A WOMAN has revealed how she cut her bills in half by ditching her rental property for a 100-year old narrowboat.
Elizabeth Earle, 34, has lived on the antique vessel, named ‘Maggie’ for a year now and says she saves £7,500 through not having to pay rent and a minimalist lifestyle.
Elizabeth now moves around from place to place and, because the boat is so old, lives like it’s the early 1900s – including taking just two showers a week.
She said: “As ‘Maggie’ is a 1920s boat, there isn’t much new technology, so I don’t have the usual bulk of bills your average homeowner would have.
“I’ve gone from paying more than £1,200 a month on rent and bills to around £575, basically cutting my outgoings in half.”
The boat is heated by a coal fire, with a £16 bag of coal lasting about two weeks, and powered by a diesel engine that costs about £60 a month.
Elizabeth also buys about £25 worth of gas bottles per month to heat water so she can have a warm shower, while the water supply is free.
To be able to use the boat, she pays £130 a month for her Canal and River Trust license fee and just £10 a month for insurance.
Other than that, her only major expense is paying back the loan on the boat itself.
She explained that she bought ‘Maggie’ for £30,000 from a close friend, who is letting her pay them back in installments.
Elizabeth added: “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.
“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.”
However, as the cost of living crisis bites ever harder, she does have to make some sacrifices to keep costs down.
She explained: “I don’t want to keep the fire running over night, I go to bed with a hot water bottle to try to combat the cold being in a long metal tin in winter tends to bring.
“I’ve started to limit showers in order to save on gas, and now I only shower about twice a week if I can, as gas prices just keep rising.
“It really feels as though, by living on this 1920s boat, in the midst of a global recession and right after a pandemic, that I’m visiting the 1920s myself!”
Though Elizabeth admitted that the old-school life is hard sometimes, she insisted that she’s “free and happy”, even when she’s covered in coal and mud.
She publishes a YouTube series explaining life on the water and is hoping to tour the UK in the new year to research the history of women in narrowboats.
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