As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!
     

Extreme Frugality: Living Out of Your Car

This article was written by in Frugality. 548 comments.

A few months ago, television watchers like myself were bombarded by commercials featuring a young man attempting to “live” out of his car for a few days. However, this guy has been doing it since July 2005. Andy Bussell lives out of his pickup truck, sleeping in the back. He wakes up, showers at the university gym, attends classes, then goes to work at the Apple Store. To keep himself from going insane, he is a yoga-practicing, guitar-playing rock climber. Always pushing him towards insanity are the voluntary living conditions:

What he misses most are a kitchen and a bathroom. To deal with the former, he buys food such as yogurt and fruit in small quantities; for as regards the latter, he takes advantage of public facilities. On occasion, he has resorted to employing an empty Gatorade bottle.

sleep-in-car.jpg

Andy decided to lean towards the simpler life when his credit card debt kept piling up. Now that he has been able to save some money, his debt is almost all paid off.

This adventure takes place in California; living in the Northeast, you would need to leave the heat on in order to survive in your car. The frequent gasoline fill-ups would negate any savings you’d manage to keep.

Read the hundreds of comments below for more interesting experiences had by those living out of their vehicles. If this describes you, please feel free to share your experiences below, as well.

Source: Seattle Times


Updated October 11, 2016 and originally published February 27, 2007. If you enjoyed this article receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

Email Email Print Print
avatar
About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 548 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I had SERIOUSLY considered doing this when I worked far from home during the week instead of renting the room I was in, but my wife had a fit when I suggested it. Of course, I would have had to buy a different vehicle to do so since I had a sedan.

Reply to this comment

avatar 2 Anonymous

Hats off to him–I don’t think I could do it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 3 Anonymous

I slept in my car one night, and it is NOT comfortable. I’d take a bed over a sleeping bag any day. You have to give this guy some respect because this is not an easy thing to do.

Reply to this comment

avatar 4 Anonymous

There are plenty of cheap old and reliable gas guzzling truck based SUVs on the market that can allow you to stretch out on comfort on an entire mattress.

Reply to this comment

avatar 5 Anonymous

If you put a mattress back there, I think it could be quite comfortable. It would be nice if there was a little more headroom.

Would need to be able to use my laptop. But I guess you can find free wifi somewhere!

Reply to this comment

avatar 6 Anonymous

I slept on a tank four years, I think I could make it in the back of a truck with a camper shell no less.

Reply to this comment

avatar 7 Anonymous

I am being very cynical here, but deep down, I think it’s probably extreme publicity more than extreme frugality. Wouldn’t a sensible person find a better way to tackle his debt? or to be frugal.

Having said that, I admit that this kind of thing must have required extraordinary self-control over certain aspects….and I do appreciate that.

Reply to this comment

avatar 8 Anonymous

I can see your point the article does put him in the spotlight. I am presently doing the same thing and I wouldn’t tell a soul. I only have to make it about six months though. This guy is my idol! Just kidding seriously I typed in “living in my car” to make myseld feel better about the situation. And hey i guess I am not alone!

Reply to this comment

avatar 9 Anonymous

I am in total agreement with the “disclaimer” in the last paragraph; this sort of stunt could only be successfully pulled off in a warmer climate where it doesn’t snow or go below freezing for months. I also think he’s getting a lot of help from friends/strangers and also taking advantage of student benefits (free gym access, access to campus cafeteria or cheap food) to pull this off.

Reply to this comment

avatar 10 Anonymous

So that’s the key to film school – live out of your car! But, um, how does he get his film equipment to sets? That’s what I always had to use my car for – there would have been no room for me to live in my car, with all the film equipment!

Also, this wouldn’t work for me at my Northeast film school – too cold! Of course, I’m not about to add “you can live out of your car!” to the list of “Southern California Film School Advantages.”

Reply to this comment

avatar 11 Anonymous

Many people add a trailer to their car to store things. Have you seen the little RV’s that can be folded up,yet once unfolded, has a bed, kitchen, etc. It is pulled behind a regular car. I think they call them mini RVs.

Reply to this comment

avatar 12 Anonymous

He could probably afford to upgrade now. Maybe someone could sign him up for Pimp My Ride. They could hook him up with a stereo that has an LCD display and plays DVD and an XBox, and maybe a refrigerator and a nice swivel chair.

If he got this setup, he could probably go on like that for a few more years and have a huge nest-egg saved up.

Reply to this comment

avatar 13 Anonymous

I lived on a boat docked in SF for awhile, but it was basically like a small apartment (although a lot cheaper…)

Reply to this comment

avatar 14 Anonymous

I am currently living out of my car now. It’s not a truck; it’s a 2-door sports car, with almost everything I own in it. Luckily, I too, live in California, and sleep on the beach at night, when the cops don’t wake me up @ 1 am telling me to leave. When they do, i’m forced to sleep in it. I make it work. Hopefully i’ll get out of this rut by winter. Clifornia or not it gets **** cold out here!

Reply to this comment

avatar 15 Anonymous

i feel ya, ive just recently had to resort to sleeping in my truck,luckily i have a camper. But hopefully i wont have to live this way too long… just have to wait till i ship out to basic training(air force) lucky me,from one to the next.

Reply to this comment

avatar 16 Anonymous

oh ya and as for sleeping at the beach, i guess ill give that a try, not huntington, it cost 10 bucks to park, maybe newport or something, guy who sleeps at the beach what beach do you camp out at?

Reply to this comment

avatar 17 Anonymous

I am in Malibu. I recently bought a tent to sleep in. Its so much better than laying my blankets out right on the sand, plus you get more privacy. Odd thing? I may want to continue living here like this. Its great. I ‘volunteer’ at a cat and dog rescue and they pay me every now and then when they can. I am told it does not get THAT cold here- just the water does. I love it out here. Who knew that the result of a complete nervous breakdown could turn out so good?

Reply to this comment

avatar 18 Anonymous

I am thinking about living of my car. I didnt know you could sleep at the beach, your saying I could get a tent and sleep at Malibu beach every night? Where do you shower?

Reply to this comment

avatar 19 Anonymous

I have seriously thought about this, just taking a road trip.Obiviously, i live in buffalo,Ny and doing this year round would be suiside.Only problem is i have a small 93 sunbird convertiable.not too much room in the first place.

Reply to this comment

avatar 20 Anonymous

hey, if you still wanna road trip it iam heading out in a few wks to do the national park tour. ive got friends and family spread out and iam gonna make it happen. iam flying solo so a lil nervous but ive went coast to coast alone b4 anyways. hit me up if you wanna talk.

Reply to this comment

avatar 21 Anonymous

First off.. Cold climate is a no-no? I’ve spent months in remote cold climates living in a tent, no heater, just good gear.
I think one should get a gym membership if they were to do this, place to shower and get ready for work, plus you’d get really buff.
I think this is a great idea for people looking to make some changes in their debt quickly.

Reply to this comment

avatar 22 Anonymous

Hey I’ve been living out of my car off and on for the past year in northern Idaho. I can’t wait for spring to get here since this winter had some cold nights. We had about 2 weeks of “code red” storms. I thought I was going to die I was so cold, Still I am going to miss those nights once the extreme heat of summers on me. Right now, about 30-40 degrees is perfect weather for this homeless kid.

Honestly, showering has been my biggest problem during the past year. I’ve manage to take one every once in a while but I never thought about joining a Gym until reading about it on the net a couple days ago. And lucky me theres a 24hr Fitness right up the street from were I park.

I use Staples or Best Buy for Free Wifi. They block Myspace but I can still look things up. I own a little minivan and have been parking at Walmart in the same spot for a 2 months and have never gotten in trouble. There was even a finder bender right in front of my van once and a couple cops were walking around. I didn’t move, but I have sheets over my windows. Perhapes they just don’t care where I’m at or maybe they honestly didn’t notice me. Either way I’m getting pretty bold, I don’t even bother with my curtens some nights.

