5 Amazing Benefits of Renting an RV Before you Buy

5 Amazing Benefits of Renting an RV Before you Buy

There’s something about RVing that brings a wanderlust and adventurous spirit out in almost everyone.

It has become very popular! So, we are examining why renting an RV can be very beneficial before you make the decision to buy. 

Whether you are in it for the weekends and holidays or want to live Full-time like us.

For many, it’s about exploring the nature reserves, hiking trails, and unplugging from most of modern technology.

Just imagine sitting by the campfire outside, roasting delicious marshmallows while relaxing and bonding with your family or friends. It’s a beautiful sight!

Renting an RV

However, purchasing an RV is a big investment and is considered to be a ‘luxury’ item.

Also, it can be overwhelming as you begin your search. One of the first places most look is RV Trader, where they begin learning just how many different types, floor-plans, and brands there are.

That is precisely why you should consider these 5 reasons to rent an RV before buying one!

1. It can save money and time

I have heard of so many stories of RV’ers who purchase their “perfect RV” only to trade it in a year later for something either larger or smaller.

Renting an RV first could save you from stress, emotionally and financially.

When you take a loss or have to go through the trade-in process, it can take a toll not only on your pocketbook but also on your state of mind.

No one wants to waste money by purchasing the wrong RV that doesn’t truly fit their needs.

When you rent, you will be able to test out all the different styles and types to see what fits, before signing the dotted line.

2. Test out different floor-plans and amenities

RVs come in all different styles and sizes to meet the RV’ers needs. There are Motor-homes classified as the Class A, Class C, and Class B. Then you have your tow-able RVs like the Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, Toy Haulers and Pop-Ups.

Along with the styles of RVs, you have numerous amounts of floor-plans. Some will have an extra bunkhouse for kids and guests, others will have washer/dryer prep, while others will have an outdoor kitchen and entertainment area.

Each floor-plan carries its own unique details that can either benefit your family or become an unused amenity.

You’ll also be able to consider the amount of space and slides you might need. We have 3 slides, two in the main living area and one in the bedroom. They make the space open and not feel cramped. 

By renting before buying, you will be able to really test out space and see if it will be enough room or possibly too much room for those who are really wanting to minimize.

3. Practice driving, towing, parking, and backing up

Unless you are a seasoned driver like my father, who has been pulling 10,000 lbs. plus trailers across the country for his work, pulling a trailer can be intimidating.

I (Nissa) still have not driven the truck while our 34ft Travel Trailer is towing behind. I am honestly scared because it’s our home.

Thank goodness my husband used to tour with a band and has driven an RV before. Otherwise, we would have had a lot of training ahead of us.

Renting an RV will help tremendously because it will give you the opportunity to practice towing, parking, and the dreaded backing up.

Practice makes perfect, as my coaches would always say, and the same goes for towing a trailer or driving a motor-home that is slightly larger than a normal truck or car.

4. Learn how RV’s work

Yes! Understanding how RV’s work is a learning curve. For us, the gentlemen we purchased from walked us through everything. However, there still was so much we had to research and learn about our RV.

Learning how the water system works, the heating and a/c systems, or how the slides mechanically come in and out are important.

Another big one is the grey and black tanks, and knowing where you can dump. As well as, the electrical amps, where to plug in, how you can convert amps to fit your RV and more.

These are just a few things that one will have to know when owning an RV.

RVing is fun but there is definitely a learning curve.

Renting an RV first will allow you to go through that learning curve to see if it’s something you really want to do.

Which leads me to my last point.

5. To ensure the RV life is right

Renting an RV can help you determine if living in an RV or purchasing one for weekend camping is right for you and your family.

Renting is truly the “try it before you buy it” concept.

Everyone loves to try things out before fully committing, especially when something is a large purchase.

Where you can Rent

You can check out the #1 RV Rental site called Outdoorsy. They have consistently rated 5 stars with roadside assistance, customer service, and up to $1million insurance coverage for approved bookings.

With Outdoorsy, you can search for the RV that interests you. Search by keywords, prices, vehicle type, amenities, kitchen necessities, entertainment desires, rules like Pet-friendly, and overall rating.

You can check out and rent your RV by using this link “Outdoorsy”. (If you do choose to rent through my link, I will receive a commission that is no cost to you.)

