Costs of Full-Time RVing – May 2019

May 2019 found us spending our time in the upper midwest states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. During the first few weeks of the month we were stationary at the home of a family member where we spent time visiting and helping them with a move into a new home. Once that huge job was completed we explored the west central part of Wisconsin for a few days then settled down for the last week of the month in central Wisconsin in our former home town where we visited friends and more family. 

A common misconception with outsiders looking at the full-time rver lifestyle is that our highest expense is fuel due to constant driving. Interestingly, our most expensive months over the past three years of rv life have occured when we travel minimal amounts. Instead of huge gasoline bills we tend to spend more on upgrades, repairs and general shopping when we are sitting still. A major reason for this is many of the products we buy are purchased online and being stationary makes receiving packages much easier. Also, when planning an upgrade we prefer to allow extra time to complete the projects as to not be rushed and risk having to move to a new site without being able to finish the tasks. 

Total expenses for the month of May were $2,272, over $700 more than our average expenditure of $1,500. The three areas that substantially increased this month were Communication, Food and RV/Auto expenses. The Communication category increase was due to adding a Verizon unlimited prepaid plan and purchasing a $200 hotspot. Internet access is very important to us with our chosen lifestyle and our hope in an additional plan is to ensure service in more geographical areas as we travel. We had heard rumors of the Verizon plan ending and decided to jump on the bandwagon before that occurred. Interestingly, Verizon stopped offering the unlimited plan two days after we activated ours. We’re not entirely sure if we will keep both the Verizon and AT&T unlimited plans in the future but for now this is what we’re going with. 

Total food expenses for May were $472, approximately $150 more than average. The majority of the added costs were associated with additional food and beverages purchases from both grocery stores and restaurants while in Minnesota helping our family with their move. Extra food, beverages and snacks were also purchased at the end of May for an upcoming June fishing trip in Canada. 

RV/Auto expenses were $547 for the month with a majority of the funds going to four tires for the Kia Soul and a window upgrade for the door of the RV. The Kia tires were a known expense that we had planned for but the RV window was an impulse purchase. Our door window, like most RVs, was frosted and impossible to see through. We saw a posting on a Facebook group where someone had replaced theirs with a larger, clear window with a built in blind and within minutes we ordered one. The install was relatively painless and the results are very worthy of the expense. 

The remaining categories of expenses for May were relatively stable. Follow along below for a complete breakdown of categorized costs


monthly travels

Monthly Expense Breakdown

Below is a breakdown of our monthly expenses along with an explanation of what is included in each category. We track our spending via the free app “PERSONAL CAPITAL” and publicly share it to help others estimate their potential expenses for life on the road.

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Detailed Expense Breakdown

Campground Fees – $0

No campground expenses were incurred this month. Overnight stays included two nights at Harvest Hosts sites, three nights at a Boondockers Welcome site and twenty six nights at the home of friends and family in Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

Communication – $404

Verizon phone plan shared with family, unlimited data plans with AT&T and Verizon, and UPS mail box costs are included in this category.  Also included in expenses this month are costs for the Verizon hotspot and $4.05 in postage. 


Entertainment – $43

Expenses include ride tickets for our grandchildren at Como Town amusement park and monthly fees for Netflix and Hulu plans. 


Food – $472

Includes all food and alcohol expenses for the month. $82.87 was spent on meals and beverages eaten out and $388.88 for food and beverages prepared and consumed in the RV. Some food and beverage purchases this month were also for our extended family. 


Gas (Car) – $109

Total miles driven in the Kia Soul for the month was 1,123. Fuel prices ranged from $2.61 -2.89 a gallon. 


Gas (RV) – $109

Total miles driven in the Thor Vegas RV was 272. Fuel is also used to operate the on-board generator. Fuel prices ranged from $2.63 – 2.71 a gallon. 


General – $94

Purchases included a new drinking water hose, grease gun and miscellaneous household items such as toiletries, paper products and cleaning supplies. 


Harvest Hosts is a network of wineries, farms and attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight. Since starting our journey we have enjoyed the hospitality of many of these locations.

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Laundry – $0

No expenses were incurred this month as we did laundry at the home of a family member.


License/Insurance – $115

Full-time RV and tow vehicle insurance and licensing. 


Medical/Dental – $259

Expense includes our monthly health insurance premium and an out of pocket medical expense. 


RV/Auto – $547

Expenses include a car wash, oil change, wiper blades, cabin air filter, engine air filter and new tires for the Kia Soul and USB plugs, USB wiring supplies and a door window for the RV. 


Utilities – $52

Expense includes a dump fee at Marathon Park in Wausau, WI and two propane fills at a Holiday Station in Lake Elmo, MN. Propane was $2.99 per gallon plus tax. 


Expense Breakdown

2019 By Month

2018 By Month

Annual Expenses

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