Decommissioned school buses are surprisingly inexpensive. On ebay right now you can find schoolies on sale for $1000 to $5000. Many people have realized that a school bus frame makes an ideal skeleton for a house on wheels.
As bus-dweller Eli Shanks explains in this Cornell Sun article, school buses are built on truck frames, which gives them a road life of 1 to 2 million miles. But many school districts replace their buses well before they’ve driven that far. The result is a surplus of well-maintained, perfectly drivable buses available for the public to buy. Since there are so many more of them, full-size school buses are actually less expensive than short ones.
My dear friend Ben bought a short one and spent two years converting it to a home. He left the engine and controls in working order, but he took out the bench seats and installed a sleeping bunk, a dining banquette, a kitchen space (still unfinished), a wood-burning stove, and lots of storage. The home measures about 250 square feet and is finished on the outside with a sleek blue paint job.
Now Ben is moving on to his next adventure and selling the bus. You can have it for $6000, which is a crazy good deal assuming you have the wherewithal to finish the interior and somewhere to put it. (Consider that in New York City a similar-size apartment could easily cost you over $1700 every month.) Maybe living in a schoolie is the next adventure for you!