Don’t forget to check out these Top 10 Tips from fellow blogger MamacitaOnTheMove for when you’re ready to rent an RV for the weekend.

I really hope this helps you consider why renting an RV is a great way to figure out what RV you want, and whether the RV life is right for you.

It can help you save money, learn about RVing and so much more!

Did you rent before you purchased your RV? Comment below! We would love to hear how it has benefited your decision!

Sharing is Caring! Pin, Tweet, and share on Facebook! Thanks for stopping by and Happy RVing! 

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The Best $5 Meal Plan for RVers | Free 14 Day Trial

The Best $5 Meal Plan for RVers | Free 14 Day Trial

Meal planning and grocery shopping!

We all have to eat, and as much as we wish we could eat out every night or have a fancy chef cook our every meal, in reality, that just doesn’t happen. So, if you are tired of wasting time making a grocery list or trying to figure out what’s for dinner every night? You’re not alone!

For us, eating out happens only on occasions! Therefore, we have learned to cook at home and purchase the right ingredients for our planned out tasty meals. However, that wasn’t always the case.

What Made Us Start Meal Planning?

For years I would go to the store, walk down every aisle, grab items off the shelves and then later figure out what was for dinner with what I bought.

I knew my way of grocery shopping wasn’t working when too many of our perishable items would rot and wither before we had a chance to make a meal. Also, when Matthew and I moved into our RV full-time our fridge just wasn’t as large as an industrial one and our pantry storage became almost non-existent.

I did always try to purchase the Ingredients for basic meals like Tacos, Chicken w/veggies, and Spaghetti. Although basic meals are easy and quick, they can get repetitive and boring.

I specifically remember my husband saying, “what do we have for dinner?”

And I replied; “chicken and broccoli with rice”.

He said “Again?”

That’s when I knew something had to change. We needed new recipes and new ideas!!

We couldn’t continue with our normal routine because we either ended up with not enough room or eventually wasted food. Wasted food equals wasted money, right? We definitely had no room to be wasting money! Especially when we are on our way to becoming debt free which you can read about here on our monthly goal posts: Our Journey to a Debt Free Life. 

So I went on to Pinterest and started searching. I came across a blog post regarding meal planning and they recommended the $5 Dollar Meal Plan service. I instantly became interested clicked on their link in the post.

Through my scrolling of www.5dollarmealplan.com website I, of course, read the whole page and the reviews. After all, the reviews are so important.

After about 5 minutes, I realized that this service was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to save money, save time, and most importantly stop buying items and ingredients that never get used. I saw this service as being the answer to my problem. 

So, we signed up for the 14 free day trial to try it out. As soon as we did, we received our first planned meals. I also did some searching on my own to see what kind of recipes they had as options.

Do we like the meals and service?

So far we have loved the service! Every week we receive in our email a complete list of meals for the week including a detailed grocery list at the end of the recipes. The list is downloadable, printable, and saves so much time.  

We take the list, mark off any items we already have in our fridge or pantry. Then when we go to the store we purchase the items that we still need. The service has been great!

What do you get with the service? 

You get a full week of meals sent to your inbox every Friday, with cooking instructions and a grocery list.

The option to build your own perfect plan according to your specifications.

Search for meals designed by cooking method. So, if you love using just one pot for your meals to save on dishes there are recipes for that. They also have meal specifically for crock pot/slow cookers, meals that are freezer friendly, meals for baking, meals for Dutch Ovens, and more.

Search by dietary preferences such as gluten-free, paleo, dairy free, soy free, or vegetarian there are specific meals for you.

Search and create meals plans for the time of day. If you want to plan meals for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner there are plenty of recipes for you to add variety for weeks.

Search by ingredients like beef, salad, beans, chicken, eggs, and more.

They really have thought about their customers with a great meal planning service. Plus, Free Coupons that you can print for your grocery shopping to save even more money. Here are some images of the dashboard and what to expect by searching the categories.

Is it worth it?

Well, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial to see if the service is something that will benefit you and your family. We did exactly that and after the 14 days decided to purchase the full service at only $5 a month.

I feel like the price is definitely affordable and reasonable for the amount of time it has saved us and can save you.

How has the product benefited us?

By using the $5 meal planning service we have saved over $100 a month on groceries by only purchasing what we needed and using the coupons they provide with the service. This, in turn, has prevented us from eating out and wasting food.

