Has anyone actually tallied up the costs of living in a camper v a house/flat?

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  • Hi again everyone :)


    I'm in the planning stages of my nomadic dream (living that dream starts late September when I return to the UK!) and I'm tallying up the costs of running a little camper for the year (for me that it looking very likely to be a simple Ford Escort 55 (95-02) conversion) and it is shocking how much difference there is! This is about WAY MORE than the money for me but I'd be interested if anyone has any of their own stories about how much it has saved them compared to living in a house or flat or whatever.


    Love to everyone.


    Raffi. ☮

  • There are a lot of savings to be made but it surely depends how you do it.


    Would you stop in a layby or in a £15 per night site?
    You mentioned not cooking so you may be buying prepared food more than you might in a house. Also what about drinks, places to clean up etc.

  • Yeah you're right -- there will certainly be a lot of variables. I'm planning to stealth park most of the time, or use my gym's car park which I think is 24/7 and free to members (will have to double check hours but I'm pretty sure it is). I use the gym morning and night so that sorts my shower situation out as well.


    I am 99% raw vegan and I don't eat much so I would be buying the same food as I would in a house, essentially fruit, nuts and vegetables. I usually go to farmer's markets and buy enough for a few days at a time. I am very boring with drinks too - water, green tea (heating the water for that would cost.. gas bottles etc... but not a lot!) and protein shakes (I take half doses of protein so they last ages). My food costs are barely anything, probably £15 a week at most.


    I think my biggest expenditures throughout the year will be insurance/tax (looking around £650 insurance annually for me plus £230ish tax), fuel (I'll have two 200-mile round trips a week for work, say £50-60 a week) and any motoring repairs.


    All that will come to much MUCH less than the £150-200 a week I would have to pay for a single room in a shared house where I'm living!

  • From my experiences it seems to work out about the same amount of cost, but the lifestyle is worth it.
    It works out like this:
    Rent = insurance
    Utility bills = fuel
    Poll tax = road tax


    Ymmv :)

  • From my experiences it seems to work out about the same amount of cost, but the lifestyle is worth it.
    It works out like this:
    Rent = insurance
    Utility bills = fuel
    Poll tax = road tax


    Ymmv :)


    What vehicle are you running?


    Mine looks like it is going to be loads cheaper... even with crazy motor repair bills thrown in! My rent alone - without bills - would be around £8000 a year. I'll only be in the van half the year anyway; the rest of the year I will be in the USA and will have to pay rent there, I reckon (unless I convince my partner to buy a live-in vehicle... may not be too difficult... a British accent can go long way with these wonderful Americans!)

  • Wer live full time on campsites and pay £70 per week. The reason we do this is we are both at work all day so we don't move around and I like the added security of not leaving a shiny Airstream in a layby all day.


    £70 a week sounds like a lot but if you consider that includes electricity and we don't have to pay poll tax, water rates, TV tax etc then I think it is pretty reasonable.


    We cook using gas but we do have a microwave and an electric kettle. We use 2 15kg bottles of gas a year costing around £35 each.


    paul

  • Only 2 bottles a year? Wow. Is your water heated with electricity?


    I thought you still had to pay council tax if you were full time on a site.


    & Raffi, £15 a week for food is nothing. Where do you get your nuts & dried fruit from, I find them prohibitively expensive.

  • It's Well cheaper, i bought my van for 2k, kitted it out for a 2-300 quid, couple more hundred on solar system, paid my 600 insurance, left the country and have not paid tax and insurance again yet & am completely bill-less.. I'm going on 2yrs now so it works out at 120 a month and falling.. not bad i'd say. p.s i live next to a river so wash myself clothes and dishes in that, if i feel like a warm shower i heat some water up on the fire coil or go for a shower for 1euro in town, could have rigged up a nice solar water heating coil with black pipe but life is comfortable enough as it is. & don't forget that you're not just paying for accommodation when u insure, tax and buy a van, you're paying for transport and accommodation, you don't have to buy a car/or taxi (no drink driving) when u have a van to drive about in.

  • & Raffi, £15 a week for food is nothing. Where do you get your nuts & dried fruit from, I find them prohibitively expensive.


