Dani standing at a beach
A Detailed Monthly Van Life Expenses Breakdown in Australia

A Detailed Monthly Van Life Expenses Breakdown in Australia – May 2022

We have recently started a new blog series where we will bring you all of our monthly expenses while living in a van in a transparent and open way. You can check our first month’s breakdown here.

Below you will read what it cost, for us, to live full-time life on the road during our second month – May 2022.

We hope you enjoy it and please remember we are always open to hearing feedback, so leave a comment if you have anything to say! Thanks for reading and feel free to share this blog post with anyone if you think this was of interest to you.

As always, a few things to keep in mind

  1. This only includes what we spent in a particular month and it doesn’t include our initial start-up costs (like buying and building the van itself).
  2. The totals are van life expenses for TWO people.
  3. We did not include any business-related income or expenses. 
  4. We are conscious of our money but do not restrict ourselves too much and go out for coffees and food when we feel like it. We are not actively trying to save money and will not miss out on paid adventures if we want to.
  5. We track our income and expenses every week and then combine every four weeks into a month.
  6. All amounts are in Australian Dollars.

Our cost of living in a van – May 2022

What you’ll see below is a table with every dollar we spent in May for travelling around Australia in our self-converted campervan. Underneath the table, you will find further explanations on each item.

Accommodation – $72.90

In May, we paid for four nights of accommodation; all other nights were stealth camping or staying at free camp spots.

We spent four nights at the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area ($6.85 per night) and two other nights at 1770 Eco Camp in Agnes Water. We paid $20 for one night at an unpowered site and $25.50 for a second night at a powered site.

We avoid paying for accommodation at all costs and only really pay if there are no other options or if we feel unsafe sleeping on the streets.

2 cats seating together on campervan

Alcohol – $84.44

As you can probably tell by now, we are not heavy drinkers.

The $84 cost this month includes a $49.95 bottle of the Bundaberg Coffee & Chocolate Royal Liqueur 700mL (delicious and well worth the money!!), two drinks we bought at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery and a four-pack of beers we bought at a liquor store.

Wade and Dani outside with the big Bundaberg rum bottle

Diesel – $ 545.23

We were actually surprised that diesel was not our biggest cost this month.

We spent a little less on fuel in May than what we spent in April and the obvious reason is that we have driven less km than last month.

During the second month of vanlife, we have driven a total of 1,546 km.

Entertainment – $140.33

We could not miss the opportunity of visiting Australia’s largest race on the largest commercial go-karting track in Australia when we were driving past Landsborough, in Queensland. We spent $50 each for a 15-minute race and we would definitely do it again, it was so much fun!

The remaining was spent as below:

  • $10 each at Barnacles Dolphin Centre, in Tin Can Bay. They offer visitors a rare opportunity to interact with wild Australian Humpback dolphins.
  • $15.50 with electric scooters at Bargara
  • $4.83 with parking in Surfers Paradise

Food (Groceries and Eating Out) – $1,130.35

This is a lot more than we spent last month on food. The main reason for it is that we ate out a lot more than we usually do because we caught up with many friends while we were on the Gold Coast and surroundings.

We are not going to stop ourselves from having a good time with friends and enjoying a good meal with everyone when we have the chance. We will most likely not see any familiar faces for a while now that we are travelling more north and then into NT, so we decided to enjoy this time.

Dani and Wade outside of van

Gym – $135.60

We have always been active members of gyms but have signed up with Anytime Fitness just before starting vanlife so we could have access to their showers.

We pay $16.95 each for a weekly membership, allowing us to access over 500 clubs around Australia. Another benefit of Anytime Fitness is that all their gyms are open 24/7, so you can work out (and shower) whenever suits you.

Internet & Phone – $147.65

This cost includes one of our Iphones, which is on a payment plan for $47.18.

If we remove the phone cost, we spent $100.47 on internet plans.

We both have phone plans with Optus, using data pooling for 510GB and we recently bought an internet dongle to stop using our phones as hotspots.

Please note this is a business expense and was included here because most people will also have a phone and internet expense but might need a lot less data than we need for our online businesses.

Dani standing at a beach

Laundry – $22.86

Last month we spent more than double this amount and learned we do not have to do washing every other week. This month we were much better at finding better-priced laundromats or just waiting a bit longer to do our laundry.

We always try not to use the dryers, but we can only do that if we stay somewhere where we can hang the clothes out and wait for them to dry.

Wade in a laundromat doing washing

Others – $88.27

This item includes any one-off purchases or things that don’t fit in the other categories. Below is a further breakdown so you all know what’s included here:

  • $17.49 for an Audible membership

Wade and I wanted to use our time on the road wiser and signed up with Audible so we can listen to audiobooks while we are driving.

Our first book of choice was Life Force, by Tony Robbins and we highly recommend it if you want to live a longer and healthier life.

  • $70.78 at TentWorld

One thing that was annoying for us while living in a van full time was heating up water every morning for coffee. We were using a pan and the electric cooktop for it and it just takes too long and a lot of work to get some hot water. For this reason, we purchased the Popup 240V Collapsible Kettle and we have a much better experience every morning.

We also bought some bug spray and ropes for our awning in the same purchase.

Van Maintenance/Decoration/Items – $154.18

We were much better at keeping track of the miscellaneous category this month so here is a list of the costs included in this total:

  • $35.99 for a Dune Quickstop II Awning Khaki

We had been talking about buying an awning for ages but did not want to have a fixed one in the van because we didn’t know if we were actually going to use it enough to justify the expense and also because it would maybe ruin our plans of stealth camping a little bit.

We found this awning on sale at Anaconda for half price and decided to give it a go and see if we actually need it.

  • $94.90 for a fuel filter

We got our van serviced in Maryborough in early May, but the service kit the mechanic had, included the wrong fuel filter for our van. He could order the correct one but that would mean we would have to stay a few more days around the area to wait for it.

He gave us the model number and we decided to purchase it online and replace it ourselves on the road.

  • $11.95 for a sink organiser
  • $11.34 for bits and pieces at Bunnings

Total – $2,521.81

Once again, we weren’t too disappointed about the amount spent on the van for two people in the second month.

We spent more than what we had budgeted for, but this month included a lot of socializing with friends and this is more important than sticking to the budget.

We hope you enjoy this and please leave a comment below if you have any questions. Keep an eye out for next month’s breakdown!

Make sure you follow us on Instagram if you want a sneak peek of this before it comes to the blog!