Well, it’s been quite a while since I blogged to you (I know, I say that far to often), but I’m happy to announce that I’m now going to be posting right here on this website every two weeks with a new topic from the VanLife – so watch this space!

Today’s topic, as you may have already guessed is finances while on the road. Now, many who know me will have scoffed upon reading the title, as it’s no secret that I am awful with money. No, seriously, it’s ridiculous. However, I am perfectly capable at organising and setting up ways to manage my finances, it’s when it comes to actually sticking to these plans that I frequently fall short.

I’ve decided to divide this blog into three sections; income, outgoings, and management.
I’m sure many of you will have your own ways of managing your money by this time, and feel free to ignore that section – it’s the last on the list for a reason!
Enjoy the read, and comment down below and let me know if you’ve got a unique way of managing your own finances!


Income.

Okay, so there are so many different ways to make money while out on the road, so I’m only going to list a few of the options out there, but make sure you choose one that will cover your costs, as many are down to your own work ethic, as you’ve not got a boss leaning over your shoulder watching your every move.

Before I go ahead and list some of the common choices, I’ll mention what myself, Carl, Danny and Brandon do for work – transcribing. Yes, that’s right, we listen to formal meetings that were audio recorded, and type it up, initialling who is speaking, and obviously, what they are saying.
Now, we’ve got lucky, as there are many transcription websites out there that will pay you next-to-nothing to do the work, however, we got lucky, and through a friend of a friend, we have a nice little gig with a freelance transcriber who runs their own gig, and we, along with a few others, are essentially her little minions, taking what work we can get.
We got lucky with this, as most people in a “normal” life would find that transcribing simply doesn’t bring in enough money to support them, however, when living in a van you find that your costs drop dramatically, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Online Work:
Okay, so there are many places on the internet that allow you to make money, and it’s really down to you and your skills to decide what suits you best. I could spend all night putting together a list of all the different types of online work that’s out there, but that’s not the purpose of this blog, so if you want a few ideas, check out this blog from Web Work Travel.

Online work is great for the traveller because it can be done from anywhere in the world, and it only requires power and an internet connection.

Seasonal Work:
Seasonal work can be great fun. While it involves being tied down to a single location for a season, you can often save a bunch of money, have a base to work on your van, and you’re usually in a lovely place.
Myself, Carl, Danny, and Brandon worked a season at Chateau La Foret, and while seasonal work isn’t something we’d want to do again, that’s only because we prefer to be on the road 24/7, and we weren’t all super happy with the work.

Most seasonal work is as a campsite courier, working for one of the thousands of campsites across Europe, cleaning the guest accommodation, and keeping the customers happy. If you’re interested in this type of work, head over to Euro Camp, and see what it’s all about.
Seasonal work isn’t so bad, but don’t mistake it for easy work. You’re often in a beautiful location, but you’re dealing with people who are on holiday, and there can’t be anything less-than-perfect!

Work As It Comes:
Some travellers like to take work as it comes, living on the bare minimum and taking every day at face value. While this way of life is filled with adventure and challenges, it’s a risky one, and I would advise anyone who’s pursuing this way of life to have a generous emergency fund set aside for the times when you’re not able to find anything.

Since I’ve not done this myself and I don’t know anyone who has, I would recommend you spend a great deal of time researching what kind of work is out there for you. Vineyards throughout Europe could be a brilliant starting point!

Stay For Free:
Another awesome way to live is by offering your labour in return for free food and accommodation. While you don’t get any money, if you combined it with some simple online work (them bills ain’t going to pay themselves!), and work for your hosts, you can spend anywhere from a few days to a few months in a single place.

The main attraction in this life is meeting loads of new and interesting people, and learning new skills.

If you feel like this would suit you, check out Work Away for more info!

There are other ways of making money while you’re out there, but there’s a few main ones for those of you who are interested!


Outgoings.

Okay, so we’ve taken a look at some great ways of making money while you’re out there, but what’s the point in looking for work when you don’t even know what you’re going to be paying out each month? Well, let’s talk about that!

