Its official. We are taking the plunge and heading on a family van life trip!

I wish I could say it was going to be a completely calm ride into the sunset. I am pretty sure living in a small 88 square ft space with two children aged 3 and 4 is going to be anything but calm. But the Van life has been calling our family since we bought Dusty after having our second daughter in 2015. Read more about our journey to buy Dusty in the post “Meet Dusty“.

It is not easy to find the money to survive 3 whole months on the road. Scrounging for food really is not an option when you have little kids. Kids need to eat. My husband and I need to eat too but kids just have a level of telling you their needs that demands a response right away.

We came across this budget from Two Wandering Soles that we are using as a baseline in our planning. We will use the same App that they used to budget their trip called the Trail Wallet Budget App. When the trip is over we will write a post with a breakdown of our expenses for the 3-month trip!

Finding the Money for a Family Van life Trip

To make this trip happen we really have no house to sell  or any major amount of savings. So where are we finding the money to go on this trip?  I am going to break it down right now for you all!


Rent Deposit

We are counting on getting our $1500 damage deposit back from the place we are renting.  I am pretty sure my wild children have left the place in the same condition it we bought it in so we should get the full amount back at the end of August.


Childcare Deposit

At the end of June we are pulling our daughters out of daytime since I am finished work at the end of June. Although I will say goodbye to some quality mom only time, we get back the $600 we had to put down as a deposit. We received the money at the beginning of June and it went straight into our savings for the trip.


Husband’s Tax Return

Last year I really did not work and we were living off my husband’s salary.  My husband also ticked off the box on his work form that made sure his employer took off a good percentage of his wage to make sure we did not any money at tax time Well, my husband’s tax return was $2500 and $1500 went towards fixing up the van. The remaining $1000 is going right into our trip expenses.


My Tax Return

This was a surprise for our family since I only returned to work in 2017 during the month of December. I will try to keep this short but last year the CRA told us we owed $5000 because  they were paying us  too much child benefit. It was so frustrating and there was literally nothing we could do so we paid the $5000 out of our small savings account even though it was their mistake. Bye Bye any chance of ever buying a house. At least that is how we felt at the time. Now we are going on a Van trip.

After numerous calls and paying them the money they stopped  paying us any sort of child benefit for months.  Since they were withholding our child benefit and my short stint of work I found a deposit of over $3000 in our account for my tax return. Hallelujah!


Monthly Savings

The stars alined and I had the best part-time teaching position from December 2017-June 2018. By returning to work and keeping to our minimalist spending budget we were able to put away $600 a month for a total of $4200.


Thank you Mom

I have to thank my mom for the additional $1300 we have for our trip. Since she watched our girls in December we were able to save an additional $1300 because our children did not attend childcare!


Here is a visual of where our money is coming from for our trip. 


Money for Family Van life Trip


The Total is large sum of  $11,600.

Our family is hoping to spend closer to $8000 for the trip but we wanted to have some extra cash in case something breaks down or in case of an emergency. We also have to pay for certain necessities during our trip like car insurance for our vehicle back home, cell phone bills etc.


Have any questions OR some advice to give! Drop us a comment or send us an e-mail!


By Annika Mang





Join and receieve a FREE Snowboarding Guide for Toddlers and Preschoolers
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

7 thoughts on “Finding the Money for a Family Van life Trip”

  1. Full time traveling is really hard for those who never tried any dare in normal life but peoples like you are real-life heroes. who never step back from any problem and fight with this. and your adventure always gives you great memories….I have one solution for you maybe you like it. There are so many online platforms where you can start a job without any test or interview but you just need skills for this like data entry and logo designing or any other computer related skill then you should try with freelancing sites like freelancer or upwork etc… I like to read it and would like to read more n more about your van life…. Keep it up…. love all of you…

  2. I am more than loving your blog and have read several entries already! Such an interesting life you lead and so inspiring! I too would love to read more about this trip. All the best to you and your family. I’m quite sure that whatever you do, it will be great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *