Now we knew we wanted a van, so we opened an online savings account we dubbed our van fund. Not only would we need to save for a van and then the build out, we would also need savings for future repairs.
Online savings accounts have a few benefits.
- It takes longer for us to access the funds as we don’t have a debit card.
- It offers a higher interest rate that brick and mortar banks. One of our online savings accounts is paying 1.55% APY versus 0.15% APY, what our local bank is paying.
Some Of Our Strategies For Saving Money
- We ask the question, “Would we rather have (whatever we are considering) or a van?” When you have one goal you can weigh many decisions against it. We have asked this question so many times it is a mantra for us.
- Eliminate or reduce expenses. Start making changes that would reflect your future van life. For example, we eliminated cable TV and went to internet only but with increased speed. We are still researching what our internet access will look like once we are living full time in our van, but we do expect to have some level of access. This saves us approximately $138.00 per year.
- Take your lunch to work. I have worked with people who buy lunch every day at work. I remember one that spent at least $13/day which would total $3,185/year on lunches alone. If you brought leftovers from dinner the night before (we always think about cooking enough for just this reason) at a cost of $4/day you would save $2,205/year for one person.
- Spend more time on your finances. We regularly review and discuss our monthly expenses. I believe it was in the book “The Millionaire Next Door”, that I read years ago, that suggested that it was a common trait of those that have built wealth to spend above average time on financial planning. It makes sense that this is not done just because of greater wealth, but that it leads to creating it in the first place.
- Couples and gifts. We have chosen to not buy gifts for each other whether it be birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, or even Christmas. We put the money we would have spent towards our dream goal and are happier for it.
- Have yard sales, sell on eBay, or sell on Craigslist. Sell off stuff you don’t use or won’t fit into the life you are creating for yourself. A thought we kept in mind when we were up against selling something for far less than we thought it was worth … if we felt something was worth $50 but no one was willing to pay that much, we would ask if holding on to the item because we thought it was worth $50 was worth more than having $25 towards our van. Our dream was worth 10 times what our perception of that item was worth.
- Eliminate debt. Money you owe comes at a cost to your freedom.
We hope you find these ideas useful, and more will follow.
~ Pattie & Phil
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