How to live cheaply: van vs. house

In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever for young adults to find affordable housing. The cost of living has skyrocketed in most major cities, with rent costs increasing by hundreds of dollars per year. In some cases, the monthly rent for a small apartment can exceed the mortgage of a house outside the city.

With this in mind, renting an affordable home may seem like a difficult proposition; however, there are several ways you can save money while still having a place to call home. Living in a van is one alternative that will reduce your housing costs substantially without sacrificing much comfort or convenience.

Here is how you can live cheaply by choosing to live in a van instead of buying or renting an entire house.

Topic Index
  1. Who lives in a van?
    1. Why Live in a Van?
    2. Clothing and bedding
    3. Food and Cooking Gear
    4. Exterior Maintenance

Who lives in a van?

Anyone can live in a van, but there are certain groups who can benefit most from this lifestyle. Young adults just out of college, working remote jobs, and retirees looking to live on a budget are some of the most common individuals living in vans.

Students and young adults are often attracted to van living because it allows them to avoid many of the expenses of renting or buying a house. Retirees are interested in van living because it allows them to stretch their money further and live a more simple, less expensive lifestyle.

Why Live in a Van?

There are numerous advantages to living in a van rather than renting or buying a house. Perhaps most importantly, it is a lot cheaper. A typical van that would comfortably sleep two people can be purchased for as little as $1,000. That same amount would not even cover the first month’s rent for a small apartment.

Additionally, van living allows you to live almost anywhere. You are not bound to a particular location unless you want to be. In many cases, you can park your van in one place for weeks or months at a time without drawing attention.

Clothing and bedding

One of the first steps to living a van is deciding what you need to pack. This will vary greatly depending on the climate in which you plan to live, but a good rule of thumb is to pack lighter than you think you need to. For example, if you live in a warm climate and will be spending most of your time outside, you may not need to bring many heavy blankets.

Beyond that, the most important items to pack are clothing and bedding. You will need to bring enough clothing to last the duration of your stay in the van. This is especially important during winter months, when you will likely need to store your van and stay indoors.

Food and Cooking Gear

The best way to save money on food while living in a van is to plan ahead and make meals at home. This will greatly reduce the amount of money you spend on food each week. When you do go out to eat, choose a cheap option such as a sandwich from a grocery store deli or a quick stop at a fast food place.

Beyond food, you will also need to pack cooking gear such as pots, plates, and utensils. It is best to select lightweight items that do not take up much space. You should also consider getting a mini propane stove, which can be powered by a can of fuel that costs just a few dollars.

Exterior Maintenance

The exterior of your van will suffer wear and tear throughout the years, regardless of how well you maintain it. While living in a van, you should expect to have to repair the outside of your vehicle at some point. To reduce the frequency of these repairs, you should wash your van every few weeks and apply a coat of wax at least once a year.

Beyond that, you will want to keep your tires properly inflated and your vehicle’s oil changed at the recommended interval. Working on your vehicle is a great way to save money while living in a van, as many maintenance items, such as changing your oil, are relatively inexpensive to repair.

Overall, living in a van is a great way to reduce your living expenses and save money. It is important to remember that van living is not for everyone. It is best suited for people who are able to live out of a van for extended periods of time.

If you can commit to living in a small space for an extended period of time, van living can be a great way to reduce your living expenses. You can further save money while living in a van by following the tips provided in this article.

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