Buying RV VS Renting Apartment: Is It Cheaper To Live In An RV?

Updated on

Renting an apartment is often seen as the more affordable option, but even that comes with challenges. For many people, the thought of living in an RV seems like a more appealing and affordable option. But is living in an RV cheaper than renting?

It depends on several factors, but in general, yes – living in an RV can be cheaper than renting an apartment or house. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally, the lower cost of living in an RV can make it more affordable than renting.

rent vs buy rv

So, let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in an RV vs. Renting an apartment to see which one is more affordable.

Average Rental Costs

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the United States is $1,769. Meanwhile, the cost of renting an RV depends upon the rental dates, the type of RV you want to rent, and the company you are renting it from. However, the average RV rental costs $1500-$4500 per month. 

Of course, there are other costs to consider when comparing RV living to rent an apartment. For example, you’ll need to pay for gas and maintenance for your RV. And if you plan on staying in RV parks, you’ll also need to pay those fees.

Overall, living in an RV can be a significantly cheaper option than renting an apartment – especially if you’re looking for saving money.

Cost of Living In An RV

Several factors contribute to the cost of living in an RV. The most obvious factor is the price of purchasing the RV itself. But some other costs to consider are insurance, maintenance, repairs, and many more.

Here’s detailed information on the average cost of living in an RV depending on various situations:

Cost of RV

The purchasing price of the RV is the starting point for calculating the cost of living in one. The type of RV you choose will significantly impact the overall cost. For example, a small pop-up camper may cost around $10,000-$20,000, while a large motorhome can easily cost $10,000-$300,00.

Boondocking Cost

Boondocking, or dry camping, is a great way to save money on camping fees. However, it does have some costs associated with it. For example, you’ll need to purchase a generator if you don’t already have one. And you’ll need to be careful about water usage since you’ll rely on your tank, not hookups. Boondocking your RV can cost $500 to $1,000 per month.

Check Out How Much Does RV Boondocking Cost? The Truth About RV Living?

Full-Time vs. Stationary Rental Cost

If you’re planning to live in your RV full-time, you’ll need to factor in the cost of things like insurance and storage. Full-time RVers also need to be prepared for unexpected repairs and maintenance costs. A full-time RV life can cost between $1,600 to $5,000 per month.

On the other hand, if you’re only going to use your RV for occasional vacations or weekend getaways, the cost will be much lower. You may be able to get by just renting an RV when you need it, which can be a very economical option for stationary RV life.

RV Resort

If you plan to stay in RV parks or campgrounds regularly, the cost can add up quickly. Many luxury RV resorts charge a nightly fee, and some also have additional charges for things like electricity and hookups. Some RV parks offer discounts for longer stays, so it’s always worth asking about specials when making your reservations.

Other Costs

There are a few additional RV costs to consider when living in an RV. For example, you’ll need to purchase propane for your stove and heater. You may also want to get a satellite dish or television antenna so you can watch your favorite shows while on the road. 

Another critical factor is the cost of fuel. RVs can be very fuel-efficient, but they still use more fuel than a traditional car or truck. The cost of camping fees can also add up, especially if you plan to stay in RV parks or campgrounds on a regular basis.

The best way to get an accurate estimate is to sit down and make a list of all the expenses you can think of, both big and small. Once you have a good idea of what you’ll be spending, you can start to look for ways to save money and make the RV lifestyle more affordable.

Buying RV vs Renting Apartment: Cost Comparison

ExpensesRenting CostRV Living Cost
Sewer Tank Dump$15Free to max $8
Water$35Included in housing
Electricity$120Included in housing
Trash Collection$18Free to max $15
Gas And Propane$80$50
Laundry $50$50
Monthly housing$1295$500 and $1200
Internet$50Free to $50
Home and RV Insurance $100$60

The average cost of a new RV is $10,000 to $300,000. The average monthly rent for an apartment is $1,200 and above. If you finance the RV, your monthly payments will be around $500. So, over a year, you’ll spend $6,000 on the RV and $14,400 on rent. That’s a difference of $8,400.

Now, let’s look at the cost of ownership over the long term. The average RV lasts about 15 years. So, over 15 years, you’ll spend $90,000 on the RV and $180,000 on rent. That’s a difference of $90,000.

Pros & Cons of Renting In An Apartment

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to rent an apartment or buy a house. Some people feel more comfortable renting because they have the flexibility to move if their job or lifestyle changes. Others prefer owning their own home to build equity and have a place to call their own. There are pros and cons to both choices, and it’s important to weigh all of them before making a decision.


Here are some pros of renting an apartment:

  • Renting an apartment is usually cheaper than buying a home or condo.
  • Apartment living can be more convenient than living in a house, especially if you’re located in a city. There are often many amenities nearby, such as restaurants and shops.
  • Apartment complexes often have on-site laundry facilities, which can be very convenient.
  • If you rent an apartment, you may have fewer responsibilities than owning your home. For example, you may not have to mow the lawn or shovel snow.


Here are some pros of renting an apartment:

  • Renting an apartment usually means having less space than owning your own home.
  • You may also have less privacy than you would if you lived in a house. For example, your neighbor might be able to hear you through the thin walls.
  • The lease agreement for an apartment may be strict, and you may be unable to make changes to the unit, such as painting walls or hanging pictures.
  • If something breaks in your apartment, you may have to wait for the landlord to fix it.

The Pros:

  • Cheaper than buying a home or condo.
  • More convenient than living in a house
  • On-site laundry
  • Fewer responsibilities than buying a home

The Cons:

  • Less space
  • Less privacy
  • Unable to make changes to the unit
  • Repair might be delayed

Pros & Cons of Full-Time RV Living: 

Full-time RV Life can be both appealing and daunting. On the one hand, it promises a life of freedom and flexibility. On the other hand, it can raise concerns about things like comfort, stability, and finances.

