If you’re looking for a new adventure and a way to cut costs, van living can definitely be an option for you.
Today’s economy is riddled with expenses.
You have to pay rent, electricity, water, gas, and a whole bunch of expenses that can easily overwhelm people.
In fact, in many cases, living expenses such as rent or mortgage can take up a majority of your monthly expenses.
But you can’t live without a home? You might be asking, and this is partly true.
The truth is, you can actually cut out your rent or mortgage if you wanted to and drastically cut down on your expenses.
And this is through van living.
Van living? What is that? What does that mean?
Well, in this article, we are going to explore what van living is all about and how it can affect the way you live and the money you actually spend.
What Is Van Living All About?
Van living or the idea of living in a van is not for everyone.
The idea here is that instead of living in a home, a trailer, or RV, one would be living in a small camper style van in order to save money on home expenses.
It is definitely not for the faint-hearted but it is a great way to drastically save money and cut out costs in your finances.
The saving potential is fantastic and can be substantial for anyone brave enough to take on this challenge.
But can I actually live in a van?
Yes, you can.
Today, we’re going to go through what it takes to transition to van living and what that will entail.
Cost of the Van
One of the first things to consider is the cost of a van where you can stay in.
While it’s tempting to get a 70s VW bus, it’s not very practical today.
Because of the current nostalgia for old memorabilia, they’re quite in-style and one can fetch for over 20k just for one in driving condition.
You want to be more practical and avoid having to pay such a high cost.
You will want to save money and spend it on experiences.
We suggest that you look for vans in your area through local ads or something like Craigslist.
Most people selling their vans are pretty honest about their condition but you will still probably want to hire a mechanic to look at the vehicle.
You may want to spend around $1,000 to $5,000.
You will also need to take note of the upkeep and maintenance of the van.
You have to take into account how much travel you will be doing and how much downtime will you be spending in your van.
This will determine what upkeep costs you will likely incur.
If you are likely to just have your vehicle parked where it is, you probably won’t have to spend as much money but if you are driving across the country regularly, you may have to spend a bit more on maintenance.
You also have to consider how to make your van livable. Sure, you can get a van, put a mattress on it, and get ready to go.
But you may want to add some creature comforts and with a bit of money, you can remodel and redesign the back of your van as a fully functional living space.
There are several examples online of those who spend around $1,000 to remodel and renovate their van so that it’s more comfortable and livable.
In some cases, people have found ways to put cabinets and storage areas inside their van.
Another aspect of upkeep is car repair and maintenance.
If you have an old van, it is probably subject to more frequent maintenance and repair.
This is dependent on how often you drive your vehicle around and how often is it just parked.
Obviously, you will need more care involved if you regularly use the vehicle.
You may also want to consider learning basic car repair so that you don’t always have to pay a mechanic to check and fix your van.
Basic repairs and maintenance should be done by you but major ones can be brought in to a mechanic.
Remember, you want to save money and not spend even more.
Costs of Parking
There is a significant cost difference when traveling and when staying in place.
However, in both cases, one of the things you need to consider is parking as not everywhere is free to park.
When it comes to parking, look for places that are free to park.
There are several options for parking that is free to use.
Although not a long term solution, Walmart often offers free overnight parking.
Many rest stops and Walmart stores usually have huge parking spaces and they allow vans, trucks, cars, and RVs to park there overnight without a parking fee.
A lot of government-owned lands are often used as free camping sites.
This is called boondocking.
You can easily find free camping sites even simply by doing a quick search online.
These parking spots, however, are often just open land so there isn’t any water, restrooms, or electricity.
Another thing you need to remember that you should not make it obvious that you are currently living in your van.
People can quickly become suspicious of strangers that hang around the same place.
We suggest that you never park in the same place twice.
You can easily find where people park at night as usually there are many parked cars, especially in urban areas.
Just make sure that the place you will park is an area that doesn’t require a parking permit to park or else you could find your vehicle towed and impounded.
You should also make sure to consider your living costs.
These are the expenses you would need to spend on a daily basis.
These include the following:
- Clothing. You should have some sort of allowance for clothing. As they wear out eventually. You will at least need one attire for each occasion like work, home, travel, etc.
- Food. You, of course, need to budget for food to eat. Since you will be living in a van, you won’t have a regular kitchen so that means you can’t regularly cook. You’ll have to figure out food arrangements.
- Shower/Bath. You need to find a way to keep clean and hygienic so you’ll need to figure arrangements for using a shower and bath and of course all other hygiene needs.
- Laundry. You also need to find arrangements on how to wash, dry, and iron out your clothes on a regular basis.
- Other items such as gas for your vehicle and internet access.
Van living is not for everyone.
However, if you’re looking for a new adventure and a way to cut costs, van living can definitely be an option for you.
You just need to prepare and be ready before you embark on that journey and before you know it, you can easily adapt to the van living lifestyle in no time.
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