The first thing you’ll notice when transitioning from your house to travelling in a van is just how cheap it is. However, cheap isn’t free, and there are certain outgoings you should take into consideration, and be aware of before deciding on a suitable form of work – the work must support your needs before your wants!

Okay, so the first bill is your phone. Why? Because you may get into a tricky situation when out on the road, and it’s imperative that you have a way of requesting aid, should you ever be unfortunate enough to need it. You’ve also got to consider that if you’ve not got a phone, what are you going to do when on the toilet? Exactly.
So, depending on how much you rely on your phone, your bill could be very cheap, or it could be a little costly. Be realistic with yourself when choosing the right deal, if you don’t use it much now, you won’t when you’re out there. Vodafone has some really good offers, make sure you check out the various passes they offer!

Next on the list is your food, it’s pretty important, and arguably more important than your phone. I’ll touch back on this in money management, however, consider how much food costs out there, and make sure you’ve got a realistic food allowance set aside for each month.

For most, the only other permanent bill will be the various bills that go toward your van. If you pay for your insurance on a monthly basis, then you need enough to cover that, and of course, fuel! Similar to food, I’ll come back to this in the money management section, but consider all costs involved with your van. It’s likely your only home when you’re out there, and you don’t want to take any risks with it.
Keep it maintained, check your levels, and buy your baby whatever it needs to stay healthy while it takes you on your adventure and provides shelter for you.

In my opinion, those are the main bills covered – but you may be different. Every other cost is secondary; you may want money to eat out sometimes, or you may want (or in some cases need) to stay at a campsite on occasion, so make sure you’ve got all that taken into consideration.


Money Management.

Okay, so you’ve got your job, and if you took your bills into account when deciding what to do, then you’re already halfway to properly managing your money!
Now, before I start preaching, understand that I am terrible with money. It may as well be a bar of wet soap. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to manage money, I’m just not very good at the doing part.

So, one of my favourite to keep a track of things is using a spreadsheet – oh yes, I get very excited over the prospect of making another spreadsheet.
Now, I’m not talking about recording every single purchase you ever make, but there are some ways you can use them to be more aware of your money, but it’s up to you – spreadsheet or not, this section could be of use to you.

So, the first thing you should do is know how much is always going to be coming out of your account each month. This is likely going to be things like your phone bill, possibly insurance, and any other monthly subscriptions you may have.
With this figure, each month that you’re paid, you know how much of your bank balance is actually available balance, and how much is for your bills.

So, that’s the basics done, even I can do that. But you’ve still got all this money left that is begging to be spent, and if you don’t spend wisely, you can run out of money before your last food shop, or perhaps your next tank of fuel.
As such, my recommendation would be that you set aside a monthly budget for certain costs that you know must be spent, but don’t currently have a set amount assigned to them. This would likely be things like your food bill – £100.- each per month worked nicely for Carl and I. If you frequently visit campsites, then make sure you set aside a sensible amount for that, and apply the same logic to any other frequent costs you have that don’t have a set amount.
Once that’s done, add those budgets to your bills list, and boom – you’ve got yourself a pretty accurate representation of how much you’ve got spare for the month. Now, if you use a banking app like Revolut, you can put this money aside into different ‘vaults’, and keep it totally separate from your actual available balance.

Anything else that’s left, it’s up to you what you save, and what you’ve got for those cheeky Burger King feasts and other crap you may decide to spend on!
If you can do this, and stick to it, then your finances should be in check, and easily controllable. Below is an example of my own money spreadsheet – it’s super simple, and allows me to keep an eye on what I’ve got available.

Never let your finances run amuck!

Well, that’s all I’ve got. I hope this has helped somebody out there, or at least given ideas to those who are just starting to be in a position to manage their money effectively.
Life on the road is cheap, but work can sometimes pay less than you’re used to, making the cheaper expenses seem more than they otherwise would, so be careful out there.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this, and don’t forget to check out our YouTube Channel, and get subscribed!

“I am a leaf on the wind; you can’t take the sky from me” ~ Firefly


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