Is van or camper always a passive liability?

I confess that the desire to escape from the daily routine made of recurring habits, permanence, family responsibilities is a lot !; therefore the idea of ​​owning a campervan caressed me and continues to do so.

Of course, this thought clashes fully with the concept of financial freedom, which first of all involves freeing oneself from all liabilities.

The camper, as is known, is an asset that can be very expensive…. maintenance, insurance, taxes, devaluation, etc. … even 4500 euros per year …..

It is therefore certainly an important expense in family budget items.

My enthusiasm will immediately die away…, I absolutely do not want to consider having expenses beyond for the maintenance of the car, the family and my house, even of a possible camper !!, this would lower my ability to generate cashflow monthly, which is essential for me.

Let’s start by considering a series of objective data, taken from specialized italian portals.

The market for campers and vans is growing strongly, this is reflected in the prices, which among other things for the latter category, if it is a new vehicle, can reach 50-60000 euros, like a two-room apartment. pure madness!!….

Annual management costs range from 40 to 100 euros for the stamp duty, 250-350 for the insurance(which can rise if it includes theft, crystals and more up to more than 800 euros …) to which must be added annual service costs (advisable from 100 to 300 euros) and possibly storage (about 400 euros / year), a must if the vehicle is new or almost new.

A camper, although less than a car loses value over time, undergoes the following write-down: -20% the first year and then on average loses 6-7% of its value every year, therefore, for example, if we purchased a camper at 50,000 euros new, after about 10 years we can presumably resell it to 22,000 euros (10,000 euros of devaluation the first year and then 7% of devaluation for the remaining 9 years:


This means that the beauty of 2760 euros / year has cost us only in terms of devaluation, to which we must add the costs mentioned above.

A new vehicle will have at least 500 euros of insurance every year, 400 euros of storage costs, 200 euros of coupon year and of course the stamp duty (we make an average of 70 euros / year), and we are not considering the costs for fuel, gas, and so on ….

So to the 2760 euros of average annual devaluation we add about 1200 euros we get to almost 4000 euros then we add the costs of diesel and various and any … I leave you to do the final calculation ….

Indicatively the cost of our vehicle settles between 4 and 5000 euros / year, madness from my point of view !!, after all it is nothing more than a toy for adults, it is not an essential thing!.

Let us go through a Zen phase…. 😊 and meditate with our eyes closed on this quote:


“If you don’t like what you see, change your perspective and … look with new eyes!
There is always a reason behind what happens, find the positive one … it will give you the courage to find the right solution! “


Done? … now take a deep breath and open your eyes …

Let’s try to do an exercise in creativity and to consider the possibility of owning a vehicle from another perspective, perhaps less usual, less conventional, after all the winning ideas are not conventional … ..

We can hypothesize a couple of scenarios:


Use of a van in place of your car.

The perspective changes radically if we begin to consider the possible means of replacement of your car, clearly it is a compromise but all in all acceptable if you choose a van as a medium, that is, in fact a van that perhaps does not exceed the size of 5.40 m / 6 to be parked regularly without leaving the strips and which can be easily maneuvered like a car.

Unfortunately, the painful note is that this vehicle has very high costs, and even used vehicles maintain a very high price level, in fact, even for set-up vans that are already 10 years old, we are talking about figures that are around 30,000 euros.

You could opt for a euro 2-3 solution and spend around 20,000.

Alternatively, there is the possibility to buy the vehicle, perhaps a good used one, by spending around 15,000 euros, and have the interior set up by a specialized company (the average amount for a camper van is around 8,000 euros).

If you have good manual skills you could customize on your own by investing time but saving money.

In any case, we assume that with a cost of about 20-25,000 euros you can buy a decent vehicle to use instead of the car, all in all spending what we could more or less spend if we purchased a new car of medium / medium-high range.

The lower stamp duty is offset by the slightly higher fuel costs.

We will certainly have more difficulty parking than with a car, especially in city, but everything depends on where we live and it is always a compromise choice, the advantage is that of owning a house on wheels !.

Someone could opt for an extreme choice of maximum freedom, sell or stop paying the rent of the house and live in the van, in this case the cost cut is clear.

