We converted a van into a home and now travel the world living off 80p meals – the amount we’ve saved will blow you away | The Sun

We converted a van into a home and now travel the world living off 80p meals – the amount we’ve saved will blow you away | The Sun

March 28, 2023

A COUPLE travelling around the world in a converted van have revealed how they saved £27,000 in five months by living off 50p meals.

Dominique Nuttall, 23, moved to Australia from her hometown of Stalybridge, Manchester, UK, to travel – and met Aussie native Jesse Coleman, 30.

The couple bought a van together for £8,000 and have spent the last two years working to save money, then set off to a new destination in their home from home.

Last year they decided to work for the whole of 2023 to save up enough to fund a whole year of travel in 2024.

They shared how they have saved £27,000 since they started saving in October 2022 – and have a saving goal of £100,000.

The pair were able to live off meals costing just 50p and cut back on unnecessary items to boost their savings.


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Dominique said: "We are paid weekly and put $3k(£1,600) into our joint account each week.

"Since doing the van life we're both good at living off a budget – one-dollar(50p) meals.

"We love living cheap, living simply, just saving all our money and not spending on unnecessary things."

The couple – who are currently based in The Pilbara, Western Australia – started their journey together in July 2021.

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Since then, they have travelled up the east coast, along the entire north of Australia and down the west coast.

Dominique works an admin role and a hospitality role, at £28 per hour and £30 per hour respectively, while Jesse works as a labourer earning £21 per hour.

Both work 60-hour weeks, which allows them each to put away £800 a week in savings to work towards their goal.

Dominique said: "2024 will be the year of just travelling.

"When I first moved to Australia, I realised I could work for a short time then I can enjoy myself with the money I saved.

"I know I'll enjoy it then because I worked to create the money. That's what we want to do."

Aged 18, Dominique moved to Australia alone to travel after finishing college.

While working on farms to get visa extensions 18 months later, she met Jesse, from Port Macquarie, New South Wales, and they hit it off.

Jesse quit his nine-to-five job with a door manufacturing company so he and Dominique could travel the enormous country's coasts together.

Since then, they have travelled 70,000km together.

Jesse said: "I was always going to go, I'm pretty adventurous.

"I wanted to leave my hometown – that's when Dominique suggested we do the travelling life."

Dominique added: "At the start I didn't think Jesse would drop everything to travel with me, but he did."

They bought a van in July 2021 and began their journey from Port Macquarie, in New South Wales, and headed north.

The couple's routine involves working full-time for a few months to save up, then quitting their jobs and travelling in their van until they run out of funds, and then repeating the process.

Some of Dominique's jobs include marketing, a barista, waitressing, bartending, solar farming, agricultural work, tractor driving, retail, admin work and housekeeping.

Some of Jesse's jobs have been working at a door manufacturing warehouse and at an air conditioning company.

Currently, Dominique is juggling hospitality and admin jobs, while Jesse is currently working as a process technician at an industrial waste facility.

Since last September they have been working 60-hour weeks to squirrel away their paychecks – so next year they can complete their lap of Australia.

And after five months – having taken one month off for a trip to Bali before jumping back to the grind – they have £27,000 in the bank.

They have a goal of £100,000 to hit before they set off next year.

Currently, their van life is on hold as Dominque's admin job comes with accommodation for a small weekly fee, and her food is covered by her work too.

Jesse works outside all day as a labourer in the blistering heat of the Pilbara, which is a remote dry mining town.

It is thinly populated due to its conditions, meaning wages are higher and their only main expenditure is food for Jesse.

They have a whiteboard in their bedroom which they use to visually track their savings and monitor when they hit saving milestones.

Dominque said: "We want to complete our lap of Australia and then do southeast Asia.

"We also want to go to Europe at some point.

"But we'll always use Australia as our base – and I'm in the process of applying for permanent residency.

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"Being out here and doing what we do, it doesn't feel like real life.

"It's too good to be true."

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