Cheap RV Living – RVing on a Budget

When you decide to live in your RV and travel, you are making a huge change in lifestyle. You won’t be able to have a lot of the things you have in your home since space is limited. Furthermore, while it is cheaper to live in an RV since you have less utilities and no mortgage payment, you do still have to pay some utilities and fuel costs, and you may have a payment on your RV. Always keep your RV in good condition by having it serviced at Jim’s RV Center.


Since you provide your own electricity via generator, you’ll definitely save on that bill; however, you must take into consideration the cost of gas for the generator and the cost of adding amenities to a camp site. You can decrease the cost of electricity by making sure all lights and electronics that are not being used are turned off. You should also turn off the generator if you are not using any electronics.

When possible, open windows instead of using the air conditioning unit or the heat. While the furnace does run on propane, the fan uses electricity. Turn off the hot water heater unless you need it – if you turn it on about 20 minutes before your shower or before you do the dishes, you’ll have plenty of hot water.


Plan your travel ahead of time. Each night, know where you are going to be driving the next day. Use some of the apps like Gas Buddy to find out where you can find the cheapest gas in your area. You definitely don’t want to drive too far out of your way or your savings are wasted. Top off if you need to – and be sure you top off the cans for the generator.

Dry Camp

Dry camp when you can. You can always find water to fill up the tanks. Many dealerships and national campgrounds have disposals so you can empty your holding tanks. It’s a good idea to fill the water tank and empty the holding tanks whenever you come across a fee-free place to do this as you never know when you’ll be able to get it for free the next time.

Visit Jim’s RV Center

Of course, always keep your RV serviced and maintained. Your RV will last longer and get better fuel mileage if you keep it maintained. When you are in the area, stop by Jim’s RV Center to have your RV serviced, including oil changes if you are driving a motorized RV.


Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day and, by being out-and-about and enjoying local celebrations and events, you can show your support for those who have served our country.

Veterans Day History

When the “Great War” ended (WWI), an armistice went into effect on the 11th day of the 11th month on the 11th hour of 1918. The official signing of the Treaty of Versailles meant “the war to end all wars” was officially over.

Since this is a statewide event, many, if not most, cities across the US will commemorate the day with flag raising ceremonies, parades featuring a military presence, surviving veterans, 21-gun salutes at memorials, and guest speakers at special events.

Plan your trip to include stops at local cities along your travel itinerary and enjoy the Veterans Day festivities, visit military museums and monuments, and take part in events. If you are a veteran or on active-duty, take advantage of the many dining, shopping, and recreational deals available across the country. Call ahead to ensure the location you plan to visit is participating in the Veterans Day program. Some programs are nationwide while others may be city specific.


Some good food along the way will keep your motor humming. These are just a few participants offering free food and/or discounts on Veterans Day.

  • Applebee’s
  • Golden Corral
  • Hooters
  • Krispy Kreme
  • McDonald’s
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Subway
  • T.G.I. Friday’s


From free downloads to discounts, these retail stores are focused on Veterans and their immediate families.

  • Cabela’s Outdoor Store
  • Fashion Bug
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Seven-Eleven
  • Sports Authority
  • The Dollar General


  • Anheuser Busch-Parks
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Knotts Berry Farm
  • National Parks Fee Free Day
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame

Most likely, you will be required to supply proof of military identification in order to receive these specials, so travel prepared. Acceptable ID can include a photo of you in your uniform, Veterans Organization Card, or discharge papers.

Like a hardworking veteran, your RV has seen plenty of “road duty” and needs to be cared for with a maintenance and service check. Before leaving to enjoy Veterans Day activities, stop by Jim’s RV Center and let the certified technicians get your RV ready for action.


Kitchen Tips – Cooking in your Jim’s RV

If you’ve taken a look at the latest RV models, you know that many of them have kitchens that compare to any posh home kitchen in America. Double ovens, granite counters, dishwashers, and full-size refrigerators are just some of the items you can find popping up in today’s RV kitchen. If you are RV-ing on a budget and don’t require the lavish lifestyle that comes with the large RV kitchen fad, you’ll want to plan ahead when you stock your regular-sized RV kitchen.

