight materials to travel smoothly for a great traveling experience. But all this requires maintenance, which can be time-consuming and expensive without proper planning. Usually, the larger the RV, the costlier the annual maintenance is.    

  1. Lack of space 

RVs are typically small and cramped and may not suit everyone’s preferences. A single space should be used for multiple purposes. For instance, you need to cook in a small area, get dressed in a tiny closet and even navigate a small bathroom. Though it can be challenging, you will learn to adjust with time.  

  1. Irregular and inactive internet/WiFi access 

Since RVs can travel across places, having reliable internet to stay connected can be difficult. But with proper planning and equipment, you can curb this drawback in a snap. For instance, opt for multiple carrier hotspots, unlimited cellular data plans, satellite internet plans, or get a mobile/WiFi booster. 

  1. Noise and privacy issues

RVs are smaller than traditional homes; they can be noisier due to insulation issues and have privacy problems. So traveling solo can be a good idea, but if you plan to share it with your spouse, family, or kids, settling with everyone in a tiny space together will be time-consuming. 

  1. Other drawbacks 
  • Unpredictable weather 
  • Temperature fluctuations 
  • RV depreciation
  • Stressful travel days 
  • Changing routines 
  • Obvious grime and clutter 
  • RV refrigerator packing takes practice 

 A girl is cooking on an RV

Must-Have Camping Gear Items for RV Living

1. Tent 

A tent could provide shelter and protection from the elements. It’s significate to choose a tent that's appropriate for the mumbers in your group and the weather conditions you might encounter. Keep in mind to set it up properly, and consider bringing a groundsheet that is better with a function of waterproof and moisture-proof to protect the tent floor.

2. Camping stove 

A portable stove can make cooking meals and boiling water a breeze. Generally to say , there will be two options for you, a camping stove with fuel or electricity.   Considering the size and weight of the stove for portability, and being mindful of fire safety rules and regulations, an electric camping stove is the better choice for you. Cooking over an open flame or campfire may also be an option, but make sure to check local regulations and fire restrictions. Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and properly dispose of all food waste and trash.

3. Powered Cooler

An electric cooler is essential gear to keeping food and drinks at their ideal temperatures, easy to carry, and has enough space to hold all your perishables. Otherwise, the critters in the forest will appreciate your gift.

4. Flashlight

A reliable light source can be a great helper for navigating in the dark. Trust me, don’t even count on the flashlight on your iPhone. Make sure to bring extra batteries and keep your flashlight within reach at all times.

5. Portable power 

When you are ready to venture away from your house and embark on an RV journey.  A high-capacity portable power can keep all the appliances that you need to be charged,  especially those electric-powered items we mentioned. And you can easily hold it anywhere or go on a picnic for its compact and lightweight.

6. First aid kit 

When you're out camping, accidents could happen at any time. You never know when a cut, scrape, or burn might occur, and end up your trip for laceration, so it's crucial to pack a well-stocked first aid kit. Having a first aid kit in your RV can be a lifesaver. In addition to the essentials such as bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers, remember to bring any necessary prescription medication you may need. If you have any allergies or medical conditions, make sure to include any necessary medications and inform your camping partners about your needs.

7. E-Scooter

You might think carrying an e-scooter will be a waste of the space of your RV, but a high-quality e-scooter can be a fantastic addition to your RV life. It’s not just a fun way to explore the surrounding area but good gear to cut down on pointless errand time. You can easily navigate around the campsite and reach nearby attractions with an e-scooter, all while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Plus, if you have any mobility issues, an e-scooter can provide the necessary support and comfort to make your RV living more enjoyable. Just make sure to choose a model that's durable, lightweight, and capable of handling the terrain in the area.

8. Water Flitter

Essential for RV living, water filters ensure clean drinking water on the go. Removing contaminants and improving taste, they safeguard your health, protect your plumbing, and enhance your overall RV experience. Stay hydrated and worry-free with a reliable water filter in your RV.

9. Pocket Knife

Whether you're preparing food, carving wood, or tackling any other puzzles. A pocket knife is undoubtedly one of the most versatile tools you can bring on a camping trip. one good pocket knife along with sturdy construction that can stand up to the rigors of outdoor use means you can handle a range of tasks with it.  Whether you're an experienced camper or a first-timer, a reliable pocket knife should be at the top of your gear list.

10. Fire Extinguisher

 An essential tool in RV living, fire extinguishers are essential protection from potential fire hazards. Be prepared in case of emergencies with well-kept extinguishers in your RV to safeguard lives and property while making travels safe and exciting. Stay protected while enjoying adventures on the open road.


Final Wrap Up

So if you were reaching out to buy an RV, hopefully, we have satiated all your queries for clear decision-making. While having one is indeed a different kind of experience, and you may take time to adjust, remember to repair and maintain your rig for a comfortable and joyous travel experience. 

Have a happy and safe trip!


What type of RV is best for a full-time living?

While there’s no fixed answer to it as it depends on individual preferences, solo travelers generally prefer conversion vans, and full-time families prefer travel trailers and fifth wheels with bunk rooms and lofts (for kids). RVs as these towable RVs have homier layouts and are comparatively cheaper.

What are the hidden costs of living full-time in an RV?

RVs have sneaky charges that can add up and break your budget. For instance;

  • Full-time travelers must choose a service and pay membership dues to take an address on the road as they don’t have a permanent one. It can include RV taxes and insurance rates.
  • Requires investment to winterize a rig for a cold-weather occupation to insulate thin tubes and pipes and avoid freezing. 
  • Travelers must invest in weatherproofing, insulating, and getting heated tank wraps and water pumps to keep their RV in motion every season, especially in winter.
  • Dedicated GPS and tolls 
  • Annual maintenances charges 

What is the downside of living in an RV full-time?

Although living in an RV has multiple benefits, the downsides are significant and cannot be ignored.

  • Limited storage space 
  • Road fatigue 
  • Less privacy and personal space 
  • Constant grocery trips 
  • Patchy WiFi and mobile service 
  • Difficulty in finding local services 
  • No consistent neighbors and communities
  • Limited job opportunities 
  • Constant RV repairs and replacements 

Can you park an RV anywhere in the USA?

Before investing in an RV, you must know that overnight parking an RV on residential streets is not allowed. However, some cities allow travelers owning an ‘RV parking permit’ to park their vehicles on the street. Travelers can park their RVs in the rest area, depending on their location (states) and prevailing laws. Another great option is to park your RV in a Casino at night, but ensure to inquire with the Casino owner first to ensure your presence is entertained.