They call them fulltimers, they are people who have chosen freedom and are enriched not by money but through experiences accumulated by traveling, a more fulfilling spiritual wealth !.

Being happy and peaceful is the goal and the ultimate goal of each individual !; even if it is not manifested openly everyone tends to this, it is the essence of life !.

If this lifestyle makes you happy, it is the right choice to make regardless of what people think!

Free of charges and the obligation to pay bills or fixed expenses every month, these people choose freedom in the most absolute sense.

Today there are many professions including new jobs in digital, which allow, with a connection and a computer, to work in a non-permanent way, are called digital nomads and many are young, but among those who choose this lifestyle there are also retirees.

Of course, we are not fooled by painting this idyllic postcard, it is always about life on the road, free parking by the way is not allowed by law in Italy and in many places in the world, these people adapt with common sense and discretion, not disturbing the places where they stay or stay, and they manage to live by spending just 500-700 per month in pairs !.

They carry the essentials with them, after all we have a lot of useless objects in double or triple quantities in our homes that we can safely get rid of! and that only create frustration disorder! ….

Summing up then a good used camper van comes to cost us more or less what we will pay to replace our car with a new one, probably keeping the car would cost us a little less but it is also true that a new car devalues ​​much faster of a pure camper.

This is a good compromise, losing a little comfort in making parking especially in the cities, but it offers us the opportunity to spend weekends or long holidays away from home in the places we prefer!


Purchase of a vintage attic camper.

Sorry for the freak digression and let’s go back to our considerations, we said scenario 2, buying a good old attic.

In this case the attic cannot, in my opinion, also take the place of the car.. but it has the advantage that you can find good vintage deals at very low prices, I have seen solutions under 10,000 euros of motorhomes built in the 90s, however of good workmanship, which offer excellent value for money, less technology perhaps but higher quality standards with less deterioration as a function of time, compared to today’s production.

The attic also offers comfort and liveability certainly superior to the van.

The disadvantage is having a vehicle that is less robust to impact and therefore less safe than a van; the attic however offers better insulation than the latter.

…As usual pros and cons.

One-off costs: Purchase cost € 10,000 + transfer of ownership € 200-300.
Annual costs: insurance 250 euros (the vehicle is of a certain age, an insurance covering theft will not be taken out), storage (0 euros, I leave it out, I don’t have the concern I would have for a 50,000 euros vehicle), annual coupon (300 euros), stamp duty (70 euros) total fixed costs 600-700 euros + various and possible (more demanding maintenance) 1000 euros per year.

To this we add the devaluation, which for an already dated vehicle (30 years of age), is less than new, however we assume 700 euros / year. Total costs (maintenance + devaluation) 1700 euro / year.

Since in this case the vehicle does not replace the car, it would be an expense that I take on more and I don’t like it.

However, I could consider amortizing the costs by renting the camper to third parties by inserting it in one of those new internet portals that offer camper saring services.

Obviously, before deciding to rent it, a preventive assessment must be made, to understand what risks are taking, and possibly protect yourself with insurance and create the circumstances to have all the papers in order.

In theory, the same portal offers guarantees to protect both the owners of the vehicle and those who rent the motorhome, but clearly it is necessary to study in detail.

The portals themselves state that on average, by sharing your camper with other people, the average income that the owners of the campers registered for the service make is around 1500-2000 euro / year (from which the taxes must be subtracted, should be in the order 20% … therefore a net profit of 1200-1600 euros), a figure that contributes to amortize the annual fixed costs of about 4000 euros for a semi-new camper.

In our case, however, the fixed costs would amount to about 1700 euros per year, but if we share it in a camper sharing portal we could completely absorb the costs of the vehicle (including purchase costs!).

The moral of the story is buying a camper is like buying a dress, it must fit perfectly with your person, difficult to draw generic conclusions, certainly you need to be well aware of the costs that such a whim can generate and realize if it really is a useful tool for us and if we will use it often and not on a temporary whim (it may be useful to have a rental experience before taking the big step), so as not to cry after your purchase because of repentance…