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Old 01-18-2023, 11:42 PM   #1
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HI all, New and wrapping my head around the concepts.

Change of life circumstances has led me to the need for a less expensive life style.
Skollie life looks intriguing.

I am in need of a space for a workbench, and Office studio.
Am I nuts?

Has it been done before?


Thanks

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Old 01-19-2023, 07:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfmusic@me.com View Post
Change of life circumstances has led me to the need for a less expensive life style.
Skollie life looks intriguing.

I am in need of a space for a workbench, and Office studio.
Am I nuts?

Has it been done before?


Thanks

when looking at costs there are a lot of threads discussing the general ideas.. but each person's circumstances are different.. generally if you have a plot of land where you can park your bus with either very cheap rent or you own the land and pay just property taxes on unimproved land.. then its possible to get fairly cheap.. esp if you build your skoolie to be off-grid where you are getting energy from sun / wind..



if you need to heat/cool with bought energy like diesel fuel,purchased firewood, gasoline, etc then it gets expensive...



travelling costs money... insurance to cover your bus at a minimum on the road, fuel to drive, any mechanical maintenance repairs (what if you blow a driveshaft or need a new turbo).. oil changes, tires, etc all factors you need to look at...



others can chime in more but it can be really expensive but done right can also save you $$ esp depending on the area of the country which you currently reside (ie if you live in california and plan to find someplace in a more rural setting you can potentially save lots).. but if you are sleeping on a friend's couch and not paying al ot of rent now then you will have a tougher time making skoolie life cheaper
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Old 01-19-2023, 10:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfmusic@me.com View Post
Change of life circumstances has led me to the need for a less expensive life style.
Skollie life looks intriguing.

I am in need of a space for a workbench, and Office studio.
Am I nuts?

Has it been done before?


Thanks
Everything Chris said is spot-on in my opinion.

I'm not trying to take a dig at you here; nor am I making any assumptions about your financial position. These are just my observations from my vantage point in the cheap seats about people in general based on what gets posted in forums, the book of faces, youtube videos, etc.

Commerical vehicles (which a school bus conversion still is at a mechanical level) are expensive to maintain and operate. Unless you're a skilled mechanic, or a mediocre one who doesn't mind doing research and getting dirty (and has the time to do so), it's very easy to go broke with expensive tows, parts, and shop labor. I see a lot of posts that start with "help i've broken down" and end with "here's my gofundme."

Often people who are not sitting in a good financial position to begin with often go for a cheaper bus that may have more underlying issues than a more expensive bus that has been better maintained. Not to say that's a guarantee, even a bus that has been well taken care of and thoroughly inspected can still have unexpected issues come up. A blown tire can watch $750+ fly out the window real fast. Then things get compounded when they've spent their last dime on the bus and its conversion and have no emergency fund to fall back on.

Hope this helps. My advice - if you want to live in a bus then make it so, just plan your financials accordingly. If you're just looking to save a buck then I'd find a way to either increase your income or decrease your expenses. That's my two cents worth.
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Old 01-19-2023, 10:40 AM   #4
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It's not cheap; nor is it for the faint of heart.

Or, it's for the rare few who can put up with the challenges and afford the random repair hits. They get one Instagram moment for every twenty days of struggle.

Or, if you have a willingness to become educated and can stick out a year or more of bus conversion, have mechanical ability, can commit to a more simple lifestyle and have skills that let you go from job to job, a potentially viable path to greater freedom.

Many of us are long weekend/periodic road trip types with a residence and steady income.
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Old 01-19-2023, 11:11 AM   #5
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A bus is a thing, not a place. Simply owning a boat, bus, plane, or even a horse requires the owner to maintain a place(s) to store the thing(s).

If one is having difficulty housing oneself, owning large things may only complicate the housing dilemma. Consolidation may help, in some cases.


We offer, for a fee, a place to house any of the above items together, including yourself. Water, power, pavillions, livestock stalls & pens, both pastures & woodlands. diy RV builds & agricultural, okay.


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Old 01-19-2023, 11:17 AM   #6
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Has anybody posted a realistic year or two of expenses while in the life?

I'm not broke yet and it's what I'm trying to avoid. Yes, LA is way to expensive. It's eating me alive.

I had been looking at Asheville NC from a far as possibility.

Seeing the number of people out there doing the gypsy thing. I thought it could save me money and let me look for a plot and location to settle.

I did auto restorations and have a good working knowledge. Just not of Diesel and Bus. I have the majority of the tools to do the work. But not the location.

I have a varied background including Computer consulting and handyman work. Hoping there might be small jobs along the way that could get me by.

Unfortunately at my age and having worked for myself most of my life. I can't get responses to applications. 7k+ of applied for positions and 3 responses. None a good fit. I don't have any real choices left.
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Old 01-19-2023, 03:09 PM   #7
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I came to this adventure to do long weekend and extended road trips, but like you I've seen a lot of people doing the gypsy thing. To get the conversation going, here's my take.

It is very tempting to reply with 'Take whatever your current expenses are and add the cost of a bus, its conversion, and then a years-long road trip with the occasional hardship of boondocking in hopes of saving money.'

I have come to believe that a bus conversion and full time skoolie life is possible, but not probable unless you have a solid income independent of location; significant savings; pretty darn good building skills and mechanical/maintenance skills (perhaps offset with more cash); reasonable health and minimal need for accommodation; high tolerance for the periodic sketch parking; and decent mental health to deal with the highs and lows of all of the above.

Any deficits in the above quickly make the skoolie life untenable.

