Alright, you guys have been asking for monthly van expenses over on Instagram, so here we go! The first edition (Vanlife Expenses April 2022) will be quite different from the others because although I didn’t actually possess the van yet. However, as any homeowner knows, the spending begins before you have the physical (stationary or wheel-based) home.
Also, it’s important to note that all amounts will be listed in CAD. I’m doing this for a few reasons: 1) I’m Canadian and that’s the currency I use to make purchases, 2) anytime I do research online, whether it’s been for the van, travel, or anything else, I always end up bummed out because everything is in USD and after converting the figures, it’s sometimes downright depressing, and 3) the majority of you reading this are also Canadian, so it just makes sense! If you’re American, you’re welcome for the happy dance you’ll do when everything listed costs less than at first glance. It’s a win-win, folks!
Last, this post is being written in September 2022 because, life. There’s something kind-of nice about looking back, reminiscing, and documenting this journey with a bit of distance, though I do wish I had done a better job of writing more in the moment. Anyhow, I digress.
Why Am I Sharing My Vanlife Expenses Online?
As I mentioned above, some of you have been showing interest in learning about the nitty gritty details of vanlife. As someone who’s interested in personal finance, I’m also a curious person who loves learning, regardless of the subject. Case in point: Recently at the dentist, I learned about the double-edged effect of natural minerals found on the lower jaw. Random, I know, but it was interesting!
Secondly, I believe taboo topics like health, money, sex, politics, and so on shouldn’t be off limits. How do we make that happen? By talking about them. More often than not, what we see online is rose-coloured and romanticized to no end. I’m all for rainbows and butterflies to set our sights high and inspire dreams, but it’s information and details that allow us to make those dreams a reality.
Last, there’s a concept used in education called “backwards design” that teachers implement to craft units, lessons, and so on to reach academic goals. You identify the goal, then figure out the steps required to get there, and last, put the plan into action. A common problem is having a muddy, unknown, or misleading goal. However, with concrete information to help guide your decisions, goals become much more attainable. The objective with these expense reports, inspired by helpful others like Kara and Nate‘s, is to provide you some insight and information for your own financial/travel/life journey. And for those that are just curious or a wee bit nosy? Enjoy!
How Much Does a Campervan Cost?
The short answer is “it depends”, which is just about the worst (and truest) answer anyone can give. However, if you want the deep dive, check out the post I wrote on the cost of my Dodge Ram Promaster campervan.
What’s Included + Budget Tools
There are some monthly expenses that won’t be included, such as gifts, business expenses, investments and so on because they’re not relevant to the series. However, if you are interested in learning more about budgeting and personal finance, I’ve written a few blogs on why you should have a budget, how to create a budget, and the most common budgeting mistakes people make. I also put together a mini personal finance and budget guide on Instagram.
In these monthly expense reports, I present both fixed and variable expenses. In the fixed category you’ll find storage, insurance, the van payment, and my phone bill, which I try to keep consistent but sometimes has spillover data charges. In the variable category I’ll include gas, vehicle maintenance and repairs, items for the van (both fun and necessary), groceries, dining out, showers, laundry, and accommodation. I might include entertainment as well, but I haven’t decided yet. If that’s something you’d be curious to see, let me know in the comments at the end of this blog post.
Okay, without further ado, here is the (extremely short) Vanlife Expenses April 2022 breakdown.
Fixed Monthly Vanlife Expenses April 2022
Since I didn’t have the van in my possession at this point, I won’t be including any of these items here. This section will be updated in future vanlife cost blogs and is listed below to present the different fixed monthly costs of life on the road.
Phone & Data – N/A
Storage Unit – N/A
Insurance – N/A
Van Payment – $1,000
On Friday, April 15th I met the van’s lovely previous owners. To be honest, I froze when it was time to decide whether or not I was going to put a deposit down. My brain just stopped thinking! As we know though, I got it together, and sent them an e-transfer to put a hold on the van. Talk about a big moment!!! The amount in this category will be different in the following months, so check out the other monthly vanlife expense blogs.
Variable Monthly Vanlife Expenses April 2022
Similar to the above fixed monthly costs, I didn’t put any information down for the variable monthly costs in April.
Gas – N/A
Vehicle Maintenance & Repairs – N/A
Van Items – N/A
Groceries – N/A
Restaurants & Takeout – N/A
Laundry – N/A
Showers – N/A
Camping / Accommodation – N/A
TOTAL MONTHLY VANLIFE EXPENSES = $1,000 CAD
As you can see, the monthly vanlife expenses for April this year were pretty low and simple to tally, with only the vehicle deposit to account for. In May’s monthly expense report some items will be filled in, but not everything. I was in Ireland and didn’t pick up the van until May 31st so June is the first proper month owning the van. To get the tea on how much my converted Promaster cost, check out the post I wrote on how much campervans cost.
Stay tuned to all things vanlife and travel by subscribing to the (nearly) monthly newsletter and joining the adventure on Instagram. Thanks for reading!