Mum’s bud­get BUSTER


The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

A PERTH mum has found the an­swer to get­ting out of the rat race by trans­form­ing an old bus into an in­cred­i­ble fam­ily home.

Te­gan Latham was pay­ing $400 a week in rent for a fourbed­room, two-bath­room house “with a big back­yard” in sub­ur­ban Cock­burn.

But af­ter strug­gling to get ahead fi­nan­cially, Te­gan, who runs her own eco-friendly clean­ing busi­ness, this year de­cided on a rad­i­cal life­style change.

She paid $28,000 for a bus she spot­ted on clas­si­fieds web­site Gumtree and another $6500 to fit it out with a new kitchen, beds, pull-down desks and toy stor­age.

The house-on-wheels is tem­po­rar­ily parked at a Perth car­a­van park which Te­gan and Char­lie, 10 and Ol­lie, 8, call home.

Ms Latham said life on the bus was less stress­ful than sub­ur­bia, and the kids loved it.

“It’s fine to live big if that’s what makes you happy. But for me, not at the cost of a lot my time, money and at the ex­pense of my emo­tional well­be­ing,” she said.

“I was read­ing a book about money and it sug­gested to live within your means.

“I knew in my­self straight away that I needed to do some­thing dif­fer­ent and make some changes.

“I was spend­ing so much money to live in a de­cent house with a big back­yard and never felt like I was get­ting any­where fi­nan­cially. I felt stuck and liv­ing tiny is a way out.

“I feel hap­pier as I’m work­ing to­wards my goals and not just slav­ing away in the rat race.”

The car­a­van park pitch costs $245 a week to rent, pro­vid­ing ac­cess to wa­ter, show­ers and power.

Te­gan, who moved her fam­ily into the bus in Fe­bru­ary, plans to add so­lar pan­els and a wa­ter stor­age sys­tem so it is self-sus­tain­able. A roof top deck is also on the ren­o­va­tion to-do list.

“I was rent­ing so now I save on power bills as it takes a lot less to heat and cool the bus,” she said.

“Once I’m more self-suf­fi­cient it can be even cheaper.”

The home is driv­able and the fam­ily plan to take it for its first road trip dur­ing the sum­mer school hol­i­days.

“Ol­lie just said the other day, ‘Mum, I liked liv­ing in the house but I love the bus a lot more’,” she said. “They are out­side a lot more, ex­plor­ing and mak­ing up games. Char­lie loves to have his friends over to check out the bus.

“We love the com­mu­nity at­mos­phere. There’s al­ways won­der­ful peo­ple to meet who all have a story.”

Ms Latham ad­mits she ini­tially strug­gled with the stigma of liv­ing on a bus.

“It was only in my head that I was chal­lenged with the thoughts of, ‘what will peo­ple think?’, and, ‘this isn’t the nor­mal way’,” she said.

“Now we are here I won­der why I didn’t make the move to tiny liv­ing sooner.”

Home, sweet home: Af­ter strug­gling with a rental, Te­gan Latham lives on a con­verted bus with her two chil­dren Char­lie, 10, and Ol­lie, 8, to save money. Pic­ture: Daniel Wilkins

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