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Money Saving RV Travel Tips

An RVers Review of the Cincinnati Premium Outlet in Monroe Ohio

mallAn RVers Review of the Cincinnati Premium Outlet in Monroe Ohio

The Cincinnati Premium Outlet is a one stop shop offering everything from a sit down – eat in food court to an eye exam. A perk for us full time RVers; plenty of parking and all the shopping one can handle in one stop. I’m not much of a shopper myself but my teenage daughter is. Sometimes with teens it feels like we need a U-Haul just for their shoes. My solution is if they buy a new item they have to donate an old item to a charity of their choice. This solves the space issue.

While staying at Cedarbrook Campground in Lebanon, Ohio I realized I needed an eye exam. I called my insurance company and they instructed me to a place that would accept my insurance. At the time I had no clue I would stumble upon this Premium Outlet that would offer a full day of fun. Getting an eye exam is not my cup of tea nor do I find it on my list of fun things to do but it did need done. I was glad that the Premium Outlet offered such a service because it took something that was to be not so fun and offered up a twist of entertainment. I merely stumbled upon the Outlet by chance.

So once my exam was done we took full advantage of the food court. My daughter loves Chinese food; we were in luck. The Cincinnati Premium Outlet has a China Max. China Max is reasonably priced and does not use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) in their food. An additive that many people, like me, are allergic too. The prices in the food court are comparable to most Malls. A basic entrée and side at China Max was about $5.99 and $6.99 for an entre and two sides.

024I tend to be more of an eater than a shopper but my teenage daughter is more of a shopper than an eater. So for those shoppers out there – there is everything from a Tommy Hilfiger to a Kay Jewelers to even a GAP.

I enjoyed the layout of the Premium Outlet. They had benches all around outside so you can sit and watch as everyone walks by. Once you entered the main part of the Outlet you could look to the left, look to the right and look in front of you and see stores galore. It was like which one do I pick? I personally like to window shop and I love to window shop for little girl clothes. While I do not have a young child or granddaughter I do have a grandson. However, I just love looking at the girl dresses. I liked the Spring dresses the GAP has to offer. I also like Dressbarn because they offer small to plus size clothing.

At this location you will find one hundred Outlet Stores. Everything from Claire’s to Kitchen Store. Once I got home I decided to do more reaserch on the Outlet online and after some research I found out that not only are these Outlets well known they are International. In Ohio there are two; one in Cincinnati (where I visited) and one in Pennsylvania. Also The Outlet is proud of our Veterans and they show Veterans appreciation by giving them special coupons. There is even a perk for those over the age of fifty. If you are over fifty just show them your ID (Tuesday’s only) and you get ten percent off. Like most Malls they offer specials on Holidays.

One last note – no worries on parking there’s plenty of it. The Cincinnati Premium Outlet is located at 400 Premium Outlets Drive Monroe, Ohio 45050 which is right off Interstate 75 in Monroe, Ohio.

Full Time RVing – Budget Considerations

Interested in full time RVing? Establish a budget…

So, you’ve purchased your motorhome or fifth wheel trailer; sold your house and stored or sold all of your lifelong belongings and are ready to hit the road.  Even if you have an excellent retirement portfolio; won the lottery, or maintain a successful online business…you will still need to establish a budget for travel along with daily living expenses.

Obviously your two greatest expenses will be your RV and your tow or towed vehicle.  Those who wish to be extremely frugal may have picked up an old pop-up camper and will tow it with a ten year old fishin’ car.  If that will work for you…great.  Full time RVs take more of a beating than those used for the occasional weekend or the two-week family vacation.  They are on the road or in route to new and exciting venues more often and generally need to be better built for that kind of wear and tear.  Additionally, they need to have room to store your worldly possessions and for that kind of storage…generally full timers look to the Class A motorhome or a fifth wheel travel trailer; both of which usually have more generous storage compartments.  There are hundreds of price levels for either option.

The ideal truck for towing a large fifth wheel trailer is a ¾ or 1 ton diesel since some of the trailers can reach lengths exceeding 35 feet and weigh in at 12,000 pounds or more.  A new quad-cab 2500 or 3500 Dodge for example with some of the more popular option packages can easily cost $45,000 and the fifth wheel trailers can easily exceed the $50,000 mark.  Used is getting more popular all the time!

