Frugal RVing -- How To?

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Steve CDN

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Most RVers need to intelligently manage their financial resources.  We need to squeeze every bit of value out of every dollar we spend.

What are some ways to make dollars go further?

Is coupon clipping still worth bothering with?  Can we get better fuel discounts than those offered by Flying J?  Are there products or services that can be substituted for the more expensive options that are just as good, or do you get what you pay for?
 

Steve CDN

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Camp at WalMart?

Yes but...the money spent at Wal Mart might neutralize the savings ;)

Though I realize your reply was meant as a razz,  the fact is occasional overnight stops at Wal Mart of a truck stop offer a sensible alternative to overpriced campgrounds while in transit.  So for travelers looking for a way to shave their overnight expenses, it's a good contribution to the discussion, Tom!  8)
 

Karl

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Steve,

I have mixed feelings about coupons. They're usually for name-brand items (some for items you wouldn't normally buy) and, with some exceptions, you can usually find a just-as-good store brand for less the the name brand 'coupon' price. Many store brand items are, in fact, name brands that are packaged for the chain. IMHO some of those 'frequent buyer' or 'smart shopper' cards that many chains have, merely bring their inflated prices back down to a somewhat reasonable level.
 

Smoky

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Karl:

I hate coupons.? Mostly because they slow up lines in stores.? ?:eek:

Closely related to coupons are rebates.? They suck me in every time.? I just don't have the will power and organization to take the time to send them in.? I'd rather they just cut the price.? But, of course, they are counting on people like me.? ?:D

Tom:

Glad to see you coming around in your viewpoint.? Though "transit stop" would be a more politically correct term than "camping".? ?;D

Another way to save "true" camping expense is to negotiate long term rates at campgrounds where possible.? We have an annual rate for our Arizona spot.? And when we go to the east coast we will negotiate a monthly rate.? Boondocking in QZ for 2 weeks is another way to save money.? And if you find the right people in QZ to boondock with it is even better!? ?;D
 

Tom

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Glad to see you coming around in your viewpoint.

??? Smoky, I haven't changed my viewpoint about camping/overnighting at WM one iota. But that doesn't mean that other folks shouldn't stay there.
 

hleap

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There are some really helpfull websites out there too...

http://dealcoupon.com/
http://slickdeals.net/

these are two that I use. I have used the virtual coupons there a number of times when buying online with little fuss (I just cut and paste the coupon code). I just saved over $200 on a Dell laptop after working other deals for 2-3 days. In another recent purchase I saved 50% on some clothes I bought from Timberland. Most of the coupons are extremely time sensitive and maybe just good for that day, others might last for a month.

Howard
 

Ned

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antirebate.com is another source of discounts.
 

valleygeocacher

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1. We've reduced our monthly food/groceries bill by $100 by using Angelfood Ministries. Hundreds of churches throughout the country use this as a fund-raiser. It's not welfare! The churches have food donated to them by stores and manufacturers. They then sell packages of the food items for $25 per package. The packages generally are valued at about $75. The participating churches require that you pay the $25 for each package you want by a certain date each month (buy more than one if you wish -- they want you to do that). You are then given a date and time in the same month for pickup of the package. They have volunteers who will load it for you.

At the time of pickup, you can sign up for (and pay for) next month's if you wish. There are about eight participating churches in the RGV.

For a list of locations, go to http://angelfoodministries.com/states.php#texas and look up your state. The phone number is given. Just call and ask for pertinent dates. The dates for pay/pickup change every month; they are revealed on the package-description sheet that you pick up along with the groceries.

2. ?Never, ever use coupons. They invariably specify name-brand merchandise. Wally Worlds GV brand is ALWAYS cheaper than the coupon-reduced price.

3. Shop price-leader items and don't be snookered into buying other things that are priced high to compensate for the reduced prices on the ads. Stay away from Kroger's and other "prestige" stores. HEB is okay on price leaders.

4. Frequent flea markets and garage sales. In the Rio Grande Valley there's a weekly Ropa Usada (used clothing) sale. Most items there are not usada. Pick and choose.

5. Keep the winter temp in the house down to about 60? and stay comfortable by wrearing a sweater; summer temp at 82? with a couple of fans making it feel cooler.

We survive on ONE social security check of less than $1,000 per month, with special purchases -- toys, yearly trips to Singapore/Australia, etc. -- from our other income.
 

Sue/Al

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Walmart is NOT a campground, some are nice enough to allow over night but many have put a stop to it, because of the people who intend to use it and abuse it as a campground, always some just got to spoil a good thing for the rest of us! and it's you people that keep calling it a campground who do this.......we have seen it for ourselves...awnings out, slides out, chairs out etc.? real cheapo's and losers......I would suggest using our Beautiful state parks as often as possible, cheap, nice and all amennities...
 

valleygeocacher

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Sue/Al said:
Walmart is NOT a campground, some are nice enough to allow over night but many have put a stop to it, because of the people who intend to use it and abuse it as a campground, always some just got to spoil a good thing for the rest of us! and it's you people that keep calling it a campground who do this.......we have seen it for ourselves...awnings out, slides out, chairs out etc.? real cheapo's and losers......I would suggest using our Beautiful state parks as often as possible, cheap, nice and all amennities...

