Thursday, May 8, 2008

Van Dwelling: Is it for you?

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?"

Freedom
Lower cost of living
Save money for buying your retreat land
Not tied to a fixed location
More Freedom

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.

Conventional Housing:
Rent or Mortgage
Land Line Telephone
Cell Phone
PO Box
Cable TV
Internet Connection
Garbage
Water
Sewer
Electricity
Natural gas
Renters/Homeowners Insurance
Groceries
Laundry
Auto Insurance
Gasoline
Auto Maintenance
Entertainment

Am I missing anything? If so add it in.

Van Dwelling:
Auto Insurance
Gasoline
Auto Maintenance
Cell Phone
PO Box
Laundry
Gym Fees (for showers)
Groceries (for 1 person)
Propane
Storage Rental
Entertainment

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

Hobo Stripper

Car, Van and Campervan living

Cheap RV Living

VanDwellers at yahoogroups

Everything I Know About Living In a Vehicle

22 comments:

  1. I did the van dwelling thing 14 years ago. At first it felt great -- virtually no expenses. But then as summer came and it got hotter, living in a bake oven became highly irritating. It'd take hours just to cool the van down. I'd look for shade but where ever I parked, but there's a surprising lack of shade in this country. Definitely get A/C. It'll raise expenses a bit but it's better than laying in your sweat at 1am trying to sleep.

    Nowadays, since I own land, I'd prefer to throw up a small cabin/shack.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It sounds to me like you needed a cover over your vehicle to keep the metal from getting over heated. Some 2x4 lumber w/ corrigated steel panels secured to some discarded tires set on your roof (air flow) would do for your roof. Tarp covers on sides (again, away from vehicle skin to provide air flow) would help keep the vehicle cooler.

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  2. I agree on the AC, or some type of cooling. Once you get land, you can set up the shack or do the enclosed camper or trailer.

    I have lots of ideas on this but haven't had the time to sit down and type them up into coherent plans that other can assimilate.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like my RV experiance. I lied in a small pop up for the last six months. I could do it year round.

    The only thing, as far as prepping goes, is the lack of stogage space and the infinate supplies you can have.

    I think Jim at Bison did a "rebuttal" on this idea that Rangerman posted a while back.

    I see pros and cons.

    Jerry

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  4. If I were to do it, I believe I would either rent a storage unit to house my supplies or look into storing them with a friend. A 10 or 20 foot CONEX box will house a lot of items and not command a large amount of space.

    If I already owned my retreat, I would create secure storage facilitys there.

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  5. http://guide2homelessness.blogspot.com/

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  6. I'd like to do the RV thing for my family. Here's another website for your collection as well. Kind of an "artsy fartsy" guy, but there's some interesting stuff there. http://members.tripod.com/~vandweller/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Here's another good van dwelling sight: http://stealthvandweller.blogspot.com/
    The Stealth Van Dweller

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  8. hey, great blog! I am a vandwelling female who is all about survival and preparedness. Mind if I post a link to your page on my blog, www.faliaphotography.com ? Sonja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sonja, Was just wondering if you are still vandwelling as i am considering this and would like your input.

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  9. Good blog! The more people realize how viable this lifestyle is, the more they will accept it. My wife and I full time in our Van and love it. Wouldn't want to live any other way. It allows us to travel with the weather, live simply, save resources and be very well prepared for any contingencies. We really focus on making our rig as comfortable as possible and have found by doing so that it is a pleasure to hang out in there rather than a prison type feel as another mentioned.

    -Mike
    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"
    http://vantramps.blogspot.com

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  10. You may find "Vanabode" fits well within this discussion and answers many if not all the questions posted here. If there is anything I can do to help out with your website please email me, I would be glad to help and partner with you.

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  11. Great Blog! I too have a blog http://thevandweller.blogspot.com

    Started it uplast year, and was a little inactive over the winter, but now it's getting warmer, and I can start blogging again as I get it ready.

    ~Arathi

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  12. Got a problem with hot weather live on the pacific coast like California near the ocean, some bad rain storms in winter but no big deal. Don't need to buy land.

    Look up Tioga George website, he lives in a class c rv oceanside and not a drop of sweat. Nice cool weather and many awesome view(s) for free while others pay millions for just one view with an overgrown house.

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  13. Hey if you could email me at mxzane933@gmail.com
    i have a van dwelling blog but i am also working out of my van full time. just started the site to.
    roadshredder.blogspot.com

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  14. http://girl-in-a-van.blogspot.com/

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  15. My back patio is the beach, my front yard the forest, my living room is the bench in the park, my kitchen is on a picnic table and my bedroom is in my van. I go to the library to juice up my electronics and get free wifi. Perfect place to use as a home for those rainy days. Really when I was apartment living I would just sit at the computer after work or watch t.v. That doesn't take much space.

    The only thing that does cost is the initial purchase of the vehicle and the upkeep / break downs it might need / have. Other than that it's inexpensive compared to paying rent and it get's you to live life not hide away from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i love your description of your life. you seem free.

      Delete
  16. You have provided a fantastic resource.
    Review my site - Remove Decals

    ReplyDelete
  17. Met this guy last year while camping. Seemed like a good lifestyle. www.NewAgeNomad.com

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  18. Thanks for the link back to my blog! This is a great post, and one well worth considering. Would you mind if I linked to it on mine?

    ReplyDelete