Class A motorhomes can be either gasoline or diesel powered.  Usually, diesel powered units are larger and afford greater towing capabilities which offers a wider selection of vehicles which can be towed behind.  Gasoline powered units are usually less expensive but limit towing capability to around five thousand pounds which tends to limit what can be towed.   A small compact car, mini-truck or a Jeep Wrangler are good choices for the gasoline powered Class A or an enclosed trailer hauling a Harley or Goldwing would work, as well.  Want to tow your Dodge 1500 behind a Class A…better get a diesel powered one.

New Class A motorhomes can range from the mid $60,000s to millions of dollars for bus conversions.  Again, used is a good way to go to help stretch the budget.  Whether gas or diesel powered, fuel consumption while towing will not be all that different.  Though the diesel powered motorhome may get better fuel economy while traveling down the highway without a tow vehicle…one of the reasons you may opt for that extra power is to tow a heavier vehicle thus reducing overall economy compared to a gasoline powered unit.  Seven to ten miles per gallon pretty much covers the spectrum for both types.  Those figures are pretty much what folks pulling fifth wheel trailers seem to get, as well.

So, whether you purchased a Class A motorhome or a fifth wheel trailer and have spent anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 or more…you can check your living quarters and daily transportation requirements off of your budget…unless you financed your purchase.

If you had to borrow money to pay for your RV and/or your tow/towed vehicle, you might want to close one of those retirement accounts and pay off those loans.  Liens totaling $1700 or more hardly help with the full time RVing budget.  That’s the mortgage we all are trying to escape from paying!  Sure, you can get a long term loan and may be able to use the motorhome payment as a tax write-off but even at zero interest, a $250,000 note is over $1300 per month on a fifteen year note.  And a $25000 Jeep at no interest is over $400 on a five year note if you could find that kind of deal… If you can swing it, pay for your RV and tow in full even if it means lowering your standards or purchasing used equipment.  Used motorhomes are a great deal.  There are a lot of them available and often they will have fairly low mileage because traveling around the U.S. might cover 12,000 miles but how often will that occur?

Assuming your RV and tow/towed vehicle is paid in full…what are some other budget considerations?  Fuel mileage was mentioned and that is easy to figure into your budget depending on your itinerary.  Once you have established your average fuel mileage; 8mpg for example you can determine fuel cost per mile by dividing the price of a gallon of fuel by 8 or whatever is your mileage per gallon.  At $3.50 per gallon that figure is approximately $.44 per mile.  Therefore for every 100 miles of your journey, you need to budget $44 for fuel based on the above example.  Additionally, you will be using your tow/towed vehicle for daily errands and sight-seeing.  In the past year, I have driven my TOAD about 10,000 miles and it averages 15 mpg on a good day.  That equates to about $200 monthly.  Depending on where you travel to and how often you hit the road along with your daily driving excursions…fuel can easily be your second greatest expense while living on the road full time!

When you are not on the road…your monthly budget entry can be as little as free…to outrageously expensive for RV parks that are situated near popular and crowded tourist venues.  Most RV parks offer sizeable discounts to their monthly tenants.  Unless in route to a particular destination; I seldom stay anywhere for less than a month at a time to take advantage of the price breaks.  Boondocking or free camping aside; my monthly park budget is $450 all inclusive.  I have spent more and have spent less but that is an average.  For example, my current site is $285 per month plus twelve cents per kWh for electric.  Due to unseasonably cold weather and running my electric heat…my electric bill has been high but still far below the targeted budget amount.

Vehicle and medical insurance, prescriptions and over-the-counter meds are an unpleasant but necessary expense especially for those of us not yet on Medicare/Medicaid.   All together this entry is way too high and comes in a whopping $600 per month on my budget!  Stay healthy and don’t have any wrecks along the way…

Although food prices at grocery stores seems to be skyrocketing, eating meals prepared at home is still a lot less expensive than dining out.  Whatever you were spending before you hit the road…it is a good bet there will be little or no change to your budget once you hit the road full time.  For some reason full time RVers tend to grill out more…makes for lower food bills and is also great entertainment!

