A woman has revealed how she has managed to save more than £20,000 on bills and rent since moving into a narrowboat.
Elizabeth Earle, 33, first bought her narrowboat, the Leviathan, for £3,800 in 2019 and has since spent an extra £12,000 on renovations and decor over the past two years.
The author and illustrator, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, swapped her one-bed attic flat for her 32ft canal boat to live the life of travel and adventure she’d only ever read about in books.
Her frugal living means she saves £10,344 a year on bills.
She said: “I grew up reading Lord of the Rings, and the Chronicles of Narnia, and grew up in a village, so I always had a fascination for that fantastical life.
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“I’d always loved the idea of living on a boat since I was a child, travelling to different places, meeting new people and taking your home with you. It felt like utter freedom. Not tied to paying rent or working for an ungrateful boss.”
“My bills are extremely minimal, I’ve gone from paying £1200 a month with rent, gas and electric to just £254 a month on the boat.
“The rent for my marina spot at Mancetter is £120 a month, but it allows me to use the facilities, so that’s been quite nice during the winter as I’ve been able to get hot showers – as I’ve not managed to get the gas and hot water sorted yet.
“I pay £96 a month for my boating licence, boat insurance is £10 a month and the Canal and River Trust tax is £100.
“I cook off a camp stove and rely on my log burner to keep me warm.
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“You definitely have to make big compromises like emptying a porta-potty and battling with condensation but it’s all worth it when you wake up in the morning to the beautiful countryside.
“It’s incredible just how much money you can save when you’re not paying rent or a mortgage. That money goes back into my own life, my own property and future.”
After hiring workmen to install the boat's interior, Elizabeth has since added her own personal touches.
She said: “I want the boat to have that Edwardian cooky feel, it just seems like such a comfortable theme.
I spent six months travelling around the South Atlantic, swimming with sharks, visiting shipwrecks, and scuba diving."
She said: “Leviathan is only 32ft, but I couldn’t bear to leave my books behind. I’m surrounded by the novels that inspired me to go for this way to life and it’s a great comfort to see them everyday as I sit back with a cup of tea in front of the fire.
“My family are supportive, although I think they wish I’d do something a bit more ‘normal’ and settle down. I think they dread to think what project I’ll do after this!”
“My favourite part of the boat is probably my 1920s bookcase which I reclaimed and is now piled from top to bottom in books – so much so that Leviathan is a little heavy on one side.
“I also love my wood burner, it makes the boat so cosy on cold nights. It’s the heart of the home.”
“After my Granddad passed, we found some antique fireplace backings he had collected. My dad added it to the fireplace, so now it’s even more special.
“It’s nice to know that a little part of my boat was created by my family.
Elizabeth has always enjoyed spontaneity in her life and claims her passion for travel and adventure is what led her to buy a narrowboat to set sail around the country.
She said: “In 2017, I moved to Australia, but didn’t want to be stuck in one place and ended up becoming really interested in sailing and ended up buying a one-way ticket to South Africa to join a sailboat crew.
“I spent six months travelling around the South Atlantic, swimming with sharks, visiting shipwrecks, and scuba diving.
“We even visited an island where a man had lived alone for 20 years with just penguins.
“I eventually bought my own sailboat and did it up, as well as adopting a dog, Leela, a four-month-old German Shepherd mix.
“I really wanted to travel across the Pacific after renovating my boat but realised Leela hated sailing. Leela ended up taking priority, so I compromised, sold up my sailboat and bought my narrowboat in 2019.
I’d always loved the idea of living on a boat since I was a child, travelling to different places, meeting new people and taking your home with you. It felt like utter freedom. Not tied to paying rent or working for an ungrateful boss."
“Leviathan, my narrowboat, ended up becoming a lockdown project, alongside my illustrating business.
“She’s not finished yet, and there are still a few things I’m paying off, but she’s homely.
“I’m hoping to have Leviathan completed by the Spring, and Stratford Upon Avon will be the first place I go- I’m an absolute sucker for Shakespeare and history.
“There are so many adventures waiting for me and Leela to follow. I don’t want to take our time for granted, which is why I’m doing it all while I can. Life is like a book. It’s up to you to decide what is written inside.
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