Electric Bills KILL The Full Time RV Budget

Ahhh, the full time rv budget. We love having few bills now and we’ve done a fair job, given the obstacles we’ve faced, of keeping things on the cheap. The loss and hardships that have taken place in the past few years kept us from the ability to go super frugal, like being a camp host, boondocking, etc. because we couldn’t choose our location or commit to being able to stay in one place long. But we found creative ways to live cheaply, even advertised needing a place to park on craigslist, resulting in 5 private, wooded acres to ourself! Yep, not now.

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But even with our hands tied behind our back and being stuck in a very expensive state with few rv parks around (Illinois), we’ve done okay. Then, we didn’t. Enter the joys of the rv parks that charge electric separately – when you HAVE to stay through the winter, when your motorhome is NOT meant for frigid temperatures and when there is no other rv park around that is open for miles and miles. Yep, that’s us.

The full time rv living budget just cannot survive when you have zero options. That’s why, whenever it is possible, you have to plan ahead. In our situation, we just had to be in the area…there were no options. We are, however, hopefully heading home to Glacier Park Montana in May…much more affordable and much more beauty, I might add!

We’ve stayed at rv parks before where they charged electricity separately, but when the weather is ok, we barely use any electric – so it isn’t expensive at all. But we’ve had two space heaters running around the clock, and we’ve STILL been cold..and they charge 12 cents KWH. Ugh. Our bill? $180 PLUS monthly rent of $350. In Montana, the rv site we stayed at, mountains all around, was $275/month WITH all utilities! Yeah, we cannot afford Illinois much longer. Honestly, we could have stayed in a warm cozy motel and hibernated like bears this winter for the same price, coming out during the spring thaw!

But we always learn what not to do by suffering through painful lessons, one at a time! We now know how much it costs to have to run a/c or heaters around the clock – will not get ourselves into this position again. We are going back north to visit family again this Friday (driveway living for awhile), to ride out the rest of the winter and recover from the punch to the rv budget…so stay tuned!

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12 Responses to Electric Bills KILL The Full Time RV Budget

  1. shelly snider says:

    I’m moving to Idaho 2014 spring with bought my son and we just bought a 93 dutchman. I hope to cross paths with you guys.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      So good to meet you and so glad you left a comment!
      Idaho has some beautiful country…and let’s hope our paths do cross next year!
      Please keep in touch…
      Robin and Jim

  2. Curt says:

    Living in Central IL also but fortunately still in sticks and bricks. Can’t imagine what it would be like to in our camper. Good thing it have been a fairly warm winter compared to the usual. Hang in there, Spring is just around the corner. Don’t plan to stay in IL after we retire and go fulltime. Too expensive is an understatement.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Hi Curt!

      Good to meet you…yet another person in central Illinois! We could have done some serious visiting on those zero degree nights had we known how many people were in this area (haha)…that makes two in central Illinois, living in a house…darn it!

      I sure hope your go rving date is in the near future….

      We both grew up and lived in Illinois most of our lives. Amazing how we had to move away in 2001 to recognize how impossible the state is to live in. For those who don’t travel, they would never know that it isn’t like that everywhere.

      Do keep in touch and, again, glad to meet you! Thanks for your comments….Robin and Jim

  3. cozygirl says:

    Icks…not too off yonder from you off I72 with our Casita covered for winter…I’ve thought many a time the last few weeks…wonder if we could keep that baby warm enough during this IL winters. A tad better this week…know you can’t wait to get back to Montana! Enjoy your northerly fun this weekend!

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Thanks, cozygirl!
      I know we aren’t far from one another, here in central Illinois.
      What really makes it bad is the wind. Montana can have cold nights, but it is quite still. Our rv is not crafted to avoid drafts. Our first rv, an Award travel trailer made in Canada, was actually quite insulated…so it does depend on your rig, for sure!

      Speaking of money/Montana, there is no sales tax back at “home.” So if you buy $100 microwave, it costs $100. Same with groceries…zero tax. Cannot imagine how much we’ve spent on sales tax, too! We miss “our” mountains (haha) in Glacier, but we also need to get back so we can get the budget in order once more, because Illinois has at least cost us double (and I’m thinking more than that) than Montana costs us.

      Looking forward to the better weather coming our way in Illinois…that will be nice! You enjoy it, too!

  4. Ouch. Winter in NYS was painful for us, living in the Duck. We used lots of power, and we were never warm unless we were sleeping. We were using our own electric, of course, but that just means we were paying our own bill.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Hi Ducks!
      We know that feeling of “never warm unless we were sleeping.” We close off the door to our bedroom, crawl under a down comforter, space heater on high…and we are quite toasty. But some nights have been so cold here, we had to put a little Lasko heater on the back wall, because our noses were still cold. We’ve promised ourselves no more winters like this…too, too cold! You would think that a duck, with all of that “down,” would be warmer! 🙂 Joey is about as insulated as a cardboard box….

  5. Lynn Miles says:

    Here in Rio Grande Valley, Texas park electricity is 16 cents KW – though not too many cold nights.

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Hi Lynn!
      Wow…16 cents…but as you point out, not too many cold nights is the key! We’ve learned plenty of sunshine helps, too….because even in frigid temps our rv heats up like a little oven in direct sunlight…so we can turn the heaters down to low for a few hours, but sure doesn’t make much of a dent in the electric bill. Take care and thanks for commenting!

  6. dave says:

    In Austin, even at a KOA, electric is only 9.5 cents per KWH…probably will use $80 or so for month, 3-4 nites a week with one elec heater on….enjoy your move….

    • Cheap RV Living says:

      Hi Dave!
      Got room for us? Haha….
      We’ve been at places that charge electric, but in seasons where it wasn’t a “big deal” because usage was so small. Here, it is sooooo cold those two space heaters have to be running. 9.5 cents sounds MUCH better to us right now, for sure!