Couple saves £1,000 a month by ditching pricey rents to live off-grid in a van

Leanne Bovey, 23, and Will Smith (not that one), 22, are living the dream.

After getting fed up of all their money going towards rent on a pricey flat, the couple from Torquay, Devon, decided to quit their jobs, renovate an old minibus, and live off the grid.

They now save £1,000 a month and spend just £10 a day on fuel and food while travelling across the UK and Europe.

Leanne and Will spent nearly £4,000 of their savings to renovate an old minibus and turn it into their perfect home.

They took on the DIY job with help from online tutorials.

‘Living like this is definitely so much cheaper than buying or renting a house or a flat,’ Leanne, a professional artist, said.

‘We were paying £800 per month for a studio flat that wasn’t actually that special – so we’re saving a lot of money compared to if we were living in a flat in the UK.

‘Now, we probably spend around £6 to £10 per day on food and fuel – it all depends how far we drive.

‘We’ve got solar panels for electricity so we don’t have to worry about expenses with that, and we always manage to find free parking spaces.’

Will added: ‘One big bulk payment of buying a van and doing it up rather than paying for things like water and electricity every month has saved us an arm and a leg, around £1,000 each month in all.

‘There are a few difficult things about living in a van – sometimes it’s stressful finding places to park and the water can get low so we need to find a public tap.

‘We’re also not able to shower unless we find a public shower or a lake, and so far it’s been fine – we did get a portable shower but we’ve not been brave enough to use it in a car park yet.’

After exploring the southwest coast of the UK in the van, the couple are now sightseeing around Europe, and are loving their new lifestyle.

Their van has given them the freedom to travel while so many of us have been cooped up at home due to lockdown.

Leanne and Will plan to continue their cheap and minimalist life aboard the van for as long as possible, putting no cap on when their adventure will come to an end.

To anyone else fed up of renting overpriced flats, the couple urge everyone to give van life a go.

‘We haven’t put a time limit on how long we’re going to live in a van and in terms of the future we’re still thinking about it,’ said Leanne.

‘Our European van insurance runs out this time next year and if we can afford to renew it we’d love to.

‘We’ve always talked about getting a bigger van where we can have a proper bed and a shower.

‘If we can build a comfortable home in a van, I think anyone can.’

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