I think I’ve pretty much got living in my car down to an art, and I’ve finally got enough saved to get me an apartment, and I’m not sure I want to. I’ve had an apartment before, and its not that useful. If this Gym thing works out, I just might screw the idea of ever leaving my car and just keep improving it. I’ve been thinking of removing my Passanger seat and buying a few car batteries and a inverter. Let one run almost dead and then use my car to recharge it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 23 Anonymous

Homelessboy14,
Couples of tips and ideas:
The police knew what was up. You don’t appear to be a threat to anyone and unless a Walmart manager calls the police, they usually won’t waste the time.
For the summer days, see if that 24hr Fitness has a pool with lounge chairs nearby. I’d sleep there. If not, you may want to look into getting a generator and portable a/c unit. The generator can go up on the roof of your minivan and the a/c unit anywhere inside since most of these units cool up to 400 sf. A Yamaha EF1000iS generator weighs about 30 lbs and lasts on one gallon of fuel for 12 hours. From what I read it’s very quiet too. An Amcor ALTL12000E portable a/c unit will set you back around $500. You’d be looking at a total cost for both appliances with an extension cord of around $1,500 and whatever it costs for one gallon of fuel.
An inverter is good too. You can buy a jump starter for the dead car batteries. Hopefully you get enough time and power to operate a cooling unit. Make sure those six holes on the top of your car batteries are filled with water or they will dry out.
I hope your windows are tinted and get one of those sun visors to place across your entire front window.
I kind of have an edge of getting away with parking. I’m still living in my condo, but I have a PI license and can go up to a store manager and give him all my information. I’ll just tell him I’m looking for a stolen car. If he calls the police, all the police can do is run my license to prove I’m a PI. It’s illegal for the police to ask who a PI is investigating so they won’t go into detail. You may want to look into this idea and check your Division of licensing to get a PI license. Oh, and one last thing. You’re not homeless. Unless you sleep under a bridge or on a bench your vehicle is considered your home.

Reply to this comment

avatar 24 Anonymous

Great idea about becoming a Private Detective. However I just looked up the rules in Wisconsin where I live and you need to be employed by a Private Detective agency to apply. Could be different in other states…

Reply to this comment

avatar 25 Anonymous

I hope you’re not a 14-year old boy. Your advice is great but it breaks my heart to think a 14-year old is living in a vehicle.

Reply to this comment

avatar 26 Anonymous

I’ve been living out of my car for 2 1/2 months..
It’s ok only for saving money..saved 2,000.00 Minimum ..soon, I can get a penthouse and live plush

Reply to this comment

avatar 27 Anonymous

I lived in a Mitsubishi Eclipse for 6 months… saved up 20K. Had people try to break in to my car 3 times. Each time they ran off when they realized I was in the car. Still was a great way to save up cash. Two things for those who might try it. 1) you must keep a window cracked if the weather is even remotely warm or your windows will fog up and you could then get hastled. 2) NEVER decide to get a hotel room for the weekend. It seems like a good break, but will lead to more and more hotel stays. You might as well get an appartment. That’s what happened to me.

Also… I make 50k a year… this isn’t just a poor mans resource…

Reply to this comment

avatar 28 Anonymous

Last,
That’s true. I wish I made 50 grand. I bet I could plug away 200,000 in six years. Speaking of the clowns that tried breaking into your car, this may sound weird, but blow up dolls can protect your abandoned car at night. That little human-like shadow in the driver seat is all you need.

Reply to this comment

avatar 29 Anonymous

I’ve been considering living in my car for a while now. I have a new Honda Fit and the back folds down into a nice space. I lost my job almost 4mos ago and I am having no luck finding a new one! I live in FL and the job market here is terrible. My cash is dwindling and paying over $900/mo on rent and utilities is really eating it up fast. With the warm weather here and all the places to park, gyms to join, and everything I’m not far off. It may be a necessity soon. A lot of troubled times coming this year and possibly next for many people. Good luck to you all!

Reply to this comment

avatar 30 Anonymous

I really love the hints that are on this site. The prices are going up so high, that many people will be living in their cars, and washing up in the store washrooms,or the YMCA. Renters are having a hard time, but there is not a bailout for us.

Reply to this comment

avatar 31 Anonymous

I found this website by accident and then thought of a solution for many having financial problems these days. When my husband and I retired we wanted to camp at leisure without a time line or reservations for 2 months out west to recapture our youth. I can no longer camp in a tent since I have back and knee problems and cannot get up and down easily. We had a van. We took out the back seats. I bought 12 flip top crates from Costco and fit them in the space. I bought no-see-um screening from Campmor (It’s very cheap). I cut the screening to cover the side doors and back door leaving enough for hems. I bought hundreds of round magnets at Rag Shop and sewed them into the hems about 3 inches apart. This was how I attached the screening to the van. We had an old 4 inch thick foam mattress I cut to cover the crates in which we kept everything including our photographic equipment. I made 2 sheets to fit the foam mattress. We used no suitcases. We brought 2 pillows each and 2 sleeping bags. I put up heavy cord between the garment hangers to hold the car rechargeable Coleman lantern I used at night for reading. My husband bought pvc pipe which he attached to the roof rack on evenings where rain was forecast. If we had rain we put it over the extended pipes to keep the rain from coming in the doorways. We slept comfortably in Yellowstone down to 19 degrees. We had a blast. We only spent extra money on campgrounds at half rate using the golden senior pass. I am sure these suggestions would help someone to survive a period of time to pay off debt and get a new start. We came home to our residence renewed with the thrill of how little our trip cost us. We will be doing it again soon and save money to go on more expensive journeys to other places in the world ala elder hostel.

Reply to this comment

avatar 32 Anonymous

Nan of the Van
I forgot to mention that we put a very lightweight tarp over the PVC pipe. It looked a little like Chitty Chitty Bank Bang but lots of people came over to talk with us about our rig. I have often wondered whether or not anyone else tried this since 2003 when we took this trip We also took 5 two or 3 week trips to the East Coast and Canada. When we passed through Canadian customs, the fellow asked my husband if he planned to do some plumbing on our visit. He answered no but said we used it as part of our camping shelter.

Reply to this comment

avatar 33 Anonymous

Have anyone thought of living with a senior citizen in exchange for helping her/him out? I feel so ashamed to see that money is the reason,that some are living in vans, when others have spare rooms. I think there is a website her, where you can get free lodging for a night or months for helping out. I own a van also, but i WOULD HAVE TOMOVE TO AWARM CLIMATE AND GET A GYM MEMBERSHIP TO KEEP CLEAN . My rent and heating alone is about $1,050 per month, and I still have AOL, phone, food, gas, netflix (entertainment), and charity. I do work 10months for the school system , and I get a pension check. I am doing great, but if I getsick,then my little savings will
have to supplemrnt my pension. The rich have no idea how we struggle, but some how we make it.
I thank God for what I have overcome these almost 66 years.

Reply to this comment

avatar 34 Anonymous

I have thought about seniors helping out seniors. At 66 one is still young compared to seniors who need help. A Foundation sponsored by a group of rich people would pair seniors who need a nice home with seniors who need help (usually after 80 or so – maybe even 90) This way old seniors could stay in their homes instead of moving to Assisted Living or Nursing Homes – Good Grief. The foundation would do the background check and a match-up survey. I have known college students who lived with seniors, but problems arose when the student wanted to stay out all night or go away for a weekend.

Reply to this comment

avatar 35 Anonymous

How awesome are some of these comments and helpful suggestions. I am planning on moving to LA in October to (ironically) work for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Coalition. However, I still have monthly bills/debt. The coalition pay will not be enough to cover rent…ergo living out of my Ford escape for at least 6 months. I googled, “How to live out of your car” and this site came up. I love it. Thanks and I look forward to checking back in once the adventure begins. Scott

Reply to this comment

avatar 36 Anonymous

I thoroughly enjoyed your post #19 HomelessBoy…I got a few good tips and a couple of laughs. Thanks

Reply to this comment

avatar 37 Anonymous

Oh, yeah….how does one keep their cell phone charged while doing this?

Reply to this comment

avatar 38 Anonymous

I am about to go live in my car in an attempt to get out of debt. Both my phone and my internet are now wireless and mobile thanks to verizon. I plan to charge both my cell and my laptop by plugging them into the car via the cigarette lighter.
I also got a PO Box, and put all of my belongings in storage. The less you have in your car, the less chance there is of your stuff getting stolen.
I am going to try an last 6 months….well see.

Reply to this comment

avatar 39 Anonymous

I am a woman and was just laid off. I have a brand new SUV and a crummy studio apartment. The car payment wins out and I am getting rid of the rent so I will live in my car till I can save up enough money to feel comfortable. I have a dog so it will be a bit more difficult. I live in the north east so I will go to Texas in the winter where I used to live and the northeast in the spring and summer.