If you’re not in denial and can admit to being an appliance junkie, by all means, bring at least a few you rely on when you RV. With a small bread machine and slow cooker, for example, you can prepare some very hearty meals while you venture out to enjoy your day. You’ll need at least a few frying pans, a large soup pot, and utensils such as spatulas, spoons and at least one or two sharp knives. A good cutting board should be on your must have list as well. Unless you’re planning on whipping up gourmet meals on the road, you don’t need all the accessories and appliances you have in your home kitchen, but pay attention to how you like to cook and what you find necessary in your day-to-day cooking routine. Add these indispensable items to your RV kitchen and your tummy will thank you.

Here’s a short check list that can prepare you for any RV road trip in New York.

  • Plan Ahead. This is one of the most important elements of RV cooking. You can make sauces, stews, soups, and other side dishes ahead and freeze them, then you just need to warm them up for dinner.
  • Make mixes ahead of time. If you’re going to make bread, measure out all the dry ingredients into a plastic bag, and then simply add the wet ingredients when you’re ready to bake. The same goes for pancakes, waffles, breading mixes, and other types of flours and mixes. Measure them out ahead of time, then you only have to mix and cook in the kitchen, and you don’t have to carry around all the different ingredients, taking up space in your small RV pantry.
  • Marinate meats and vegetables ahead of time. You can transport meats and vegetables in their marinades in plastic bags. When you’re ready to cook, they’re already marinated, which saves you another step along the way.
  • Plan to grill several meals, or at least grill some of the items on the menu, to help free up space in the kitchen.
  • Cook pastas and other starches at least part way at home, and then put them in a plastic bag. That way, all you have to do is warm them up, rather than wait for water to boil and cook.


As you travel more often in your Jim’s RV, you’ll devise your own RV cooking tips to help you save time and energy in your RV kitchen!


RVer Health Insurance for Full-timers in Nichols, NY

Question: What do you do for health insurance? Is there a RVers group plan?

Everyone’s situation will be different based on several factors. For example, one couple that I read about has medical insurance which offers a Point-of-Service plan. This means that even though they have to use in-network doctors for the best price, they don’t have to designate a primary care provider. So that makes it easier for them to go to doctors anywhere.

For some full-time RVers it is not easy to get a doctor to see new patients or ones they may never see again. It tends to be much easier if you can return to the same doctor every year – for consistency and to establish a relationship. Consider choosing a provider in a location that you consider to be your home base. If you have a plan that ties you to doctors/providers only in a specific state or geographic location, then this should be factored into your selection of a home base state since your address will be used as a basis for medical coverage.

The main types of policies are:

  • Fee-for-service insurance (indemnity insurance): Traditional type of health insurance that pays a portion of each medical service you get, such as doctor’s visits and hospital stays, while you pay the remaining cost. Premiums are generally higher than Managed Care.
  • Managed Care Plans: Also known as HMOs (health maintenance organizations) or PPOs (Preferred provider organization). The health insurance company has contracted with doctors and hospitals to provide services. You pay a monthly premium and then a small amount for each visit or service (usually $10-$15) called a co-pay. Some plans allow you to use doctors and hospitals outside of the plan network but you pay more per visit.


When researching what type of insurance that will best cover you and your situation, consider these questions:

    • How much of my doctor and hospital bills will this plan pay for?
    • What is the monthly premium?
    • How much will I have to pay for a hospital stay before the plan begins to pay?
    • How much will I have to pay for office visits to the doctor?
    • Does the plan pay for preventive health care, such as routine checkups?
    • Does this plan have rules for people who already have serious, chronic medical problems? Will this keep me from getting the care I need?
    • If there is a deductible, does it start over each year (preferable) or for each new illness?
    • What services are covered by this health insurance? Will it pay for visits to the emergency room or urgent care center? Does it cover routine surgery, hospital stays, doctor visits, skilled nursing facility care, home health care, and medical equipment and supplies?
    • Does the plan cover vision, dental or prescriptions?
    • Does the plan pay for catastrophic medical costs?
    • Is there a yearly or lifetime limit to how much the plan will pay for medical costs?
    • Are rate hikes based on individual or pooled claims?
    • Is the policy Guaranteed Renewable/Non Cancelable (preferable) or is it just Guaranteed Renewable?

