How To Save Money On Food When RVing

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When it comes to spending money while traveling in an RV, it can feel like there is more money going out than coming in. But it doesn’t have to be that way! All it takes is making some simple adjustments to your RV lifestyle. Today we’re going to review how to save money on food while RVing, or anytime really!

These little adjustments can make all the difference. Trust me, we’ve learned this one from experience. One of the ways to adjust is how you spend money on food. We love eating out (and did it quite often when we first hit the road) but it can be really expensive. The biggest change we did was to eat at home more often. Below are our tips on how to save money on food while RVing.

Cook at Home to Save Money on Food

If you really want to save money on food, cook at home. Cooking at home is also healthier for you. Typically, people that cook at home have a better diet unless all your eating is frozen pizza and microwave meals. The other great thing about cooking at home is you can cook in bulk. Make big meals and you can freeze them for later or leftovers for lunch. Taking lunch with you instead of eating out every lunch will save you big bucks.

Plan Ahead

First, start by planning ahead. Doing this will help eliminate those nights you don’t know what you want to eat, checking the fridge and finding nothing. And because you’re tired you don’t want to go to the store to cook, so, off to eating out. Planning your meals ahead reduces this problem. It also makes you a more focused shopper when at the grocery store. 

When planning your meals ahead it allows you to also do an inventory of what you already have. Instead of getting to the store and wondering if you have milk, you already know if you do or not. Make sure though you put a good shopping list together. This way you don’t forget. It also keeps you on your mission so you don’t overspend.

Woman with green nail polish holding a grocery list with tomatoes in the background. A great tip for how to save money on food is to plan ahead with a list so you don't over buy.

Buy Produce in Season to Save Money on Food

Another tip for saving money on food is to buy produce in season. If you noticed, corn and avocados are a whole lot more expensive when it’s not in season. This goes for all fruits and vegetables. This is because it has to be flown in from another country when it’s not in season here. This drives up the prices. Shopping for produce when in season is much cheaper.

Think Frozen, Canned, or Dried 

When shopping for food consider getting frozen, canned, or dried. They tend to be cheaper and they don’t go bad, so it’s a great way to save money on food. A lot of times what ends up happening is produce goes bad before it’s even eaten. So, now you are throwing away your money, not just food. Food will always taste better when fresh but if you know it’s something that could sit around for a few days get it frozen or canned.

A grocery store isle with canned food on the shelves. A great tip for how to save money on food is to buy canned food as it's cheaper and lasts longer.

Save on Protein Foods

Protein foods can be a money sucker. Steaks and seafood products can get very pricey. To minimize this consider getting chicken instead of steak. Chicken is always cheaper. Or only buy meat when they are on sale. Another great way to save money on protein is just buying less of it. Maybe try a vegetarian substitute or do one to two fewer meals with meat in them a week. Rae and I eat vegetarian or vegan meals a few times a week now and we love it! It really mixes things up so don’t get bored eating at home either.

Stock the Pantry During Sales

Another tip on how to save money on food is stocking the pantry during sales. If there is a food you love and you know you buy it every time you go to the store when it’s on sale stock up. This isn’t permission to over-indulge in your favorite cookies. But if they are on sale take advantage of it to save a little extra money. This is hard to do with fresh produce so I wouldn’t advise on that. But meat as well, if it’s on sale, buy in bulk and put it in the freezer until later. We love shopping at Costco as well and that’s where I find the best prices on tri-tip and wings for our smoker.

PIle on coupons with a grocery list. A great tip for how to save money on food is to use coupons when you can.

Things to Avoid

There are a few things you should avoid doing if you want to save money on food. One is always buying name brands. They are always more expensive than generic and typically generic is just as in good quality. Another way to save is by avoiding pre-packaged food. Pre-made salads and snacks are more expensive and they have more preservatives.

Save for Dining Out

Now, you don’t have to stop eating out altogether to save money. Plus, trying the local cuisine is a major part of the experience in a town or area you are visiting. One thing that we did was create a fund for eating out. We put a certain dollar amount for dining out each month, and once we’ve spent it all, we know we’re done for the month.

Having only a certain dollar amount for eating out makes you think a little harder about where you want to spend this money, and can actually make the experience more meaningful! Occasionally, we don’t want to eat out so that fund rolls over the next month and we can really splurge on a fantastic date night later.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, we really try to take advantage of happy hours and specials. It’s a great way to try a few different things from the menu without blowing the bank.

We’ve really cut our food budget down by implementing these tips, and you can too! It just takes a few small changes and you’ll be seeing that dollar amount decrease. If you’re looking at saving more money all around, checkout Easy Ways To Save Money While RVing!

  1. I’ve been shopping from my list for YEARS! So cudo’s for suggesting it.
    Another suggestion is to go out for lunch as normally the portions are still large but cheaper!

  2. We love carrying a picnic in the truck on a travel day. We have also learned to try the local fruits and veggies when we’re in a new area.

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