Well said, but provocative. The Wal-Mart freeloaders are very jealous (zealous?) of their priviledges.
 

Tom

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and it's you people that keep calling it a campground who do this

Sue/Al,

For clarification, I merely said "camp at WalMart" and didn't call it a "campground", although many WalMarts I pass do look more like a campground than a parking lot. If we sleep in my RV overnight, irrespective where it is (even in our driveway), we're camping.

FWIW we've never stayed overnight at any WalMart and, if you read some of the topics in this forum, you'll find that I steadfastly refuse to do so. My reasons have nothing to do with whether WM is a parking lot or a campground.
 

Smoky

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Sue/Al:

This is a much discussed topic on this and other forums.  I think everyone is pretty much in agreement that WM should not be used as a campground.  In all my travels I have never seen awnings out, grills, out, etc.  I know it must happen, as people report it, but not nearly as often as people are lead to believe.

Where the disagreement occurs, is that some long haulers (like myself) who are on a multiday trip from one campground to another, do not want to hunt in the dark for a state park, or even worse try some unexpected boondocking, only to find themselves in a dark and dangerous place.  It makes sense to pull into a WM, stock up on groceries and supplies there, take a hot shower, maybe even a bite to eat at one of the many nearby restaurants, sleep in the knowledge that good security will patrol during the night, and then leave at dawn.  No muss, no fuss, no delays, no unhooking, etc.  This is encouraged by WM as a customer relations tool, and I thank them for it.

Those who not like to partake in that service are certainly entitled to look for a campground or state park, though I would suggest if they are overly tired, they do not carry that effort to such an extreme that it endangers other innocent people.

Maybe the title of this thread is a poor context to talk about "transit" stops at WM?
 

Tom

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I would suggest if they are overly tired, they do not carry that effort to such an extreme that it endangers other innocent people.

Smoky, we plan our days so that we're not driving to the point of being tired. We usually stop long before dark and, when in transit, pick campgrounds that are not too far from our route. I can't recall a time in 20 years of RVing that we've had to "search" for any campground, certainly not in the dark.

I am fully aware that many folks have no issue with overnighting at WM and have said numerous times that's their choice. I also know folks who use WMs as a way of saving campground fees, which is one reason I mentioned it in the context of this topic. If someone is comfortable with overnighting at WM, then it's certainly one way to help minimize costs.
 

Sue/Al

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You can come up with whatever excuse serves you well, however there is no need to travel until you are falling asleep, I don't care what your circumstances are, they're are rest area's  (to rest) all over our hwys and bi ways, the fact remains that way too many people do much more then overnight at WW and that is why many are posted NO Overnight, and I know for a fact here in Fla. most are posted but not by WW but by County Laws, which were made Laws due to the offenders, and yes, we have seen those campers in many different states, some even have their jacks down, here in S. Fla. when it's hot very hot, the blacktop softens and the jacks would make nice  pock marks. One WW, we stopped for shopping, and talked to some of the campers along a fence line in the parking lot, and yes they had awnings out, chairs etc. etc. one said they were there for over a week.... Unreal!!! don't remember what state that was in? but it is the ugly truth....Overnight is or should be to rest your weary head, but Camp is to set up camp as in camping....? But hey, I'm not a College Professor...are you? P.S. Not all rest areas are unsafe now most are patroled.
 

Tom

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I've "camped" in our driveway, but didn't save any money  :(
 

Tom

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there is no need to travel until you are falling asleep

I agree 100% with that. Doing so would be downright dangerous.
 

Smoky

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I agree also Tom, and never said otherwise.

Sue/Al, I have no need to make any excuses, and nothing I have explained is an excuse.  Very few WM's are posted "No Overnight", though I agree in some areas there are a higher than normal concentration, because of the geographical reach of municipal administrations.

There are multiple sides to this story, as you might expect. 

1.  WM is trying to use their evening open back lots to serve their RV customers.

2. Many long haul RVers do not want the hassle of checking into a campground when they are not going to stick around to enjoy the amenities.  They just need a safe and convenient spot to park and then move on to their ultimate destination.  Saving money may be one objective, but my experience is that it is eclipsed by the convenience and security objectives.

3.  Some RVers abuse this and try to "camp" at WMS in order to save money.

4.  Many campgrounds have their own ulterior motives and see this activity as revenue they could move to their own pockets.

5.  Some communities see overnight parking as an eyesore.  The alliance between such communities, the CG operators, and the government admins is sometimes an unholy one, and on other occasions a responsible one.

6.  There is far too much emotion about this issue on all sides, and not nearly enough mutual understanding.

Tom, it is this last item I was complimenting you about earlier.  I did not mean to say you had started "camping" at WM.  But that recently you have increased your tolerance for appreciating both sides of this recurring debate.  :D

Sue/Al, I should add, for your understanding of where I am coming from, that I spend upwards of $5,000 annually on campgrounds.  Maybe I do not need to explain that to you, but I detected a tone of criticism in your comments and though I might throw that fact in.  I still enjoy my WM transit stops though and appreciate WM for their attentiveness to RVers.  :D
 

Smoky

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p.s.

Maybe it is time to get on to additonal ideas about frugality.  Though anyone else is certainly free to have the last word on WM transit stops. 

I am looking forward at seeing OTHER ideas of saving money while RVing.
 

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