The other way, the approach that I think is very uncommon, but at least worth considering, is through a brutal simplification of wants and needs to drive down the overall cost of living. Entertainment beyond the occasional book, comfortable accommodations, cool electronics, restaurants, a nice aged cheddar, comfy REI clothes, a decent mountain bike, binge-watching Netflix, ample personal space, the risk of poverty in old age for dropping out, if you can put all of these on the table--truly put them up as a sacrifice--then yes, perhaps the roaming skoolie lifestyle is possible.
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Old 01-19-2023, 07:28 PM   #8
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Look at my bus build thread. No solar, no fridge, no shower, no generator. It's pretty basic. My build isn't quite complete, but I'm on the home stretch...and I've got somewhere around $20,000 invested. I just bought 6 tires, $2200 and they are not installed yet. My bus will be used for vacation trips, mostly, we'll stay at campgrounds where we can plug into shore power.
To live in a bus, you will need to invest a lot more than I have.
I suggest you make a list of expenses you think will apply. Post it, we'll give our thoughts on it.
I'm sure that all of us who participate on this forum want you to succeed. And we will give you honest opinions that will hopefully steer you in the right direction. That direction may or may not include a bus.
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Old 01-19-2023, 10:28 PM   #9
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Or...... You can find a nice RV, converted bus or trailer and be ahead of the game. I had a skoolie project and had 40k into a shell that was incomplete. I was propositioned to sell it so I did for everything I had in it less my labor and bought a nice used Newell Coach. I have been renovating the interior of this one but it was not much more than flooring and finishes. Even with that, I paid 50k for the newell and put in another 56k in total costs for mechanical and Reno work. Did 80% of the work myself. Nothing is cheap in this world. The days of being a roamer are gone as almost all jurisdictions see mobile life as a threat to house life. We paid alot to park our coach when we took our 3 week trip in September. Fuel was at an all time high. No one will dissuade you on your dreams, but please do not think it is going to be cheaper than just relocating yourself and finding a nice piece of land with or without a house, barn, cabin or shack to call home. owning that will gain in value over time.
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Old 01-25-2023, 05:11 PM   #10
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WOW! Great job on that interior renovation! I am guessing it looked nothing like that when you got it!
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Old 01-26-2023, 12:29 AM   #11
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Building an operating a skoolie or bus is not cheap and the contingingy fund should be at least 20k (replacing a DT444E with a rebuild is in the 14k range here in southern Oregon and there's probably a tow cost if you blow the motor on the road)
Our build alone is going to be in the neighborhood of 40K but it will be off grid capable for as long as the water holds out and the black tank isn't filled.
I don't know what people are getting for fuel economy but our 40' RE is about 8.3 mpg so if you plan on driving it around that can get expensive.
As was mentioned, tires aren't cheap, nor is a roadside maintenance call when you blow a steering tire. We will have onboard equipment to change out with a spare (that most buses don't have and you will have to purchase and mount somewhere).


Bottom line, unless you have the financial resources for a potential big maintenance bill, you could well end up losing your skoolie home and being in a worse position than when you started.
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Old 01-26-2023, 03:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamSkoolie View Post
Building an operating a skoolie or bus is not cheap and the contingingy fund should be at least 20k (replacing a DT444E with a rebuild is in the 14k range here in southern Oregon and there's probably a tow cost if you blow the motor on the road)
Our build alone is going to be in the neighborhood of 40K but it will be off grid capable for as long as the water holds out and the black tank isn't filled.
I don't know what people are getting for fuel economy but our 40' RE is about 8.3 mpg so if you plan on driving it around that can get expensive.
As was mentioned, tires aren't cheap, nor is a roadside maintenance call when you blow a steering tire. We will have onboard equipment to change out with a spare (that most buses don't have and you will have to purchase and mount somewhere).


Bottom line, unless you have the financial resources for a potential big maintenance bill, you could well end up losing your skoolie home and being in a worse position than when you started.

**THIS**


having the ability to stay someplace while your bus is in the shop is key too.. Most repair shops wont allow you to live in your bus while it is under repair.. many repairs require a day or 2 for parts, so you need enough funds to stay in a hotel..


having financial ability and mechanical knowledge (and tools) has saved me more than once and I dont live-in or camp in my busses.. but I put quite a few miles down in a typical year and have had breakage..


this last trip I took i wouldve been dead in the water if I didnt have tools to disassemble the turbo pipes on my T444E and make a temporary fix to the turbo hose.. and also was able to free up a sticking brake caliper which worked till i was able to get home and make proper repairs to the bus.
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Old 01-28-2023, 02:59 PM   #13
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Skoolie life is "less expensive" if you buy a bus at auction for a couple of grand, park it on your parents' property, and then live in it like a steel tent. If you want to travel (reliably) in it and/or live a comfortable lifestyle with a beautiful interior and utilities like electric, water and heat, you can expect to pay a lot more than what you would pay for many years in an apartment or a house - even in today's inflated housing market. Owning a skoolie is like owning a boat.
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Old Yesterday, 11:12 AM   #14
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Skoolie life is "less expensive" if you buy a bus at auction for a couple of grand, park it on your parents' property, and then live in it like a steel tent. If you want to travel (reliably) in it and/or live a comfortable lifestyle with a beautiful interior and utilities like electric, water and heat, you can expect to pay a lot more than what you would pay for many years in an apartment or a house - even in today's inflated housing market. Owning a skoolie is like owning a boat.
"Bust Out Another Thousand!"
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