Month two in the van was much more like I expected van life would be. I’ve started creating a google map of parkups with good internet and I spent some time going back to some of my favorite places. I moved a lot less, often spending 2-4 days per location, and I liked that pace a lot more. I’ve been floating around the area between Cartagena and Malaga because I’ve been waiting for some friends to arrive, so I’ve discovered quite a few great locations in the mean time and have gotten better at avoiding the messy hordes.

As anticipated, my expenses were lower this month. They were still higher than I would prefer, but I had several hundred in one-off van expenses, which inflated the number a good chunk. Without those, I’d have been well within my spending targets.

Countries Visited This Month

  • Spain

Spending Breakdown

Charity $127.84

My goal is to have about 10% of my monthly spend go to charity each month. I’m not religious so it’s not a tithe thing, it just seems like a reasonable number. All the money went to Bansko Street Dogs again. This month I did the Betty White challenge and donated $5 for her birthday and matched an additional $100 in donations that other people made.

Cooking Gas $0

As expected, my purchases from last month got me through January.

Gas & Fuel $171.08

This amount is MUCH better and much more in line with what I’d like it to be. Since I wasn’t doing huge long drives, it helped a ton.

Groceries $267.36

Again, this seems like a much better amount to have spent this month. Not sure if groceries are just cheaper here or what? I have been fasting more, so of course that helps.

Hotel $17.87

For various reasons, I spent one night in a hotel. I used one of my free nights on so I just had to pay a little bit of the cost, which was nice. Honestly, the bed was SUPER comfortable (hello bamboo mattress, who knew?!), and the unlimited hot water was great, but otherwise, I really missed being in my van. I definitely missed the quiet of the van when I had to listen to people being loud in the hallways.

Misc Expenses $61.51

This month I pulled the van specific expenses out into their own category. I think that just makes more sense. This amount covered my netflix charge for the month as well as my laundry expenses and I still have a good chunk of cash left over.

Mobile Phone $22.73

The data bonus that Orange provides means I can get much smaller data plans, which is a great money saver.

Restaurants $108.82

Again, a much more reasonable number. Of course the biggest part of this was dinner at a single expensive restaurant that was nice and the food was good, but the portions were so small, I was still starving at the end. $35 and I had literally 10 bites of food. It was so not worth it. lol

Tolls $0

Yay for no toll roads!

Van Expenses $339.65

Without these expenses, my monthly spend would have been much more on target, but all of them were worth it. I bought the following:

  • A pressurized solar shower – Dumping bottles of water over my head was just not working to get the job done. I was frequently left with soap still in my hair, which is just gross. The one I got works great and helps a lot with staying clean.
  • A portable jump battery – The one I got is small. It fits in the palm of my hand, but it works great for a van my size. I’d already had to get a jump once and I didn’t want to risk it again, especially since I’m frequently in places with few people so getting help would be difficult. I’ve already had to use it and it worked immediately so it’s already paid for itself and it makes me feel a lot more comfortable about going remote.
  • Window film installation – I pretty regularly park in areas where others are walking buy. I really hated having my window shades up all the time or leaving them down and feeling like I was in a fish bowl. So, I had dark tint applied to my back and side door window. It makes a HUGE difference. I can be inside and not feel like everyone is looking in at me. I can use the bathroom without having to put my back shades up and down. It was well worth the money. I also had protective film installed on my front two windows. Smash and grabs are really common in southern europe and I’ve been paranoid about it since I have a lot of stuff in my van. This film will stop a casual thief as it would take a LOT of effort to get past the film and actually into my van. It was expensive but now I feel a lot more comfortable in my van and leaving it parked places to go explore the area.

So, I feel pretty good about this month. It’s still technically over what I’d like to spend, but without the van expenses, I would have been at $777 for the month, which I think is really reasonable and sustainable.