How much does it cost to live in a Skoolie?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How much does it cost to live in a Skoolie? We will review the complete costs of living in a converted bus for a person, per month. We will also see the pros and cons of Skoolie life

How much does it cost to live in a Skoolie?

The costs of living in a Skoolie will greatly depend on how many people are living onboard, whether you live in a converted bus full time or use it as a second home, whether you have a place to park it, and what are your personal preferences. 

In an apartment or a house, we all have the same type of expenses: food, rent, electricity, gas, water, insurance and taxes. How much does it cost to live on a converted bus? Before making a total, keep in mind that:

  • We all have a different standard of living: some eat only organic products, others don’t eat meat.
  • We all have a different vehicle: while some have a small minibus that will consume little, others have a 72-passenger bus. 
  • We all use our heat differently: some people prefer to keep their heaters turned off as much as possible, while others want 25 degrees inside.

Despite these disparities, we will try to help you calculate the cost of your current or future life in a Skoolie. 

The total costs of living in a Skoolie

As you will see, giving an exact number is very, very difficult. We will however dare to say that, for a simple way of life, an autonomous vehicle, wild camping, public water, solar electricity and no credit, a single person can live easily with 500 dollars per month in a vehicle, while traveling!

This sum takes into account the following current expenses:

  • Food – $215/month/person. The best way to stick to your eating habits is to do your math yourself. Look at your monthly account statements for the past 6 months, and do your accounts. Keep an average to define your monthly food expenditure.
  • Laundromats – $15/month. The majority of us living in vehicles do not have a washing machine and do not have the courage to do it by hand. Washing usually costs $8 for 17 lbs, plus the price of the dryer, usually $1 for 15 or 30 minutes.
  • Gas – $20 in the hot season, $150 in the cold season/month/ for a 25 lbs (11kg) propane bottle. Gas is needed most of the time every day in a Skoolie: for the fridge, the gas stove and the heating. The monthly gas cost depends on the type of gas used (propane or LPG), the state where you are, your heating method (gas, diesel, wood stove) and the season. 
  • Fuel – it depends. The cost of fuel depends on your choice of the trip and your Skoolie size. If you are staying around a city you are not going to have significant expenses whereas if you are traveling multiple states in one month you are going to spend at least 170 dollars on fuel in that month. If you have a travel plan with a more or less planned route, you can calculate the fuel cost of that ahead of time.
  • Telephone / internet / TV package $10 to $ 60/month. The choice of the plan depends a lot on you and your telephone company. If you are not using the internet, you will not need a plan with unlimited internet. If you don’t watch TV, you won’t have this charge either. But overall, all systems combined, you can expect an expense of between 10 and 60 dollars.
  • Insurance – $ 60, depends on many factors! Like any vehicle, a Skoolie requires insurance. We will prefer all risks since you will be living indoors it is best to ensure as much as possible. The cost of insurance varies greatly, as it depends on the vehicle, the driver, your bonus/penalty or your loyalty to the brand.
  • Water – $0 to $2/25 gallons. There are campsites that provide water free water. Depending on your water consumption, water can cost you a maximum of around 20 dollars per month. Know that it is very easy to find free public water! There are taps all over the world!
  • Electricity – $0 to $X/hours. If you have opted for autonomy, there is no cost for electricity. If you have staked everything on a solar installation capable of meeting your energy needs, you should be self-sufficient in energy. However, in winter you may still need to recharge the batteries. 

In this case, there are areas provided for this purpose that often offer a service at 2 $ for a few hours of electricity. Note that it is also possible to find free electrical outlets.  

The $500/month/person, therefore, does not include the following costs: 

  • Campsites fees
  • Personal expenses (doctor, clothes, etc.)
  • Outings
  • Tolls and any ferry/customs fees.

All these expenses depend on you and vary considerably during the year!

Living in a Skoolie VS living in traditional accommodation

It seems clear that living in a Skoolie costs much less than living in a conventional dwelling. Especially if you were lucky enough to acquire your vehicle without a bank loan! Life in a converted bus is therefore very affordable. 

The only difference is that you will have to devote time to your Skoolie: fill up with water every 4/5 days, find gas every 4 days in winter, find a place or empty your toilet or wastewater or still throw out your trash. You will also need to find a laundromat as soon as you run out of socks! All of these little tasks take time, it’s up to you to see if it’s worth it!

Living in a Skoolie: the pros & cons

Advantages of living in a SkoolieDisadvantages of living in a Skoolie
A Skoolie has all the benefits of a Class C RV minus the drawbacks of infiltration and quality. Converting a Skoolie is a lot of physical work! Considering that you have to gut the bus first, it can take you anywhere from a few months to a few years to finally hit the road with your Skoolie. 

If you take your time and do your research, it is cheaper to buy and convert a Skoolie than to invest in another type of RV. Despite the research and the many questions asked on Facebook groups, it’s hard to predict everything. There is a good chance that despite all the work, some parts will perform less well than expected once on the road.
There is a lot of space! You can almost have a bowling alley in your house if you really wanted to. The options are endless.
Your whole family can travel with you. Perfect if you want to have 8 children and still want to live life on the road!
You will struggle to cover long distances over rough terrain.  If you are planning to take a trip from Chile to Alaska, this might not be the best choice of vehicle.
It is easier to find a mechanic for your school bus than one for your RV. And chances are, bus parts are easier to find as well. Fuel can be expensive and depending on the model it can be more difficult to work with and find parts.
Skoolies are strong and built to last. They are also more robust and safe in a crash than most RVs currently on the market.Some RV parks do not allow Skoolies. And on the same subject, parking and manoeuvring your Skoolie can be much more difficult. 


In the end, the most important thing is to know your needs and your preferences. There is no perfect choice! Your lifestyle has a big impact and sometimes it is worth trying before you make a final choice!

If you want to share your experience of living in a Skoolie, please feel free to get in contact. 

FAQ on How much does it cost to live in a Skoolie?

Is living in a Skoolie worth it?

Living in a Skoolie can be totally worth it or a completely bad decision, depending on what your main goal is. If you want space and more of a permanent home, the converted bus is a good option. 

Are Skoolies a good investment?

Skoolies are a good investment as long as you are willing to commit to the conversion process and are ready financially speaking. A Skoolie can become a great RV or even a more permanent home. 

How much is a Skoolie worth?

A Skoolie is worth $20,000 to $30,000 for the initial build-out. Depending on the number of amenities and modifications that you are going to make, the worth of your Skoolie will increase significantly. . 

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