And speaking of entertainment.  Our country has a wonderful National Parks System.  Entry fees are generally low and often free.  Many museums and other tourists’ attractions are often the same, as well.  RV parks often have fish ponds, swimming pools, hot tubs, pool tables and other amenities for their tenants and their guests at no or low additional fees.  Some RV parks offer free cable TV and internet connections.  And many have community potluck suppers and other special events.  Finding low cost entertainment on the road is often as easy as stepping out your door and enjoying your ever-changing landscape.

Maintenance; whether for your vehicles or your person has to be included in any budget.  In time, most full time RVers learn to make many repairs on their own.  Thankfully, with the use of the Internet, many of those chores are made easier with online tutorials.  Cleaning supplies, laundry chores and regular home maintenance budget considerations are varied and can easily be adjusted.

Though the Internet has helped to make living on the road much easier than decades past, and has eliminated many communications problems, you still have to tell Uncle Sam where you live.  On the road isn’t the right answer even though it is true.  You have to register your vehicles.  You have a lot of choices but the top three states for full timers are South Dakota, Texas and Florida.  These three are the most RV-friendly states due to lower property taxes and/or other considerations.  Mail forwarding services abound in each and usually run a couple of hundred dollars per year to get your bills to you regardless where you call home.

These are the basics and are based on my first year of full-time RVing in a gasoline powered Class A motorhome towing a Jeep Wrangler and traveling through nine states thus far…

Budget summary:

·        The purchase and upkeep of your RV and your tow/towed vehicle.

·        Fuel

·        Park and/or parking (often including hookups/utilities/cable/Internet)

·        Insurance/Prescriptions/Meds

·        Food

·        Entertainment

·        Maintenance

·        Mail forwarding

·        Emergencies

·        Miscellaneous

This is a guest post by The RV Guy. To read more of his content visit http://thervguy.hubpages.com/

The Frugal RVer — Cheap Entertainment On The Road

Matt and I don’t spend a lot of money on “stuff” (there’s just no room for conspicuous consumption when you live in a 29-foot Airstream!) But we do enjoy having lots of “experiences” — so we have to work hard to keep our entertainment and travel budget under control. Fortunately, I’ve figured out how to enjoy all the culture and food and amusement our society has to offer without going broke!

Affordable Fun Wherever You Go

Of course, this isn’t the kind of full-timing entertainment I mean — I just don’t get folks who travel 3,000 miles to watch TV in an RV park! Travel is for seeing the world — but if you think that enjoying life has to cost a lot of money, you’ve never been out with me! Matt and I manage to cram more serious fun into our days than anyone with so little disposable income has a right to. Some “frugality experts” will suggest limiting yourself to movie night at home or packing a picnic in order to save money — I say bollux! While I certainly enjoy a potluck gathering with friends or a DVD-date now and then, I’m not about to give up going to the theater, museums, theme parks, concerts, zoos, and great local restaurants for the sake of pinching a penny! You can still do all these things when you’re on a budget — you just have to be ready to pounce on the good deals as they pop up. Remember, living frugally is not abstention — it’s about eliminating unnecessary expenses so you can afford to partake in those activities that are worth the cost.

Know Your Priorities (I personally think that one of the biggest budget-breakers when it comes to entertainment is being drug along to an expensive activity just because your friends wanted to go — this has happened to us more than once — we’ve been talked into pricey dinners at restaurants we didn’t care about, concerts featuring musicians we didn’t especially like, and movies that we knew were going to suck, in order to please another person — certainly, group recreation is all about compromise — but when you’re being asked to fork over money you don’t want to spend for an activity that doesn’t interest you, you need to speak up — tell your buds that you would love to get together with them, but that you’d like to plan something else — explain that you’re saving money, admit that you aren’t that excited about the event, even lie and tell them you’ve got other plans that night, whatever you’re comfortable with — but don’t allow yourself to be railroaded into spending your hard-earned entertainment cash on something you’re likely to regret or possibly resent later)

