Mum’s budget BUSTER
WHY PAY THE LANDLORD WHEN THERE’S AFFORDABLE WHEEL ESTATE?
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