Van Life Finances

Upstate NY is thrashing me. It snowed all day yesterday, and last night it froze again. I just cannot trust the weather man anymore. Where is the 60 degrees and sunny we were promised? To be honest, I don’t really mind the weather for myself as much as I would like some sun for my van. It’s a lot easier to get power from my solar panels if we actually have sun. I’m down to 10.1 on the power scale and under 10 is getting close to running out my battery.

I have been driving it a lot more and letting the engine run to power my internal battery…but seriously sun. Seriously. Where are you?

My glasses came in from the optometrist and all I have to do it pick them up. I might do that when I get done here at the gym. I have to work at 11 so I should have enough time. Bonus I can charge my van batteries as well. Not having to drive is a blessing and a curse, only a curse when it’s cloudy…or I wake up on days like today and there’s an ice sheet over the panels. Excellent.

I have gotten some questions about how much money I am saving as a result from living in my van. The answer to that is complicated. I have paid off one of my three loans. I would like to pay them all off by the end of the year.

That said, I did not move into my van because I am poor. I am privileged to have chosen to live in my situation. I must make that clear. Therefore, I am saving as much as I can, but I am also using some of my money in other ways. Ways I planned when I made the transition to vanlife. I have seen four different doctors since the beginning of the year and had medical bills. I have dental and health insurance now which takes money from my paycheck. I have a payment for my van, my car insurance, my cell phone, my student loan and when I travel, gas bills.

My last two loans are the one I took out to buy my van and my student loan. I plan to pay those off this year. However, this month I have made payments to the dentist, doctor, gynecologist, optometrist, my last payment to Rod, who I got the van from (he let me pay $5000 upfront and the last $500 six months later, bless him), my payment for our AirBnB in Texas, and I needed new running shoes and a watch. Of course I could have saved more, but these things are what I wanted to use some of my saved money for.

I am going to Texas in May, I do not plan to spend extravagantly, but I also plan to enjoy the road trip and vacation. I have never done this before, so I am not worrying about money. It’s my sister’s first marathon, we’re going to have fun.

A brief lowdown of my bills each month:

$200 car/van insurance

$150 cell phone bill (I have unlimited)

$150 van loan repayment

$150 health insurance

$64 dental insurance

$67 student loan

$50 Best Buy credit card bill (for my laptop I bought a while ago, no interest so I’ll pay it off eventually)

I am probably forgetting something. But this is the basic of what I pay. I am seeing if I can get to a lower cell plan, because I might not need unlimited. But right now I am focusing on other areas of my life. I am frugal, but I feel lucky that I don’t consciously mind every penny. I used to do that (obsessive compulsive behavior really) and it took the fun out of most things. Going out to eat, getting new running shoes, it was like a stab in the gut. Self-imposed actually, and it was silly. I’m doing my best, I’m enjoying my life. Right now, that’s good enough for me.

Any questions?

4 thoughts on “Van Life Finances”

  1. Would you say being frugal comes naturally to you? How do you keep the balance between being frugal and enjoying good meals and experiences? 🙂

  2. Money has always given me a lot of anxiety, and I find saving money an addiction. As much as I save, I just feel like I need to save more. I’m learning a lot from my Dad in his later years of life. Ever since retiring, he’s taken on a much more relaxed attitude around money – constantly reminding me that “its just money” when I feel like I’ve blown a bunch, or “it’s there to use” and “if I don’t use it now who will!?” when he offers me money or goes on a trip for himself etc. I’m getting better at not stressing myself over money, or putting silly pressures on myself. It’s hard when we are millennials and our futures are unclear – that’s where I feel a lot of my fear. Anyways. This life you are leading is teaching you so much. You are having to be so smart and organized and efficient with your savings, but it seems its also teaching you some ways of going with the flow. Very cool.

  3. It was neat to see a glimpse into the finances of van life! Especially since it’s different than my current living situation. I think it’s so cool that you CHOSE van life. You weren’t forced into it, and you could stop if you wanted, but it’s your choice and I think that’s the coolest.

    My parents will probably be at the Marathon in May! I hope you guys can say hi!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *