A couple are saving over £1,000 a month after ditching their expensive London flat for a tiny van they’ve converted into a home – complete with a cinema screen.
Hannah Moore, 24, and Dan Spiers, 29, were paying £1,200 a month on rent and another £250 on bills – but now their monthly living costs are just £360.
This means they’re saving a collective £1,090 compared to their life in London.
Hannah and Dan bought their van for £6,000 at the start of 2021 and then spent £11,000 slowly transforming it into a cosy home.
The pair took eight months converting the van, doing almost all the work themselves, and now live on the road full time.
Both work in TV and film but wanted the freedom and flexibility to move about after the Covid crisis.
Hannah said: “It has been Danny’s dream since we were in university together in 2015. We have been together for nearly six years, and he only just mentioned it to me last year.
“At first, I was hesitant about living in a van because the idea of it was alien to me.
“However, when he showed me Youtube videos and photos of people living on the road full time and the idea of building our own home, just the way we want it, from scratch really appealed to both of us.”
The pair did all the work to the van themselves apart from the gas and YouTubed the entire ordeal.
With this becoming their full-time home, they wanted to put time and money into ensuring it would be as comfortable as possible.
Hannah said: “It didn’t come without its challenges but we stuck with it through the winter and played on our strengths.
“For us, the most important element of the van was to ensure we could go completely off-grid. We didn’t want to rely on campsites or constantly needing to stay close to populated areas.
“The solar panels and power generator (Goal Zero Yeti) produces enough energy for us to not have to plug into anywhere. The boiler and heating system (Truma Combi Boiler) can be operated using gas or electricity.
“Another important element for us was the toilet. We did a lot of research and knew that we didn’t want to use a chemical toilet.
“We care a lot about the environment and so a compost toilet was more suitable for us.”
They moved in on April 14 and are focused on travelling around the UK, having already visited Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge, London, Bristol, Bath, Glastonbury, Cheddar Gorge, Devon and Cornwall.
They now plan to travel around Wales before heading to the north of England and they hope to head to Spain for the winter.
Hannah said: “Honestly waking up to a beach or cliff view most mornings is a happiness I can’t explain unless you’ve experienced it.
“Having the ability to work in so many beautiful places too definitely helps with getting the work done.
“We are saving a fortune and hardly spending any money. The solar panels give us all the power we need and we only need to re-fill our small gas tank every month or so.”
However, living off-grid in a small space does come with some challenges.
She said: “Going to the loo in such close proximity and having to change the loo so often certainly brought us a lot closer than maybe we would have wanted.
“When we first moved into the van it actually took us a couple months to even go for a loo. We would wait until we got to work or the gym, or over at our families.
“The compost loo comes in two separate parts, liquid at the front and solids at the back, and as a woman you have to position yourself just right.
“Now if you need to go at the same time, that’s a whole different ball game. Let’s just say I’ve picked up a new skill.
“You have to time emptying the loo right so that it doesn’t overflow – that was a hard lesson to learn.”