Aussie couple’s cost of living solution after ditching their 9 to 5s

Sydney couple Dani and Wade both worked in high-paying corporate roles, but found they were quickly burning out. Then they upended everything.

Sydney couple Dani and Wade ditched their high-paying corporate jobs in favour of a more rewarding lifestyle. Source: Supplied
Sydney couple Dani and Wade ditched their high-paying corporate jobs in favour of a more rewarding lifestyle. Source: Supplied

An Australian couple who both formerly worked in high-paying corporate jobs said ditching their nine to fives in favour of a more rewarding lifestyle was the best thing they've ever done.

Sydney couple Dani and Wade both worked in big-city offices in managerial roles, but found they were quickly burning out. They longed for a more fulfilling lifestyle and felt that, as their careers progressed, the "more we earned, the more we spent" and, as a result, struggled to save any money. It's then when they came up with the idea of "van life".

The pair said that as time goes on, they expect more young people will follow suit and challenge typical societal norms, moving away from "those traditional routes" such as "buying a house with a white picket fence". As the cost of living crisis continues to make life difficult for young people in particular, they believe abandoning the conventional way of doing things could end up saving Aussies big bucks.

The couple say that as the cost of living crisis continues to worsen, they expect more young people will move away from traditional society normals in favour of fulfilment. Source: Supplied
The couple say that as the cost of living crisis continues to worsen, they expect more young people will move away from traditional society normals in favour of fulfilment. Source: Supplied

"For me, I was super unhappy at my current job, stuck in the nine to five rat race and I was just looking for something new," Wade told Yahoo News Australia. "We'd been watching and seeing this kind of content on Instagram and YouTube, this type of lifestyle. And were like, can we do this?"

They quickly discovered that they could — and after saving up some money, they did just that.

"So we ended up taking the plunge, buying a van building it and yeah, then we hit the road," Wade said, recalling that they most recently embarked on a round trip of Australia, spanning a total of 528 days on the road. In that time, Dani estimates the couple more than halved their weekly spending.

The couple say they've halved their weekly spendings since taking up 'van life'. Source: Supplied
The couple say they've halved their weekly spendings since taking up 'van life'. Source: Supplied

"It was just something that I thought we should do now before we have kids. There's nothing holding us back," she said. "If you only talk about the cost of living, we definitely have saved a lot of money.

"Things like food, petrol, rent — life on the road, it's just a lot cheaper. We had completely different lives before jumping in the van, too. We both had high-paying full-time jobs...and just higher living expenses in general.

"We learned after living in a van that we don't need that much. And we didn't have a regular income, so it kind of forced us to downsize and make smarter choices. We just live a simpler and happier life now."

Dani, who formerly worked in finance, said "before jumping in the van, we were spending approximately $4,000 per week on normal expenses". "That's now dropped now to a little bit less than two," she said.

Dani and Wade most recently completely a round trip around Australia, spanning over 500 days. Source: Supplied
Dani and Wade most recently completely a round trip around Australia, spanning over 500 days. Source: Supplied

"We have a lot of people on social media say to us 'Yeah, but while you save on rent, you're now spending on fuel', and to be honest, that's totally not true. In our case anyways."

With millions around the country struggling to make ends meet, Wade said the traditional Aussie dream "is drifting away" as young people seek more rewarding lifestyles.

"I don't know if it's because of the cost of living, but it's slowly drifting away, I guess," he said. "For us, chasing that dream, now means working stupid hours where you can't enjoy your life. So now you're not happy and it's kind of like a flow on effect.

"And just with the amount of opportunities that we now have to make money, you don't have to go down those traditional routes or like apprenticeships or corporate jobs. There's so many other ways these days."

The couple's experience comes as data from eBay reveals interest in motorhomes among Australians had spiked on the platform, as much as 171 per cent in some departments.

"It’s a tough time for Australians as cost of living pressures continue to bite. But young Aussies are showing that they don’t need to follow tradition to be happy, with people flocking to eBay to stock up for their next outdoor adventure," eBay Australia spokesperson Emma Lowde said.

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