Reply to this comment

avatar 40 Anonymous

That is very similiar to the situation I am in. I got laid off because of the bad economy. I am recieving unemployment benefits but they are not enough to pay for both an apartment and a car – a car that I am still financing. I could not even consider giving up the car because that would have put a repo on my record and ruined my credit. A car will also help to make find a new job easier.
I have lasted one month now and doing okay. There is actually an element of adventure to it that I like. Also, not having a TV and a comfy couch means that I am now forced to get out into the world and be more active. I am healthier and have met new people. When I am bored I go to the park and play pickup basketball or go to the library. I would actually recommend this experience to others.

Reply to this comment

avatar 41 Anonymous

Its wonderful that you make it work out fine. I will be in my SUV full time by the end of May.

On using a wireless laptop, I need suggestions on the best places outside my car to use one. I have a desktop right now and when I am fulltime living on the road it will be with a laptop. I am not prepared yet to get a dual battery for my SUV but would like to use it at starbucks, etc. Any suggestions would be welcome.

avatar 42 Anonymous

Here is what i am doing. I got verizon wireless internet for my laptop and charge up at the coffeeshop. No problems.

avatar 43 Anonymous

MercPDX ,
Yeah, I would assume it should only take about a month and you’ll escape the life of living pay check-to-pay check.
No more dishes, house cleaning, lawn to cut, neighbors to bitch at you and hurricanes to destroy the place. I live in a condo. My neighbors are criminals, deadbeats, stereo blasters, and winers. I’m stuck on a rock that will never change. I always here songs and stories about the ghettos. Hey man, just get in your car and drive away.

avatar 44 Anonymous

Catherine Skrinak,
Good luck to you and your dog. It will work out. Try to land a job where you can work and have your dog tag along. There are portable a/c units for purchase that can keep your dog cool while you are at work, you’ll need a generator. Perhaps your job has a nice garage parking area and allow you access to an electrical outlet. If all else fails you can run the vehicle all day with the a/c cranked. Pull the driver seat up as far as you can and chain lock it to the steering wheel to prevent vehicle theft. Get dark tinted windows and an alarm. Don’t forget to walk your dog on breaks. There’s a lot of other ideas you can think of.

Reply to this comment

avatar 45 Anonymous

Steering wheels are too easy to cut. I use a length of very heavy log chain and padlock my clutch pedal with a heavy grade long shanked padlock to the steel frame of my seat. If the clutch is not pushed down, the truck won’t crank. With some automatics, if the brake pedal isn’t pushed all the way down, the car won’t crank either.

avatar 46 Anonymous

get a car charger for your cellphone or if you have a gym mebership plug it in at the gym while your working out.

soon i will be setting off on my own liveing in a car adventure. i live in wisconsin and my fiance is going to college in southern wisconsin so im following her down there i dont have a job currently but have a little money saved up for things ill really need i allready have a bunch of dry food (cereal is a life saver) i love the idea of getting a gym membership cuz i am a bigger guy and i could use a little excersise i hopefully wont be liveing out of my van (all seats are removed) for too long im guessing a month maybe two at the most but ill do it as long as i have too. so i thank you all for your great ideas and life lessons and respect every last one of you that have gone or is still going through this you are awsome peopls

Reply to this comment

avatar 47 Anonymous

I’m glad to know I’m not the only person considering this. Thanks for all the tips everybodY

Reply to this comment

avatar 48 Anonymous

This is awesome. This thread is recent, too. Makes me think we should make a car-living community, like an online forum =]

I lived in my car for 5 warm-nighted months, in 2007.
This year, 2008, it’ll probably be the same – I’ve been living in it since June, and October is when it starts to get really hard to stay warm. I’ve been working, and I too have trouble with keeping clean. I’m in Michigan, by the way. Already the nights are getting very cold.

It’s pretty rough since I don’t know anyone around here,
but the reason I’m doing it is to save money in order to be unemployed again for a while.
I’ll be moving back to where I know people, and hopefully I won’t have to pay to sleep the winter there and hopefully I can transfer my job.
My car is also terrible – it’s just difficult to start. I may get a new vehicle with my savings, hopefully a van – the most comfortable vehicle for carliving. Cars are so uncomfortable.

Hey! If you want to contact me, please do! I’m totally down with discussing car-living with you awesome folks.
[email protected]
Make sure the subject line says something like “saw your car-living post”.

Love and peace, oh my car-living brothers and sisters!

Reply to this comment

avatar 49 Anonymous

I’m bout to turn twenty and cant take living with my mother any more. I had one year away living on campuss at a university before i went broke and had to come back home and attend a Junior College. I want to get back to UNT but cant take another semester living at home. If my dad comes through and gives me his car, i plan too just hit the road. After my job at halloween superstore ends if i get this gig at hollywood video i hope to just leave. $40 a month or storage of my cloths and X for gas & however much the gym membership is & sleeping at wal-mart..its doesn’t matter its freedom…

Reply to this comment

avatar 50 Anonymous

Thumbs up Andy!!!It’s Good to see other people doing this by choice. As an avid backpacker it is only a matter of time before one questions,why the hell am I paying this much for shelter when we require so much less than what everyone thinks we need!

Reply to this comment

avatar 51 Anonymous

Great thread! I’ve had lots of experience living out of my car. I say living out of because I didn’t always sleep in it. If the weather is good then I find a safe spot (I’ve had good luck so far) and then sleep next to the car. Sleeping in a car really sucks but recently I got a pickup truck with a shell. I built a small wooden platform that I can store gear underneath and sleep on top with plenty of room. It’s really cool in a geeky way. I’m also a big time backpacker so I have pretty good gear like a warm bag and a small stove. I’ll take sleeping outside any night but I like having a ‘backup’ plan in case the *hit hits the fan.

Some things I’ve found useful:

When I roll into town I get a good town map (often for free at the information center). It will tell you where lots of things are. It’s good to get your bearings.

Junior colleges make for good shower spots. It seems that big universities have a check in desk while smaller schools don’t bother with that. I look like I know what I’m doing, carry a small bag and then take long, glorious showers.

Sleeping in church lots during the week and school lots during weekends or summers are easy.

Keep clean and tidy. It would be depressing to sleep in your own filth. Having a clean car gives a legit appearance.

Hope this helps. Good luck and peace to all.

Reply to this comment

avatar 52 Anonymous

Hi all! What great reading here! I do not currently live out of my vehicle, but I do travel a lot, mostly camping. Years ago I spent over a month travelling in a GMC Safari minivan. My friend made a loft. A full size mattress (no box spring) fits perfectly in the back. We had it just high enough off the floor to store clear, plastic storage containers underneath. I made curtains. I slept so well in that van, it was great. We made a lot of trips in that van. It was small enough to get off the beaten path, yet big enough I didn’t feel crowded. If you are roughing it single, a twin bed would give you so much more room. We made fitted screens to cover the side windows. Camping in the midwest and east, this is soooo necessary. Out west, it can get a little hot. Battery powered fans work well. Get a car charger for your rechargable batteries. They sell them at REI.
Many resorts, National Parks & Forests, State and County parks, hire folks to do general work. Some offer free camping or even dormitory style housing. Some resorts give free meals. There are many places to legally camp for free. The options are out there, even in the year 2008. You don’t have to stay put. Travel with the weather you like. Travel for months, stop for a month and work to save up more money to get out and travel again. Become a garbage picker or flea market hag. No one is forcing you to continue to live this debt ridden lifestyle. You are free!!! Life has no instruction booklet. You don’t need a house to put all that stuff in. You don’t need a fancy car to make you look happy. You don’t need a college degree to feel accomplished. Live life through experiences! Meet your fellow Americans. See the world around you. It (or you) may not be here tomorrow. Simplicity!

~*~Much love to you all~*~ Best wishes to those of you in hard times~*~Don’t give up hope~*~You are important~*~

Reply to this comment

avatar 53 Anonymous

What about an air mattress? I’ve been thinking about doing this to get rid of debt, as well. I’m a 17 year veteran of the mortgage business as a loan officer. However, with the crisis it’s been horrible. I just stopped paying my mortgage and credit cards out of survival. I don’t want to touch my retirement savings at the age of 50, so I’m not even thinking of that. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee and figure an inflatable mattress would work. I also have a gym membership at a 24 hour club, which I would use to shower and keep fit. It’s nationwide too! I figure it may be a year before I actually have to do this because the banks are letting people stay in their homes longer than usual. I will try to sell my home, but who knows how that will go in this market. Anyways, love this site and all the great suggestions. Best wishis to all!