I now have more time to focus on playing with my dogs on the weekends, writing, and spending time with my husband, instead of spending my Sunday trying to meal plan and create a grocery list.

If you’re single, a couple, or a family with children this service has so many benefits. It also allows variety for your weekly meals. Before we would always eat chicken, pasta, and tacos, those were my go-to ingredients when I went grocery shopping. Now, we have opened up our meal options and have tried a variety of fish dishes, vegetarian dishes, nutritionally packed smoothies and more!

So save your weekends for the family and let Shane, Erin, and Jim do your meal planning for you! You can start your free 14-day trial here! 


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7 Unique Gift Ideas for your Happy Camper (Valentine’s Edition)

7 Unique Gift Ideas for your Happy Camper (Valentine’s Edition)

It’s February! Do you know what that means? Valentine’s day!

Now, this holiday is such a great way to show your significant other or friend that you’re thinking about them. Everyone deserves to feel a little bit of love this month, even your Happy Camper.

Do you know someone who loves camping? Maybe you and your family actually live in an RV fulltime, like us! But… you’re having a hard time figuring out something unique to get them for Valentine’s day in place of or in addition to flowers and/or chocolate?

Well, do not worry! I’ve compiled a list of great gift ideas for him and her that you can get right from Amazon.

Apparel for Him and Her!

Let’s start with some Apparel! These adorable t-shirts and sweaters are perfect for your Happy Camper wife, girlfriend, or friend! She is bound to make one of these t-shirts or sweaters a piece of her camping outfit!

For the men in your life! These perfect t-shirts are comfortable and versatile. Great for everyday camping activities like setting up the RV, Grilling, or building a fire! I Especially love the U.S. National Parks shirt. It pinpoints all the parks you can travel and camp at in the United States.

Happy Camper Jewelry Gift Ideas for Him and Her!

Jewelry is a staple gift item for Valentines Day, but why not grab something for him or her that has a little twist. Some great jewelry to show their love for the outdoors. Items can include a great watch with a compass, a beautiful mountain scene necklace, or even a Happy Camper Key chain.

Coffee Mugs and Tumblers!

What about your coffee lover that wakes up every morning and enjoys a nice cup of delicious coffee while watching the beautiful sunrise. These mugs are such great gifts! Wake up and be adventurous with these gift mug selections!

Personalized Gifts for your Happy Camper

Nothing says I’m thinking about you more than a personalized gift! Personalized gifts become sentimental items and even key pieces in someone’s house. Here are our some great picks for your happy camper!

Gifts for the Camps Cook

There always seems to be that one person who loves to do all the cooking. From roasting and stewing, these awesome gift ideas will make the camping food experience even better! My favorite is the popcorn roasting set.

Gifts for the Camping Writers and Readers

The great outdoors provides such a beautiful and peaceful place that can spark one’s creativity and provides a serene environment to dig into a great story! These gifts are for those who love to write, draw, read, and find inspiration from the peaceful outdoors.

Camping Gift Ideas for Couples

Camping with your loved one makes the experience even more special. Experiencing the great outdoors, hiking, and sitting by the campfire are memories that will last forever. Check out these products designed for couples to enjoy their camping trip together! MR and MRS mugs, Couples Hammock and the popular Inflatable Lounger.

I hope you enjoyed all of these amazing gift ideas for your Happy Camper!   Mix it up from the popular Flowers and Chocolates and get your person something they will love, use, and enjoy on every camping trip!

Happy Camping! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on our journey, and more tips, tricks, ideas, and travel stories from Exploring New Sights. We are also on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Check us out! 

Thank for your support and HAPPY VALENTINES! <3

 

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How to take control of your finances while living in an RV

How to take control of your finances while living in an RV

Oh… Finances! We all have them. Money is universal and some are completely unaware on how to truly manage it. According to an article written by CNBC, 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, 56% are in way over their heads with debt, and 56% save $100 or less a month.

Those numbers are surprisingly high, but with everything becoming more expensive it is understandable. Our incomes are having a difficult time keeping up with rising prices and many people often live above their means to keep up with social society.

Matthew and I weren’t living above our means, but we also weren’t living below either. So, we began our journey of getting out of debt, learning to live below our means, and started to take control of our finances. We saw that a couple of years of making sacrifices by not going out as much and living in an RV with a small loan payment was going to help us get out of debt.

