Help! Dilemma! Car life or shared house?

Finance thoughts started today with noticing on doing my sums that £74.70 was taken by a hotel through bookings.com as a deposit for my three night stay over my 40th birthday weekend in January. They had not said they would do this and usually I don’t have this happen when I reserve cancel-able bookings. Not really happy about that so I cancelled the booking and looked for some amazingly cute airbnbs for a much cheaper and more unique stay albeit having to pay completely up front so coming out of my five a day sooner and taking me into more ‘debit’ in the rolling figure than if I had been able to accumulate if I paid it in January instead. Will book that soon. So that booking.com £74 will be refunded soon thus not a spend.

I donated a bunch more stuff to a charity shop in my minimalist aspirant declutter mode today. Whilst in there I planned to look for a handbag coz I neeeeeeded a new one (mine is collapsing) and have been resisting ordering one online for ever. But I told myself that if the right one was not in the charity shop, I was NOT going to just urgently buy any handbag, which is my usual flaw when I’m determined I need something. Nope! Nope! Nope!

So I delivered two boxes of stuff to Hospiscare (completely forgetting to bring back my plastic crate; gah)! I then perused the handbags … and there it was. My criteria: Big enough for: wallet, phone, keys, notebook, pen, possibly a tablet or laptop, hairbrush, cosmetics, work pass; not leather as am vegan; light lining so can see what I am looking for; several pockets so I can keep organised; adjustable shoulder strap; will go with everything; for both work and free time use; not boring.

And there it was, exactly fitting my criteria, for just £4.00. Manifested.

I’d seen a very similar bag to this on Groupon for £10 recently but resisted buying it as I was unsure if it was light inside, but otherwise I would have been sold at that price. However, I am far happier that my money went to Hospiscare than Groupon. And it looks very lightly used.

It took me back into Fiver Project debit daily balance (-4.57) which is very very naughty and against fiver rules. I will but you no buts except to say I really have been going on about getting a replacement handbag for ages and this is far better than just buying one on Amazon as soon as I thought of it. I consider it a useful possession and one I will appreciate.

I had two girlfriends over for a vegan pot luck tonight. We’d all made loads of delicious food, we could have fed the whole block of flats. It was all completely scrumptious and we all felt like it was so much more fun than sitting in a restaurant. Cheap night out/in. I need to do more of this.

Yesterday, I Googled my head off looking for cars suitable to live in. I found there’s loads of cool, beautiful millenial Youtubers living in their cars to save money and so many blogs on how to do it safely and keep warm. This was after having read a post on Thursday which inspired me to think about taking extreme measures to save money and pay down debt.

I know I can do it, having lived in boats and vans in the past. Yes this will be smaller, a mobile bed basically. But I can shower and dress at work or the gym, and make food at work too. It won’t be heaven, but it helps me to get out of debt faster and create a future heaven. But I did think my Citigo might be just a tad too small! So after much prolific googling I settled on a Berlingo. I then found one completely kitted out, insulated, bed, sink, cooker, ventilation, for £3k. A traveller friend with great car and van knowledge said it was a great deal with all the kit it has.

This would mean taking out more debt in order to focus on a project to then more quickly get out of debt, which is an “initial outlay/setback” I know the moneysaving community would not applaud. But it struck me as a potentially great plan if followed carefully and methodically and an exciting project to blog. I’m an extremist and always find my best work is done in adversity and a focussed almost obsessive clarity of goals, which being a hobo in a car for say a year would be! I’ve told two friends who know me well. A tiny bit of caution but a real belief that I could do it and make the best of it. I would airbnb my flat for additional income. I could always come back to the flat if things didn’t work out.

But then today I got a message on spareroom.com I had put an ad on there for a room in a shared house after my fiancé left me, because I felt isolated and wanted company and also wanted to live somewhere more rural, with more space, getting income from renting my flat. I’ve continued to look every day these past two and a half months but nothing has looked exciting enough to grab me.

Then these people sent me a message. They had messaged me before but I had begun to think I would just stay put at that stage so I didn’t reply. Today they apologised for messaging again but said they really believed this place would suit me. They listed all the reasons they thought this. And it was a sell in every way. The people, the location, the whole thing.

So then I was left in a dilemma. Do I get into 3k more debt to live ostensibly rent free but really more like £250pcm repayments, and be able to save up/down debt like mad as my costs will be so low in my mobile bed-car. Or do I spend £550pcm including bills living in a shared house in much comfier situation but not saving as much, yet still getting income from my flat (and all the trials of being a landlord) and being around amazing people in an amazing place.

I would LOVE to hear from the money saving community. What do you think? From a money perspective, rather than disapproval of car living itself which I am confident I can do.

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

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