Frugal RV Traveling Tips: Keeping an Eye on the Road – and Your Budget

Hitting the road in your RV and the RV lifestyle can be one of the most economical ways to travel. If you do a little planning and research ahead of time, it’s easy to save even more – without ever feeling like you’re pinching pennies.One obvious way to take the frugal route is to plan your RV travel during the “shoulder seasons” – before and after prime travel time – when discounts are often offered at various campgrounds and attractions.Here are 5 cost-cutting RV travel tips that are good any time of the year:1. RV Travel On One Tank of GasRemember the ending to The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy says she doesn’t have to look any further than her own backyard to find her heart’s desire? Well, we’re not suggesting camping out right outside the house, but think about going to places not too far away that you’ve always meant to check out.You’ll be surprised at how many new and interesting destinations are just one tank of gas away. A lot of territory can be covered in just a few hundred miles, and you’re bound to discover exciting locations you never knew existed so close to home.Tip: Your neighborhood library is a terrific resource for researching local and state information and attractions – and most of it is free!2. Put Your RV On A Diet And Get Better Gas-MileageIt’s a simple fact that the less your RV weighs, the more mileage you’ll get on the road. Look around for places in your rig where you can institute a “less is more” policy.For example, you don’t have to set out with a full, fresh water tank for your RV excursion. Take what you need for the first day’s travel, plus a small reserve, and fill up once you’ve reached your day’s destination.Forget that bulky, economy-sized can of coffee: empty a smaller amount into an airtight plastic container that you can refill later. (One place not to cut back, though, is tire inflation: riding on fully inflated tires is a sure way to increase your gas mileage.)Tip: When buying food staples, consider dehydrated items like soup and dried fruit, and transfer cereal and pasta from bulky boxes into heavy-duty plastic bags – not only do they take up less space, you can reuse them once they’re empty!3. Plastic not Paper Dinnerware – A More Economical Approach OverallSure, the eat-and-toss approach of paper plates and cups is the easy way to go – and might even seem economical when you buy in bulk. But lightweight, inexpensive plastic dishes are easy to find, and while they might not last forever, they’ll certainly see you through the duration of a long-distance RV excursion.Choosing plastic over a big stack of paper goods is also another way to save on weight, especially when you’re starting out on your RV trip.Tip: Buy your plastic ware in a mix-and-match variety of vibrant colors, and these snazzy dishes will brighten up even the simplest road fare!4. Drive Less, Stay More – Save on Gas AND Get Campsite DiscountsWhen creating your RV travel itinerary, consider making fewer stops and spending more time at each destination. This will save on fuel and campsites costs as most of them offer discounts for lengthier stays.By driving less and staying more, you’ll receive an additional benefit: It’s much more relaxing to know that once you’ve turned off the ignition you’re settling in for a while. Also, by spending more time in one place, you’ll be able to do some more in-depth exploring of the area.Tip: Look online at the local newspaper for the area you’ll be visiting. Check for listings of events that you might not hear about otherwise … and don’t forget to look in the classifieds for yard sales and flea markets, too!5. Stop and Shop – At Local Discount or Dollar StoresWhen you need to refill on groceries avoid supermarkets and convenience stores where prices are at a premium. Instead, look for local discount and dollar stores and roadside fruit and vegetable stands — depending on the season. You might not save much money there, but there’s nothing better than freshly picked produce.Keep an eye open for discount outlets in the area. And stop at flea markets and yard sales where you might find a one-of-a-kind treasure. Not only do these unconventional choices offer the opportunity to find unusual items, it’s a great way to get to know the local neighborhoods and people.Tip: Keep your birthday and holiday gift list handy – you might spot the perfect knickknack for a family member at someone’s yard sale!Some Final Frugal RV Travel Tips:- Make use of the cheaper parks, like state parks- Join Good Sam Club for 10% discount at their parks- Subscribe to RV magazines for great ideas on RV travel- Shop around for best prices on camping stuff like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, GI Joes – instead of RV stores- Avoid buying your RV “supplies” – like toilet paper – that claim to be for RVs/motorhomes. Save money and buy the cheap stuff.- Save money and cook all your meals in the RV; don’t eat out. You can even make dishes ahead and store in your RV’s refrigerator- Ask for senior discounts everywhere you go- If members of AAA, see if any campgrounds give discounts. Look at a “Trailer Life Campground Directory” at your local library to compare camping fees.- Plan!!

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Does Owning Rental Property Reduce My Tax Liability?

Whether or not owning rental property can help you at tax time depends on several variables.  The largest variable is whether you are paying a mortgage on the rental property or if you own it free and clear.  To get any tax credits on your rental property, you must itemize your tax deductions.Remember that any money coming in to you via the rental property is income.  If your tenant improves the property in any way and does not charge you for it, this is income.  If you have retained a security deposit and it is not returned, it is income just like the rental fee.The Internal Revenue Service is very precise about income from property rental.  For this reason, landlords should keep thorough records of all income and expenses pertaining to their rental properties.Rental properties are considered to be tax-deductible by the Internal Revenue Service.  So, all expenses related to your property are, potentially, tax deductions.  If, however, you claim deductions that exceed the income from your rental properties, you are likely to find these deductions will be denied.  Otherwise, all expenses related to maintenance, repair, heating costs, cooling costs, and even administrative expenses are tax deductible on your income tax return.  If you have a dedicated vehicle used to haul and transport from one property to another, the gasoline, maintenance, and repair bills of this vehicle might qualify for tax deductions.You can even obtain a home equity line of credit against your rental property and put that money in non-taxable investments.Remember that when you own a rental property, you are in business.  As with any business, property rental has its pros and cons when it comes to tax liability.  You want to be certain that, as a businessperson, you take advantage of all of the tax credits, exemptions, and deductions to which you are entitled.  You also want to be clear on all the restrictions, liabilities, fees, and penalties you could face at the hands of the Internal Revenue Service should something go wrong.Any person embarking on a business venture should talk to a financial consultant and/or tax expert.  Financial consultants and tax experts are accredited and trained to know every aspect of investment strategy and law as it applies to your taxes.  You can even find tax specialists and financial consultants who specifically operate in the niche of income properties.  Having a professional guide you is the best way to be certain that you will be successful and able to avail yourself of every tax credit to which you are legitimately entitled.

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Is Replacement Cost Value the Best Option For Your Rental Property Insurance?

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