Couple who live in a van save over £1,000 a month on bills

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Watch: British couple sell their house to live in a motorhome and now travel around Europe

A couple made a split decision to sell their house and move into a van and now they save over £1,000 a month on bills while travelling round Europe. 

In search of a of a better work-life balance, Pete Thomas, 36, and Brydee Hoad, 24, decided to sell their two-bed terraced house in Ilminster, Somerset, for £195,000 and bought their first ever motorhome for £82,000 in September 2019. 

The couple also had to sell all of their furniture and most of their belongings in order to move into the tiny, one-bed motorhome, but have zero regrets as they say it has given them much more freedom.

The pair then set off on the road and have done a European road trip as well as travelling up and down the UK.

Read more: Woman transforms old van into glam motorhome to travel Europe

Pete Thomas and Brydee Hoad sold their two-bedroom house to live in a motorhome. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)
Pete Thomas and Brydee Hoad sold their two-bedroom house to live in a motorhome. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)

The motorhome contains a kitchen, shower, toilet, separate bedroom and living space that can also house an extra two guests.

"Before COVID, I had my own business and one of my clients was a holiday park," explains Thomas, a health and safety consultant. 

"I met a couple who lived in a motorhome and spend all their time travelling, and just decided that's what I would love to do.

"The next day, we went to have a look around some van conversions before putting a deposit down on a motorhome - the decision was made overnight."

The pair are able to travel all over the country. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)
The pair are able to travel all over the country. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)

The biggest challenge the couple faced was getting rid of all the stuff they owned to switch to a more minimalistic lifestyle.

"We had a two bed terraced house with a big garden and most of the furniture was sold, some was donated and some went to friends and family," Thomas says. 

"I now have a couple of shirts and a suit for work.

"Brydee had 52 pairs of shoes that she had to cut down to six - that was painful for her.

"It took us around three months to sell everything.

"But we did it and I think we have the right balance now."

Watch: Couple transforms van into a tiny home on wheels. 

As for how their loved ones reacted, Thomas says some people were pretty surprised at their decision to sell their house.  

"A lot of people thought we were mad - I'm not entirely sure they don't still think we're mad!" he says.

"But working a job for hours and hours, and having a huge mortgage to pay was just not appealing to us anymore." 

Read more: Our favourite camper vans of 2020

Pete Thomas and Brydee Hoad say they love the freedom their new lifestyle offers. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)
Pete Thomas and Brydee Hoad say they love the freedom their new lifestyle offers. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)

Since taking the plunge into #vanlife, the couple have realised it's something a lot of people are interested in and would love to do.

"We absolutely love it," Thomas says. "We both still work but it means we have more freedom to go travelling on the weekends and spend more time together.

"It definitely has its challenges and you can always do with more space but it's freeing".

One of the main advantages of swapping their house for a van is that the couple are able to save a huge amount on their monthly bills. 

Their two-bed terraced home was costing them £1,250 a month, but the motorhome costs less than £100 a month to run.

"We only have to pay £6 a month for gas - the water is free, we don't pay anything for council tax and if we stay on a park, it's around £10 - £20 a night," Thomas explains. 

"But we prefer to be out and about rather than stay on a park, so we look for car parks, rural areas, woodland and anywhere that looks safe for the night."

Read more: 8 things you need to know before your first camping trip

The couple are hoping to travel more once restrictions are lifted. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)
The couple are hoping to travel more once restrictions are lifted. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)

During their road trip across Europe, the couple say they found other countries to be extremely accommodating for motorhomes, but in the UK it's more difficult to find somewhere to fill up water and dispose of waste.

"It means you have to stay on a park to make sure you have those facilities," Thomas explains. 

"We have a solar panel as well, and batteries, so we have 12V power all the time.

"The cooker runs on gas, so the only issue for us is making sure we have water and can dispose of rubbish.

"Whenever we go to a place, we always aim to leave it tidier than when we left," he adds. 

Their motorhome has all the mod-cons including a toilet and separate bedroom. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)
Their motorhome has all the mod-cons including a toilet and separate bedroom. (@champers_and_campers / Caters)

Since beginning their new lifestyle, the couple have started a dedicated Instagram account and podcast where they talk about their journey and travels.

"We've had over 20,000 podcast downloads because it's something people are interested in," Thomas explains. 

"A lot of people want to do it, but aren't sure where to start.

"My main advice to anyone thinking of doing the same would be to tell them that life is too short, so just get on with it. 

"I never want to encourage someone to make a rash decision, but you have to make the most of the time you have."

Breakdown of monthly costs:

Gas £6

Electricity - free as solar

Water - £0

Council tax - £0

TV licence - £0

Internet £20 - 5G broadband

Tax - £13

Insurance £50

Additional reporting Caters.

Watch: How to move out of the city

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting