Is Living in an RV Cheaper Than an Apartment?

One may wonder whether living in an RV is cheaper than staying in an apartment in order to decide the most suitable place to live. Besides, since an RV is well furnished just like an apartment, you have nothing to lose when you make an RV a permanent residence.

Is it cheaper to live in an RV than a house? Yes and No. It all depends on your personal life choice. To some, living in an RV is cheaper than an apartment but to others, it is far much expensive.

In any home, how you use your equipment will affect the total expenditure. Furthermore, the more people you live in a home, the higher the cost of living. For instance, if you have a family of 8 living in an RV and you use a washer and dryer the electricity bills will be high.

For you to decide whether living in an RV is cheaper than living in an apartment, follow this guide so you do the math of potential expenditure and make an informed decision.

A guide to RV living

1) RV living and the Issue of Bills

  • Bills to pay
  • Bills not to pay
  • Expenses list

2) RVing in a Park

  • Is it cheaper to live in an RV park?
  • How much does the average RV park cost?
  • How much does it cost to live in an RV park per month?
  • How to avoid bad RV parks (video)

3) Living in an RV

  • Can I buy land and live in an RV?
  • How can I live in an RV for free?
  • Where can I park my RV for free?

4) Parking your RV at Walmart, Flying J, Costco, and Rest Areas

  • Can I stay at Walmart in my RV?
  • Can I park my RV at Walmart?
  • Can RVs stay overnight at Flying J?
  • Does Costco allow overnight RV parking?
  • Can you park an RV overnight at a rest area?
  • States that allow roadside RV parking

5) Can you poop in an RV toilet?

RV Living and the Issue of Bills

Bills to Pay When Using RV

 All these apply in an RV. However, there is a specific bills you have to pay when living in RV such as:

  1. Electricity
  2. License fee
  3. Insurance cover
  4. Laundry- unless you have a dryer and a washer
  5. The extra cost for those with internet service and TV
  6. Other monthly expenses such as food

However, unlike living in an apartment there are some exceptional payments that you do not have when you choose to live in an RV that actually makes life easier.

Besides, RV homes are much smaller than living in an apartment and thus your possessions are reduced in an RV making life cheaper.

When you live in an RV, you do not have to pay for

  • Property taxes
  • Furniture, window, or appliance treatments
  • Water and sewer fees
  • Pool or lawn care
  • Disaster insurance such as flood insurance for homeowners
  • Restaurants, hotel, and airfare when traveling

However, the best way to determine which lifestyle is cheaper you need to get your math right. Do a list and make a comparison of all the expenses you incur when living in the apartment and when living in the RV.

The result can give you the best answer to this question that can accurately inform your decision.

Create a list of expenses.

For instance, you can account for some of these just to mention a few

  • Utility expenses
  • Mortgage/rent payment
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Insurance for health, vehicles, and belongings
  • Taxes
  • Licenses for vehicles
  • Laundry
  • Electricity
  • Food and water
  • Miscellaneous such as expenses for eating in a restaurant

In order to determine how expensive living in an RV is, consider some of these common expenses

  • RV purchase payment. Account all cost even if it is on loan
  • Utility cost
  • Compound rent and camping fees
  • Upkeep and repairs
  • Insurance
  • Gas or RV fuel expenses
  • Food
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Miscellaneous purchase such as souvenirs

In fact, some people even prefer full-time living in RV while camping than living in an apartment.

2) RVing in a Park

Is it Cheaper to Live in an RV Park?

It depends on the lifestyle you choose. Living a simple life in an RV where you just have the basic needs, then you are likely to save a lot. In this case, the RV lifestyle becomes much cheaper than living in an apartment.

However, if you decide to leave a life full of luxury, and several movements in your adventures then living in the RV would be more costly than simply living in your house.

Besides, for you to know which one is cheaper you need to taste both living styles. Get an RV and note all your expenses then compare with how you used to live in your house.

How Much Does the Average RV Park Cost?

Charges do varry from one park to another depending with season, location, and the size of the park. However, average cost per night ranges from $20-$80. For instance, a camper trailer spot can cost an average of $45 per night inclusive of water and power.

Common Approximate Charges of Campsites.