TR

Reply to this comment

avatar 54 Anonymous

There’s surprisingly a lot of comments…
I too live in southern california, work and am a student. I rent a master bedroom in the suburbs. I am considering living out of my honda crv because it has fold-down rear seats and tinted windows. I could save $550/per month, not to mention gas. But, I am a girl and I guess that could be particularly more risky as far as safety. I have mentioned to my older sister and she said “no way!” and my ex-boyfriend initially said no way, but after hearing me out, didnt really seem to have any other good arguments left. :oP

Reply to this comment

avatar 55 Anonymous

yourmom,
I’m planning on doing this too if you read some of my posts. I went a little crazy writing to a lot of folks. I live in South Florida and if I take on this task I’ll probably head to the Florida Keys. I like the keys and there are a lot of places to pull over onto the side and relax. Finding a job is hard though and may be a big reason for a short departure to a new location.
Getting back to you: Don’t listen to the “No Way” shouters, especially ex-boyfriends. Do you realize that you’ll be saving more than $6,000 per year. Probably put that down on a new car or house.

Reply to this comment

avatar 56 Anonymous

Amen Henry David Thoreau!

Reply to this comment

avatar 57 Anonymous

I live in good ole’ COLD Connecticut. I have been working, but still technically am unemployed. My girlfriend has been doing more than her part to keep things together, but I haven’t been able make up for the debt I’ve created. We have to go our separate ways. Still together, just not living together, you know?

But anyway, I have a dodge caravan with removable seats. Im short so I got all leg room i need. My problem is going to be heating and storage for my clothes and tools. I was thinking about using my friends portable propane grill for heat. Those little cans are fairly cheap. I have a power inverter for all my electronics up to 75w. The gym membership seems like a fantastic idea for hygiene.

If I do all this to live out of my van, where would i be able to keep my tools? I have about $5000 dollars worth of carpentry tools that I need to make my money. I cannot sleep on My miter saw.

Any body have any ideas for me? Any suggestions will help greatly.

Reply to this comment

avatar 58 Anonymous

Would there be room to put a rack on top of the car with a locked tool box? That might work. I am not sure how big the dodge caravan roof is but its an idea.

Reply to this comment

avatar 59 Anonymous

I can’t wait to get my license, so I can live out of my car. Living out of a car seems so awesome and stress free. I live in a house now and can’t stand it. I’ve lived in many houses with different family members. I just cannot not seem to get along with any of them. Maybe its me, or maybe their all just crazy and irrational. You can’t put a price on freedom. LIving out of your car is absolute freedom. No one telling you what to do. No one to fight with. No mortgage, or bills. Nothing to tie you down. It’s a perfect idea for a financial conscious introverted individual who is opposed by commitments and likes to travel. I spend all my time at the gym and at starbucks, I might as well live out of my car. I wouldn’t be doing anything different except sleeping in a peaceful place under an oak tree. It’s paradise, I can’t wait!

Reply to this comment

avatar 60 Anonymous

Jamie,
Don’t forget the parks either. You can sleep on a hammock or anything you would do at the beach. What are you? About 18 now? I’m 38. Look at it this way, if you stick with this plan until you are my age you’ll be able to retire in a nice place. Never have to stay at the same-lame job with the nutty boss, maybe take a few months off per year and travel around the nation. Did you get your license? Try looking into getting a National Drivers License.

Reply to this comment

avatar 61 Anonymous

National? What’s that? Never heard of a national license for driving a car.

Reply to this comment

avatar 62 Anonymous

Jamie, its funny how you make living out of your care seem so glorious. But, i hope your experience goes the way you want it to. But, dont forget your gonna have to pay for gas, and since u live in the car it will probley be your most expensive bill.
-P.S what kind of car do you have?

Reply to this comment

avatar 63 Anonymous

awesome site.. i have been staying in my minivan all summer. i am planning on putting in the winter also. i spent a winter 17 years ago living outside in alberta canada.. yes, it really does get to -85degrees celsius with the windchill. some tips that i used to use. if possible. work and stay awake and alert at night. sleep in the day. its warmer and safer. that of course is if you don’t have the protection of a shelter(vehicle).. i am in calgary for the time being. tonite is a balmy -8 degrees celsius. i spend my evenings on the net. i also stream my tv programs with a site called ovguide. i can watch anything i like. its all free. starbucks allows you 2 hrs free per coffee card that you maintain a $5.00 balance on. but any staples or bestbuy will provide wifi. i keep warm with a propane heater only til i bed down. i won’t risk sleeping with it. i use an air matress on top of a couple of blankets. i then put a blanket or two on top of it. then i put a duvet on top of me. i put some clothes inside my bed to keep them warm for when i get up. but i sleep nude. i use my own breathe to keep it snug and warm. i do wear a toque on my head. i use a little propane burner to cook and i keep a cooler that i fill with snow to save on the cost of ice. i charge my cell and batteries for my lights while i am driving. although my lights are all LED for there battery saving qualities. my propane heater by coleman is awesome. it makes life in the van more homelike. just a note. keep clean and shaven. look after your teeth. wash daily any way possible. it makes it more like the life you are used to. don’t ever wear your shoes in the back where you are living and never get a chill. it will be almost impossible to get warmed up completely. remember why you are sleeping outdoors in your vehicle.. its a choice. not a cercumstance..have fun with it. but don’t tell anyone.. it will come around and bite you in the ass. keep hydrated even in the winter months. it will actually keep you warm..i always make a hot drink of cup-a-soup or hot chocolate just before i go to sleep. it warms me and the van.. life is good.. lol..any questions i can be contacted at [email protected]…. i am not a bum. i just started my business this year. its called total exterior and i am making out like a bandit. the reason for the van experience. i was living in vancouver, bc. but i am working in calgary, ab. i will head back in another month.

Reply to this comment

avatar 64 Anonymous

I know people, who rent a storage space for their vans, boats and cars, and at night sleep in the storage area. They use the Vector portable lamp.
Msany eat at soup kitchens and volunteer there to get as much food as they want, and normally can shower at th shelter. I feel we need to have dormitories for people down on their luck. America can spend money on the world, yet cannot help her own, and that wil destroy us. America and Americans first!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 65 Anonymous

I’m in Chicago. Nice to see you can actually do this in the winter. My problem is that I have a dog too.

Reply to this comment

avatar 66 Anonymous

I llived in my car for 6 months last year. I have 3 paid for townhouses. I lived with my dog. He loves it.
I keep his own water cup in my armrest—you know—-One cup for me, one for him. He doesn’t drink my water and I don’t drink his. I put a survival blanket on the floor of the front of the car and he sleeps on it. On really cold nights I put down a second one for him and kind of curve it around him and put a blanket over that. He’s toasty. Sometimes at 3 am he needs to pee. Then I have to extricate myself from my own survival blanket, other blankets, and reclined car seat.

I take showers at the health club on Saturdays—they offer a free yoga class on Saturdays and I go to that and the shower and facilities are included. I get week passes to try new health clubs all the time.

I bought an HP Mini—charges on a car battery and holds for 9 hours. Never runs down my battery even if I leave it on for an hour. Hotspots are EVERYWHERE—McD’s, Forever 21, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and more. Certain places in town….I know them all.

My blow-dryer and hair-curler plug into the cig lighter and away we go.

I am self-employed and hate working and cant afford a “real” vacation. This year I am thinking of driving to Alaska in the summer sometime. Probably I will bring my tent—but maybe not.

Love car life. Eliminates heating and cooling bills, garbage bills, provides anonymity.

Reply to this comment

avatar 67 Anonymous

I’ve been on the road since September, living mostly in the car, breaking out the tent at certain points and being lucky enough to stay with family in the hottest areas of our fair country. Traveling alone – which is kind of atypical of a chick. Stupid, crazy, and exciting, definitely.

WalMart parking lots have been a blessing; you wouldn’t believe all the folks living out of their cars in Albuquerque!