    Nuts certainly are the most expensive part of that. I used to get a big bag of them from Asda for £5 (I think it was a 2kg bag) which is pretty good. I found that in the World Food section not the regular one (crazy how much cheaper things are there just cos they have 'foreign' labels!). Dried fruit I never really go for cos I think it's too expensive for what it is. If I want dried fruit I make it myself (dried apple rings are my fav!) Most people would hate my diet... looks something like: banana, apple, blueberries, almonds for breakfast; kale, spinach, some-sort-of-beans, carrots, walnuts, for lunch; protein shake for dinner (as I go to the gym after 'dinner' in the evenings). That doesn't really cost much! Maybe £2-3 a day.

  • I live like a Queen for £100 per week - my van insurance is £230 per year, I put £20 in the tank a week, never use it all, don't use
    camp sites, I eat very well, meat, fish, veg, fruit, nuts, dark choc, butter etc, I allow myself £100 per week, but never spend it all, and I save the rest of my wages.


    The £100 per week includes everything, road tax, fuel, insurance, repairs etc, not sure you could live in a house on £100 per week.


    Dolly:)

  • Some have included vehicle insurance and road tax in their bills but surely there's a good chance you'd be paying that if you lived in a house anyway.

  • Some have included vehicle insurance and road tax in their bills but surely there's a good chance you'd be paying that if you lived in a house anyway.


    Grrrr! There is no such thing as road tax! Anybody who pays any tax contributes to the pool which is supposed to maintain the road network.


    But to come back on topic -
    If you live in a house you do not "need" a vehicle. It is possible to live car free.
    You could invest in a car which has zero VED. I don't think a car that size could be used for living in.


    So there are a variety of different options - one size certainly does not fit all.
    :beard:

  • Grrrr! There is no such thing as road tax! Anybody who pays any tax contributes to the pool which is supposed to maintain the road network.


    But to come back on topic -
    If you live in a house you do not "need" a vehicle. It is possible to live car free.
    You could invest in a car which has zero VED. I don't think a car that size could be used for living in.


    So there are a variety of different options - one size certainly does not fit all.
    :beard:


    If I had stated tax instead of road tax it would have confused the issue, I pay road tax but don't pay tax on my wages :whistle:

  • If I had stated tax instead of road tax it would have confused the issue, I pay road tax but don't pay tax on my wages :whistle:


    Vehicle Excise Duty is a tax for the privilege of owning a vehicle - hence a vehicle tax.


    But as Winston Churchill stated, when talking about the road tax, it is a ridiculous proposition that a group of people can claim something as a right which is paid for by the tax of all. He banned the term road tax. Over eighty years ago, yet like the zombie it is, it refuses to lie down and die!


    But there are many ways to 'avoid' vehicle tax.

  • Do tell?


    Buy a new car which is zero rated.
    Buy an ancient vehicle - pre 1975 AFAIR they are zero rated.
    Vehicle registered to higher rate of disability allowance holder.
    Zero rate for war pensioners with mobility supplement.
    Electric vehicles are exempt
    Steam powered vehicles are exempt


    https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-exempt-from-car-tax
    https://www.gov.uk/government/…tion-for-classic-vehicles


    And then there is also 'Triggers broom' from 'Only fools and horses'.
    :beard:

  • depends how much you move, how far, and what in. I've known people live off less than a fiver a week all year round on site, and people that move large lorries a lot as part of their work and life could be spending 12k a year no worries on fuel / maintainance. Do what suits, enjoy it!

  • free road tax; fine unless it's used in some way for work. For instance, if registered as Showmans then you pay tax no matter how old it is. And if you are doing enough miles, maybe it'c cheaper to get something a bt less old and save on fuel / maintainance?

  • I guess it depends at what level you're living at in bricks and mortar and how you want to live your life on the road, but mostly I'd say it's cheaper on the road than in a house unless, maybe, you're house sharing.


    We spend seven months of the year in europe (mostly France) and five months in the UK pitched on a friendly farm (£800 all in), we spend a lot on diesel as we love to travel, we don't skimp on food and wine (we are in France after all)! and if you include vehicle tax/insurance/servicing we can live very well on £10k a year. The same quality of life in a house (in the UK) would be way more.


    I think doing it in the UK is either going to be more difficult if you want to stay out of campsites, or more expensive, plus you've got the piss poor weather to contend with. The system in the UK works against this way of life, the infrastructure in France makes it easy and cheap.

  • Well it looks like I'll be getting my van in the next couple of days (will update on a separate post when I get more on that!) so will have to hope that it doesn't break the bank in the end. Not that I have much of a bank to break... but you know what I mean!