By Bob Difley
Speaking in general terms, it seems the theme of every election is something like cutting the deficit, eliminating waste and becoming more efficient, which soon becomes the focus of every new government as it takes control. New ideas will be proposed, changes made, and the economy will continue, one way or another, good or bad, depending on your viewpoint. So for my two cents, I thought I would offer the following list of money-saving ideas, tips for reducing costs, and becoming more efficient—just like at the bigger House in D.C. Add yours in the comments section (minus political commentary, please).
- Stay longer at campgrounds or boondocking sites. Check out the weekly rates, sometimes significantly less expensive than the daily rate. You will also reduce your annual mileage driven and fuel used.
- Drive 55. Lower speeds produce more miles per gallon, and you will enjoy the scenery more at lower speeds.
- Avoid jackrabbit starts and quick stops. It’s all about torque and kinetic energy.
- Keep tires properly inflated. It can save up to 3% on fuel mileage.
- Install CFL or LED interior lights. These bulbs not only last much longer but use less energy.
- Boondock more often. Save campground fees and grid electricity usage.
- Install a solar or wind turbine system. Provides renewable free power to enable camping longer off the power grid.
- If traveling and staying only one night in a campground, pay less by choosing a non-hook-up site (sometimes called a tent site) or stay at lower-priced regional or state parks, or at stores that welcome overnighters like Walmart or Cracker Barrel restaurants.
- Eat out less. Save on food costs by preparing your own meals in your RV kitchen.
- Reduce food costs by bypassing the middleman. Buy from farmers markets, roadside farm stands, U-pick farms and orchards, and other local food producers and ranchers.
- Reduce the cost of food packaging. Buy in bulk from stores that offer this option. (And yes, RVers can buy in bulk! Even from stores like Costco. Here’s how.)
- Eat right and get plenty of exercise (at least 1/2 hour per day) and you might be able to cut down on meds and doctor visits—and you’ll feel better.
- Volunteer or become a camp host, which usually comes with a free campsite.
- Take a caretaking position. Look at The Caretaker Gazette, Trusted Housesitters, or Care.com for opportunities to trade out for free rent.
- Shop for quality—but slightly used—outdoor wear at St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, or other charity stores—and you will be helping worthy charitable institutions while at the same time buying quality labels at far below retail prices.
- Start a book exchange at your favorite campground, or encourage the camp host at RV parks to set one up to cut down on the cost of your reading pleasure.
- Some libraries have used magazine exchanges where you can get current or one-month-old magazines for free—you might be able to cancel your current magazine subscriptions and save money by having them re-shipped to you on the road.
- Shop Quartzsite for all kinds of bargains offered by RVers cleaning out their lockers, hard-core flea market sellers, and other interesting folk.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.