Also, if you’re a potential car-dweller, with a dream of heading west, you wouldn’t believe all the beach bums in Cali. Transients in VWs. Amazing. Though sleeping on the beach is probably not one of your safer ventures.

Winter’s a-coming, and I’m headed north… scary.

As for showers: River-bathing, wash-houses on public beaches, and shelling out the money to a State Park…but not all State Parks have bathroom amenities! Check before you pay; Joshua Trees’ got no showers, duh, mind your deserts people! Haven’t even broken out the solar shower, that was a wash. Not kosher for a WalMart parking lot. Good luck folk! Stay warm!

Reply to this comment

avatar 68 Anonymous

ive been living out of my car (4 door mitsibushi mirage) with all my clothes and personal items for about a month. i live in west texas and its pretty cold at night. i try to stay up all night at 24 hr spots and sleepp for a few hours in the warm morning. shit is not fun at all

Reply to this comment

avatar 69 Anonymous

You should definately invest in a -30 degrees rated sleeping bag. It will keep you warm enough.

Reply to this comment

avatar 70 Anonymous

Wow—I stayed in Austin last year and it got down to 19 F. Go to the camping store and get those $7
blue on one side and foil on the other survival blankets….I have 3. One for me and two for my dog as I put the one on the floor in the car and then I curve the other around him (see previous post!)

On top of the foil I have 2 quilts…..real cozy.

Reply to this comment

avatar 71 Anonymous

everyone wanting to trade spots with me (house for a car) lets do it. i turned 21 a couple weeks ago, great gift. im to embarassed to ask my family for money to pay off everything and move. trying to just gett a fast food job for at least one paycheck

Reply to this comment

avatar 72 Anonymous

I live in my van and have a blog posted at http://www.faliaphotography.com .. I have been trying to provide lots of tips for anyone interested in living in their vehicle :)
Sonja

Reply to this comment

avatar 73 Anonymous

To all of you above who think that living in a car is probably just for publicity, not a sensible way to be frugal, and can’t be done in cold climates – you are completely wrong. Living in a vehicle can be a terrific experience, can definitely be done in cold climates (ask some full-timers in the yahoo groups!), and is a smart way to get ahead. Don’t think that you have to listen to society and the mainstream and live in a house, paying rent or a mortgage. Living in a vehicle is actually very sensible. And if you think it’s not, you are being very close minded.

Reply to this comment

avatar 74 Anonymous

Anonymous,
EXACTLY!!! I’m still living in my crappy condo in a bad area. It’s time to ditch. I love my car. I can blast my tunes, relax and go anywhere I want to go. I’m gonna’ go for it!

Reply to this comment

avatar 75 Anonymous

how the hell is living a car sensible??? maybe if you’re a bum. i will never live like this again once i get back on my feet

Reply to this comment

avatar 76 Anonymous

Until you have money to pay cash for a house living out of a car is sensible. If you ask me paying on a mortgage is not sensible even if you can get a fix rate. If you don’t have the cash for it don’t make the mistake of getting a lender and paying interest, because your just going to get more and more in debt. So unless you want to be saying for 30 years I owe I owe it’s off to work I go I would recommend living out of your car until you have the cash for a house. I would rather live out of my car for 30 years debt free and pay cash for a house, then live out of a house and have to pay interest and be in debt. The money that you are paying interest on can be invested and multiplied instead of being thrown away. Living out of a vehicle is not only sensible, it is effective and efficient in getting ahead and making smart financial decisions.

Reply to this comment

avatar 77 Anonymous

Don’t forget that you will have to pay real estate taxes if you own a house. In some places it is not cheap.

Reply to this comment

avatar 78 Anonymous

I’ve lived in my car and now a small converted bus for years. Back at the start of this year I started a small web site with the express idea of providing free useful and practical information for people living in cars or vans. Living in a van is so much easier than living in a car. You can live in a car though.

Recently, in response to a lot of emails I have recived, I wrote up a basic guide with tips, suggestions and advice for people living in their car. It is at http://www.carliving.info/101.htm. All the information there is compleatly free, there are no adds (I hate adds!) and there are plenty of links to other, more in depth pages on the site, also add free.

Another site that I think many people will find useful is run by a friend of mine from the Yahoo Vandwellers group. It is http://ParkFreeOvernight.com. It has a searchable database of places to live for free. Very useful for finding a no hassles place to park overnight.

It is also great to read that like myself, there are many people taking a concious descision to live in their cars or vans without beiing forced there by circumstances. It can be quite liberating being out on the road, travelling where you want, and taking your home with you for free. Life is a journey folks. Our anscestors were all nomads, so some of us have to continue the journey. :)

Stay safe folks.
Romana S.

Reply to this comment

avatar 79 Anonymous

Romana,
Great advice. Vans concern nosey folks though. They call the police with one thing on their mind and that’s crime. I was a PI and experienced this. The best place to park is to talk to a friend with a house. You’ll never be in his/her way by simply using the driveway.
What hasn’t been posted on this site yet is investment strategies. Everyone should deposit their money in a bank that pays a decent interest rate. Some credit unions pay monthly interest rates. Since this plan of living in a car will save 75 to 90 percent of the average income you will be saving a lot in time and receive interest on top of it. Never leave your money in the console. Cars catch on fire all the time or your vehicle can be broken into. Besides, even car people have bills too. Suppose you save up to $100,000 in five years. At 3% monthly interest you’ll never have to work again. Mutual Funds are okay as well. You can open one for around $2,500 and forget about it for ten years. IRAs and CDs too, which are things that most renters or house owners can’t do. For folks with children I’m sorry for. They need a house or apartment to suit their needs.
Unfortunately the Internet was introduced to the world in 1989 or I would have jumped on this idea after high school.

Reply to this comment

avatar 80 Anonymous

I’m so glad I came across this website. I have a new 2 door Ford Focus hatchback I’m still paying for. My life has turned around completely in the last year and I am in so much credit card debt and I don’t have a job. My unemployment benefits is not enough to rent a room, eat and pay my car. I need my car, I don’t want to lose it so I want to make sure I can afford the payments. I plan to lower my expenses to a minimum. I’m planning to shower and get ready for work at the gym and I’m going to rent out a storage unit for my clothes and other important things for $50.00. a month and I plan to get a P.O. Box for the “bills” to come in. I have a cell phone and I could always use a computer for free at the library. Thank goodness I live in Southern California so the weather will never get below freezing. I’m petite so sleeping in the back seat of my car is comfortable enough. The only thing I was a bit worried about is where to park with out being noticed. I read Walmart mentioned a couple of times in this website. The Walmart in my area is in a big shopping center with other stores surrounding it. I’m not sure if I could do that.

All I hear on the news is how companies are closing down and people are losing their jobs and homes right now so I guess this is going to become a growing trend soon in the States. I’m giving the building I live in my 30 days moving notice on January 1st, 2009 and I will be in my car beginning February 2009 until I get back on my feet again or maybe longer if it works out well. I don’t plan to tell anyone I know personally that I am doing this because I’m embarrassed but I know that I’m not going to let myself go. I will stay clean and fit thanks to my gym membership and everything will be okay.

Stay safe and good luck to all of you!

Reply to this comment

avatar 81 Anonymous

CLS, You’re doing all you can do. You don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing. I’d file bankruptcy and focus on paying for mostly your vehicle. A Ford Focus is great for living space. Place a sun visor across the front window and make sure the other windows are tinted. CA has nice weather to avoid running the engine to stay warm. Down here in Florida is just HEAT. I hope you got the job at the gym. Also try job service agencies. They can land you a desk job. Unemployment is not very much. As far as searching for a place to park at try the gym. Walmart is a hot spot for vehicle theft—-be careful. I saw on television that some Walmarts have spaces available for people living in their cars. It’s great for their business. Try a 24 hour grocery store. The parking lots are filled with silly folks who can’t even remember where they park and the employees are always out and about collecting shopping carts which is good for detouring crime. Another good place to park is a rest area. You’ll never be bothered there and a lot of these places have armed security. Hotels too. If you are ever asked by authorities to leave, no problem. Tell the police you work long shifts and want to get some sleep before hitting the road. Just search for a new parking area in a different city if all else fails. If you get a basic 9-5 job that pays just above minimum wage; in about two years from now you should have about $20,000 saved. Look at the bright side: You WON’T be living pay check to pay check. Good Luck!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 82 Anonymous

Here are some good tips (sorry if they’ve already been mentioned!)

