Vandwelling is a concept that I see becoming more viable for those who are single and without a family to care for. Even a retired couple could exist peaceably in a larger van. For families, substitute an RV or a Motorhome for the van.
However you are housed currently, mortgage or rental, the costs of that form of shelter most likely consume up to 34% of your income each month. This does not include utilities.
Now, I know you are asking "Why would I want to do this?"
Lower cost of living
Save money for buying your retreat land
Not tied to a fixed location
Face it. When you rent, the landlord tells you what you must do and can't do. When you buy a house, everyone gets to tell you what to do: City Ordnances, Property Taxes, Mortgage Payments. Its like a form of enslavement that keeps you tied to a 8 or 10 hour workday, with you know how much commute time.
The cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment where I live is a minimum of $675.00 per month, and a decent 3 bedroom house no less than $1275.00 per month. $15,000.00 per year is a nice savings and you could buy a real nice piece of land in a few years time. Or a not so nice piece (junk land) real quickly along with some improvements.
So let’s say you have a mortgage. What do you do, just walk away? Sell your home? Neither just yet. The best bet would be to lease out your home for a year while you try living in the van. If you can not adjust to the smaller quarters within that year, you can move back into your home without its loss. You might also be able to negotiate parking rights so that you do not have to hunt for a place to overnight.
If it all works out and you like your new arrangements, you can sell your home, buy some land, and move to it permanently or part time.
The cost of fuel keeps going up and up. The cost of feeding yourself and your family keeps going up. That mortgage or rent payment would go a long way to keep fuel in your vehicle and food in your family’s stomach.
Sure, living in a vehicle is cramped, but it can be done for quite a bit less than conventional housing. Spend time at the library, the gym, the theatre, visit friends. Use the out of doors to break up the time you spend in the van so that it doesn't feel like a prison.
Let’s examine the expenses by putting your monthly costs here.
Rent or Mortgage
Land Line Telephone
Am I missing anything? If so add it in.
Gym Fees (for showers)
Groceries (for 1 person)
As you can see, there is quite a dollar difference between the two choices. If you were to save all that money, you would be on your retreat property, payment free in short order. The longer you live this way, the more money you can soak into supplies and upgrades on your property. Improvements such as wells, septic systems, greenhouses and storage buildings.
Here are some links on this topic for further reading:
The Urban Vandweller
Car, Van and Campervan living
Cheap RV Living
VanDwellers at yahoogroups
Everything I Know About Living In a Vehicle