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Couple Saves $18,000 a Year by Living in a Van – VIDEO

Tyler & Sarah from Life vs Art are full-time van dwellers in Vancouver, BC, Canada. A couple of years ago they calculated that they were spending close to $18,000 per year on rent which is quite a hefty sum for some.


Image © Exploring Alternatives

With such a mild climate in Vancouver, they realized they could live in a camper van year round and use the money they saved to live life the way they wanted to.

Image © Exploring Alternatives


They live in a 1990 Dodge B250 PleasureWay camper van with two sweet dogs (who spend weekdays at work with Tyler so they aren’t left alone in the van).

Image © Exploring Alternatives

For heat they have a Dickinson Marine propane heater, they fill water jugs at work, have solar power for electricity, and a small portable toilet.  

For the full story about their 2-year van life experience, check out the latest Exploring Alternatives video here:

VIDEO: Van Life – Couple Saves $18,000 a Year by Living in a Van

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Danielle Chabassol
Danielle is a digital nomad who is passionate about tiny spaces, living with less, reducing waste and eating plant-based food. Danielle is half of the Exploring Alternatives blog & video project. You can find more of her at www.ExploringAlternatives.ca and her Exploring Alternatives YouTube Channel.




{ 11 comments… add one }
  • keepyourpower September 18, 2017, 7:32 pm

    Does it have a shower?

    • keepyourpower September 18, 2017, 7:35 pm

      Oops …found out near the end.

      • Jerry September 18, 2017, 10:48 pm

        And… do they?

        • Mini me September 19, 2017, 4:03 am

          Shower is in the would be nice to heave list

        • James D. September 19, 2017, 4:55 pm

          It’s why they said they’re looking to get a new van that can have enough room to put in a shower… Present one was a fixer upper and priority was making it livable for two… but they got friends and family that let them use theirs, as well as the gym, for now…

  • Jerie Fitzpatrick September 18, 2017, 7:36 pm

    Good for them! Good job making wise choices to enable the future they want. I’m starting that same journey myself, only wish I had done it when I was as young as they are!

  • Sunny Johansen September 18, 2017, 8:38 pm

    You need to leave RV living out of your newsletter, especially if it involves mooching water from the good graces of their employer…and a “portable toilet”, the handling of wastes from which we don’t see discussed! Tossed in a dumpster, maybe? Wow…the fine for doing that will destroy their budget, such as it is.
    “In our next issue, living homeless and saving zillions!”

    • James D. September 19, 2017, 5:19 pm

      RV living is still tiny living and thus valid to look at, especially as many of the things used by RV’ers are also used by Tiny House dwellers as well. Especially, for those who wish to lead a nomadic lifestyle… There’s no proprietary standards on where that begins or ends that says it can only be done one way…

      Finding alternatives are also part of the point, even if they’re not good for everyone they’re at least trying to figure out alternatives that may make more options available that would otherwise not be possible and no matter what, living tiny does reduces waste and allows for a more efficient life… It’s just not a competition and doesn’t have to be perfect to count…

      As for details, the Porta Potti is a portable version of a cassette toilet, aka chemical toilets… They are like self contained flush toilets that use chemicals to eliminate odor and you dump them like you would a black tank in a RV when they get full.

      It does use a lot less water than a regular flush toilet, however… The Porta Potti’s are usually used in camping scenarios, as well as with micro RV campers, as well as those temporary toilets for construction sites and concerts…

      While there’s usually no fine, human waste is dumped all the time with diapers for example for both children and adults, as long as it’s dumped properly and you don’t just put it into the street or on someone’s property…

      Anyway, many people who refuse to consider composting toilets instead opt for a Porta Potti/Cassette toilet or RV style flush toilet with black tank… With a few who may consider Incinerating toilets, dry flush, and dehydration toilets, to round off the most common options…

      Porta Potti does have the advantage that you don’t have to worry about it getting wet, while a composting toilet has to stay relatively dry and away from very humid environments…

      The chemical used to eliminate the odor, however, doesn’t always work… The FitRV has a hilarious video showcasing their experience, which clearly shows what it is like when the chemicals don’t work and you have to dump it ;-p

      They normally use a Nature’s Head and were all ready to give it up for the Porta Potti before that dump experience quickly changed their minds…

      Most people usually have a good experience, though…

      While, keep in mind, some people are allergic to some of the common cover/bulking materials used with composting toilets and thus may not be a option for them even if they wanted to, and may find it easier to dump a chemical toilet than find a place to dump partially composted humanore…

  • Susanne September 18, 2017, 10:52 pm

    And park where???

    • James D. September 19, 2017, 5:28 pm

      Apparently, right along apartment complexes because city life promotes people having no idea who their neighbors are and thus no one cares if they don’t recognize you…

      They just stick away from housing areas as they would notice a new face and pay enough attention to figure out what you may be living out of…

      Many also opt for stealth, choosing or designing their vehicle to look like a regular commercial vehicle instead of a RV and that usually lets them park places that commercial vehicles are allowed but not RV’s…

      There’s also camps, many boondocks a lot… but not all can stay off-grid for very long… Then of course there are RV parks, places like Walmart parking lots that allow overnight stays, free public land you can stay on for about two weeks at a time per given area, on residential property that you either own, friends or family property, rented lot, etc.

      There are places that don’t allow RV’s at all, even visible in your own backyard and must be hidden and/or not lived in for more than 30 days out of the year… But as you can travel, you can usually just move on and/or avoid those places…

  • Susanne September 18, 2017, 10:54 pm

    Oh at work. Duh.

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