How a Singaporean couple saved $30,000 a year living in a pickup truck in the US Lifestyle News

How a Singaporean couple saved $30,000 a year living in a pickup truck in the US Lifestyle News

In a country with nearly 90 per cent home ownership, even renting is considered unusual by some Singaporeans – but how about living in a van instead? This week we spoke to a couple who live in a pickup truck in the US and took a year-long road trip. Here is their amazing story:

Why do you live in a truck?

For Gracia and Yee Jia, they had the desire to travel the world:

We are tired of chasing the Singaporean dream of materialism and tired of the boundaries of meritocracy. Besides our desire to travel the world, taking the leap of faith in Van’s life was the happiest choice we’ve ever made.”

They have found that living in a van provides “the comforts of home, wherever you go.” It also provided the opportunity for some unusual adventures:

“We’ve had some interesting experiences from living in a truck, one of which was stowing away in our truck while we were in New York City.

Being in the most expensive city in America, it was fun trying to find a safe, free parking spot, which we eventually discovered across the Brooklyn Bridge just minutes from the attractions.

Someone else was seeing dads live the truck life in our truck, when they both joined us for three weeks. Just seeing them adapt to the lack of the usual comforts of home was interesting, as they were so creative and found new ways to use what we had in our truck.

For example, we managed the middle of Arches National Park in Utah, using a tarp we had in our truck and pillows from our bed, along with a fold-out table to create a Japanese-like tatami mat for lounging. “

Given the price of housing in Singapore, we are also sure some of our readers have wondered about the cash savings:

How much can you save by living in a truck?

Gracia and Yee Jia are currently based in the US, so the pricing is in that context. And they say:

“Compared to renting a place and living in a truck, our total savings in a year would come to an estimated $30,000 for both of us. Also, instead of tying ourselves up to a mortgage by buying a home, we invested the rest of our money and savings in the stock market.

In the American context, since the average cost of rent paid per renter in America is $1,326 according to World Population Review – we save nearly $2,700 a month on rent for both of us by living in the van. Also, assuming we stayed every night for 365 days, and at the cheapest hotel rate of $50 per night plus tax, that would work out to $18,250. “


There are other savings besides accommodation costs:

“We cook in our truck and store food in the freezer like we do at home; we can save an estimated $700 to $800 for both of us each month when eating out.

Furthermore, there is no decent public transportation system outside of the major cities in America, so owning a car and driving around is an essential part of life. Assuming we rented a car for the full year of our road trip, and paid the minimum Hertz rate for foreigners of $30 a day for 365 days, it would be much more cost effective to buy a used car to drive and live in.

Since the first option costs $10,950 and the last option to buy a used car in our case was only $6,500 from the Facebook Marketplace, we found it was much better to own a used truck and live in it.”

Truck as living space

Vehicle Model 2013 Ford Transit Connect with the following:

  • Electrical group consisting of
    • 2 x 100 Watt Solar Panels
    • 200ah gel battery
    • 12 volt refrigerator
    • 12 volt puck lights
    • 12 volt fan
    • 1500 watt inverter + wall socket for AC use (wall plug)
    • charge controllers
    • USB ports


  • Overhead storage extension shelf
  • Pull-out bed that doubles as a sofa during the day
  • Set of handmade pillows for sofa bed
  • Kitchenette with gas stove and cooking utensils
  • The water storage system that allows us to be self-sufficient
  • Bath for small businesses


The building process has never been easy, as the couple can attest. The couple had to finish their mobile home in less than a month, and their living conditions while it was being built were deplorable. From the smell of plywood, paint and sawdust to the painful blisters from cutting and sanding the wood, it was a tough journey but the end result was very rewarding in the end.


Besides the vans, the couple also converted a rental car for their parents to come along on a road trip. This second car also served as a temporary home for their parents, who were tagged with them (for more details on the car and others, see Check out their video on YouTube).

Advice for choosing a truck as a home

As for how to choose a truck as a home, the couple had some helpful ideas to share.

“The most important thing is the budget. After figuring out how much one is willing to spend on a truck, other factors such as size (for example, the size of the vehicle, what miles per gallon of gas or diesel, how old the vehicle is) can be considered.”

Another thing we have learned to pay attention to especially when buying a used car in a country with four seasons is to check for rust on the underside of the car, as rust can destroy the car. Also ask for the title and registration to make sure the person has not purchased a stolen vehicle. The VIN number can also be used to check if a vehicle has been in an accident.

We’d like to point out that doing this in Singapore may be more difficult than in the US, for the simple reason of parking (there aren’t a lot of places with free parking) and the cost of COE could significantly reduce potential savings. If you’re just looking for temporary housing for a year, for example, it may be cheaper to pay rent than to pay road tax, COE, and parking (depending on how high those costs are at the time).

So, to mitigate the parking problem, the couple rarely stays in the same place twice:

“We’re on the road, so every day we stop at a different Walmart or Planet Fitness. Most of the time Walmart allows overnight parking and so does Planet Fitness, a 24-hour sports franchise that can be found all over America. If we’re in wilderness, we park on free public land.”

For those wondering about the actual logistics of it all, here’s what Gracia and Yee Jia had to share.

“The logistics of living in a truck are surprisingly uncomplicated after the initial phase of figuring things out. When we have to pick up a package, we send it under USPS “General Delivery” to any nationwide post office, or mall that accepts packages. Renting a mailbox is also an option. for items of greater value.

Perhaps the hardest aspect of living in a truck is dealing with the lack of a proper bathroom. However, we were able to take advantage of using our gym memberships to take a shower at Planet Fitness branches located across the United States.”

The couple also implemented KonMari’s method of not keeping things that don’t “spark joy,” mainly keeping the essentials they use every day.

And while truck life may not be for everyone, it sure is captivating to follow the journey of Gracia and Yee Jia (@employee) while trying to travel to all 50 states in the United States.

this is Article It was first published in Stacked houses.

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