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After spending many months locked up in their homes, many people have decided to hit the road in their dream van.

As buying a new van can be expensive, some vanlifers are opting to refurbish used vans. When planning your budget, don’t forget to plan for the purchase of your second-hand van and the necessary upgrades. To illustrate, USA Today stated that a couple spent as much as $18,000 for a used van, which required about $8,000 for new bathroom equipment, shelving, bedding, and water gear. Meanwhile, another couple bought a used van for $25,000 and invested around $10,000 on upgrades. Now, if you also want to start vanlife, you can save up for your dream van by following these tips.

couple in campervan - save up for van

Budget for your vanlife expenses

A good trick is to allocate for your current needs and set aside money for your dream van by budgeting your earnings. It’s important to learn how to budget since your van will be difficult to buy if you don’t know how to manage your money wisely. Your dream van is your main and first purchase, but you also need to consider saving up for common expenses that digital nomads face, such as automobile insurance, new gear, tires, etc. Meanwhile, annual maintenance for van can cost around $1,000-$2,000 per year, while expenses like gas and annual registration costs depend on your itinerary. As such, the best thing to do is to plan for your specific budgeting goals by making use of a home budget calculator. This allows you to factor in regular expenses like utilities, groceries, taxes, so you can calculate how much you can set aside for your van and your future life.

guys with vans at festival

Maximize discounts

Despite your best efforts, you may still find it difficult to meet your target amount, especially if you have other expenses to cover. Your necessities and financial obligations can get in the way of your budgeting plans, which is why you need to be more innovative in tackling these costs. By maximizing available discounts and looking for deals, you can reduce your monthly expenses. To illustrate, you can save up money on your groceries by buying items on sale or by saving coupons from loyalty programs and weekly circulars. If you’re saving up for automobile insurance for your van, many insurance companies also offer significant discounts for customers that are willing to pay annually or that subscribe to more than one of their services. Since annual payment plans reduce the risk on the insurer’s end, you’ll be rewarded with lower insurance premiums. By being crafty with your expenses, you can fulfill your financial obligations, while saving more money at the same time.

orange van interior - save up for van

Generate extra income

Though budgeting is important, that alone isn’t enough for big expenses. So, consider generating extra income to save up for your dream van fund. Luckily, that shouldn’t be difficult as thanks to the rise of remote work, you can work sidelines from the comfort of your home. One of the highest-earning side jobs is as a virtual assistant. They are tasked with “answering phone calls and taking messages, running social media accounts, scheduling appointments, and doing research, among other duties.” You can also offer your expertise for projects by signing up to freelancer marketplaces. Apart from that, you can also start a podcast or blog. Through them, you can earn via affiliate marketing links, third-party advertising, or merch selling. And these revenue streams can even continue long after you’ve purchased your van!

vanlife converesion - save up for van

Simplify your life

Finally, consider downsizing. Though it may seem tempting to move all of your possessions into the van, they likely won’t all fit. Start off by selling the items that you no longer need or cannot fit into your van. To do this, you can have a garage sale or you can list your items on apps like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to reach a wider audience. This not only helps you save for your van, but it also assists in your downsizing in preparation for your life on the road. After all, this act will help you realize which possessions are necessary for your life, and which ones aren’t. And remember: this should carry over to when you’re on the road. You don’t always have to get a cup of coffee from Starbucks or have the newest phone models the second they come out. The less you consume, the more saving you’ll have to spend on the things that truly matter.

When you do have to make some purchases, one popular packing hack is to bring a checklist with you. This will help you avoid over-shopping (or forgetting) what you need for your van life. In line with shopping, try buying travel-sized items instead. Not only are they more space-efficient, but they’re usually cheaper, too. By being more mindful, you can manage your money more healthily and even help the environment as an added bonus!

campervan at festival

It can be difficult to save up for a van, but your hard work will be worth it once you finally make the purchase. To get there, remember to budget properly, open extra income sources, and utilize high-yield savings accounts. Before you know it, you’ll have enough on hand to get your dream van!