Skoolie Spending

“How much did it cost?” is one of the first things people want to know, though some are too polite to ask.  Here’s the run down of the money we’ve spent on our Skoolie so far.  We’ve been working at keeping it super simple, low-tech and affordable because we want people to know that this kind of bus-to-RV transformation is something that can be done without mortgaging your soul.  Plus – it doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful, simple, and functional.


  • Bus: 2001 Ford E-450 Bus with 144K miles: $4,500
  • Title change from Bus to Class A Recreational Vehicle: $327
  • Total: $4827


  • Kitchen cabinet: an antique dresser from Habitat for Humanity: $100
  • Paint for the cabinet: Easy Care Ultra Premium low-VOC paint: $18
  • Brass hardware (came with the cabinet, we just polished it) $0
  • Fridge: Daewoo Retro Fridge 4.4 cubic ft $290
  • Oven: Breville Smart Oven Air $400 (which I purchased with the iBotta app and so I got $60 back.  $340
  • Cooktop on grid: Copper Chef Induction Cooktop $44
  • Cooktop off grid Coleman 2 burner perfect flow stove: $63
  • Storage behind cabinet: Three Winco 1/3 size 6 inch food safe Pans $45
  • Storage behind cabinet: six Cambro 1/9 plastic pans that we already had $0
  • Storage behind cabinet: One Winco Pan that we already had $0
  • Sink basin that we already had that we used for the sink $0.
  • Salvaged stone countertop purchased from individual on Craigslist: $200
  • Piano hinge and other hardware associated with the custom stone top: $(?)
  • Misc wood and hardware to attach cabinet and fridge to bus: $150
  • Total: $1,250



  • Tractor Supply Pitcher Pump (both pump and faucet – no electrical power required) $45
  • PVC pipe, cement, adapters, valves: $70
  • Tractor Supply 5 gallon military style water tank: $21
  • True Value six gallon blue water containers, quantity 2: $23
  • Amazon Igloo six gallon blue water container: $17
  • Amazon 10 inch home brew funnel for filling water system: $15
  • Drain with flexible hose we already had: $7
  • Off-Grid Water System Total: $198



  • Bathroom cabinet: an antique I bought at an auction many years ago $0
  • Paint for the cabinet: rattle cans I had already + one can of copper $7
  • Brass hardware (came with the cabinet), plus rattlecan I already had $0
  • Sink: eBay Chilean Copper Bowl for $125 + S&H for $135
  • Pitcher: CopperBull Pitcher for $60
  • Throne: an antique chair I was given a few years ago $0
  • Toilet: The Luggable Loo – same one we used in our first tiny house $0
  • Off-Grid Bathroom Total: $195



  • The tangerine Italian sofa from Habitat for Humanity for $100 that was lovely but didn’t fit. $100
  • Cushion HD36 Regular non-toxic foam with CertiPUR Cerfification. $331
  • White non-toxic upholstery Vinyl and Labor $1200
  • Blue piping recycled vinyl left over from another project: $0
  • Copper pipe to re-create the Le Corbusier style: $332 (approximate)
  • 3/4 inch blonde plywood for support: $105
  • Wool mattress cover for comfort $164
  • Bedding: $98
  • Two love seats that fold together to form a Queen sized bed Total: $2,330


Shelves/Room Divider:

  • Figured maple bespoke shelves made by Xaver: $700
  • Frosted glass for privacy salvaged from damaged kitchen cabinet doors: $0
  • Total $700


  • Maple drawers that we got on Craigslist: $50
  • Electrical: Breaker box, other supplies + labor approximately $1514
  • Floor: flooring from Habitat for Humanity + labor estimate $1000
  • Paper blinds $18
  • copper curtain rods: $50
  • fancy connectors: $15
  • Fabric for curtains $56
  • Hand-made walnut top kitchen table from our restaurant: $0
  • Bentwood chairs from our restaurant $0
  • Total Misc: $2,703


  • LED dimmable multicolor strip lights with remote x3 plus connectors: $174
  • Lowes puck light fixture to be used in “chandelier”: $15
  • Copper circles bowl made into lamp shade: $8
  • Habitat for Humanity LED 24 inch dimmer switch strip lights: $10
  • Total: $207

We’ve got roughly $12,410  in this project so far.  That’s not a bad number at all!

Keep in mind that without the two decidedly-not-frugal items on the list – namely the $2,330 sofa/bed and the bespoke curly maple book shelves/room dividers for $700 the total is a reasonable: $9,380 which is actually pretty remarkable.  

We hired someone to do the electrical wiring and flooring.  Those are things we could have done ourselves to save a money, but in this case a friend needed the work and we didn’t have the time, so it ended up being a win-win.

That’s where things are at the moment.  I’ll be back to fill in any empty spots when we’ve got more to add.  We do have plans for some other details, and Vinnie will always be a work in progress just like we are.

Last updated 8/22/201829c45-1a2bcarmen