I have a few different options I am considering. If you don’t mind helping me think this through, I’d love your feedback.
Here is my current monthly budget:
- Rent: $450
- Food: $250
- Car: $360
- Gas : $100
- Auto ins: $80
- Life ins: $30
- Phone: $100
- Medical: $105
- Web sites: $40
- Child care: $250
Total: est. $1,800
- Camry: Just under $12K at 6%
- *note: I am not including student loans because it is not a variable and because I am eligible for loan forgiveness if I continue to work in non-profits.
- $17K (Will be used to pay for the rest of my tuition/books on April 1st ($12k) and subsidize my living expenses until I graduate.)
- Varies, but usually about $1,500 a month.
These are some of the options I am considering:
The Super Simple Option
Save $810 a month
Apply for food stamps while I’m in school (18 more months)
Save $250 a month
Using the van as my daily driver would double or triple my fuel costs to $300 a month.
Add $200 month
Total savings: $860 mo
Monthly budget: $940 a month
Total debt: NONE!
Advantages of this plan:
- Lowering my monthly expenses AND my overall debt provides level of simplicity that is extremely appealing.
- A 10-15 year old Roadtrek would be pretty stealthy in most urban situations when I am traveling.
- This van would likely attract unwanted looks in the very affluent areas where I live and work. (My brother has a maintenance company so he drives a cargo van. He is constantly getting stopped and searched.)
- The lower mpg means I probably won’t be able to take many long trips. (The whole plan is to be able to move around, so this is a pretty big deal to me!)
The Veggie Oil Option
Food stamps while I am in school
Use cash for veggie oil conversion ($4k?)
Save $100-$300 monthly (more significant savings for travel, such as $800 in gas for summer trip to a family reunion)
Total savings: $800 mo
Monthly budget: $1,000 mo
Total debt: $25K for van note
- Eco-friendly option has a huge appeal
- FREE fuel! FREE travel for long trips! (I want to drive up the West coast; I think this savings would really add up over time.)
- I am very familiar with the Sprinter chassis/engine
- Taking on more debt feels like the wrong choice.
- I think Sprinters are a bit less stealthy on the road
If I use my cash for my van, then I will pay-as-I-go with school due to my lower monthly expenses.
Please tell me what you think. I am starting to live out of my Camry! It isn’t easy, but I am learning. I will post an update on my set up soon.
Hope you are well!
p.s. I found a great blog by a younger solo woman RVer. She is debt free an posted a very detailed overview of her RV and living expenses yesterday here