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How much did you budget for your van build?

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Yeah, I'm ignoring those items completely. :ROFLMAO:
I have decided not to count all the things I have bought and changed my mind about in the final budget tally! 馃槅
I agree with your reason for doing this, but when people say "I only spent $xxx", it isn't a real number that other van DIYers can really use for budgeting.

The "real cost reality" is that everyone has items that are left over or plans changed or turned out to be prototypes.

I think that it is also worth to assign a value to your time. For example $10 / hr.

There is nothing at all wrong with a hobby / DIY project, but if you always price a project based on the materials costs, it might not be the ideal way to do it.

When you are 70, what would you pay per hour to be 30 and off doing things vs drilling every hole or a part of the project that is not your strong suite vs being out on vacation?

The answer is different for everyone, but I believe that putting a value of $10 / hr on your time helps to drive the decision in a good direction.
 

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2021, Promaster 159 HR 2500, Silver
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You need just in time delivery! (Reference to another post on here).

Did you order much that you didn't use?
Fortunately most things have been changed before ordering. I purchased a full mattress and bunkie board and almost changed my mind and went smaller. Now I am on a week long trip with dogs and am glad I have the full size.

So far I think a couple of 6 gallon water jugs and various bolts and bits are all that I have over purchased. Like Msnomer said, they may get used eventually.

I have a feeling the list will get longer as the build continues!
 

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2017 - 2500 159
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Fortunately most things have been changed before ordering. I purchased a full mattress and bunkie board and almost changed my mind and went smaller. Now I am on a week long trip with dogs and am glad I have the full size.

So far I think a couple of 6 gallon water jugs and various bolts and bits are all that I have over purchased. Like Msnomer said, they may get used eventually.

I have a feeling the list will get longer as the build continues!
Oh yeah that's not bad.

I ordered 2 bus bars and only used the negative, so that's $75 down unless I can sell it. Several water fittings didn't work out. I also bought a bucket and water jug for a trip prior to getting toilet and water system installed.
I also bought drawer slides that I may still use but the design has changed. Some various hardware unused. Nothing major.
 

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2017 - 2500 159
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I agree with your reason for doing this, but when people say "I only spent $xxx", it isn't a real number that other van DIYers can really use for budgeting.

The "real cost reality" is that everyone has items that are left over or plans changed or turned out to be prototypes.

I think that it is also worth to assign a value to your time. For example $10 / hr.

There is nothing at all wrong with a hobby / DIY project, but if you always price a project based on the materials costs, it might not be the ideal way to do it.

When you are 70, what would you pay per hour to be 30 and off doing things vs drilling every hole or a part of the project that is not your strong suite vs being out on vacation?

The answer is different for everyone, but I believe that putting a value of $10 / hr on your time helps to drive the decision in a good direction.
The labor value only matters if you aren't doing the build for fun. $10/hr is such a miniscule amount as to be insignificant. I value my free time at well over 50/hr, yet spend 25+ hours per week on this build. Assuming I get it done in a year, that's over $60k in labor. If I wasn't doing it for fun I'd buy a prebuilt van and "save" even if it cost over $100k

There's also certain people who say "I only spent $xxx" that I will never take seriously unless they upload receipts. Also if one is only camping, it's easy to throw a mattress in and call it good for a couple hundred bucks. Its comparing apples and oranges. Or apples and bread? Then there's "leftover stuff from prior projects" what's that? You HAVE to count leftovers and tools imo because those are things most people don't own to begin with. If you own a fleet of vans you don't discount the "leftover van".
 

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The labor value only matters if you aren't doing the build for fun. $10/hr is such a miniscule amount as to be insignificant. I value my free time at well over 50/hr, yet spend 25+ hours per week on this build. Assuming I get it done in a year, that's over $60k in labor. If I wasn't doing it for fun I'd buy a prebuilt van and "save" even if it cost over $100k

There's also certain people who say "I only spent $xxx" that I will never take seriously unless they upload receipts. Also if one is only camping, it's easy to throw a mattress in and call it good for a couple hundred bucks. Its comparing apples and oranges. Or apples and bread? Then there's "leftover stuff from prior projects" what's that? You HAVE to count leftovers and tools imo because those are things most people don't own to begin with. If you own a fleet of vans you don't discount the "leftover van".
I am only suggesting that people consider to use $10 / hr for their time to avoid doing silly things.

Example - suppose you need a 1/0 wire with lugs on each end.

You can goof around and make your own, or buy perfectly good ones from multiple suppliers.

If you add in 1 hr of your labor, even at $10 / hr, it makes economic sense to just order them.

____

The same might be true for weighing the difference in cost between buying a lower grade of plywood that requires a lot of sanding vs a premium grade of plywood that just needs some touch up after cutting.

___

It may or may not apply to making 8020 fasteners - not sure yet but I am too busy to goof around with making L brackets. They are a bit pricey though.
 

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2017 - 2500 159
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I am only suggesting that people consider to use $10 / hr for their time to avoid doing silly things.

Example - suppose you need a 1/0 wire with lugs on each end.

You can goof around and make your own, or buy perfectly good ones from multiple suppliers.

If you add in 1 hr of your labor, even at $10 / hr, it makes economic sense to just order them.

