how much does it cost to live in a van?

How Much Does it Cost to Live in a Van? - Second Month of Van Life

how much does it cost to live in a van?

Written by Matt

July Expense Report - $17,800 of $40,000 challenge

I am finally getting around to writing this just as our Aug expenses are about to come out! But better late then never... so here we go

Living a frugal van life
Year to date Exenses

Our July Experience!

July was our second month of full-time van life. We are starting to get the hang of this I think! We continued our travels up the east coast visiting with friends on the way. Had a wonderful time visiting friends and family around Maryland for the 4th of July and even got to do some sailing (this may be in our future ;))

It was blisteringly hot around Baltimore and DC so we high tailed it north into the mountains as quickly as we could. We couldn't even stay in the van in DC and had to couch surf for the AC. We spent some time in Vermont and New Hampshire enjoying the outdoors and getting lots of hiking and backpacking in. Went on to Maine and enjoyed some local lobster and Acadia national park. Took a quick jump into Canada and realized it is super hard to work online without a data connection and that for some reason, Wifi in Canada is non-existent or horrendously slow. We ended July passing back through New Hampshire and visiting with some awesome Bus friends that made on our first trip through! Check out Meag and Ben's custom bus conversion and their financial journey here: Wild Drive Life

Check out Meag and Ben's Bus and Journey at Wild Drive Life
Check out Meag and Ben's Bus and Journey at Wild Drive Life

July Expenses

Mortgage: $1,745.92 - Steady as always

Roommate Income: $2,000 – We are having one roommate shift this month. So far the arrangement with the couple that is managing the house has been going great!

july housing expenses

Net housing Costs Income: $121.48 (plus we built some equity in there!)

A little less this month because we had a partial month vacancy when someone moved out. Plus we have deposits going in and out of the account which gets a little trickier to allocate in the budget spreadsheet. All in All still a positive month so I can't complain!

Other Bills:

Eating Out: $509.77– Wholy COW this one got away from us this month! It was a combination of who we were visiting and where we were. We ate a nice 4th of July dinner in Maryland. Went out to Crabs because hey... you don't pass up on one of a kind culinary experiences. Similar thing in Maine with some lobster, and contributed some food for a July 4th party we attended. We definitely struggle to find the balance between enjoying our time with friends and family (who often want to go out while you're in town) and taking it easy on the pocketbook. This month we fell a little on the lavish side of our expenses but I'm sure we will balance it out with a cheaper month down the road.

Student Loan Payment: $500 – I was fortunate enough that my parents could help me pay for college. I’m paying my mom back for ~$60k in student loans. We set up a $500 payment each month for 10 years which I’m about 5 years into. (0% interest!)

Groceries: $451.86 – We have noticed we spend a bit more on groceries in the van than we did at home. I think this is primarily because we buy smaller packages of stuff. We have a small fridge and a small pantry so you can't buy the 3lb block of cheese and use it through the month. We have to buy smaller stuff and go more often. I think it will be interesting to see how we optimize it as we practice and get more experience working with our limited resources in the van.

Clifford: $388.74 –  We replaced the brake pads ($150!!!) and did a fuel and air filter change. we also bought a few things for the inside like some new lightweight camp chairs and a new hatchet.

Gasoline: $251.28 –  Down from last month as we slowed down a bit. We are still covering lots of distance and will be for the rest of the summer. So this is a good month for us!

Phone: $123.81 –  our second month with Verizon. We've been pretty happy with it and have been able to use the unlimited plan pretty extensively when in the US to get work done, upload youtube videos and just browse. Coverage is good unless we are out in the woods camping and speeds are good too. Often it's faster to use the wifi from my phone instead of connecting to an open wifi somewhere.

Health Insurance: $101 - our Monthly bill for our Cristian Health Sharing plan.

Doctor: $55.07 – We still have doctors bills rolling in from over 2 months ago... I don't even know if I really owe them money but its so difficult to keep track of because stuff comes in so late... I am almost looking forward to the next time we have to use our insurance and I can truly hash out the cash price beforehand. We'll see how that goes and keep you updated. Hopefully, we don't have medical needs anytime soon.

Insurance: $38.49 – This is our Umbrella Insurance and we got stuck with a $25 fee for a returned payment. Changing all of our cards and bank accounts from our hack probably cost us another $200 in fees from various institutions that we either forgot to change, or billed before we got everything settled.

Travel: $31.45 - one campsite because we had just finished a hike and REALLY wanted a shower. There were no planet fitnesses around so you do what you gotta do!

Gift: $22.16 –  Bought my mom some earrings for her birthday from Bar Harbor in Maine.

Gym: $20 –  Planet Fitness has been awesome! They have all been super clean and nice. They are also everywhere and we've usually been able to find one every few days to shower and get in a workout.

Trade Commisions: $1.80

July exp

July Income

Rental Income: $121.48 – Described above but this was our biggest income earner this month!

Business Income: $84.97 -  We launched our Primal Noms Business this month! We didn't quite sell out like we had hoped we would but we'll tweak and test and keep trying! Check out our Keto Mug Cakes at

Interest Income: $26.38 - from our savings account

Dividends: $28.11

july income

Business Expenses

Primal Noms: $799.38 – We bought our first inventory of product which was ~100 cases of Primal Noms mug cakes. Also paid for some fees for shopify, and other marketing costs.

Align with Ali: $134.99– we bought a book on SEO, paid for a few services and tools we use.

Owen Your Future: $35.99– We got Adobe Premier to do our video editing which is $20 a month and also paid for some music for use in our youtube videos.

Hope you've enjoyed getting another snapshot of how finances played out for the month!

Leave us some comments below and let us know how you are doing on your financial goals for this year and if we can support you on your journey in any way! Thanks for reading!

July Business
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[…] one because it’s less than $200 a month. We would have months where it was really big. If you look back on July when we were visiting a lot of friends on the east coast, we spent like $400 that month. […]