Van Conversion Financial Report: August 2018

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.
-Rocky Balboa

Will it ever stop raining? Probably. When it starts snowing. I’m just glad we have been able to get some work done. Although, the rain gives me plenty of time to plan ahead and now, time for writing.

August was a big month when it comes to spending. First, we bought the van. Then we did quite a bit of traveling and using Edith as a real cargo van, and gas prices aren’t exactly at an all-time low right now.. Although, I won’t be including gas in the expense report because it isn’t really related to the costs of building the van.

I know this won’t be terribly interesting to everyone, but… I like data. Plus, I hope to be transparent in our spending on this project.

Cost of the van

So the cost for the van we got breaks down like this:

  1. Down payment – $6,000
  2. Remaining cost of the van – $16,000
  3. Taxes, doc fees, etc – around $5,000

So the total cost was slightly over the budget we had initially set for ourselves. The advertised cost of the van was just under $22,000. After dealing with taxes and fees, the total cost was actually higher. But that’s ok. We are doing the build ourselves and using friends/family knowledge to save ourselves money in other areas.

Total: $27,000

Cost of the van conversion to date

After buying the van and moving some furniture and boxes from our old apartment, we quickly started making some purchases. I decided I wanted to keep some detailed records for myself and to help others get a general idea of what this might cost. I broke it down into a few categories.

  1. Tools – these are items that are being used during the build, but not necessarily part of the end product.
  2. Build materials – Items purchased that are part of the end goal of creating a residence.
  3. Interior materials – Items that aren’t being used to build anything, but we will include in the van when we live in it.
  4. Maintenance & repairs – Costs associated with the vehicle usage
  5. Miscellaneous – Taxes and stuff I can’t decide which category to use

This is what makes sense for the first month, but may change as time goes and my purchases shift.


Kobalt 19-piece metric mechanic’s toolset – $17.98
Grabit 2 pc kit (screw extractor) – $12.98
Dewalt 1/8″ drill bit – 2 pack – $3.75
5 amp jigsaw – $29.99
Jigsaw blades – $9.99
Wire strippers – $4.99
50′ extension cord – $19.99
2″ foam brush (x2) – $1.14
Carpenter pencils (x3) – $1.14
3 piece wood chisel – $5.84
Painters tape – $5.87
Safety glasses (x2) – $4.98
2.5 Gallon wet/dry vacuum – $33.99
Caulk gun, 10 oz – $2.88
Chalk line reel – $3.98
Dowel rod – $0.98
Cardboard working surface – $29.78

Total: $190.25

Building materials

Great stuff – gaps & cracks (x5… and counting) – $21.25
1″ x 2″ x 8′ lumber (x15) – $15.60
2″ x 2″ x 8′ lumber (x18) – $37.62
#14 1.5″ self-tapping screws (x100) – $13.70
1″ x 4′ x 8′ GAF polyiso energy board (x4) – $77.00
Dap wood cement – $5.47
Locktite spray adhesive – $9.93
Metal brackets (x4) – $2.48
Metal L brackets (x6) – $8.94
10 oz locktite premium (x2) – $9.96
7/16″ x 4′ x 8′ OSB sheathing (x4) – $48.08
Reflectix foil tape (x7) – $23.03

Total: $273.06

Interior materials

Comforter – $104.99
Batting – $22.71
Foam mattress – $298.08

Total: $425.78


Mopar coolant – $22.25
H7 headlight lamp – $16.99
License plate lightbulb (x2) – $6.49
Rustoleum pro gloss white (x2) – $10.54

Total: $56.28


Taxes – $48.80
Warranty for vacuum cleaner – $7.99
Insurance for the van (currently a commercial vehicle) – $120.00

Total: $176.79

I didn’t keep an EXACT record for august, and I am currently searching for receipts so I will update this post as I find errors.

Grand Total: $1,122.16

This doesn’t include the van cost, obviously. That would throw our numbers off.

In the next post, I will list the details of how these materials were used.


3 thoughts on “Van Conversion Financial Report: August 2018

    1. Haha it pains me every time I have to go to the store. Hopefully a lot of my costs are up front, but i have some more big purchases coming up. Solar, battery, fridge. It’s bitter sweet seeing the money leave but it’s going to our new home. It’s an investment! And more to your point, it’s still less money than I was spending on rent every month so in a sense – saving money 🙂


      1. vince2day

        No you’re right . You’d pay more on a house or rent. Once you’ve got everything you won’t need it again “hopefully” good luck I can’t wait to see how you get on with life in a van.


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