What I Saved by Ditching My House Trailer

My trailer was a money hog, slowly “nickel and diming” me to death.

DISCLAIMER:  These are individual results of a six month trial to move out of the trailer and cut costs.  These are real savings, however they might not reflect your circumstances in any way. 

Today I ran a comparison of what it would have cost me to live in the old trailer vs. live in the driveway at Dad’s.  I help my Dad with a great many things so in return, he allows me to stay outside and pay just the expenses that change.  This exercise has helped me to better customize the van and see if some day I wish to go full time.  I wanted to share with you how much money was saved in the last six months…. About $2882.00 in normal costs of mobile home living.
1) I was paying $250 for just lot rent at the old trailer court. I owned the 1974 trailer for 6 years so I got my money out of it. If you are paying apartment rent, you might be shelling out a lot more and could save even further.

2) My current light bill is artificially low – I just pay Dad what he asks: $20 a month to cover the difference of what I use vs. the old bill. You may be able to achieve a similar savings with solar panels.

3)  Because of the cheap electricity and robust van insulation, I only use propane for initial warm-ups and electricity for the overnights.  If you use just a propane heater, you might spend a lot more or a lot less depending on where you live and how many hours a day you heat.

4)  Note the cell phone change.  I was in a contract paying $72 a month.  By switching to pay in advance at the same company ( and paying WAY in advance  – 60 days), I get unlimited voice and text for $41.54 a month.  Wow!  The difference pays for the gym fees…Cool!

The moral of this story is you can save a lot of money per month if you can find a free place to park or perhaps rent a little land from a friend.  Not driving the van a lot of miles helped save on the gas.  Free electricity is a good thing via solar panels – I can add them later if I have to…  If I lose the free parking at Dad’s, there is also a backup plan at my buddy’s farm for a small contribution per month.  The savings can continue.

One other lesson from this exercise is that if you can save money, you can work less.  I’m at a job on my feet 100% of the time.  It is difficult.  Until the weight is further reduced, I can comfortably live on 20 hours per week without raiding the savings too much.  Camping in the van has saved a lot of money and helped the physical and mental outlook tremendously. 

Have fun!


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

3 Responses to What I Saved by Ditching My House Trailer

  1. Pleinguy says:

    Glad to hear things are working out for you. Hope you can continue the frugal living arrangement. If you decide to go full-timing, you’ll need some money saved up for unexpected events; so put away as much as possible. It really helps to see the details from someone actually doing the van life. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Bradford says:

    Thanks for the comments Pleinguy. I’m looking forward to getting a little more weight down and then working more hours to put some money away.

    Ideally a better paying job would be nice, too, but something’s better than nothing.

    I like the countdown timer on your blog… Cool stuff!


  3. Wolf says:

    Great job Brad !! You did awesome on the savings.
    Thanks for sharing !