Many RVers who can’t afford individual insurance join associations to take advantage of group rates. We recommend beginning your search online or asking your local Nichols, NY RV dealer for information on associations and RV groups, we can point you in the right direction!


10 Five Minute RV Maintenance Tips

Of course, Jim’s has a state-of-the-art RV service department with the latest in diagnostic and repair tools and parts that can handle just about any problem your RV faces. I say, why not just avoid RV problems all together. Here are a few quick and easy RV maintenance tips you can follow on your own to keep your camper in great shape from year to year.

Quick And Easy RV Maintenance Tips

Check sealants twice each month – check the rubber sealants around your windows to make sure they’re tight and not cracking. Cracked or loose sealant can let air in which causes drafts and leaks.

Check tire pressure before every trip –this one should be a no brainer. Make sure your tires are fully pressurized before you set off on your next road trip – it’s an easy RV maintenance tip that will prevent blowouts and it also  improves your gas mileage!

Run generator 2 hours per month under 50% load –letting your RV sit unused for months is not good for the generator. Run it under a light load for a few minutes each month to keep it primed so that it is ready the next time you decide to hit the road.

Check battery water level–making sure your batteries have enough water in them is crucial to ensuring that they will hold their charge. Check your battery water level frequently and add distilled water when necessary.

Clean holding tanks regularly –clean out your gray and black water tanks frequently to prevent bacteria and odors from leaking into the rest of your RV. Black and gray water tanks can get really gross, really fast – this is one RV maintenance tip you don’t want to forget! If you have to spend a vast amount of time on the road, cleanliness is a must.

Lube slide rails and gaskets twice each year –make sure all your slideout rails and all gaskets on your RV are properly lubricated to avoid friction. This will help make sure your slide rails stay in working condition all season long.

 Torque lug nuts before each trip – it is very important that you always make sure your lug nuts are fastened tightly before you head out. This RV maintenance tip is crucially important – if you’re not careful, your whole wheel assembly could fly off! Accidents slow down trips and can drain your pocket book, this type can be easily avoided.

 Sanitize fresh water system each spring – this is an RV maintenance tip that you should follow at the beginning of the RV season. Before your spring RV season starts, make a point to thoroughly sanitize your fresh water systems to keep your drinking water fresh and clean.

 Properly winterize each fall –this is one of the most crucial RV maintenance tips that you can follow. Before the winter hits it’s absolutely necessary to follow all of the steps to winterize your unit to protect it from the winter cold and lack of use (if you need help, check out our previous posts about how to winterize your RV!).

 Retract awning during heavy wind and rain – this RV maintenance tip is extremely important. On at least one of your camping trips you’re going to have to weather a storm. Make sure your awning is pulled back – otherwise, it’ll collapse like an umbrella and bend like crazy!

If you follow the above RV maintenance tips throughout the season, you may end up saving thousands of dollars in service costs! And remember, for all your RV maintenance and service needs, visit Jim’s RV Center in Nichols NY.


Buy used and save


RVing has been a popular American tradition for a long time.  It is the dream of a lot of people to one day sell the house and pack into a spacious luxury rig and head out on the open road.  Many people who want to do this though are turned off by looking at the price tag of new RVs, and instead of experiencing the great outdoors are stuck at home.  There is a stigma that buying a used RV will leave you wanting more. You may think that the reason the RV is being sold as used is because there is something wrong with it and that’s why it still isn’t owned.

Buying a used RV is not only a great way to save money, but it still gives you all the joy of buying a new RV.  The most important thing that you need to consider when buying an RV, new or old, is that it is right for you and what you want to get out of it.  There is more to buying an RV than buying the biggest and most expensive on the lot.  There would be no need for something like that if you are looking to be a part time RVer.  If you know what you are looking for then you can start looking for the best bang for your buck, which is usually a great used RV.

Finding a used RV means doing your research and talking to someone you can trust.  When looking at used RVs be sure to ask as many questions as possible.  The ownership history, and repairs, and other questions can help you make sure that you are buying a rig that is not only priced low, but also still in excellent working condition.  If you are in the market for a used RV and want to feel confident that you are buying a great one, then be sure to come into Jim’s RV.