Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The [Financial] cost of camping

Having now been camped out for nearly a month I can start to estimate how much money I am going to be able to save. In terms of the relative cost of living in a tent versus living in a house it is undeniably cheaper. The main comparative costs are rent, heat, the ability to cook and illumination. I say illumination but I am sat here writing this by candlelight with a head torchstrapped to my bonce so I can see the keyboard. This is mainly because TLB is away for the evening and I can't be bothered to refill the lantern, but there has certainly been a drop in the standard of provision of the basic utilities on which I rely.

When living in a house it is easy to just turn on the hob and cook on 4 rings, an oven and a microwave all at the same time. Now I have to get the stove up to heat, it holds a maximum of 2 pans and can heat a few pints of water at the same time. I then have to keep the stove up to heat for the duration of my cooking. The savings are considerable but I would certainly not pay the sums I was before for such a diminished service. It takes about 3 or 4 decent sized logs to keep the stove burning for the evening and I get about 15 logs in a bag. A bag costs roughly a fiver but I am buying from the farmer here or from hardware stores and forecourts. At the weekends we tend to have a good sized fire outside which can easily eat through 2 bags of wood so I reckon all in all we probably spend about £15 per week on wood.

This has been lower this week though as I managed to forage a load of fly tipped wood that had been deposited near my workplace. As I parked up and started loading the boot with the planks that had been abandoned, one of my colleagues drove past and gave me a very peculiar look as if I was some sort of scavenger, which I suppose I am.

£15 per week, or £60 per month, to provide me with both warmth and heat on which to cook is, quite frankly, a bargain compared to the combined gas and electricity bills of about £150 per month. I also get to make fires which is a considerable bonus as I am, like most overgrown children, endlessly hypnotised by a flickering fire.

At the moment we have no form of electricity but it has not really inconvenienced us, we both have laptops with batteries and a very good lantern that more than capably illuminates the tent (when I can be bothered to top it up!). The lantern takes 600ml of fuel and lasts for about four days, running for maybe 3 or 4 hours per day. This will obviously go up as the nights draw in so I can assume that I will need to refill it every couple of days but this will still only set me back about £5 per week or £20 per month.

I no longer pay council tax, a land line telephone or water and sewerage bills which between them account for another £250 extra per month and rent which cost me £750 per month. Added to the electricity and gas that totals roughly £1150 per month, reduced to about £250 per month on bills. Result. This is of course a simplistic analysis as I am spending a bit more on fuel for the car but we are spending less on food as we are cooking more, the cost of dog sitting has not started yet as TLB has been here a great deal of the time whilst looking for work. All in all, I am confident that I can hit my unofficial target of saving a £1000 per month and tomorrow is pay day which will be a huge relief as I have been struggling a bit this month having had to cough up about £1600 at the start of the month on trailers, stoves and the like.

The physical cost of camping is also beginning to show, not in any major way but I have various splinters and burns that I am sure I would not have were I still holed up in a house. anyway, I have rambled enough, I am now going to tend the fire and await TLB's return from the capital where she has been living it up and dining in actual buildings.


Nigel Paver said...

hi mate, sorry we didn't get to see you last week when we were in the Noo Forest, time was taken up looking after a mad wild toddler and her 6 week old sibling! I am watching your blog with interest and hope that I will see your new abode within the not too distant future



Hayden Davis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hayden Davis said...

Hey guys. How's about getting a load of logs in. My dad yesterday got a whole 8' x 4' tailer load in and it only cost him £40 from the local fountain forestry. And they will last for ages. All you need then is a longer axe to what you have and the muscles will come. Hell, arrange a date to do it and I'd gladly come a split some with you. This is all so long as you can keep a stack of wood next to your tent covered with a tarp. Keep on keeping on though mate. Truely inspirational. Have you also considered a full beard yet? Sure it would amount to pennies in the heating savings. But it all adds up. My love to TLB and Silas.


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