Multi-Media Savings (Matt and I never pay full-price to see a movie anymore, because there are just too many ways to get our film-lover’s-fix for less — we might go to a matinee, as long as it’s not an animated flick that’s likely to be full of screaming children! — we often buy half-price tickets through a discount service like Entertainment.com or Groupon — we borrow movies from the library — we are signed up to receive notice of free rental codes for RedBox through a company called Cities On The Cheap — these are usually good once per credit card, so if you have multiple cards, you can rent a couple of movies at a time for $0 — just be sure to return them within 24 hours or you’ll start racking up $1-a-day charges, which doesn’t sound like much but completely defeats the purpose of a free rental code! — and of course, we participate in online streaming, as well as the “mail-you-a-disc-at-a-time-for-one-price-a-month” services — the trick to maximizing these sorts of “membership” rental clubs is volume — let’s say that you’re paying $8 a month, but you let each DVD sit around on your coffee table for 2 weeks before returning it and receiving the next disc — you might only get to watch 2 movies a month, and you’re paying $4 a rental for them — but if you receive a disc, watch it that night, and return it the next day, you could get as many as 8 films out of your monthly membership at $1 each — throw in a few instant download viewings, and you’ve got a real bargain!)

Learning To Share (I don’t have to tell you that restaurant portion sizes are absolutely ridiculous these days — very rarely do Matt and I get two full entrees when we eat out, because it’s just too much — I would be happy to buy a smaller meal for a smaller price, but restaurants don’t offer that option because they can make more money selling you more food — so we either get one entree to split, a couple bowls of soup and an appetizer, or a few “small plates” like you get at a tapas restaurant — the same goes for “tasting” events — on pub tours, we share a pint at each stop — when traveling through wine country, we share a tasting at each vineyard — that way, we each get to try more different kinds of drinks, and it takes longer to reach our legal limit! — and if you don’t have a built-in food partner, just invite a friend along to split the cost with you)

Happy Hour (even if you aren’t a big after-work drinker, happy hours are a great way to eat at a nice restaurant for less — most places offer “small bites” for just a couple of bucks each, along with their 2-for-1 beverages — pick up two or three sampler-sized plates to split, and you’ve got an entirely acceptable early-evening meal)

Free Admission Days (attraction tickets have gotten so expensive, I don’t understand how families with a bunch of kids can afford to go on vacation anymore! — but most museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and parks offer random “free admission” days throughout the year — these might be just for local residents, or they may be open to anyone — some are even regular monthly events, like a “free first Friday” in which the facility stays open late and offers special activities — the National Park Service gives free admission to all of its facilities twice a year — the Smithsonian Institute provides free admission to its affiliate museums each fall — Target sponsors a number of free museum days around the country — and Bank Of America credit card holders can visit a variety of museums throughout the United States at no cost)

Festivals And Art Walks (in my opinion, there’s no better way to spend a free day than wandering around a cultural festival — and during nice weather, you can find something to keep you occupied nearly every weekend — enjoy live performers, look at beautiful art, let the kids play in a bouncy-house, and just soak up the carnival atmosphere — but be aware of fairs that exist just to make you spend money — I personally can’t stand festivals that are nothing but vendor and food booths, with no entertainment and nothing to really do — I’m not interested in paying an admission fee for the privilege of spending more money buying food and shopping for crafts! — and if you haven’t ever been to an “art walk,” you should definitely see if there is one available in your town — a group of galleries stay open late, offering free wine and munchies and entertainment, welcoming anyone and everyone to view their works — it’s a fun way to discover new artists you had never heard of before, meet interesting people, and infuse your week with a little culture for free!)

Leave Off The Extras (quite often, it’s not the main event that costs so much when you go out, it’s all the add-on’s — candy and popcorn at the movies, a t-shirt at the zoo, a souvenir program at each concert, an elephant ear at the fair, a dog and a beer at the ballgame — these “little” expenses can add up in a hurry — I’m not suggesting that you deny yourself something you really want, but take a second to ask yourself whether that purchase is essential to your enjoyment of the event — did you come to see the show, or to eat overpriced, crappy tasting snacks? — and could you enjoy the show just as much without it? — it’s also good to follow this rule of thumb when eating out — restaurants make the majority of their profit off of drinks, appetizers, and desserts, but do you really need a 4-course dinner? — I would personally rather enjoy a really good entree and let the other stuff go! — if you just have to bookend your meal, why not serve drinks and appetizers yourself before going out, then invite everyone back for coffee and dessert after the meal?)

