Monday, Apr 15, 2024

A couple who converted a $7,000 school bus into their dream home breaks down the cost of living a nomadic life

The Scherrers in their Skoolie, Aurora.
  • Josh and Emily Scherrer live and work full-time from their converted school bus, Aurora.
  • They spent $80,000 on the conversion and the largest expenses now are insurance, fuel, and internet.
  • Despite the costs, the couple plans to travel for a few more years before settling in Idaho.

For the past two years, husband-and-wife duo Josh, 27, and Emily Scherrer, 28, have lived in and worked full-time from their "Skoolie," a converted school bus nicknamed "Aurora the Adventure Bus."

When they first met, they bonded over their love of travel and used all of their PTO to take road trips. When Josh Scherrer started a fully remote job in late 2020, the couple started thinking about working and living on the road.

They purchased the bus in January 2021, and last fall, they bought a piece of land in Idaho that they'll live on once they're finished traveling.

For now, the couple works remotely as engineers from Aurora while traveling full-time. Here's how they keep up with their nomadic lifestyle.

Skoolie vs converted van


a woman next to a school bus
Emily and the bus.

The couple bought their bus for $7,000 from a company that sells used school buses for conversions in Phoenix. Emily Scherrer was inspired to purchase a Skoolie from posts she saw on Instagram.

They considered a camper van, but a school bus was more affordable upfront and provided more space. "It fits us much better because we need two separate offices, and a 40-foot bus provides that space," Josh Scherrer told Business Insider.

The conversion took them about a year and a half to finish. "We didn't hire anything out, and we did it all while still working full-time. Converting Aurora was our evenings and weekends project," he said.


a kitchen on a bus
The kitchen on the bus.

They spent about $80,000 on the conversion, which Emily Scherrer says is on the high end. "A lot of other Skoolie owners spend between $20,000 and $50,000," she told Business Insider. "It comes down to what you want your finishes to be."

The most expensive thing they bought was the automotive paint. The Maple millwork for the ceiling and solar panels for the roof were also pricey.

"The solar was non-negotiable, as we wanted to make sure we had plenty of electricity for us to both work remotely," she said.


a bed on a bus
The bedroom on the bus.

Bus life isn't as cheap as they expected

The Scherrers don't save as much as they thought they would by living tiny, but they are collecting experiences. "We don't have to pay for plane tickets or hotels, so we can experience more for our money," Emily Scherrer said. So far they've taken the bus to Alaska, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado.

Their biggest expenses are car insurance (about $1,850 a year), diesel fuel, and satellite internet connection, which is $150 a month and is necessary for their jobs. Filling up the tank costs about $300; on average, they fill up once or twice a month.

They have ways to cut down on costs

One cost that's in their control is where they park.

"Our expenses depend on where we park and the amenities we find," Emily Scherrer said. The southwestern US has a lot of land available for public use, such as BLM or Forest Service land, where parking for certain days is free.

"We like to use that kind of land versus going to campgrounds, which saves us a lot of money," she said.

They also pay to fill up and dump their tanks, usually as a campground fee. There's a toilet and a shower on the bus, and the septic tanks must be dumped roughly every two weeks.


a bathroom on a bus
The bathroom on the bus.

Another way they save money is by being mindful of their mileage. "It's a fairly affordable lifestyle if you don't intend to put a lot of miles on your vehicle," Josh Scherrer said.

Driving to Alaska cost the couple roughly $2,000 in fuel, but parking down south for the winter is very affordable.

They have a small emergency fund for mechanical issues, but he does most of the service himself.

Working full-time while traveling is how they sustain their lifestyle


a couple takes a selfie with a school bus
Josh and Emily Scherrer.

The couple loves that they can earn a reliable income from their jobs while accomplishing other life goals at the same time.

They plan to live in their Skoolie for at least a few more years before building a home on their land in Idaho. "We haven't saved too much, but we've experienced more than we thought. Being able to travel in our 20s has been really fun," Josh Scherrer said.

They don't plan to sell the Skoolie when they finish living in it. "We'll keep the bus so we can take trips when we want," he said. They may still do winters in the south on the bus to avoid winter blues in Idaho.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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By: [email protected] (Sasha Weilbaker)
Title: A couple who converted a $7,000 school bus into their dream home breaks down the cost of living a nomadic life
Sourced From: www.businessinsider.com/couple-lives-skoolie-full-time-breaks-down-expenses-2024-2
Published Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2024 10:05:01 +0000