Campsite Location Charges per night
Americamps RV Resort.Ashland,

$40-50 for back-in site RV  (Cable TV, Sewer and water pump, Wi-Fi, 30/50 amp electricity)

$50-60 pull thru site RV (Cable TV, Sewer and water pump, Wi-Fi, 30/50 amp electricity)

$55-69 Concrete site (pay extra $3 for any other passenger you come with)
Camp Hatters RV Campground and ResortWaves,

North Carolina
$43-45 from January to mid March$63-75 September to late November

$43-45 late November to early December

Extra $4 for each child from age 6 to 18
Extra $8 for adult
Extra $3 for pet
Extra $3 for cable TV
Doc’s RV ParkGulf Shores, Alabama$40 year round
Extra $40 for RV storage
Grand Canyon Camper VillageGrand Canyon, Arizona $41 for winter (November 1st to April 1st ) 50 amp full hookup

$56 summer (April 1st to November 1st ) 50 amp full hookup
Five Pines Camping and Recreation Farmington, Pennsylvania$10-38 all year round
Polson Motorcoach & RV ResortPolson, Montana$60-100 spring,

autumn$90-225 summer
Libby’s Oceanside CampYork Harbor,

$60-100 Extra $3 for visitors

Extra $5 additional adult
Extra $3 additional child
Extra $5 additional vehicle  
Mill Creek Ranch ResortCanton,

$162-255 year round
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf CourseBorrego

$64-84 October to mid January

$77-101 late January to late April
Oak Grove Resort CampgroundsHolland
Premium sites

$55 spring
fall $60
summer $65
Zion River ResortVirgin

Back-in standard
$35-50 winter
$60 summer
$50 autumn
Durango RV ResortRed Bluff

$50-60 year round

Extra $5 daily use fee
Extra $3 for visitor
Extra $3 for guest
Extra $2 for vehicle

How Much Does it Cost to Live in an RV Park Per Month?

Here is just a basic breakdown of expenses to know how much you can spend when camping.

However, it all depends on the lifestyle you choose, places you visit, family size, and inflation. Remember what works for you may not work for someone else.

That said, with a basic budget of $1800 per month to spend you can set $500 for food and basic household items such as toothpaste.

$500 for gas. $100 for insurance, $500 camp fees and $200 miscellaneous.

The budget can go high or low. Just be prepared and track your spending to inform your future budget.

Inflation can highly increase your expenditure. To lower spending, get ways for free camping such as boondocking, card discounts, and club membership among others at your disposal.

How To Avoid Bad RV Parks

Watch this video and get tips on how to avoid bad RV parks. Remember the park you choose for RVing has a much significant impact on your overall camping experience.

Tips to Avoid Bad RV Parks |RV Park Ideas

3) Living in an RV

Can I Buy Land and Live in an RV?

Yes. You can buy land and temporarily live in your RV. Like you have your own home as a place of permanent residence and a temporary residence in your RV at your backyard. But, it is illegal to make an RV a permanent residence in your backyard.

Making an RV a permanent residence is prohibited since an RV is considered a locomotive and not a permanent dwelling in US laws. Thus, unlike a permanent home that requires a specific address for paying bills and taxes, it’s not possible to have an address with an RV since its always on the move.

Besides, tracking you in an RV to pay your bills such as loans can be difficult since you can move from one place to another. That is why you need to have a home for permanent residence other than an RV.

Furthermore, you need to confirm with the local laws. Some states allow only overnight parking at your backyard, others allow parking for a certain duration while others completely prohibit backyard parking.

You may consider selling or changing your residence in case the law is not in your favor to park in your backyard when you are not traveling.

How Can I Live in an RV for Free?

There are several ways you can live in an RV for free. I mean most if not all of your bills get catered for while you enjoy yourself without being stressed up with endless bills. You can consider engaging in boondocking.

Also, you could have subsidies on your bills. Some of the ways include but not limited to


You camp and also work. You can be a volunteer at a campsite and help around in exchange for free propane, water, electricity, sewer hookups, utilities or campsite among others.

Camp in National Parks:

Most national parks offer low camping fees. Please note you need to do an advanced booking to get a free slot. You are restricted to stay in one spot for a maximum of 2 weeks.Club membership:

Subscribe to camping clubs to help you predict your expenses. A thousand Trails (TT) among other clubs can be a good option.

With TT, you can buy a camping zone in advance and get 30days free camping. Afterward, night charges are lower in comparison to non-club members.

Camp in local parks:

Camping fees can be as low as $13-$15. Besides. Some sites have free utilities and can also provide a common site to have your water tanks refilled.

Acquire a camping card:

Some card discounts can save you some costs.

Deal sites:

Be watchful for upcoming deals on websites such as Groupon and apply for better deals.

Long term campground stays:

The longer the duration of your stay in one campground the cheaper your stays keep getting

Crash with family and friends:

If they are willing to accommodate you for some days.

Where Can I Park My RV for Free?

