Vanlife for us, has definitely been a way to live a simpler life. A life that’s free from excessive possessions and monthly bills. We live with the basics and to be completely honest, we have never been happier.
We are in no way, shape or form, living a hippy life that means we go without necessities, but we have made small changes or sacrifices to allow us to save money while we travel and live full-time in our van.
If you are thinking of ditching that 9-5 job and heading on the road, unless you are very well-off, you will need to go without some things. As a female, before I quit my full-time job in Australia and headed to Europe to begin our vanlife journey, I did spend, what I see now, as too much on non-essential things. I would pay to get my eye-brows waxed monthly, my hair coloured every 3-6 months and spend money weekly on meals or coffees out. Now I was never over the top with my spending, but I now realise, after living abroad for 10 months, that I really didn’t need to have most of these monthly expenses. We of course, buy a coffee out here or there, or even on a special occasion will have a meal out, but we have really learnt to cut back and don’t really miss it at all. I honestly, haven’t thought twice about visiting a beautician and it’s only now, that I’m at the 10 month mark, I’ve decided I finally need a haircut.
As for living in a van, you will need to sacrifice multiple possessions, as there is no way in the world you can fit your entire house contents into your van. This means, basic and essential clothing choices, minimal footwear and beauty supplies. Your kitchen will be simple, with no fancy kitchen equipment, so get used to getting creative with your cooking or be prepared to eat simply. If you are willing to make small sacrifices from the get go and prepare yourself to go without a few things, this will make the vanlife transition so much easier for you.
Every small saving adds up for us on the road. A meal out, depending on where you are or your choice, could cost you as much as a third-half of your weekly shopping bill. That is a massive chunk of your budget. I guess it all comes down to what you view as important, as to what you spend your money on.
We do work as we need to and if it’s even possible while we travel, to ensure we don’t run our savings dry. Our plan is to live off what we earn while we are in Europe, so that when we chose to return home to Australia, we aren’t starting from rock bottom. That means going without a few things but it means we can travel more and work less.
This simple life really puts things into perspective and grounds you. You realise that you don’t need possessions to make you happy, that society works too much and doesn’t have time to enjoy the simple things in life and that money isn’t everything. Nothing puts a smile on my face more than realising, I have made a ‘regular’ persons lifetime of memories happen in such a small timeframe.