Get one or two extra car batteries (or backup power batteries like this one) and store them in a plastic bin somewhere in your car, wire them up to a solar panel and mount that on the truck/van roof (they sell these at most auto parts shops for less than $100 ie. this is a high voltage example, just google solar battery charger at google shopping, there are many options including dash mounted “battery maintainers”). Note, it does not always have to be completely sunny for these panels to work.

Next, plug an electric blanket (with a cigarette lighter or other adapter) into your one or two spare car batteries, this will keep you warm and not kill you with fumes or lack of oxygen. Here is a good one.

As many have already said, get a membership to a gym, potentially 24 hour fitness so you can visit and use the facilities whenever you want. Make friends there and stay healthy and active by visiting each morning.

Spend your spare time working or hanging out at the library, make friends, read books, use the free wifi.

Get a car alarm, keep your car clean by visiting the “do it yourself car wash” with the spray hose that takes quarters. Possibly keep a stun gun or pepper spray (or bear spray) in your car with you. Add one way mirror, mesh, or dark tint to the inside of your camper topper and park at Wal-Marts or campgrounds. Maybe offer to rent the driveway space at a friends house – don’t abuse the system! For those of you with truck toppers, try to enter into the bed area using the pass through window of the cab, that way you don’t draw unnecessary attention to what you’re doing. Park in well lit areas where other people may be present, if you can’t afford a real car alarm get the fake red LED flashing kit (this one is solar powered and shock sensitive) this one is a bit cheaper.

Here is an interesting article about “truck camping” and caving where people build shelves in the back of their pickups and then mount a pad or mattress above for sleeping:

Own a cell phone or track (pay by the minute) phone for safety, have a first aid kit and warm clothes available or a metallic survival blanket. Don’t ever gamble with your spare money, open a ROTH IRA and save what you can (ask about it at your bank or credit union). Put a fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm in your car as well as a portable fire extinguisher (not sure renters insurance will cover you in car).

I’ll let you know more as my adventure unfolds. Good luck to all! Be caring towards others in these difficult times, be safe and healthy!

Reply to this comment

avatar 83 Anonymous

You’re on the right track Creative Living. I would suggest omitting the campers unless you are planning on living with others. Cars can go anywhere. I was a private investigator in Florida and could never come up with a way of keeping cool in my car. I had to keep the engine running which sparked attention to my presence. The car has just about all you need but facilities. The 24 hour gym membership is a great way to go. Be prepared for people walking by to report a vehicle with its engine running, lights on or a suspicious person in the parking lot. I’m sure you and everyone else will face these situations.

I forgot to mention that I’m a volunteer firefighter, but although my fire station has all the facilities I’m afraid I’ll be in the way. There are paramedics at my department who live there and make a very nice income.

Reply to this comment

avatar 84 Anonymous

PREDATOR NATION: AVOID THE SILK TRAPS; LIVE IN YOUR CAR AND SAVE YOUR MONEY!

FACT # 1 = If 80% of your pay check is eaten up by bills like rent and utilities you are living in a silk trap!…

Your landlord and others are using you to enrich themselves…

As long as you continue to live in these “silk traps” – you will always be broke!

Don’t be a sucker live in your car and save that money!

fact # 2 = Get a cheap storage unit to store most of your stuff.

fact # 3 = Get a gym membership: to allow you to take showers.

Fact # 4 = Buy a cheap truck on craigslist or ebay.

Fact # 5 = Do not tell anyone that you live in your truck…especially women…they don’t get it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 85 Anonymous

Hey, this woman will be living out of her SUV soon and will be enjoying it.

:-)

Reply to this comment

avatar 86 Anonymous

seriously now I think there are more women living in cars, vans and the like than you would think. And a lot of us are not so young. After all women represent the larger percentage of those living in poverty. I think we’re just better at looking like we’re not homeless. I’ve moved up in the world and now have a van but I’ve lived in a car before. Hostels, gyms and public pools are good for showers. I have a degree and have had professional jobs but I think it’s crazy to spend all of your life working for things. There really is a way of living well without a house.

Reply to this comment

avatar 87 Anonymous

Dont tell anyone, “especially women?” “They don’t understand??” give me a break. I know several female vandwellers and tons of women that want to be. I live in a van and love it. I am a woman. I agreed with everything else you said, but that woman comment made me roll my eyes.

Reply to this comment

avatar 88 Anonymous

Hey, is that Sonja from the Vandwellers list and Falia Photography? You tell him girl! Women can live in vans too? :)

Reply to this comment

avatar 89 Anonymous

hey Romana! Yup it’s me, I’ve just gotta defend vandwelling for all of us women that do it! :)

Reply to this comment

avatar 90 Anonymous

Okay Sonja, I stand corrected. Maybe my generalization was too broad but I made that statement after listening to the following incident on the radio:

A concerned female called the popular NPR radio show, CAR TALK: She said that she had just discovered that her college boyfriend sleeps in a van…she wanted to know…what was ‘wrong’ with him and whether she should tell her mother. When this young man told her that he sleeps in his van, he must have thought that she would keep it to her self, instead she got on the radio and told the whole world.

It is obvious that some people…MEN AND WOMEN don’t get it… it is a predatory system and the only way you can save any money is by swimming against the current….but these suckers would rather be forever broke…. they want to keep up appearances even though they don’t own and will never own the expensive houses and cars that they claim to ‘own’…they are trapped in a silk web of predatory leases, mortgages and rent payments.

Reply to this comment

avatar 91 Anonymous

I agree with Eric. But it’s not only women you have to worry about. It’s men too. People have an image of someone that doesn’t have a home as a dirty, tangled hair alcoholic drug addict panhandling in the street. I am far from that stereotype. I’m an attractive girl fit girl. I work out 6 days a week. I eat healthy, dress nice and have a new car. I am going to start living out of my car as of February 2009 so I can pay off the wealthy bankers that just got a bail out for my $30,000.00 debt plus all the extra finance charges and late fees that I have accumulated in one year for lack of payment. Times have changed and I am not making what I use to make so the only alternative I have is to live out of my car so that I can pay them off and be debt free.

I have decided that I’m not going to tell my boyfriend. He doesn’t have to know because he’s in jail right now fighting a case where he has been wrongfully accused of something. I feel guilty that I’m not going to tell him what I plan to do but I can’t do it. Specially after reading what Eric said about the radio caller.
People don’t react well when they hear you don’t have a home. He doesn’t need to worry about me and I’m also embarrassed to let him know that it has come to this. He has his own stress right now.

I’ve had 3 roommates in the past and I’ve been robbed all three times. There’s always problems and headaches that I rather spare myself. I rather sleep in my car and save the money.

Reply to this comment

avatar 92 Anonymous

I’m in the same boat and thinking about living out of my car too. I suggest YOU might want to get a 24-hour fitness membership and use their facilities. Plus, you can work out too to stay in shape. Good luck to you—-be safe!

Reply to this comment

avatar 93 Anonymous

I lived in my truck for about five years in the 90’s. In Connecticut {where I’m from} I lived all summer until Christmas, then I went down to Texas. I had a pick-up truck. Before you buy your truck, make sure you can stretch out full-length in the back. I put up curtains out of burlap, secured the gate on the cap with a chain.I had a matress, at community centers you can take a shower for a couple of bucks, I worked as a temp and a day laborer.You can sleep in and around college campuses easy because they expect cars with out of state plates and they veiw sleeping in ones car as sophmoric youthful stunt and are tolerant. The key is do loiter after work at the park or where-ever until you want to go to bed, say around 9;30 PM, then you sail into your spot, park, and then get out and take a long moment to make sure no-one is watching, then zoom into the back, tie up the chain, and Presto, another rent free night. You can use a wide-mouth detergent bottle to urinate and I’ve discovered you can defecate into a double plastic shopping bags, you know, one inside the other, and then tie them off, enclose in another bag, repeat. This can be left in any trash-can. I saved alot of money though at the time I also had some behavioral problems and a signifigant drinking problem. All the same, it was a mobile way of life that suited me at the time. Look around the city, its build to be accessed in your vehicle, why not take it a step furthur and just live in the damn thing?

Reply to this comment

avatar 94 Anonymous

Why would anyone have to take a big dump in a bag when you working and you are a member of a 24 hour gym? The circumstances are not the same Franklin.
From what I read here, this site is for people that have decided to live in their car to save money not people that want to be drunk and high all day and do nothing with their life.

