You Have a New RV - So, Why Do You Need to Buy So Much Stuff?

When you buy a new RV, there are several things that you will need to budget for after the sale.  What are they and how much do they costs?

When you buy a new RV, you may think that the cost you negotiate is the final cost.  But, don't be fooled.  That is only part of the cost.  And while it is the biggest part of the cost, you need to allocate in your shopping budget for all of the additional items and gear you will need after the sale.  So, if you bought a new RV, do you need to buy so much stuff?

I think it is wise to budget for the actual total cost of RV ownership rather than just the RV itself.  And those are two totally different things.  What do I mean?  The cost of ownership includes your gear, tag and taxes, towing equipment and more.  If you are purchasing an RV, you need to budget into 5 categories to cover all of your expenses.
  • RV cost
  • Towing gear 
  • RV Necessities 
  • Additional Gear 
  • Taxes and Tag 
The actual RV costs is only part of what you will spend to get your RV ready to hit the road.

RV Costs

The negotiated price of your actual RV will be the biggest portion of your budget.  But this is not where you should only budget.  That RV that you are about to pull off of the lot or from a seller's yard will most likely not come equipped with everything that you will need to actually tow and utilize your new RV.

Our sway and weight distribution hitch has worked perfectly for us.

Towing Gear and Essentials  (approximately $500 to $800)

Depending on your tow vehicle and set up, you will need some additional items to actually transport your RV.  You will need a towing hitch and sway bars (depending on the size of your RV).  We didn't have a sway bar for our pop up camper.  But, our travel trailer is much larger, and the RV dealership recommended an Eaz Lift Weight Distribution Hitch.

This option has worked great for us.   It was another $525 and was installed at the dealership.  But, you could install this yourself and save a couple hundred dollars.  If you are not towing your camper home for a long distance, an installation at home would easily work if you are handy.  Also, be aware that some large dealerships will try and charge well over $1000 for this same type of product.  Do your homework and make sure you aren't paying a huge amount more than you should.

This RV Starter kit is what we purchased to get us on the road when we made the transition to our travel trailer.

Stick to the Necessities (approximately $200)

There are some things that are necessities that you need no matter what.  These are the things that you want to purchase first.  
You are going to need a basic set of hoses for freshwater and sewer hookups.  An RV Starter kit will provide you with all of the essentials that will start you out with toilet paper and all for the things for a first night on the road.  Some people will tell you that these sets include cheap hoses.  If you want to pick out your gear, you can order these things individually.  But if you don't know what you need a kit will be your best option.  Regardless, you will need black tank treatment, RV toilet paper, freshwater hose, sewer hose, water pressure regulator and possibly a black tank flush hose.  

A leveling system is a necessity.  This will include several pieces - not just your actual levelers.  We use Andersen Levelers and have had great success with them over the years with both our pop up and travel trailer.  I also recommend getting good, rubber wheel chocks.  Finally, be sure to pick up the scissor jack drill bit.  You can use a drill to lower your scissor jacks with ease using this tool.  Underneath your scissor jacks, add some leveling blocks for added stability. 

You can find all of the gear that we have and love on our Gear Page.  I've included the pieces that have been tried and true since we started out with our pop up camper.

What gear do you need to get you ready for the road?  The kitchen is one of the areas where you will need a few things.

Additional Gear - (approximately $1,500)

Once you get the basic gear to actually set up and tow your camper, there will be things you need for travel.  If you have owned an RV previously, you may have some gear that you can use in your new RV.  I encourage you to make a list of everything you need or want first.  Next, go through items that you have either at home or from a previous RV that you can use again.  Finally, prioritize what you need and want and make a budget.  Don't feel like you have to buy everything at once if it is not a necessity.  Items you will need can include:
  • Plates and utensils
  • Kitchen gear for cooking
  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Medical supplies and a first aid kit
  • Cleaning Supplies and Hand Soap
  • Outdoor rug
  • Awning lights
  • Camping Chairs
I have a complete Camp Kitchen Checklist that you can use as well as a Medicine Cabinet Checklist to help with some of your essentials.  You can also find our favorite Camp Kitchen gear on my page where I have shared the things we have consistently loved and used while on the road.

Taxes and Tag - (approximately $500)

You are going to have taxes and a tag to pay on your RV purchase.  Depending on your state tax rates and whether you purchase in or out of state will have an impact on this cost.  Our actual RV tag was approximately $350.  However, we ended up having to pay taxes in MS on our purchase since we purchased our RV out of state.  This was several hundred dollars.  You can find out what we learned from this process from a previous post on purchasing an RV from out of state.

Final Thoughts

When you make your budget for an RV purchase, don't forget to include the supplies and fees you will incur in addition to the actual RV cost.  I recommend allocating between $2,500 and $3,000 for these costs.  Plan your budget on the high end so that you will have some cushion room.  While you don't have to purchase every item beyond your necessity items right from the start, allow yourself enough room to purchase the things you will enjoy on the road.  

I think many shoppers get so excited about the actual RV and thoughts of camping, that they don't consider what they will end up spending after signing for that big purchase.  If you are prepared for these purchases, you already anticipate this expense.  But, if you are caught off guard, you might find yourself frustrated by all of the costs after the purchase.  

Until next time...

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