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Will I Save Money by Living in a Skoolie?

Will I Save Money by Living in a Skoolie?

Now I have to admit, living in a Skoolie (school bus conversion) is not the first idea that pops into the minds of most people when thinking about reducing debt. But if you are interested in Bus Life and have ever wondered, “Will I save money by living in a Skoolie?” then this post is for you. If you are new to this idea, read this post to find out if bus life is right for you.

Save Money

Will I Save Money by Living in a Skoolie?

When Jeff and I first started living in a bus back in 2009, I asked myself, “Will I save money by living in a Skoolie?” During that time, there were several things I learned about saving money while living in a bus.  The first and foremost is that this idea of reducing debt by living tiny is truly a personal choice. You see, we could live in our Stick and Brick house and spend $1300 a month on groceries. Or, we could live in our bus and spend more. We could pay $1000 a month on a mortgage or pay less by living in our bus. If we choose to stay in RV parks and travel more frequently, it would cost more than our mortgage. So as you see, it really all boils down to….

Personal Choice

I believe if a person has poor spending habits in a stick and brick house, they are going to have poor spending habits in a Skoolie.  Now, if a person is ready for change, tired of being a consumer, and the stuff that has been bought over the years is cluttering their mind then living in a bus just may be the thing that keeps them focused on saving money.  I believe if a person is actively seeking a way to reduce debt and they have a strong desire to stick to a budget then bus life will help accomplish their goal.

Another, thing we have learned is Bus Life is not a vacation. It is a lifestyle. In the beginning, we made the choice to see and do lots of fun activities. We had the mindset that we were saving money on expenses so we could experience more. This is true but we tried to pack an extreme amount of adventure into a short amount of time. Thus vacation mentality. This is a personal choice that can cost money. We learned quickly to slow down. By reducing the miles we traveled each month and staying close to the bus more, we were able to save money.

Our experience

When we lived in our bus, it cost us less to live in a state park than our house. We choose to stay in one state for about 3 months thus reducing our fuel bill and taking advantage of state park memberships.

Due to staying in state parks, we didn’t have a power or water bill. Our phone bill increased some because we paid for wifi. We found that our grocery bill either remained the same or decrease. Not having a place to store extra groceries cuts down on the impulse buys.  We cooked outside our bus just as much as we did in our S&B. Enjoying local food is a hazard to the budget with a foodie like Jeff! Do you have a foodie in your family?

One expense that we didn’t count on adding up so quickly was our laundry bill. Our laundry bill in 2009-2012 was costing us at least $60.00 a month. Also, we had the added expense of drinking water. Occasionally where we were parked, the water didn’t smell or taste good. Buying drinking water became a welcomed expense. What expenses to you think you might incur while living in your bus that you don’t have in a Stick and Brick house? Are you still asking yourself, “Will I save money living in a Skoolie?” Below you will find a “Cost Comparison for Stick and Brick House vs. Bus Living” worksheet.

Cost Comparison

Here is a simple cost comparison for you to fill out. It will help you find out if you will save money by living in a Skoolie.

Start by filling in the “Stick and Brick” column. Then, record what you think your expenses would be if you were living in your bus. If you have any questions, list them in the comments and I will be happy to help you.

If you are interested in more budget planning sheets like this check out our  The Cost of Converting (and Living In A) Skoolie – Budget Bundle  This bundle covers how much it cost for a bus conversion, the maintenance and repair costs of a bus, living in a bus price comparisons, and more.

So tell me, “Will you save money living in a Skoolie?” Tell me in the comments below.

  • Jeremy
    Posted at 07:49h, 06 November Reply

    Hello, I love your blog and everything about it! I have a question about the state park membership you mentioned. Does this generally mean that when you have the state park membership, you could park your skoolie anywhere within the park or did it need to be parked in a special designated area? Thank you!

    • discoveringus
      Posted at 11:15h, 06 November Reply

      Ahh Jermy, Thanks for those kind words!! When you have a membership for the park you still have to pick or reserve a site. Most of the time, I call the park directly and find out what sites they have available, what’s close to the bathhouse or playground. LOL Keep in mind that each state and each park in the state could have different rules. Most of the time, we have found the staff at the parks to be extremely helpful.

  • Molly
    Posted at 10:14h, 14 December Reply

    How does a mailing address work?

    • discoveringus
      Posted at 23:58h, 04 January Reply

      Molly, There are several services which will actually scan your physical mail and email it to you, an example of one is Anytime Mail.

  • Nigel William
    Posted at 08:09h, 23 March Reply

    Hi, Missy! This is a great article! It`s very useful to see all of the cons and pros in one place. In this case, only good things, which is great! 🙂 You made a great point- a person who has poor spending habits will have the same habits no matter where he or she lives. I was wondering, is a number of people who decide to live this live increasing?

    • discoveringus
      Posted at 23:30h, 25 April Reply

      Yes! Nigel, we have seen an increase of people wanting a conversion during the last year. I hear all the time how people are tired of paying in excess of $1000 for a small apartment to rent.

  • Aubrie
    Posted at 21:48h, 21 May Reply

    What would someone do if they wanted to live full time in a skoolie, but not travel? As in have the bus literally be there stationary home, in a permanent spot year round. Exactly like a house but obviously a bus… lol. Am about to just take the plunge after 2 years of thinking about it however I see little to no information out there on stationary bus living. Only for people who are taking their home on wheels travelling/exploring. At first I had the idea that it would be a matter of purchasing my own land somewhere away from the city and neighbors etc and just… parking up. Building a nice little deck on the outside of the skoolie… and doing things that way. However I quickly realised that there are apparently a lot of legality issues with this. It’s quite confusing and not really much info out there about it! Any helpful information you might have for me? Thanks! 🙂

  • Loretta
    Posted at 09:25h, 23 August Reply

    I want to purchase a wedding gift for a couple who are just starting with their bus. Any recommendations for a moderately priced gift they will appreciate for this life style?

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