Reply to this comment

avatar 95 Anonymous

notice he said five years in the 90s, wat year was this posting 2009? and he also said he had problems and worked through them then, so this is a supportive statement of wat everyone has been talking about.

Reply to this comment

avatar 96 Anonymous

When I was getting back on my feet after another back injury and had a little $10 an hour job in 2005, my living arrangements were sold. I couldn;t find an apartment that would take pets in the range I could afford. I have a fifteen year old mini poodle. For five months I would rotate sleeping in my car and checking in to a Motel 6 about four nights per week. Since my car was known to the personnel at the Motel 6, I just parked in adjacent spaces on car nights and nobody said boo about it, even the cops who patrolled the lot nightly.

Being a Volkswagen Cabriolet, it was very cramped for the dog and I to sleep with the place being packed with bags, clothes, pillows, ice chests and so forth. But I managed. The dog was more upset about it more than I was. He likes to go “home” and sleep.

Now, several years later I had a decent job and got a large sedan. But all of a sudden I’ve lost what was to be a good job with the economy and have re-applied for unemployment extension from a stint last year. I just will not be able to afford rent and my car payment, insurance, cell, etc. I moved into this studio apartment the beginning of the year and now I’m thinking about returning to the car option for a domicile for a while.

My stuff is in storage. The Grand Marquis is a lot roomier than a “rabbit”. Back to the Motel 6 for a few nights a week to give us both a good rest, iron some clothes, and feel “normal” for a night or two.

Wal-Marts lots are good if they allow it. I also parked in a Target lot some nights, out of the way and there were overnight stockers’ cars and nobody bothered me. I have two sets of those folding silver/black shades for he window and will need to get a couple more. They’re easier than a curtain rod and blackout cloths.

I’m also thinking about a tent and one of those blow-up mattresses to try camping which I love and miss anyway. We’ll see. I think this is going to be a growing trend as we see the economy worsen.

Reply to this comment

avatar 97 Anonymous

It is a shame to read how average people have to pay hgh rents for a small apartment. There is not any bailout for renters, and with people losing homes, the rental market is gourging people!!! They make you pay for water besides the rent. I am ready to write McCann and ask may I housekeep one of his homes.He has 7 or more, I am willing to housesit, since my rent takes most of my SS check!! I worked very hard all my life and I am not poor or rich, but with the rising prices, I may have to put everything in storage and volunteer to live at a homeless shelter. I have some savings, but I am using it to supplement my SS and a part-time job. The people shipping jobs overseas and bringing in foreign workes should lose all their money to Bernie Madeoff. He made off with the crooks money…lol One rich woman said she was down to living in one home…She had to sell three. Poor baby!!!!!

Hire Americans and bring our jobs back,or there will not be an American,and the parasites will return to their own country.WE CANNOT PROTECT THE WORLD.

Reply to this comment

avatar 98 Anonymous

I live in my car i have a toyota paseo and frankly im loving it had only planned to do so for a few months and now its almost a year i pass out on the drivers seat take martial art and work full time of course using my brothers gym to 24hour fitness sure its doable with a little help. Defenetly mad maxing my car now because of it lol though my racer mentality keeps me to pack light have one luggage in the trunk but those really large flat ones that fold like a briefcase never been asked by police if i was living in car. As for what is vital is iphone and cigarette lighter to power small electronics but frankly i pack light keep busy and lounge at cemetary or friends house from time to time as time goes on one learns the tricks of the trade only have 2 locations i know i wont get rolled up on. My work and a small residential parking lot next to offices by friends hous. i feel like the road warrior……

Reply to this comment

avatar 99 Anonymous

I”m going to be living in my car soon the economy is dead and its cold cold cold here in Iowa I was homeless when I was a kid in Florida,but this is going to suck bad. I can handle it there are just NO jobs whatsoever here in the midwest not even McDonalds is hiring anyone. I should just move south again it was almost fun being homeless when I lived in Florida always something to do, but here its a shit hole why I’ve been here 11 years is beyond me all the factories are closing and everyone is getting laid off its madness…..

Reply to this comment

avatar 100 Anonymous

Move to a warm area, if living in your car. You could freeze to death. Live with a group, that helps the homeless, as an unpaid staff member.

Reply to this comment

avatar 101 Anonymous

You are not alone, but this is when van living people should rent a house,and live like the foreigners. They live 20 or more to a house, and they normally work 16 hours a day, so they sleep in shifts. They are not living in vans. It is safer when honest people can share living space all over America and the world. I hope I never have to do it, but my rent is getting to take more of my income. Dishonest people is why I do not have a room-mate, and my personality. At times I just want QUIET! I get that living with God..
We are never alone. Sometimes a storefront is cheaper than rent, and you could run a used bookstore, clothing, or whatever in the front, and live in the rear. Many newcomers to this country have done that, and doing it now.

Reply to this comment

avatar 102 Anonymous

good luck on finding those honest people/ who will not steal from you

Reply to this comment

avatar 103 Anonymous

I keep just about everything I own in my SUV and only bring items inside as necessary. Even the most dishonest roommate could steal little more than a box of pasta or maybe a pillow from me.

Reply to this comment

avatar 104 Anonymous

I recommend you get a good sleeping bag. I found a Mummy Slumberjack Sleeping bag that warms you up against 0 degrees cold. It really works. I only feel the cold when my nose peeks out.

Reply to this comment

avatar 105 Anonymous

I am very happy that I came across this site. I am an attorney from Washington, DC and had recently lost my government job last September. I decided to relocate so I drove to Los Angeles, CA not knowing a soul out here. I have been living in my car for the past 3 weeks. At first I wasn’t sure where to go in Los Angeles, then I decided to go close to UCLA. I figure hanging around a university would probably be my best best. The only problem is that campus police ticket hard on that campus so I ended up parking a few blocks away from the campus at a local recreational park. I haven’t been bothered by police or parking enforcement which is a good thing. I have a BMW 525i so unfortunately it’s not as comfortable as an SUV or truck would be but I guess it works for now. I think probably the hardest part is just not knowing anybody in the area. It would defintely help. I do look forward to the time when I get back on my feet though. I defintely have a new outlook on homelessness.

Reply to this comment

avatar 106 Anonymous

Hey PositiveBro, how’s it going in LA? I’m thinking about doing the same thing, just driving to LA and scraping by on odd jobs here and there. I’d be really interested to know how you’re doing.

Reply to this comment

avatar 107 Anonymous

Hello ER,
It has been very interesting since the last time I had posted on here. I have been here in Los Angeles for 3 months now, still living in my car. I had to move the car twice. I had to move the car from the recreational park that I use to park at because workers there caught on to what I was doing and decided to call the police. Believe me, it is not fun waking up to see a police officer with his gun pointed at you. After about nearly an hour dealing with them, they figured out that I was really a good guy trying to make it and told me it would be better to park in the parking lot at the VA hospital. I thought that was a good idea since I am an ex-marine. Well that lasted for a week until the federal police saw me and told me that I couldn’t sleep in my car on the lot and had to go. But, they did tell me of a very safe spot to park the car where it would not be bothered by LAPD or the Feds. It is near Brentwood, CA right outside the VA compound. Actually there are several other people living in their vehicles there as well. I actually got to meet a few of them and they are really cool people. I have been here ever since and do not have any trouble with police or parking enforcement. Also, there is a building right across the street where I can clean up and nobody even knows. I do still go to the UCLA campus to take showers, workout, or use their computers. Anyone can be a member at the gym on campus where it costs about $40 for the whole semester. I did get help from the state so that I could eat better. I was able to get the EBT card which has about $300 per month for food. Now, I will tell you, this really isn’t all that easy. You do, however, get use to it, but you just got to keep striving for better things. I am hoping that soon I will be able to get back into a house or apartment, however, I am very grateful that I have my car, because living on the street would probably be a bit too much for me.
Good Luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 108 Anonymous

I am grateful to have found this site and have found most of the comments to be quite useful. I have been unable to find work for four months now and have been considering living out of my car to save any remaining money in the bank for just the bare necessities. I have a private mailbox already as I had moved out of my apartment to live with family. However, that situation isn’t working well because the quarters are just too close and we are taking that stress out on each other. Most of my stuff is stored with other family already and I only have the bare basics with me now.

