Savvy UK couple ditch £1,200 monthly rent for £20-a-month van life

A couple from Devon now pocket an extra £1,080 every month after swapping their rented property for a luxury renovated van.

Chris Buxton and Reanna Mash had been thinking of making the move for a long time, as they hated paying £1,200 a month on rent and bills. 

Since taking the leap in March this year, the 28-year-olds believe their decision has given them financial freedom – and they haven’t looked back since.

Chris said: ‘I was so sick of paying £1,200 a month on rent and bills to greedy landlords who never had our best interests at heart.

‘We think this ingrained perception of getting on the property ladder, working your whole life to pay off a mortgage or throwing money away on rent, just was not for us.

‘Our only regular monthly cost now is £20 per month which pays for our heating costs, with our gas only costing £35 for six months at a time.

‘The rest of the money that we were spending on bills we now save for trips that we want to go on together in the future.’

The couple share their van, called Ruby, with their dog Rupert and love how they have the ability to travel wherever they want to go.

Chris and Reanna, who are both learning disability workers, first bought their Mercedes 308D Luton van in November 2020 and worked on the renovations throughout lockdown. 

And because Chris used to be a mechanic, he knew how to restore the run-down vehicle.

He said: ‘We bought the van off of a previous van life community member originally for £2800 – but it needed an awful lot of work.

‘It took a long time to get out infestations of wasps and spiders in the ceiling of the van that had accumulated over time, which was not at all an easy job.’

Following some extensive renovations, the couple have since added £13,000 to the van’s value – and it now features a bathroom, a functioning kitchen-living area and a king-size bed.

Despite the dramatic change, Chris doesn’t miss his traditional home setting.

He added: ’Reanna was already living in a van before I made the switch and we upgraded to our new van together.

‘Adjusting to the van was really easy – but the downsizing of all of our belongings has certainly taken a lot of time.’

The pair now plan to take Ruby on the road to explore different countries. 

Chris adds: ‘In the future, we would love to buy a plot of land abroad somewhere in somewhere like Portugal where we could keep the van on and enjoy the hotter climate.

‘Next year we are planning on taking a year away from work to travel, which we are both really looking forward to.

‘We want to explore places like Sweden, Morocco and a lot of Eastern Europe.’

Updates on their journey can be found over on their Instagram @in_ruby_wego.

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