____

The same might be true for weighing the difference in cost between buying a lower grade of plywood that requires a lot of sanding vs a premium grade of plywood that just needs some touch up after cutting.

___

It may or may not apply to making 8020 fasteners - not sure yet but I am too busy to goof around with making L brackets. They are a bit pricey though.
Even if I valued my time at $50/hr it would make economic sense to buy many things instead of making them, but making things is the whole reason to do one's own build.

I do sometimes finally just buy the product that costs $300 vs the cheaper one because it saves me many hours of research. Its not really worth spending several hours finding the cheapest solution vs buying the product that costs 1 or 2 hundred more.

I did lug my own 2/0 wires vs buying them premade, which cost a while lot more and took longer, but was an interesting enough experience, and in a sense easier because I could do it as I was laying out equipment.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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I returned a lot of stuff, and I have some things that I couldn't return because I ordered them so far in advance: cabinet hinges that don't work with how I did the cabinets, an entry gland for the solar bought before I knew I was gonna send the wires through the rear camera, a reading light that I thought was 12v but turned out to be 120v, a decorative sconce I ordered from China that turned out to be 220 v(?). I recommend buying from Home depot over Amazon whenever possible. They let you return months after you buy.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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I'll bet you could a chicken breast in a 750 watt 3 quart Insta Pot in the same or less time. We cook salmon filets in 4 minutes in ours and they turn out perfect. And it only requires a 1000 watt inverter.
Cool! I'll try that. I hear people talk about instapots but I have no idea what they are. We have a mini crock pot. Is that the same thing?
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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I think that it is also worth to assign a value to your time. For example $10 / hr.
For me 90% of my work was a learning experience so my labor got paid in knowledge. I think more than putting a price on the time of a DIY project, logging the time it takes would be of value to future DIYers. Then they can price it out in their own minds.
 

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Cool! I'll try that. I hear people talk about instapots but I have no idea what they are. We have a mini crock pot. Is that the same thing?
No, it's a very sophisticated pressure cooker with a lot of features to handle a wide variety of cooking chores. It probably replaces a crock pot, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, etc as well as cook much faster with less electricity in the pressure cooker mode as MsNomer points out. In fact we first tried the Insta Pot based on her recommendation.

We just bought one for our daughter and son in law and they said they already had a slow cooker. Then they tried it with a pork loin and corn on the cob and were amazed at how fast and tasty they turned out.

We have the 3 qt Ultra model.
 

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2016 136WB low roof diesel, converted to an RV by Sportsmobile, TX
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Another vote for Instant Pot. If you are space limited (and in a van, who ISN'T space limited) it replaces: A slow cooker, a rice cooker, a pressure cooker, a Dutch Oven, a pot on a burner.
You can brown meat, then slow cook it at pressure, and have extremely tender meat in a very short time.
HOWEVER: At full power, they draw 1500W-1800W. Yes, the average over a long time is less once they are up to heat, but they need to be able to draw 1500W when they want it. If you have a good source of electricity - a good sized inverter, an generator, or shore power - that's not a problem, but if you are running a small inverter off a lighter socket, forget about an InstantPot.
 

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HOWEVER: At full power, they draw 1500W-1800W. Yes, the average over a long time is less once they are up to heat, but they need to be able to draw 1500W when they want it. If you have a good source of electricity - a good sized inverter, an generator, or shore power - that's not a problem, but if you are running a small inverter off a lighter socket, forget about an InstantPot.
I assume you have the 6qt Instant Pot? The 3 qt. doesn鈥檛 draw nearly as much in my test.
 
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HOWEVER: At full power, they draw 1500W-1800W. Yes, the average over a long time is less once they are up to heat, but they need to be able to draw 1500W when they want it. If you have a good source of electricity - a good sized inverter, an generator, or shore power - that's not a problem, but if you are running a small inverter off a lighter socket, forget about an InstantPot.
MaggieMarty and MsNomer are right, the 3 qt Instant Pot models only use 700 watts or less. A 750 or 1000 watt inverter is plenty. And that size inverter will also run a Nuwave PIC Flex induction cooktop on the 600 or 900 watt setting. That's are other go to Van cooking appliance.
 

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2016 136WB low roof diesel, converted to an RV by Sportsmobile, TX
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Yes, I have the larger unit for home. I'm glad to hear the smaller units are easier on the peak load, and obviously in a van you don't want to have lots of hot leftovers to handle, so a 3 quart would be a better choice.
 

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...And that size inverter will also run a Nuwave PIC Flex induction cooktop on the 600 or 900 watt setting.
I tried a NuWave cooktop. It didn't get along with my (less-than-pure-sine-wave) Harbor Freight inverter. Are you using a PSW inverter?

I ended up with a cheap induction burner when I plug in and a butane stove for when I don't.
 

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I tried a NuWave cooktop. It didn't get along with my (less-than-pure-sine-wave) Harbor Freight inverter. Are you using a PSW inverter?

I ended up with a cheap induction burner when I plug in and a butane stove for when I don't.
We have a Renogy 1000 watt pure sine inverter and 2 100ah batteries and it works fine. The Flex model is smaller and you can select 600, 900 or 1300 watts and also any temperature you want.
 
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