Does Skoolie Living Reduce Expenses?

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.

Living in a skoolie saves money

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.

Your Plan

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.

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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.

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