Welcome to round two of this series and the official Monthly Vanlife Expenses May 2022 blog post. May feels like Betty White’s (my campervan’s) birth month. It’s also coincidentally my own birth month. Why am I calling May a vehicle’s birth month? It’s the month in which I officially got the keys and drove off with it into the sunset (well, afternoon sun). It’s also the month I signed over my life with the banks. Spoiler: I didn’t buy it outright. I explain a bit more about why I went that route in a post where I dish the tea on my van’s total cost and how much campervans can cost in general.
Another thing to note is that I didn’t have the van until the very last day of May. Between covid supply chain delays and my first trip overseas in over 2 years thanks to the pandemic, it took 6 weeks from when I put down the deposit to when I was able to pick up the van. Because of this, many items are “missing” below – but don’t worry! June’s expense report is fully filled out, so stay tuned for that.
What Currency Is Used in This Series?
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!
Why Am I Sharing My Vanlife Expenses Online?
Over on Instagram there has been interest in learning about the nitty gritty details of vanlife. I love learning about personal finance and am generally a curious person wanting to learn more, regardless of the subject. In addition to the curiosity, I really believe topics like health, money, sex, politics, and so on shouldn’t be taboo. How do we make that happen? By talking about them! More often than not, what we see online is filtered with rose-coloured glasses and romanticized to no end. I’m all for rainbows and butterflies to set our sights high and inspire dreams, but it’s the information and the details that allow us to make them happen.
There’s a concept used in education called “backwards design” that teachers implement to craft units, lessons, and so on to reach academic goals. First, identify the goal, then figure out the steps required to get there, and last, put the plan into action. In life it’s not uncommon for our end goals to be a bit muddy, unknown, or misleading, rendering the steps to get there useless. On the other hand, concrete information can help to guide your decisions, bringing you one step closer to the finish line. My goal with these expense reports, inspired by others like Kara and Nate‘s that I’ve read online and found helpful, is to provide you some insight and information on your 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 answer anyone can give (and truest more often than not). However, if you want the deep dive on this answer, 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, you’ll find a mix of 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, 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. Is this something you’d be curious to see as well? Let me know in the comments at the end of this blog post.
Okay, without further ado, here are the Vanlife Expenses May 2022 breakdown.’
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Fixed Vanlife Expenses May 2022
I haven’t included the majority of these expenses again since I hadn’t yet moved in. Check out June’s expense report for a more complete view of vanlife costs.
Phone & Data = N/A
Storage Unit = N/A
Insurance = N/A
Van Payment = $337.42
May is the first month that I started paying towards the balance of the van’s total cost. This feels a bit like an experiment since I’ve been debt free for several years and never make purchases unless I have the cash to outright buy items. While I did have the money for the full price of the van, and on principle I hate paying interest, the math worked out to take this route this time. It’s been a mental adjustment for me to wrap my head around doing things this way, but what’s life without a little experimentation?
Variable Vanlife Expenses May 2022
Gas = N/A
Vehicle Maintenance & Repairs = N/A
Van Items = $833.26
Alrighty, let the spending begin! As you can see, I purchased several things for Betty White in May. They include: “van”ity licence plates ($310), a gorgeous McNutt throw from Ireland ($97.49), and tire tracks, a fire extinguisher, a carbon monoxide / fire alarm, a battery recharger, a flashlight, and a poop shovel (yes, you read that correctly) at Canadian Tire ($425.77).
Groceries = N/A
Restaurants & Takeout = N/A
Laundry = N/A
Showers = N/A
Camping / Accommodation = N/A
TOTAL MONTHLY VANLIFE EXPENSES = $1,170.68 CAD
May saw a mixture of necessary and fun items purchased for the van. I hadn’t anticipated purchasing any homey items just yet, but when I saw the Irish McNutt throw, it screamed “YES!” and I couldn’t resist. In fact, it almost didn’t make it back to Canada in my carry-on suitcase. Luckily, I didn’t have to buy a second piece of luggage and it’s now keeping me snug and warm in the van.
To get the tea on how much my converted Promaster was, check out the post I wrote on how much campervans cost. If you want to start reading the series from the very beginning, here is the April Vanlife Expenses blog post.
Stay tuned to all things vanlife and travel by subscribing to the (nearly) monthly newsletter and joining the adventure on Instagram. Thanks for reading!