All Financial Education

Frugal RV Living Made Easy

August 12, 2016

RV on the road


Plan trips based on how much fuel you want to spend rather than the location itself. Determining a destination from fuel price will ensure you don’t get overzealous with your vacation and go over budget.

Always check the tire pressure on your vehicle before a trip; tires that are 15% under inflated ended up wasting 1.2% more fuel. That can add up quickly when you’re driving across the country. Another thing that can easily happen is junk hoarding. In such a small place it can be easy to get cluttered after traveling for a while, so do a periodic clean out of your RV to make sure you’re not carrying unnecessary weight.

Plan your trip well so you don’t get lost and waste gas driving around trying to find your way back. Joining an RV club is a great way to save money at camp sites and get discounts at RV parks. If you’re looking for a little more adventure than the regular RV parks, outfit your rig so you can go without hookups and water for up to a week; you’ll open up a whole new world of camping possibilities.

Finally, try to avoid driving in high winds if at all possible; anything faster than 55 mph usually takes much more fuel for an RV.



Bring a portable hot plate or a small one to two burner stove and a small electrical heater to use at campgrounds where they pay your electrical costs. The savings will be minimal at first but over time they add up! Now this one might seem obvious, but it can be an easy rule to break: cook for yourself as much as possible while you travel and save the money you would’ve spent on fast food at quality local restaurants where you’ll enjoy a much better dining experience.

Depending on where you’re at, you might want to consider stopping by a casino for food. Some casinos offer buy one get one free meals when you sign up for a player’s card (which is also free). However, if casinos aren’t your idea of a quality meal, take advantage of farmers markets for good deals on produce, staple items, and other needs. There are unique farmers markets all around the country that can save you a fortune during your travels.

When it comes to cooking meals on the road use a slow cooker; every meal is convenient to make and you’ll usually have left-overs. Even a cheap meal will taste and smell great after simmering in the crockpot all day.


Maintenance & Upkeep

There are many little things you can do now in order to help you save money in the long run when it comes to your RV.  You can use tire covers to protect your tires when parked for long periods of time in order to prevent the sun from causing UV damage to the rubber. When your tires are worn and in need of replacement, shop around different local tire stores before going directly to a name brand dealer- odds are the extra time you spend comparing prices will be worth it!

Another thing to keep in mind is to replace your tires before they give you problems on the road, even if you have emergency roadside service, it can cost you and be very inconvenient.

RVs are big and they can be very extensive to clean and maintain. Instead of spending money to wash your RV at a coin-operated station, hire a local neighborhood kid looking for work and pay them to do it, or even just to give you an extra hand.

Just like the tires, when it comes time to replace a part, search for used quality parts before buying directly from a dealer. The last issue to keep in mind, but certainly not the least, is to regularly clean your air filter—a dirty air filter, even after just 5,000 miles after a change, can cost you up to 7% of your gas mileage.



Idaho Central Credit Union is the largest auto/RV lender in the state of Idaho. We will work with you to set up the best payment plan possible while saving you as much money as possible through our competitive rates.

When buying an RV, it’s important to consider sizing before making your purchase. Anything under the following list is considered a small RV: dual purpose motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, personal watercrafts, utility trailers, scooters, utility terrain vehicles, and horse trailers. Anything under the following list is considered a large RV: travel trailers, 5th wheels, campers, boats, horse trailers with living quarters, and motor homes. For both new and used RV’s the maximum month term on a loan is 180 months.

There are a variety of factors that can play a role in obtaining an RV loan, but the primary pricing factors we focus on are credit quality, loan to value (LTV) ratio, mileage of the collateral, and the term of the loan. Term adjustments and rate discounts vary based on market conditions and demand. For already existing RV owners who lend through a different financial institution, we offer competitive rates using our Adventure Rate refinancing tool that allows us to make every attempt to refinance your existing debt through Idaho Central.

All in all, obtaining an RV loan doesn’t have to be difficult. Just stop by Idaho Central Credit Union and see how we can help!