Real Estate

Here's how much this van lifer has saved since moving into her Taylor Swift-inspired mobile home

Tory Deluhery in her Taylor Swift-inspired van.
Tory Deluhery

After living in her car during a cross-country road trip in 2019, Tory Delury, 25, decided she loved the journey so much that she wanted to make mobile living a permanent thing.

In 2020, Delury purchased a 2015 van with 24,000 miles for $31,000.

She paid a $10,000 down payment on the van using money she'd saved from selling customized jackets that went viral after the Jonas Brothers shared them on social media.

For the remaining $21,000, Delury is on a payment plan. She pays $300 a month.

The rest of her expenses include: $75 a month for insurance, $10 a month for Planet Fitness, which she uses for showering and going to the bathroom, an average of $150-300 on gas, and about $175 in groceries.

To cover her monthly expenses, Delury takes on odd jobs in the places she's living at the time.

In Pennsylvania, she learned how to manufacture guitars. And in Vermont, she made ice cream at the original Ben and Jerry's factory.

Delury told CNBC Make It that according to her calculations she's saved $10,000 since moving into her van two years ago.

"The way I see it, it's better than having to pay rent every month because I put that money into myself and into something that I love," she said.

Tory Delury's #vanlife finances
For the van
Price tag
Down payment
Remaining balance
Monthly expenses
Van payment
Planet Fitness

'I'm going to live by the things that I love and that make me happy'

After purchasing the van, Delury parked it at her parents' house in Pennsylvania and watched hundreds of YouTube videos to learn how to renovate the vehicle herself.

"I would say there were plenty of times when I thought I was never going to be able to do it and wanted to just pay someone instead," she said. "Now I never think I can't do something because I built a house. It's a huge confidence builder."

Delury says she decided to paint the inside of the van pink as a statement against the sexist and negative comments she started receiving after sharing that she was going to DIY the van herself on social media.

"People doubted that I could do it because I'm a girl, so I wanted to do it in the girliest way possible. I wanted to tell them that I'm not a tomboy but can build anyway," she said.

Delury added that she felt personally inspired by Taylor Swift after attending a concert during Swift's "Reputation" tour, which was around the first anniversary of the singer's court case against David Mueller.

The former DJ was ordered to pay Swift a symbolic $1 after the jury ruled in her favor in a lawsuit she brought against him for battery and sexual assault.

Three years ago, Delury was sexually assaulted outside her Florida apartment building.

At Swift's concert, Delury heard the singer talk about her own experience and decided she would report her assault. It changed her outlook on life.

Tory Delury wanted the inside of her van to be as girly as possible, which is why she wanted everything to be pink.
Tory Delury

"I started thinking of myself the way I would want Taylor Swift to think of herself. It was a moment for me when it wasn't just about her music anymore; it was about a woman who genuinely inspired and changed my life," Delury said.

"She taught me that it was ok to allow myself to move on from what happened to me and that the best revenge is just going on being happy and finding things that you love."

In an additional homage to Swift, Delury painted lyrics of the song "Daylight" from Swift's "Lover" album around the van and has several of the singer's albums hanging in a corner too.

"It's a reminder that I'm not going to be defined by the things that people have done to me before; I'm going to live by the things that I love and that make me happy," she said.

In September, Delury's van was featured in a viral YouTube video. At the time, she was living in New York City but has since left the state because of safety concerns after she started receiving death threats in the comments.

Delury listened to Taylor Swift's music nonstop during the year she was renovating her van.
Tory Delury

"I won't be going back there for a little bit, unfortunately, but it's an excuse to go explore another part of the country, which is the beautiful thing about having a van," she said.

Delury is currently in Massachusetts and working in an acting troupe; she's also running a small business selling self-defense keychains out of her van.

"I love having these part-time jobs and learning different things because I get to meet the people who live where I'm staying," she said. "I feel like I'm getting to know the area much better, making it a more in-depth travel experience."

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