The Cost of Vanlife

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The other day Marty told me he was “working on the budget.” I felt a familiar sinking feeling. It’s not my favorite subject. If you’re assuming it’s because I have occasionally veered off the budget path, you’d be right. But then I remembered how much money we are saving by living in our van.

Let’s see. No mortgage. No utilities. No internet bill. No home insurance. No gym membership or magazine subscriptions. No big fridge or freezer to stock. No seasonal decorations to buy. No carpet cleaning or gas for the lawnmower.

I’m adding this up and realizing we must be on our way to real wealth.

So instead of pretending to be asleep, I asked a question that showed I was paying attention, “How much Bitcoin are we going to buy?”

Marty looked at me with an expression that was hard to read. It rivaled the one he had when unbeknownst to him I had run up a credit card bill and kept “forgetting” the password to the account. Eventually I couldn’t keep up the charade and started crying. This doesn’t happen often, so he knew something was very wrong and asked me if I was having an affair. Wow. That’s the first thing he jumps to. Let’s just say the credit card bill didn’t seem like such a big deal when I assured him I had never strayed.

But back to our bank account. Marty told me Bitcoin was going for about $21,000 each.

So how many are we buying?

With an annoying sigh he made me look at his spreadsheet. When this happens I know I’m going to be taught something. For those of you who like a good lesson, good for you. I’m not one of those people.

Well, turns out our small fridge is costing us big time. Have you heard of impulse buying? It happens when you shop and we shop several times a week because our fridge doesn’t hold much. For some reason, each time we go for milk, meat, fruit, cheese or eggs we each end up with a $6.00 pint of ice cream (that we have to eat at one sitting because we have no freezer). Or a $3.79 probiotic something or other. Somebody’s getting rich.  

I was right, no mortgage. But apparently – and I feel Marty is being nitpicky here – even when we aren't living in Hawaii, we have to count the rent we pay to keep our cottage. 

Then there’s the gas we use driving between Oregon, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Utah and Nevada.

And a wedding.

And. The. Van. Marty tells me our solar panel system isn’t finished. I knew that because we still plug in if we want to use the AC -- you pick up on these things with time. The custom racks and accessories are running close to $5,000 and the batteries that the solar will eventually power were another $4,000. I asked him how it makes sense to pay this much when plugging in is free. Easy. It’s so someday we can be “off grid.” That’s probably another lesson I need to learn.

Then there's finishing the trim, the electrical system and the cabinets, attaching the awning, finishing the tool drawers for under the bed and adding rubber corners to all the shelving so Marty doesn’t lose blood every time he stands up. Then there are the game nights, weddings, family dinners, pickleball matches and swimming and hiking with our kids spread out across those states.

The wealth? In good times and memories, yes. In Bitcoin, not yet.


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  • Sarah on

    lol so funny. Didn’t you buy some doge coin or something way back?


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