Our goal is to one day pay for everything with cash, and never have another loan or credit card to pay back. We want to take amazing vacations without going into debt, save for retirement, give to others freely and live financially free.

So, we have done an extreme amount of research and are really digging deep to understand finances, how to best pay off debt, and make our financial dreams a reality. These are the 6 tips that have been helping us take control!

Step 1: Create a budget!

When you create a budget this forces you to look at your monthly income, your monthly bills, and where you spend your money. It also allows you to consciously “trim the fat” meaning stop spending money on all the miscellaneous things that you don’t really need or can substitute for cheaper alternatives. I wrote a blog called “Why it is important to create a budget”, you should read it if you’re still questioning why a budget is a necessity.

Step 2: Stop spending money!

Seriously, cut the “fat” as they say. When you start budgeting, you begin to see all the unnecessary purchases as I said before. Purchases may include eating out, coffee runs, or unused memberships. The extra money you save by cutting out the extra expenses will allow you more money to pay off the debt and save. Which brings me to step three.

Step 3: Save an emergency fund!

Having an emergency fund is so important. Try saving at least $1000 to have just in case you need to go to the doctor, or you need maintenance on your car or RV. This prevents you from placing those expenses on your credit card. Once you have that emergency fund saved, now is time to focus on step 4.

Step 4: Pay off the debt!

Once you can create a budget and see where your monthly income is being spent, then trimming the unnecessary spending habits, this will give you some room to put more money towards debt payments. So, check your balances for all the credit cards, loans both personal and student, cars, and mortgages as well as the interest rates! Pay off the smallest loan first while making the minimum on the rest. Then take the amount of money you used to pay off one loan to pay off the next smallest one and keep going until it’s all paid. This is also called the “Snowball effect”.

Depending on the amount of debt and income you bring in, it could take years, but it is so worth it! Getting rid of that debt is going to bring freedom for you and your finances. If you dream of taking those bucket list travel trips, having no debt will allow you to save more for those once in a lifetime experience.

Step 5: Stop using credit!

Instead really try to develop that habit of paying cash only. If you can’t pay for it outright, then choose to save for the purchase until you can pay cash. When you use credit you not only increase your debt, but you will also end up paying interest on that purchase.

Step 6: Stick to the plan!

This is extremely important! You can do the budget, check your loan and interest amounts, and create a pay off plan but unless you stick to it, it won’t become a reality. Again, getting out of debt can take years. That means for some that can be years of living with a budget and living below your means. Don’t forget to continuously check the budget, adjust as needed, and focus on paying off the loans.

There you have it! 6 steps and tips on how to get control of your finances. This is a personal decision that is going to take strategy and implementation. You can do it! You don’t have to live every month paycheck to paycheck and you can pay for a house or car with cash instead of credit. It is completely doable with patience and persistence.

If you have a spouse, run through these steps together and work together on your finances. It’s important for couples to be on the same page.

We are excited for the day when Matthew and I are completely debt free and saving for our retirement and vacations. It is a dream that I know will become a reality! Stay tuned to our monthly blogs in the sections “goal setting”. Every month we talk about our monthly goals and our journey to a debt free life. You can sign up below for our monthly newsletter to stay updated!

Stay Motivated! You can take control of your finances!


References: Dickler, J. (2017, August 30). Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/24/most-americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck.html

16 Best Frugal Living Ideas You Can Start Today!

16 Best Frugal Living Ideas You Can Start Today!

So, what does it mean to live frugally? We see people talk about this subject a lot!

All it really is about is money management and never living above your means.

Living frugally is the ability to stretch the dollars you spend.

It is also the conscious ability to substitute items that are less expensive and never wasting what you have purchased.

Frugal living can help you free up your income to give more, to save more, and in some way makes you more grateful for what you have.

Frugal Living

When you become grateful for what you have you focus less on what you don’t have and more on what you do.

It’s not always easy to live frugally, but it is worth it.

So, I have put together a list of frugal living ideas anyone can master and implement into their lives.

1. Don’t waste a drop!

Frugal living begins at not wasting anything. This includes Toothpaste, Lotions, hair products, makeup, sauces, and the list can go on.

2. Buy products that are multipurpose

Don’t buy shaving cream. Instead, use a little bit of your hair conditioner for shaving cream. Works wonders.

Also, Dawn dish soap can be used in more places than just the dishes; such as cleaning counters, toilets, sinks, and even bathing the dog.