Discount Services (the internet is a wonderful resource for half-price admissions to your favorite attractions — if you’re familiar with those coupon books that the high schools sell as a fundraising tool, you’ll love the Entertainment.com, website — you can buy an annual membership for the same price as a single coupon book, then have access to discounted tickets and buy-one-get-one meals at locations throughout the country — perfect for when you travel! — I’m also a big fan of “daily deal” websites like Groupon, as long as you’re good at sifting through the myriad of sale emails to find those activities you enjoy — and we almost never go out to eat without using Restaurant.com — you might spend as little as $2 for a certificate that gets you $25 off a $35 meal — it sounds a bit complicated, but trust me, it’s worth learning the system for the savings, and we’ve found some of the best restaurants that we never would have thought to through their site)

Go For The Combo Deal (many times, purchasing a pass that combines a number of activities can save you big bucks, especially in a city that thrives on tourism — companies like City Pass and Go USA have special arrangements with tourist destinations, saving you as much as 50% off the regular price of admission to their most popular sites)

Ask For A Discount (if you know when you’ll be in a certain area, ask the Convention And Visitor’s Bureau about any discounts they have available — these folks are paid to help tourists make the most of their visit, and many times their member attractions give them passes to hand out — but you’ll never know if you don’t ask! — and don’t forget to contact individual attractions directly — most will be able to point you toward a discount coupon on their website or a special deal available during your visit)

Volunteer (if you love high-brow performances but can’t swing the cost of a season ticket to the symphony or theater or opera, there’s still a way to get a good seat for less — volunteer as a ticket-taker or usher or even a docent giving tours during off-hours, and you will probably be rewarded with free admission to the show — just call it cultural “sweat equity!”)

Bring Your Own (concessions at events have become a multi-million dollar business in this country, but you aren’t always required to buy your food and drink on-site — you can almost always bring at least a bottle of water and a few snacks with you — and even though you might not be able to tote a cooler through the front door, most places offer picnic-style seating just outside the gates — Matt and I love to pack a gourmet “nosh” and take a break in the middle of the day to enjoy some stinky cheese, veggies, and hummus!)

Getting Outside (certainly, the cheapest and probably healthiest way to spend a day is getting some exercise — going for a day hike or a walk around town costs nothing at all, and gives you a chance to see things that you would have otherwise missed in a car or on a tour bus — I’ll walk for miles when I’m let loose in a new city — in fact, one time during a walk through D.C., I ended up in Maryland without even realizing it! — but Matt and I also carry our sports equipment with us so we can take advantage of any other al fresco activities — over the years we’ve acquired a bikes, rollerblades, tennis rackets, camping equipment, ball gloves, an inflatable kayak, boogie boards, and snorkel equipment — it was totally worth the upfront investment, and now we’re ready for anything — plus, we never have to pay a rental fee to enjoy a little bit of nature)

Staying Home (of course, a night at home with friends or family can also be tons of fun — grill out or have everyone bring a potluck dish — pull out the board games, play cards, or challenge your mates to a Guitar Hero competition — pop some healthy popcorn and host a film fest in your own living room — carve pumpkins at Halloween, decorate eggs at Easter, or trim the tree at Christmas — there are so many ways to enjoy the company of those you love without spending a penny)

Copyright Ramona Creel, all rights reserved. Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity — traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities — clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you’ve always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona — read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order — at www.RamonaCreel.com. And be sure to follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tips For Avoiding Costly Mistakes When Becoming A Fulltime RVer

My wife and I made the decision to hit the road as full time RVers with little more preparation than a few years worth of subscriptions to Trailer Life magazine.

We sold the house, the car, and a lot of junk. Then, we packed the rest into a small motorhome and thought we were ready.

Well, we made some mistakes along the way. Hopefully the following tips will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that we fell victim to during our first year of fulltime RVing — some of which can break the bank!

A Change Of Pace

Staying in town for the summer after selling the house was a smart move.

The motorhome got traded in for a 36-foot travel trailer, which gave us enough room to exhale.  We were a bit unrealistic thinking that we could easily adapt to a much smaller space for the long term.

Knowing that we would have to find work of some sort within a reasonable time-frame, we wasted no time getting from our hometown to Arizona — where we planned to settle in to some degree.  As new full timers, we found it very hard to get it in our heads that we no longer had a time schedule to keep.


Stop And Smell The Roses

We never realized that the limbo in between destinations is time that can be stretched out very inexpensively.  For the cost of food and gas, you can remain out there indefinitely by making use of truck stops, Walmarts, and similar overnight stopovers.  So take your time. Go slow, and see all there is to see out there.

