Money can’t buy you happiness – but it can buy you travel, which comes close!
We were made redundant at the age of 51 and 53 respectively. It was terrifying.
We had a long held pipe dream of giving it all up to do something more fun before we were too old and decrepit. But our planning had all centred around Mark reaching the magic age of 55, when we would have saved up enough and could get our hands on his pension.
And there was always the convenient ‘get out’ of working on. You know, that delaying tactic of “If we work for another year, it will give us just a little more financial security.” Procrastination; which saves you from making that difficult decision to step out of your salaried comfort zone and into the void…
Having been made redundant and finding ourselves too ill to work, none of this was an option – and in hindsight, I am really glad!
The redundancy gave us the boot up the behind that we needed to make our exit from the corporate rat race AND, most importantly, two wonderful years of travel that we would otherwise have spent at work!
In my blog Carry On Caravanning – Part 1; How We Did It I discuss how it is important to know how much you are spending and on what. That way, you know how much money you need to support the lifestyle that you want – and where you can make cuts. You might be surprised to learn that when we did this exercise, we discovered that the odd £2.50 in Costa’s here and there added up to £100 per month on coffee. That’s £1200 per year. You can do a lot with £1200 per year in a caravan!
The question that everyone wants to ask us, but are usually too polite, is “How much does it cost to do what you do?” We tour Europe in the caravan for 9 months and spend 3 months in a ski apartment.
Well, in broad terms, here is the answer. This is our budget for the next year;
|Caravan Costs||Gas, Elsan, service, site fees (incl 4 dogs, which costs extra in Europe) for 9 months touring||£4,000|
|Ski Apartment||3 months rental costs, bills included||£3,500|
|Ski Pass||2 x seasonal ski passes||£1,400|
|Tow Vehicle Costs||Fuel, service, MOT, tax, repairs. We have a budget for a replacement vehicle in the future.||£4,000|
|Insurance||Travel, car & caravan insurance*||£1,300|
|Ferry & Tolls||2 return crossings to Europe per year with 4 dogs; 1 with caravan; Mont Blanc Tunnel & Motorway Tolls||£1,000|
|Sports & Hobbies||Replacing windsurfing, cycle & ski kit. Ski servicing.||£600|
|Food||All food shopping for 2 people. We rarely dine out.||£5,400|
|Cleaning Products||Laundry soaps, toiletries, caravan cleaner etc||£400|
|Health||Dentist, contact lenses, prescriptions, sun cream etc||£900|
|Clothing||Replacing clothing & shoes||£500|
|Booze||Wine, beer etc. We rarely go out!||£900|
|Communication||Mobile phone, MiFi, buying CDs / DVDs etc||£400|
|Dog Costs||Food, vets, medication, jabs etc. We groom them ourselves.||£1,100|
*Some insurers will cover you only for 3-months touring abroad per year and will not cover you if you are already abroad when the policy starts!
Due to the monetary misadventures that seem to accompany our every homecoming to the UK, we have considered adding a line to our budget for “Fines…” (See Home and Briefly Back in the Brick for our first bout of pecuniary pandemonium. Little did we know that MUCH MORE was to follow!)
If you are planning to do what we do, I hope that this information will help you towards making your dreams a reality. Clearly, your budget will be different from ours, but I hope that this gives you an idea of the costs you will need to cover and a starting point for planning.
My friend and fellow nomad Liesbet Collaert publishes a monthly breakdown of her expenses as a nomad on her blog, Roaming About, as do Duwan and Greg at Make Like An Ape Man. Neither are UK based, but again, it gives you an idea of what you need to budget.
To help you when living on a budget, see 10 Tips to Save Money while Caravanning. This blog also contains useful links that will help you to calculate the costs of European road toll charges and a link to ACSI, which lists the prices for 10,000 campsites across Europe.