3. Meal plan and prep!

This is the best and easiest way to not waste any food or money. You only purchase what you need to make the meals and then cook in bulk.

This is why we love the $5 meal planning service. This allows us to have our meals planned ahead of time and they even provide a grocery list with everything you will need.

Tip: always check your pantry and fridge before you go to the store and take note of what you already have. 

4. Use a Cash Back Service

Download an app that gives you cashback on your groceries and other purchases.

Here are three services I have used to get cash back on groceries items after purchase and cashback on other items at the time of purchase.  

1. IBOTTA – Get cash back on groceries, extra coupons, and more!
2. Ebates – Get cash back at the hottest store you already shop at plus on Travel and Hotels too! Earn $10 Walmart Cash Or $10 Ebates Free Cash for Signing up! 
3. Swagbucks – Earn Cash Back on purchases plus Daily Trivia Games, Searches, and Surveys.

5. Read More and Watch Less.

Reading is always better than watching T.V.

If you have your favorite shows though, there are great services like Hulu and Netflix that are way cheaper than cable.

You can also purchase an antenna to get local channels. 

6. Purchase things of Value.

Buy quality clothes that you can wear over and over again knowing that they will last.

It’s ok to be caught in the same t-shirt and jeans more than once. I have clothes that I have had for over 10 years.

I have my favorite pieces and I’m not afraid to wear them again and again. 

7. 48 Hour Rule

Wait 48 hours before making a purchase that is more than $48.

I like to call this the “48 Hour Rule”.

After 48 hours, if you still want it and can afford it, go get it. 

8. Buy a water filter and drink more water.

This is one of my favorite frugal living tips. We use a Brita water filter and glass water bottles to reduce waste and cost.

Drinking more water and buying a filter will not only save money but help the environment too.

So, skip the sugary soda, juices, and teas.

Water is cheaper and also better for you, especially if you have a water filter. 


9. Cancel Unnecessary Memberships.

We live in the days where it feels like everything is a membership and on a monthly retainer fee. 

You have Music like Apple and Pandora, Gym Memberships, Makeup Memberships, Shoe Memberships, and the list can go on and on.

If you don’t use the items or go to the gym or massage parlor then evaluate the importance of the membership.

10. Be Patient

Never purchase anything full price. This includes clothes, new toys, new gadgets like phones and game consoles.

Always buy items on sale, clearance, or have a coupon! Thrift Shops are great!

Plato’s closet is the place to go if you looking for a new outfit for a date night or pictures.

Remember, just because you purchase at a thrift store doesn’t mean you can’t find good quality designer items. 

11. Always Pay Cash

Try and prevent any spending on the credit card, especially if you can’t afford to pay off the credit card on the next due date. 

12. Always try to do things yourself

If something breaks, try to figure out a way to fix it yourself before paying someone else to come out.

Now, there are things that do need a professional for so know when to call and when you can fix it yourself is important.

13. Skip the Hair Salon

For Women, hold back on dyeing your hair.

I know for some this can be difficult with roots, but you can always work your way back to your natural color.

14. “X” out the Extensions

Don’t buy extensions, whether it is Hair extensions or eyelash extensions. Extensions are expensive and you’re beautiful just the way you are! 

15. A little goes a long way

Minimize the amount of makeup you wear. I personally work from home so the only time I actually put any makeup on is if I’m going to an event of some sort of meeting with friends.

Makeup is expensive, so the less I wear it, the further my money stretches.

If you do have to wear makeup on a daily, then I suggest using it sparingly. When I was working in an office, I had my mineral foundation, blush, concealer, chapstick, and mascara.

Those were my only go-to makeup products that I used every day. Very minimal and I didn’t over purchase products that I knew I wouldn’t use. 

16. Don’t compare your life to others.

You don’t have to have the latest and greatest gadgets that the “Joneses” purchased.

This goes with being grateful for what you have and what you can afford.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! 16 of our favorite frugal living tips that we implement and use daily.

Remember no one is perfect, I love my coffee so we don’t only drink water but it is cheaper than all the sugary drinks out there.

Also, living frugally is just being mindful of your money and the items you purchase.

I enjoy living frugally because it makes me grateful for what I do have.

It also allows me to save more money and give more back to the community.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share! 🙂 As always, Thank you for stopping by!


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Frugal Living

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