Many small towns have city parks with campsites as a way to draw in tourists.  We found quite a few going across Texas from Denton and headed toward Roswell, New Mexico. Some even provide the first night free just to entice you to stop and see what they have to offer.

Simple Luxuries Will Cost You

Within a couple months, we had settled into jobs in Tucson and once again started thinking like house-bound people.  For example, we were wanting a few more luxuries like a washer & dryer. So we traded in our 36-foot travel trailer for a 37-foot 5th wheel trailer.  Of course that meant we were no longer debt-free.  (Our initial trailer and truck were paid off before we left home to explore fulltime RVing)

Yep, our next big mistake was to mortgage our future by upgrading.  Any debt will severely reduce your ability to pack up and leave.  Day-to-day living expenses can be pretty reasonable, but making payments is a whole different story.


Choose Your RV Wisely

Picking the right RV the first time around is the most important thing you can do.  Depreciation on a new rig will drop its value by 10-15% the day you drive it off the lot.  Within 2 years, you could easily be out 30% or more of your investment, if you made the wrong choice and were forced to trade it in.

Plus, full time living is harder on a rig. This also will have a heavy impact on its trade-in value.

Concerned that I should have something heavier duty then my ¾ ton pickup to pull our now 14,000 lb home, I traded the pickup truck for a 1994 Chevy Kodiak 1-½ ton truck — thinking that bigger was better and that I would have power to spare.  I would encourage you to do some research first. The new truck was more stable, and had plenty of stopping power, but it was underpowered and could hardly pull the load.

Headed north out of Los Cruses it barely cleared the long hill heading for White Sands.  Down to first gear and just creeping along, we made one trip from Arizona to Minnesota, trading off both the truck and trailer before we returned in the Fall.

It can’t be emphasized enough, all dealers will sell you absolutely anything to make a commission, because that is what they live on.  Without a sale, they go hungry.  That’s why the act of making sure your tow vehicle and trailer are well-matched is completely up to you.

Our next rig was a 37-foot Class A motorhome.  We towed a Ford Fiesta behind with a small motorcycle on the back bumper.  This was absolutely the best vehicle we owned for our times on the road.  It made traveling a terrific experience.  We had it for 2 years until we became house-bound again.


Which RV Is Best For Fulltime Rving?

At the end of our early voyages, we reached the conclusion that if your full time experience will have you on the road more than sitting still, then a large motorhome is the most comfortable way to travel.

On the other hand, if you’re expecting to be stationary for months at a time, then you can’t beat a travel trailer for giving you the feeling of being in your own small apartment.

Unless climbing a few steps up to the bathroom and bedroom are an issue for you, I would recommend a fifth wheel trailer because the towing characteristics are so much better than a travel trailer. You can’t realistically compare the two.  A large travel trailer will have you worn out at the end of a day’s driving because you can’t relax.  You have to be “in your game” all the times in order to safely tow a large travel trailer.

The most important tip I have for those considering full-time RVing is to do everything in your power to choose the right RV for your situation the first time.  Otherwise, mistakes like those we made will eat up your available funds real quick.

This article was written by the Fun Times Guide

Money Saving RV Travel Tips For RV Camping

You’ve invested in an RV, now get out and enjoy it. Use the following money saving tips for RV camping to make your RV trip more affordable and more enjoyable.

Save money by checking tire pressure before setting out on your RV camping trip.

In the midst of high gas prices of 2008 everyone was encouraged to check tire pressure. Riding on improperly inflated tires can cost more money in gas. Checking tire pressure became a bit of a joke, but the truth is that tire pressure matters. You can waste a lot of gas driving on improperly inflated tires. Save money by taking a few minutes before your trip, and throughout your trip, by stopping to check tire pressure.

Save money by taking advantage of free offers for overnight RV parking when you are traveling.

If you have been RV driving for any time, you know that you can’t just pull over anywhere and park for free overnight when you are traveling. You may end up with a ticket, a locked boot, or towed. A handful of businesses recognize the value of RV customers. Some offer free overnight parking while you are in transit to your getaway location.

