I’m saving £3,000 a month after moving onto a narrowboat following my divorce – it was the best decision I could have made amidst the cost of living crisis
- James Posner, 44, from London, documents his life living on a narrowboat
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A father-of-five has revealed how he now saves more than £3,000 a month after renovating a 50-year-old narrowboat.
James Posner, 44, first began house hunting in London in 2020 after splitting from his wife of eight years and said he could only afford to either rent a room in a house share or bedsit.
Unable to find accommodation suitable for his children, Ava, 15, Arthur, 10, Florence, 10, Matilda, five, and Ivy, four, to visit, James bought a narrowboat for £12,000 and spent a year, and £16,000, making it ready for the water.
After overcoming a series of setbacks, including his home sinking, James has now relocated to Hertfordshire on the Grand Union canal between Cow Roast and Rickmansworth.
He said he now saves £3,000 per month, adding: ‘With the cost of living crisis, narrowboat living was the best decision I could have made.
James Posner, 44, from London, revealed how he is now saving £3,000 per month after moving onto a narrowboat following his divorce in 2020
When the 44-year-old’s relationship ended in 2020, he found it difficult to find a place in London after having recently bought a family home just outside of Richmond.
James had limited financial resources to find a home for himself and couldn’t rent a one-bedroom flat as he found it was around £1,500 excluding bills.
He said: ‘The only properties I could afford to rent were either a room in a multiple occupancy home or a bedsit, which wouldn’t have been good for the kids.
‘They would have been fed up and wouldn’t have wanted to visit.
‘It had always been a dream of mine to live on a boat, so I thought it was time to do it.’
After finding a 50-year-old narrowboat for sale, James purchased it for £12,000, admitting he would need to spend ‘the same again’ for it to be water-ready.
Over the next year, James lived on a boat yard while rebuilding the interiors.
He described how ‘the inside needed to be entirely gutted and it was basically like rough camping for the first year living on it.’
James, pictured here with his young daughter, was worried after his divorce that all he would be able to afford was a bedsit or a room in a house share – but said his children love life on the boat
James spent £12,000 buying the narrowboat, and £16,000 making it into a home for him and his five children
‘It has been a learning curve, with the boat even sinking at one point while I was fixing it up, but I wouldn’t change my lifestyle. I plan to live on my boat for many years to come.’
James explained: ”Property prices in London are massively expensive but I have so much financial freedom on the boat.
And, James’ five children loved spending time on the narrowboat and while he was living in the boat yard there were other families and people to socialise with.
‘We were like a small community of nomads,’ said James.
The father-of-five spent a year renovating the boat before he decided to live on it and relocate to Hertfordshire
From the day he bought the boat, James has documented the repairs on his YouTube channel.
He joked: ‘It’s annoying because I’d spent years telling my kids that YouTube wasn’t a proper career and now I’m regularly posting on there.
‘It started off as a way to send updates to a friend and the channel grew from there, and now I post regular updates about life on the boat.’
In the summer of 2021, after a year of renovations, James finally tried to lower the boat into water when disaster struck.
James loved spending time renovating his boat and said that while he was living in the boat yard there were other families and people to socialise with
James has shared the boat’s renovating and story on his YouTube channel. He is pictured here making repairs to the boat
‘I’d been fixing it for a year when I had it craned into the water, but it immediately sank,’ he explained.
The boat had to be pulled out of the water and back onto land for the bottom to be fixed.
It was at this point when James questioned if he should have given up but decided to carry on.
After spending a total £16,000 on boat repairs, James finally set sail two months later and has been living on his narrowboat ever since.
With all James’ expenses combined, including fuel, gas and electric, canal and river trust licence, insurance through Insure4Boats and general maintenance, he estimates his outgoing to be around £300 a month, and says he saves over £3,000 each month
James has said that renovating his boat has been a massive learning curve and overnight he learnt to be a builder, a carpenter, a plumber, a gas man, and an engineer
Now, the dad-of-five saves thousands of pounds each month.
‘Living on the boat has given me so much freedom and, considering it only costs me around £300 a month with all my bills and expenses, I don’t know why more people aren’t doing it,’ he said.
‘I always say narrowboat living is London’s best-kept secret.
‘I’m constantly amazed that it’s a floating home with everything I could possibly need with unlimited outside space.’
With all James’ expenses combined, including fuel, gas and electric, canal and river trust licence, insurance through Insure4Boats and general maintenance, he estimates his outgoings to be around £300 a month, and says he saves over £3,000 each month.
After spending a total £16,000 on boat repairs, James finally set sail two months later and has been living on his narrowboat ever since
He said: ‘It’s been a massive learning curve. I’ve had to become like a builder, a carpenter, a plumber, a gas man, and an engineer overnight.
‘It’s not an easy lifestyle, but everyone chips in.’
He added: ‘I’m surprised more people who are struggling with the housing market aren’t snapping up narrowboats.
‘Living in a close community that moves around and is so sociable is really great. As long as I’m able to, I’ll be living on my narrowboat for a long time.’
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