I was on the cheaprvliving forum today and a member posted this question under the title “Monthly Costs?”.
I’m just curious how much living in a van costs on a monthly basis. Also, what sort of hidden costs should I be watching out for? For our budget, I’m figuring it’s going to have CAA, insurance, food, cell phone, & gas. I don’t know what else we’d need to pay for on a regular basis.
The problem is everybody is so very different. I have three vandweller friends who live on $400 a month, $500 a month and $625 a month and are quite happy with it. So it is entirely possible to live on very little money. But, I also have vandweller friends who make $1100 and $1200 a month and are constantly out of money. By the end of every month they are flat broke and barely making it. There is no way to generalize and tell you what you can live on. If you are frugal and self-disciplined, you can live on very little. If you aren’t, no amount of money will be enough. Bob
I think that is a fairly useful answer, but it could be much better if I kept track of my actual spending. After all the word “Cheap” is right in the title of the blog and all my websites, so if I claim vandwelling is cheap, shouldn’t I be willing to prove it?
So with this post I am making a commitment to you, my readers, to keep a To-The-Penny record of my spending for the next year. I will report here how much I spend and what for. I’m not sure yet exactly how I will do it. I might create a section of the side-bar to record my spending. Or I may look and see if it is possible to put an Excel spreadsheet onto a page and keep record of it there. If worse comes to worse, I’ll post once a week that week’s spending and another post at the end of the month with my monthly totals. I still have to figure that out.
One problem I’ll have is that I tend to stock up on things when they are on sale. I also knew the prices up here in the National Forest were very high, so I stocked up before I came up here. That means I have a bunch of food on hand, so for the first month or two the food budget won’t be very accurate. At the same time, I buy perishables here in the little tourist town of Shaver Lake where they are much more expensive than they would be in a bigger city. But I think it will all average out in the long run. That’s why I mean to keep doing this as long as I am blogging, but at least for the next year. Since we are at the very end of July, I’ll wait to start recording my spending until August 1.
This is all new to me so I want to throw it open to you as to how it can be most useful. Do you have any ideas for categories of spending or exactly where or how you would like me to track my spending? I’m open to any suggestions! Bob