Walmart, Sam’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kmart allow free overnight RV parking. Check with local store managers to be sure there are not local ordinances prohibiting overnight RV parking. Many Cracker Barrels have extended parking spaces for RV’s, but it is up to the store manager whether overnight parking is allowed. When you go inside for dinner it is a good time to check the store manager’s policy. When they see that you are a customer and know that you are likely to get a good breakfast in the morning, as well, they may be more inclined to let you park. Some Flying J Truck Stops will allow you to park, but may direct you to a specific part of the lot, so be sure to ask.

Other retail centers with large parking areas, like Target, may also allow you to park for free, but always ask to avoid unpleasant consequences.

Save money by buying groceries and supplies at a mainstream grocer or retailer before you reach your destination.

Regardless of where you are going, camp stores and retailers associated with a vacation location are going to be more expensive. Once you have set up your RV camping site you will spend too much money on even the most basic supplies if you buy them from a camp store or convenience store. Spend a little time in a grocery store or Walmart to stock up on everything you need before you park.

The only other option is to tow a car so that you can reach nearby towns for reasonable prices.

Save money RV camping by knowing state towing laws.

How can knowing state towing laws save you money? It will help you avoid getting a ticket. Some states have outdated laws that have not kept up with RV development and the towing of vehicles, motorcycles, and boats. Don’t waste money on tickets. Do your research before hit the road.

Find inexpensive RV camping at state and federal parks.

Save money with inexpensive RV camping at state and federally maintained parks. Fees are inexpensive and amenities are generally well cared for including clean showers, restrooms, and waste dumps for RV campers.

Cook over a campfire instead of using propane to save money.

Set up at a campsite where you can cook over an open flame, rather than using your expensive propane stove or grill in the RV. It’s easy to cook over a fire, especially with camping equipment like grilling baskets, grilling tongs, kebab skewers, and extended hotdog forks. Gathering firewood will not only save money by saving propane, it will also keep the RV from getting hot when you cook.

A slow cooker or Dutch oven can also be plugged in outside to electrical hookups.

RV Camping Money Saving Tip: Spare the air conditioner, but not the cool breeze

Don’t sit outside your RV and sweat, and don’t sit inside running the motor to keep the AC on. You aren’t traveling to stay trapped inside your RV. Being outside, with the AC off inside, will give your battery and converter a break.

Scout out an RV campsite without a spot with nearby shade. The shade doesn’t have to be right outside your RV door, but within your campsite.

Set up your chairs in the shade and plug an oscillating fan into the campsite’s electrical hookup. Don’t forget to throw a couple of extra extension cords in the RV when you pack to go camping. You should also carry a three prong adapter.

State Parks and KOA campgrounds can save you money by offering free activities for children at the campsite.

When traveling with children you have to keep in mind how you will keep them entertained. Plan ahead. Check out state parks, which offer inexpensive RV camping, to find campsites that offer free miniature golf, pools, and other activities. KOA RV camping sites often have an activity room with a pool table or other games to help keep the children occupied.

You’ll save a bundle of money by having access to free activities. Don’t forget to enjoy other activities like hiking, biking, and swimming in local swimming holes or beaches.

Save money RV camping by traveling out of season.

If you are free to travel whenever you like, take advantage of off-seasons at the beach, in the mountains, or other tourist spots. You will save on gas and likely find off-season rates at RV campsites. Very often seasonal rates are built around the traditional school year. This gives you lots of options, when the weather is still ideal for travel, for RV camping at discount prices.

Money saving tip to keep your RV clean.

There are all kinds of special products on the market for cleaning your RV. While it is true that you have to be cautious using harsh chemicals on rubber roofed RV’s, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on special solvents to keep your RV clean and shiny. Regular dish washing detergent is an inexpensive A+ cleaner for RV’s. Dish soap will wash away dirt and grime from the sides and top of the RV. Use a slightly more concentrated mixture of dish washing detergent to clean the front windshield and grill. A little elbow grease will remove bug splats and even tar spots.

Green RVing — Heating And Cooling Options

Whether you live in a house, apartment, or condo, whether you rent or own, climate control is a major monthly expense. For many people, heating and cooling can cost almost as much as their monthly rent or mortgage. I’m sorry, but that’s just crazy! But this isn’t the case in an RV.

