FORKING out over £1,000 on rent every month can be a massive slap in the face for many.
If you are spending a huge chunk of your monthly wage on rent and are getting fed up with it, you’ve come to the right place.
One man, 24-year-old Lars Born, felt the recent squeeze on finances after barely being able to afford to live in a flat in Reading.
Lars decided a change was needed and instead of trying to save for a deposit in a hostile housing market, he instead chose to spend his money living in an Airbnb inspired, mobile home.
AutoVillage spoke to Lars about his full-time life living in a van and he said: “I’d wanted to get a van for 4 or 5 years and thought now would be the best time.
“I started with £10 and was really struggling financially.
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“But I made it work and chose to invest in my quality of life.
“I used to spend £1,200 a month, it’s now more like £600-£700, and most of that’s on fuel.’
Lars describes himself as a full-time content creator, so he isn’t tied down to an office or single location.
Currently in Scotland, Lars’ van has given him the freedom to go where he wants and still make a living.
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He continued: “Covid made me realise that a 9-5 isn’t what it used to be and you can work from anywhere.
“My costs are significantly lower and I feel I have a better quality of life now.
“Digital nomads are becoming more normalised, and as I can work from anywhere, I’d never go back to a 9-5 no matter how much it would pay.
“I’m planning to spend the rest of my life on the road.”
Lars has built up a incredible digital following since living in his van and regularly posts ‘Day in the life’ videos to TikTok.
He has 121.7k TikTok followers and a whopping 1.2million likes.
Lars also has a YouTube channel, with 6.56k subscribers.
In one recent YouTube video, Lars reveals his monthly van life expenses.
He said: “I pay £80 a month for my van insurance. You can probably get it cheaper, you can probably get it more expensive. Because I’m a content creator, I pay a little bit more.
“Tax – I pay it monthly. I pay £25 a month for my van tax.
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“My phone bill covers my internet. Most of the time I work remotely in my van, I just use the 5G on my phone. I pay £20 a month and for that I get 100GB of data and I’ve also got unlimited social media, calls and texts.
“Then I’ve got gym membership – I’m with Pure Gym and I pay £31 a month and that gives me access to 247 gyms across the country.
“Gas – I pay £10 a month roughly. I get them from Mountain Warehouse. Buy one get one free, for £3.99. You can buy them cheaper on Amazon if you buy them in bulk.
“Water, I pay £5. Sometimes I buy water and I buy 5l, it’s normally £1. In any supermarket you can get 2l for about 17p.
“I pay £0 for electricity. I’ve got two big batteries and between the two I have 15,000 hours of battery. I’ve got two solar panels, that is one way I charge the batteries.
“My biggest expense is my fuel. My fuel bill a month is extortionate because most people don’t do as many miles as me.
“I’ve put down £200-£500 a month. It could be £500 but other months I might stay stationary and go nowhere, so it varies a bit. I don’t want to limit myself for fuel.
“I’d rather put my money in my fuel tank than in dead rent. I enjoy driving. Some months you’ll do more and some months you’ll do less.
“Washing – I’ve put down £14. I do washing every two weeks. I pay £5 to do my washing, that includes the detergent. £2 in the drying machine normally dries my washing pretty good.
“Parking, I’ve put down £20. Realistically it’s never really that much.
“Miscellaneous, I’ve put down at £50. Again, that’s really high. A rare luxury here and there.
“Food, I’ve put down £150-£200 a month for food. That’s really high. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, so I enjoy nice food. I eat a lot more than most people would. Could I get buy on £50 a month? Absolutely. Do I want to do that? Not really.
“That comes into a grand total of £950. Before you shy away from van life and think that’s the same as rent, that is the worst case scenario. That’s almost living a life of luxury on the road.
“Realistically, on a cheaper month, I’m looking more like £320-£400. If I’m spending a lot less on fuel and not going to places.
“I could do washing at friends' houses, I could cut my fuel down, I could lower my gas.
“I could get rid of the parking and the miscellaneous so I could bring it down to £300-£350 a month.
“I could do it pretty cheaply if I wanted to but I choose not to because I don’t really want this lifestyle to inhibit my living.
“The money I save on rent, which in my opinion, is dead money, I’m spending on experiences.
“I’m not doing everything as cheap as I could do but I just want it to work.”
If you are considering van life and want some advice, Lars said: “Just go for it!
“It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or spectacular; you could even try it in a car first.
“If I can do it with £10, anyone can.
“Just start with what you have available – you don’t need to have all the fancy bells and whistles.
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“Make sure that you get the correct insurance by talking to your insurance provider.
“Tell them what your plans are and if they’re okay with it – it’s not worth lying as things can go horribly wrong.”
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