The Internet is amazing. With it, you can read product reviews, compare prices and find the best resources for just about anything for RVs. And by keeping written records of your RV (Tip #5) you also know what you’ll need in upcoming travel seasons.
Here are my recommendations to travel more and spend less as you do your homework and start RV shopping.
Analyze Needs and Wants
As covered in Tip #3, being a Frugal RVer (or frugal anything) means first separating needs and wants. Remember: At the grocery store, a need is buying milk, bread, and other food staples. A want is getting a soda, corn chips, and snack cakes.
In camping, a need is something required to meet your travel goals and budget. A want is not required but desired. Wants aren’t bad things.
They’re just not as critical to recreation and safety as needs. So prioritizing our needs and wants is the first step as we shop smart.
The best way to prioritize the things we buy is by first determining their value toward reaching our travel goals.
How much value will that new GPS gadget add to your travel? Is there another unit that will give you as much value for a lower price? Is a used or refurbished unit a good option or is it a false economy?
Remember that a frugal camper is not a cheap camper.
Nor is a frugal camper unsafe.
A frugal RVer is one who makes common-sense decisions toward getting good value from every camping activity and dollar.
If you do any kind of shopping, you’ve noticed that the same product can be sold by many retailers and nearly as many different prices.
MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and retailers often use it as a starting point for discounts to attract customers.
Some manufacturers don’t allow much if any discounting on more unique products such as those we campers buy. However, there still are discounts available, even if it is free shipping or a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Other retailers offer discounts who make more or larger purchases such as Frequent Buyer programs.
Or their ads say “Call us first for the lowest price.” Still, other sellers have daily, weekly, or monthly deals that can save you money on what you want.
Sometimes the best way to get the best price is to ask for it.
Give the seller a reason to give you a discount, such as: You are my favorite RV retailer, I’ve purchased all of my RVs/parts/supplies/books from you, or I’m on a budget and could use a discount.
It’s best to first identify who may have discount authority and ask that person. Make that person feel good about offering you a good deal.
If you’re buying something bigger, like an RV, prices aren’t always set in stone, and discounts or price reductions are expected.
If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating, ask one of your friends or relatives who is to help you with the purchase.
You can sometimes determine a “typical” discount percentage offered by a seller by analyzing the asking-versus-final prices on prior sales.
Be Ready to Buy
Smart shoppers avoid impulse buying, but once they have chosen a quality product to buy they stay ready to buy, watching for the best deal.
That means getting watching publication ads, getting on camping and RV retailer email lists for specials, and making sure the funds are set aside for smart purchases.
Of course, not all camping purchases can wait for a SALE.
But by analyzing your RV camping needs and wants, and determining value, you can make better purchase decisions in a hurry as well.
You may not get the best price ever, but you can get the best price now. Shop smart! “Shop smart” can work for anything you buy. The advantage it offers to RV consumers is that every dollar you save is another dollar you can spend on camping!
Travel more and spend less as a frugal RVer.
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"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide