Wednesday, December 7, 2022


How van life living helped this woman bank $150K


By Cheri Sicard
A lot of people ask, “What does van life cost?” But there’s another part of the equation:  How much can living a van life save you over a bricks and sticks house or apartment?

Have you ever wondered if you would actually save money with van life living or full-time RVing? Outdoor adventure photographer Christian Schaffer ran the numbers and put that question to the test in the informative video below.

The master of small spaces, Christian has been living on the road for three years now, first in her SUV and now in her converted Ram ProMaster van.

Not only has mobile life been less expensive for Christian, but she’s also managed to squirrel away more than $150K in those three years! That’s money she plans to use to buy land and build on.

In the video, Christian compares her expenses for SUV life, van life and her old apartment. As she needs to meticulously keep track of expenses for her business anyway, she had all the facts and figures at the ready.

It might sound boring, but it’s not. Christian’s can-do attitude is both inspiring and motivating. She also manages to weave in some good, practical van life tips along the way.

How much does it cost to live in a van?

Christian used her own life as an example when doing the calculations for the video. I do think some of her figures for things like food are low, especially with today’s inflationary prices. But it does show how frugal van life can be if you are careful.

If it were me, I would have chosen a slightly larger RV, too. Something with a shower. I doubt it would add much to the bottom line.

But each person’s needs are different and Christian does fine with a gym membership and showering at state park campgrounds and the like.

Some of the figures were quite surprising. For instance, you’ll be amazed at how quickly her new $70,000 camper van paid for itself over the cost of regular apartment rent and utilities.

If you’ve been wondering if you can truly afford to live life as a nomad, Christian’s practical experience can guide you to a more realistic decision and help you get to where you need to be if you’re not quite there yet. Van life never looked so appealing.


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Ron L
4 months ago


4 months ago

It CAN be done but few can or want to. Glad this lady succeeded. Sometimes we read articles that give the impression that full timing and/or living off the grid is the ultimate experience. It might be for a few, but in a few years watch how many full timers are buying cabins, land, or permanent RV sites. One thing I learned from years of RVing is not falling for everything RV YouTubers say.

4 months ago

If it was a cheap as she says, everyone would be doing it.

4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Well, she did do a good job of explaining expenses. It’s not a lifestyle for getting out of debt, but when you own free and clear your sticks and brick it helps you find a stress less level in life. This sounds like her goals.

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