So what are the pros and cons of full-time RV living? Here’s a look at some key considerations:


The pros of RV life are listed below:

Freedom And Flexibility

One of the biggest appeals of RV living are that it offers great freedom and flexibility. You can pick up and move whenever you want, and you’re not tied to any place. This can be a great way to see different parts of the country (or even the world) and experience new things.

Low Cost Of Living

RV living can be very affordable, especially if you downsize your belongings and travel to cheaper areas. Gas and camping fees can add up, but they’re often offset by the fact that you don’t have to pay rent or a mortgage.

Closer To Nature

If you love being outdoors, RV living can be a great way to connect with nature. You can camp in some of the most beautiful places in the country (or the world), and you don’t have to worry about being too far from civilization if you need it.


The cons of RV life are listed below:

Limited Space

RVs can feel cramped and small, especially if you’re used to living in a traditional house or apartment. Getting used to living in such close quarters can take some time. And if you have a family, it can be even more challenging to make everyone feel comfortable.

Maintenance Costs

RVs can require a fair amount of maintenance, and repairs can be expensive. It’s important to factor this into your budget when considering full-time RV living.


Living in an RV can be inconvenient at times. For example, you may have to deal with bad weather, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, and limited amenities.


RV living can be isolating, especially if you’re used to being around people all the time. If you’re not careful, you can feel lonely and cut off from the rest of the world.

These are just some of the pros and cons of full-time RV living. It’s important to weigh all of the factors before making a decision. But if you’re looking for a lifestyle that offers freedom, flexibility, and a close connection to nature, RV living could be the perfect choice for you.

The Pros:

  • Freedom and flexibility
  • Low cost of living
  • Closer to nature

The Cons:

  • Limited space
  • Maintenance cost
  • Inconveniences
  • Isolation

Tips On How Full-Time RV Living Can Be Cheaper Than Renting

The cost of living in an RV can be cheaper than renting an apartment or house once you factor in all the expenses associated with traditional housing. Here are some tips on how to make full-time RV living more affordable:

Choose The Right RV

Choose an RV that fits your needs and budget. There are a variety of RVs available on the market, from small trailers to large motorhomes. You need to decide what size and type of RV you want before you start shopping around.

New RVs can be expensive, but you can find good deals on used RVs if you know where to look. Check classified ads, online auction sites, and RV dealerships.

Know Your Living Expenses

Consider your living expenses. When you live in an RV, you’ll have additional costs that you wouldn’t have if you were renting an apartment or house. For example, you’ll need to pay for gas and campground fees. However, you can save money on other expenses, such as food and entertainment.

Budget And Planning

One of the best ways to save money is to make a budget and stick to it. Figure out how much you need to spend on essential expenses, such as gas and groceries, and then allocate your remaining funds accordingly.

Avoid Luxurious Lifestyle

The best way to save money is to live a simple lifestyle. You don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy, so get rid of anything you don’t need. This will help you save money on storage fees and other expenses.

Don’t Travel Often

Stay in one place for a while. You’ll spend more on gas and campground fees if you move around a lot. Try to find a place where you can stay for a time, such as a state or all the national parks. This will help you save money in the long run.

Discounts And Coupons

There are various ways to save money on your RV living costs, such as looking for discounts and coupons for gas, groceries, and other items. You can also join an RV club to get discounts on campground fees and other benefits.

Full-time RV living can be cheaper than renting an apartment or house if you know how to spend within your budget and live a simple lifestyle. By following these tips, you can save money and enjoy the freedom of the open road.

Related Questions

How much do RV parks cost per month?

The cost of RV parks varies depending on the location, size, and amenities offered. However, the average cost of an RV park is between $500- $1,000 per month

Some RV parks may offer discounts for longer stays, so it is always worth inquiring about this before making a decision. Additionally, many RV parks offer lower monthly rates than the daily or weekly rates, so it is important to ask about this as well. 

What Is The Cheapest Way To Rent An RV For a Month?

The best way to find an affordable RV is to search online or ask friends for recommendations. Once you have found a few options, compare the prices and amenities to find the best deal.

Keep in mind that the cheapest option is not always the best option. Make sure to read reviews before making a decision. With a little research, you can find the perfect RV for your needs and budget.

Can you rent an RV for a month?

Yes, you can rent an RV for a month. There are a few things to keep in mind, however. Make sure you have the proper insurance coverage for your vehicle, as well as enough money to cover the cost of fuel and other expenses. You’ll also need to find a safe place to park your RV. Some campgrounds and RV parks offer monthly rates, so be sure to check for those before you book your trip.

Is renting an rV cheaper than a hotel?

It depends. If you’re planning to travel for an extended period of time, or if you’re traveling with a large group, then renting an RV can definitely be cheaper than staying in a hotel. However, if you’re only planning to travel for a short period of time or if you’re traveling solo, then a hotel might be the better option.

Renting an RV can also save you money on other costs, such as food and transportation. If you can cook your own meals while on the road, you’ll save a lot of money compared to eating out all the time.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that living in an RV can be cheaper than renting, but it depends on a number of factors. For example, if you own your RV and don’t have to make any loan payments, your costs will be lower than if you’re renting an apartment. But if you’re paying for gas and maintenance on your RV, your prices could be higher. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your situation.

If you want to spend less money while enjoying natural beauty, then RV life is the best for you. But if you want more space for your family and have enough budget, then you should consider renting an apartment.

Photo of author
Written by William Perry
William was born and raised in the United States and currently lives in Utah. A retired police officer, he is the father of three and grandfather of six. Along with writing, he enjoys traveling, the outdoors, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.
Search This Site