Investing in an RV can be a game changer for you, your family and your vacations. Packing up a trailer instead of multiple suitcases will save you money on airline tickets, hotel rooms and more. But making that initial purchase can be intimidating — and expensive.
Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks that could keep you from breaking the bank when you finally decide to buy your dream RV. All it takes is a little planning and preparation.
Here’s how to purchase an RV on a tight budget:
Get the right loan and financing plan
Financing an RV shouldn’t be a stressful experience. Your time is better spent planning where you want to camp and sight-see.
So before you start looking for RV financing rates, be sure to get your credit score in order, lower your debt-to-income ratio, and save enough to make a sufficient down payment. RV loans can have stricter credit qualifications, so the more prepared you are before you buy, the better off you’ll be.
As for loan length, the loan term for RVs depends on the amount financed and the vehicle’s age. It can also be tailored to your individual needs in most cases. Plan on a term ranging between $25,000–$99,000 for eight to 15 years.
Use an RV loan calculator that will help you figure out how much you can afford.
Buy at the right time and place
Once you’ve prepared your finances and picked your loan, you’ll need to decide how best to go about purchasing one.
Start by attending RV shows — a lot of them. They offer you valuable insight into what model will best suit your individual needs and how much you can expect to pay for it. Most also offer gently used models at a fraction of a new unit’s price.
These shows typically happen during the spring — and they often offer huge discounts to attendants. But if there isn’t a show coming up and your eager to buy, try a dealership or go straight to the manufacturer. They both have experts on hand to help with any questions you might have, as well.
Skip the crazy add-ons
As you shop for your dream RV, think carefully about how much space you need. You could save tens of thousands by opting for one less room or a smaller bathroom.
You should also decide what kind of bells and whistles you really need. Vendors will up the price of a unit with a fancy kitchen when really you could pack a portable grill on your next trip.
Get the best insurance for your needs
Finally, make sure you’re not overpaying for insurance.
RV insurance is a must, no matter how much time you intend to spend in it. But working with your insurance agent to determine how much insurance is legally required and how much you’ll need for your personal situation could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.