Using Fewer Resources To Stay Comfy

I know that when we owned a house, just trying to keep the damned thing at a tolerable temperature cost us several hundred dollars a month. And we were energy conscious — we replaced our outdated furnace and all of our windows with a more energy-efficient model (which cost us a total of $8,000). We set our thermostat at 65 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees in the summer. We wore sweaters indoors when it was cold outside and ran around naked when it was hot. But electricity and natural gas were still major expenses. Now that we full-time, it takes much less to live comfortably.

With our awnings out, the sun doesn’t beat down on our windows heating up the trailer the way it did in our house (even with drapes, some rooms were blazing hot in the summer). And we have more windows per square foot of space than we ever dreamed of in a house — if it’s warm, we just open the windows and the screen door to get a nice cross-breeze. We also swapped over the ceiling vents for fans that can blow in (when we want cool air) or out (when we want to remove hot air from the trailer). Frankly, it’s got to be 90 degrees or above before we really need the air conditioning. In the winter, we don’t even turn on the built-in furnace system (which tends to make the place too hot) — we actually use a small electric space-heater. During chilly times, this one heater keeps us plenty warm, and consumes far less juice. Even when it’s been just a couple of degrees above zero and we had 6 inches of snow on top of the trailer, we were fine — we just plugged in a second heater (one in the front, one in the back). But the other thing that keeps our energy costs down is that we travel with the seasons. We don’t spend the winter in Minnesota or the summer in Arizona — so we have less reason to use artificial means of heating and cooling our home. We try to park it down south during the winter and up north in the summer — that way, we can enjoy the fresh air without having to trap ourselves inside to control the temperature.

Copyright Ramona Creel, all rights reserved. Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity — traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities — clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you’ve always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona — read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order — at www.RamonaCreel.com. And be sure to follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

How To Reduce Travel Expenses On Every Day RV Living

The trick to successfully reducing expenses on every day RV living is to make it a lifestyle habit so it doesn’t feel like an inconvenience or that you are “pinching pennies”.  Here are a few money-saving tips that are easy to do and will help your dollar go just a little farther  While some of these may not be new to you – they may be a good reminder.

Senior Discounts

Never pass up an opportunity for a discount.  Even if it isn’t posted, many stores, restaurants, and attractions have senior discounts.  All you need to do is ask.  Also, The AARP website is always a good resource for finding discount offers.

The best deal going may be the “America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass.  For only $10, you receive a lifetime pass for entrance into all Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites The Senior Pass also provides a 50 percent discount on some fees charged for facilities and services such as campgrounds, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.  The pass must be purchased in person.  Go to http://store.usgs.gov/pass/PassIssuanceList.pdf for a list of locations where you can purchase a pass.

Shop at discount stores

Find discount or dollar stores for your major grocery and supply shopping trips.  It may take a little extra planning, but the savings rack up quickly when you do your shopping at stores like Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club vs. smaller local stores.  Whenever possible, avoid small town markets, stores in tourist areas, and camping supply stores.  Also, avoid buying “RV supplies” like toilet paper and buy cheaper generic alternatives instead.

Free or discounted campgrounds

Look into RV discount clubs such as Good Sam RV club for 10% discounts at over 1,600 campgrounds; or Passport America for 50% discounts at nearly 1,700 campgrounds.  There are a lot of RV discount clubs out there.  Just do a little internet research before you join to make sure their list of member campgrounds are convenient for you so you get your money’s worth.

And always take advantage of State Parks in your travels, which are almost always cheaper than private campgrounds.  Go to http://www.stateparks.com for a nationwide State Park locater.

Extend your stay

Stay at campgrounds that offer discounts for extended stays.  Not only will you save on gas by reducing your driving miles, you can significantly reduce your per night expense with weekly or monthly rates.

Use public transportation or bicycles

When visiting local sites, check into the availability of public transportation as an alternative to driving.  Or for short excursions, riding your bicycle not only saves money, but its a great source of exercise!

Avoid disposables

Don’t give in to the temptation of using throw-away plates and cups.  Spending a few minutes washing dishes each day will not help out your pocket book, but also our land fills.

Eat out less often

One of the easiest ways to save money is to cook more and eat out less.  Put together a list of recipes that not only taste good, but are easy to make. Then keep those ingredients on hand so you always have a quick dinner option.  Save eating out for a treat or when you come across new and unique places.