Most places charge RV for parking. Besides, in some places, it’s completely prohibited to park your RV and you can find yourself on the wrong side of the law. However, there are places you don’t have to pay for parking.

Free Parking Spots for RV

Some of the 7 free parking spots for your RV include but not limited to:


Especially during the weekend and holidays where the parking lot is not busy

Rest areas

Some can be free but confirm in advance if you are legally allowed to park there in order not to make parking space for a real commercial trailer.

Truck Stops

Truck stops for large trucks even in highways. Some include RV space. Although sometimes you may need to pay

Walmart stores:

Allow free night parking of RVs.


The majority of casinos offer free night parking. Do your homework.

RV/Car/Truck repairs shops:

If you need some minor repairs done try to do it at night so you park the RV for free in the repair stores and get it in the morning.


Most free spaces on weekdays and you can join the believers on Sundays to park your RV

4) Parking your RV at Walmart, Flying J, Costco, and Rest Areas

Can I Stay at Walmart in My RV?

Yes. RV travelers among the most values customers by Walmart. Which seller won’t love bulk shoppers? Most of the RV travelers can do bulk shopping for camping trips and Walmart is a good place.

So, whenever you are near a Walmart store consider talking to the security to notify them of your intentions of parking and doing an overnight stay.

Otherwise, your intentions might be questioned if you just continue with your normal business without notifying those in charge.

Can I Park My RV at Walmart?

Yes. You can park anytime even without a membership. In fact, when you are near Walmart stores and need to rest at night, Walmart stores allow free overnight parking although not all stores.

Free parking can save you some expenses and am sure such chances are one of the most cherished for travelers to save for the near unknown future expenses.

Besides, there is added value in parking at Walmart stores. Free security. The security guards, as well as the surveillance cameras at the stores, offer free nigh watch-outs while you enjoy your sleep without worrying about your safety.

Can RVs Stay Overnight at Flying J?

Yes. Flying J allows overnight RV parking. It has specific RVs parking slots away from Truck side operations often located near Auto & RV fuel pumps. RV fuel lanes allow RV parking awaiting to be fueled.

However, some RV users have reported a few concerns on minor vandalism of the RVs that have been parked in the truck area. It’s assumed the possible perpetrators could be truck drivers who believe their space has been invaded by the RV.

Can I park my RV at Flying J?

Yes. Both day and night parking is allowed. Be parking your RV in the specific RVs’ parking slots. In addition, you do not need prior permission to park your RV in the Flying J since the slots have been specifically reserved for RVs parking.

Does Costco Allow Overnight RV Parking?

Yes. You can freely park your RV at Costco overnight even without a membership. The warehouse has vast parking space, secure and well-lit environment.

In addition, just like in Walmart you can purchase other essentials such as supplies, camping gear, groceries, tires and gas at a discount.

Overnight parking is free since most parking spaces are empty. Besides, just discourse with the guards on duty to help you out. Please note, some stores may not allow RV parking overnight for other reasons. Confirm in advance.

Can You Park an RV Overnight at a Rest Area?

Yes, you can park but not in all the rest areas. In somewhere the rest area is meant for a commercial trailer, you are not allowed. Besides, some States completely prohibit Overnight parking in rest areas.

States that Allow Roadside RV Parking

Here are some of the States and places where you can park your RV at the roadside rest stops

  • Virginia
  • Texas
  • Oregon but not more than 14hrs
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio (only on Turnpike)
  • New York under emergencies only
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Kansas
  • Indiana (Toll Road only)
  • Illinois (Toll Road only)
  • Connecticut
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona

5) Can You Poop in an RV Toilet?

Yes. Once you are done relieving yourself in the RV toilet bowl, there is a pedal that you need to press that allows water to enter the bowl in order to flush the waste just as home toilets operate.

Since this is a vehicle, where does the poop go in an RV? Once you flush the toilet, a flap automatically opens up beneath the toilet bowl that in turn allows the waste to drop into a tank located under the trailer.

Once flushing is complete, the flap closes to prevent odors from entering the inner sections of RV through the toilet bowl.

The waste tank contains chemicals that break the waste and eliminates the odors. It’s worth using a single-ply toilet paper than a double-ply toilet paper since it enhances a faster breakdown of the waste. If you run out of RV toilet paper, learn this RV toilet paper alternatives you can use.

Although despite having fun in RV the issue of manually emptying the toilet tank is not interesting but has to be emptied. Besides, since the vehicle is on the move the toilet is not linked to a sewer line and you have no option but to do it.

Check other activities you can engage in while driving in RV.

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