AsoboLife

2020 Van Life Expenses

Surprise! Even though we live in a campervan, we still have travel costs & expenses! In fact, our van life monthly expenses are quite a bit higher than we thought they would be.

Whoops!

We still pay a form of rent, still do our grocery shopping, and sometimes we like to relax with a bottle of wine. 😀

So how much does van life actually cost?

We recorded and itemize all our 2020 van life expenses in the hopes of giving ourselves and our readers a better understanding of where our money goes.

Our 2020 Campervan Expenses Breakdown

Table 1.1 - Primary Expense Categories (USD)

In the below table (1.1), we break down our van life monthly expenses into large, general expense categories. This gives us a good, bird’s eye view of where our money is going.

MayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
CountryMexicoMexicoMexicoUSAUSAUSAMexicoMexico
Monthly Total$510.33
$922.41
$745.35$4,091.48$1,881,81$1,996.97$1,861.00$1,691.45
Eating Out$35.66$145.29176.46$252.74$236.75$319.43$161.29$382.80
Gas$8.42$168.39$0.00$569.04$347.08$422.05$474.30$185.25
Groceries$188.46$213.45$192.62$143.35$265.38$455.56$309.42$108.90
Other$126.50$94.73$112.47$245.11$626.71$649.44$154.90$144.95
Sleeping$150.11$205.38$136.73$162.50$50.00$33.00$358.34$666.10
Travel Activities$0.00$0.00$0.00$53.13$145.37$87.79$114.15$106.25
Travel Expenses
(excl. gas)
$0.00$94.72$127.08$361.26$142.40$26.00$219.35$97.20
Van Maintenance$1.18$0.45$0.00$2,304.35$68.12$3.70$69.25$0.00

Table 1.2 - Secondary Expense Categories (USD)

In the below table (1.2), we break down most of the primary expense categories into more specific, sub-categories. This allows us to see, on a more granular level, where EXACTLY our money is going.

MayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
CountryMexicoMexicoMexicoUSAUSAUSAMexicoMexico
Eating Out
Bar$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00
$0.00
$0.00$0.00
Cafe$2.53$23.05$55.40$32.18$17.80$70.58$7.19$30.00
Restaurant$29.35$105.65$116.50$215.43$218.95$248.85$154.10$331.55
Street Food$3.79$16.59$4.56$5.13$0.00$0.00$0.00$21.25
Sub-Total$35.67$145.29$176.46$252.74$236.75$319.43$161.29$382.80
Groceries
Local Market$159.16$127.85$94.91$70.58$17.00$0.00
$28.90
$57.65

Supermarket$29.31$85.61$72.70$72.77$248.38$455.56$278.97$51.25
Sub-Total$188.47$213.46$167.61$143.35$265.38$455.56$307.87$108.90
Other
Alcohol$32.42$11.21$47.43$0.00

$0.00$14.62$0.00$17.50
Hair Cut$0.00$30.00$3.10$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$20.00
Household Items$60.97$8.30$13.81$0.89$429.77$192.87$72.58$0.00
Laundry$5.47$10.36$20.04$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$11.00
Online Subscriptions$24.73$24.77$24.77$13.16$26.96$216.68$26.32$0.00
Other$0.00$6.50$0.00$226.33$169.98$225.27$55.25$27.35
Propane$2.91$2.24$2.43$2.23$0.00$0.00$0.00$5.40
Street Tips$0.00$1.35$0.88$2.50$0.00$0.00$0.75$31.70
Sub-Total$126.50$94.73$112.47$245.11$626.71$649.44$154.90$112.95
Travel Activities
Souvenirs$0.00$0.00$0.00$48.21
$55.37
$17.79$43.71$91.65
Tickets & Entrance Fees$0.00$0.00$0.00$4.91$90.00$70.00$38.00$54.50
Tours$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00
Sub-Total$0.00$0.00$0.00$53.13$145.37$87.79$81.71$146.15
Travel Expenses
Documents$0.00$76.78$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$117.50$0.00
Insurance
Travel, Health, Auto
$0.00$0.00$0.00$36.78$122.60$0.00$0.00$0.00
Other Transportation$0.00$0.00$127.08$123.72$0.00$26.00$50.00$32.00
Parking$0.00$0.00$0.00$4.46$0.00
$0.00$51.85$10.00
Telecommunications$0.00$17.94$0.00$190.98$0.00$0.00$0.00$26.80
Tolls$0.00$0.00$0.00$4.42$19.80$0.00$219.35$20.50
Sub-Total$0.00$94.72$127.08$360.36$142.40$26.00$26.00$89.30

Van Life Monthly Expense Notes

May

Continuing to self-isolate during the Covid-19 pandemic has meant lower van life living expenses compared to normal van travel times. This month’s van life monthly expenses were much lower than usual. No real expenditures for gas, eating out, and activities. Sleeping/camping expenses are lower than usual since we are able to take advantage of monthly rates, rather than paying for the more expensive daily rate. No health/travel/auto insurance this month because we did not want to pay if we weren’t moving around.

June

While still well below our travel expense average, we spent considerably more money than in May due to the fact that we drove over 23 hours across 5 days to renew Eric’s travel visa and our camper van’s import permit. This resulted in increases in gas, sleeping, eating out, and travel expenses. No health/travel/auto insurance this month because we did not want to pay if we weren’t moving around.

July

This month had no real differences in expenses that our prior self-isolation months here in San Cristobal. No money spent on gas or travel activities. We did purchase a flight for Yuko back to Portland, which cost $127.08, so that was a jump in travel expenses. However, as more restaurants began to open up (even as the pandemic numbers continue to march upwards) we spent more money going out than any other month on record here. We are planning to leave San Cristobal early next month, so our travel expenses will look much different in August.

August

August was a huge month for us. We left our campsite in southern Mexico after 4.5 months of waiting and drove back up to Portland, Oregon to be with family. Being back in the USA also allowed us to upgrade the suspension of our camper van with several key products. All this activity led to a large increase in our monthly expenditures, particularly with gas and van maintenance costs.

September

By late August and September, we hit the road again in the Pacific Northwest and drove all throughout Washington and Oregon. This led to an increase in gas and money spent on groceries and eating out.

October

In October, we had driven into Southern California and into the American Southwest. Lots of boondocking opportunities allowed us to keep our sleeping expenditures low.

November

In November, we entered Mexico again at the El Paso, Texas border into Juarez. There was lots of land to cover in northern Mexico so money spent on gas increased and so did sleeping expenses. But grocery and eating out costs should start to come down in the future.

December

In December, we traveled much slower and stayed at campgrounds for longer periods of time. This helped us save money on gas. But we also spent 3 nights at a nice hotel in Morelia for Christmas, which increased our sleeping expenses dramatically.

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Van Life Costs & Finances - Van Life Monthly Expenses
Van Life Monthly Expenses

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