What I did not see here were any comments on living out of a car when you have a pet. My cat is almost 11 years old and I would not want be willing to give her up as I can still feed her and take care of her basic needs. Does anyone have any hints for pet owners? And no, there is no family member that would be willing to take her. Thanks.

Reply to this comment

avatar 109 Anonymous

I have been doing this with one or two or more cats for several years now. I have not gone straight down through the entire website. I just read your comment now and none of the comments are dated or organized in any way. We need a more organized web site. I would highly recommend getting pet insurance. Pet Plan. If you want more ideas on pets, just ask.

Reply to this comment

avatar 110 Anonymous

Awesome awesome site. I was really surprised to find ALL the comments about this subject. It makes tons of sense to do this especially in the current economic situation. But regardless of the economy, it seems like people who live out of a vehicle are fairly happy with it and get along well. I suppose it offers a certain amount of freedom and probably a lot of satisfaction in knowing you aren’t tied down to a mortgage.

Reply to this comment

avatar 111 Anonymous

I have been living out of my Pontiac Grand Am for a few months now and I am actually enjoying the freedom, but i think my location may not be one of the best. I live in the town of Saluda, North Carolina, population 568. Almost everybody knows everybody else by reputation if not name. I’m 17 and got kicked out of my house because it was either me or my dad, and he owns the house. I am still attending school and have recently learned that i can actually attend college, an achievement i had already discarded as a possible future. while this is all fine and dandy, it doesn’t change the fact that i’m a homeless person. This town has alot of drop out kids and illegal aliens outside of the city limits, so job searches have been utterly fruitless, and i have found myself resorting to odd jobs for either money or things like food. there is a local library with internet access, however. The biggest problem I encounter is just finding a place to park at night. Staying in an open place for more than a night or two warrants suspicion as most people know who drives what. Then I had a revelation, and drove out to a nice little wilderness spot where I can enjoy every evening beneath the stars. This life is hard to accept at first, but when I started to get used to it, and thinking logically about my choices, even as a homeless person, I found that I did, in fact, enjoy this new life. I have complete freedom to do what I please. My car is a little uncomfortable, as it is tiny and i’m pushing six three, but i got used to it and it now embodies a sense of comfort that only home can. I’m still thinking about getting a van though, as i have accumulated alot of little things that add up and do not quite fit in there anymore. If i do get a van, a mattress will be one of my first missions. Right now i sleep with my down comforter and carhart jacket, and i don’t have any complaints. I would not reccomend this lifestyle to anybody that has joint or muscle problems. I feel like an old man every morning as i get out of my home and stretch out and hear all of my joints cracking. It may not be the easiest or healthiest lifestyle, but I love it, and may consider making this a permanent deal, even after I finish school.

Reply to this comment

avatar 112 Anonymous

Living in South Carolina as you do, I was wondering on how you deal with the summer heat at night. I am also thinking of relocating back to Texas where I was very happy but I know it is miserable and hot in the summertime.

Reply to this comment

avatar 113 Anonymous

Food for thought. One thing I don’t understand though. Rent is expensive but some people here are talking about how they couldn’t pay their rent, and cell phone, etc. Doesn’t it make more sense to get rid of every unnecessary bill (cell phone, internet, etc) before giving up a home? When I was on a very low income I found a very small studio flat and simplified everything else in my life – didn’t have a TV (no TV bills), didn’t have the internet (you can use library computers for free), didn’t have a cell phone, but walked to my friend’s flats for entertainment. The one thing (I personally) think you need is running water, I can cope with no electricity but not no water!!!! You can eat very cheaply if you stick to very simple foods, have a fridge (if you keep the electricity) and make everything in bulk and store it. For some bills the expenses will be more in a car (such as food, and also needing a gym membership). I can understand avoiding houseshares. I was a lodger for 5 months and I would rather have stayed in my car, it was HORRIBLE. Having said that some houseshares do work. Either you have to find genuinely OK people or people who keep themselves to themselves. I just don’t like the thought of people having to live in their cars, having said that it’s better than a hostel and the problems that come with that. As for me, well, my life turned around when I managed to land a better paid job and then had some pay rises, it’s double what I used to be on. But funnily enough I don’t think I’m any happier. Different problems replaced the money problems I had before. Good luck to everyone.

Reply to this comment

avatar 114 Anonymous

Give up my internet and cell phone?? NNNNO WAY! Maybe if I lived in Alaska or something.
I also suppose it matters what type of car you have. When I was broke and living in an apartment with no amenities, I felt trapped in from the outside world. Living in my car has been liberating and going to the gym is making me healthier. Also, with my internet and cellphone, I can look for jobs!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 115 Anonymous

That’s the problem, when you live in an apartment (or cabin, in my case) with no amenities, you do not stay in it during the day, or you will feel trapped. Internet is available free at local libraries, stores, and restaurants, so paying for it is pointless. I keep most of my possessions in my truck, not my cabin, as I am not trying to make the cabin a permanent home.

Reply to this comment

avatar 116 Anonymous

The government is looking to tax the internet. So all those wonderful free websites might be gone. Look this issue up online and sign some peititions against the Internet being taxed.

Another problem is that all kinds of businesses are putting passwords on their internet access. At least three businesses that had free wifi in the past year in the town I park in put passwords on their internet. Including the town public library! The library will not let you see the password. Only their staff members can put the password in your computer. 9-5 Monday through Saturday! The other businesses won’t give you a password unless you purchase something that day, the password is not good the next day. I am a regular customer at one such store, and the owner bastard will not give me a password even if I had several purchases that week, and not that day.

And they are putting more and more restrictions. It just troublesome and oppressive, harming good people, because we are poor. Real theives could bypass their common security systems. It is just oppressive against the poor and lower working class. We are just a plague against Humanity, like sin. Ship up or ship out!

Some well-to-do-people (especially older women) just despise seeing the poor anywhere. they complain about it to the top heads (board members and business owners) if they see the poor shit hanging around parking lots just sitting in the vehicles useing the internet. they want to oppress and bleed money from you, force you to live in a place and pay the super corporate rapists for all those ridiculous things you do not need and do not want the ecological consequences of.

I always ask people, “May I sit in the parking lot after hours and use the internet?” But the wealth complain and there it goes, and they give some evil reason like someone abused it, and the workers and managers lie all around saying they never gave me permission and so on. All kinds of lies to protect themselves and blame the innocent and needy.The well to do hate seeing poor people get what they preceieve is a free things, what they perceive is like free drugs and free sex. some kind of thrill, the poor destroying their wealthy land of rape and honey.

So even though I ask people, the hated and abuse of the poor, as a system, makes it futile. Months later, they lie right back in my face. After allowing me for months, suddenly some boss or officer or security person comes up with the ton of shit suddenly in my face. They act like they are infallible truthbearers, their good professional looking business friends CANNOT LIE!. I have had this happen about internet use and public payphone use and public bathroom use!

Threatening to arrest me all of a sudden – with no warning. This happens after I have been using that thing for months and not one complaint and actually the workers there actually being friendly and helpful.

Something happens and they have to frame the lowest to make themselves look good.

And they NEVER once tell me who did the accusation, who did the lie, the attack, after all those months. “We deframe your character and tell it to your face all of a sudden and there is nothing you can do about it.” Like a case and jury and trial you heard nothing about is all shut over and done. Three times i just blasted them right back in the face all of a sudden, I mean with a loud strong voice, right into their face, so that the entire block or business would turn around and stare or hear clearly – because they do those things intimidation, defamation, and lies in silence or hidden. They don’t even come with proff because they think poor people are easy to shove around. But and only one time did I receive the rightful apology from the boss over the lies and abuse, so that I could continue to use what I was using before.

But the other officers and bosses record their lies, it goes their records, that I, some poor needy person, did some kind of infringement of security so that they have statistics (lies) to put up more and more security, because all the homeless bums are abusing their precious resources; meaning more prisons and oppressions.

No homeless shelters or day shelters have free wifi I have been to many of them across several states and not one has free open or unsecured wifi or outlets for you to charge your cell phone with. Even though the poor really really need it, the rich evil think of it as some kind of luxury, like transportation. If you notice, people sleeping in their vehicles is not any kind of catagory anywhere. Because if you have a vehicle that is an extra, a luxury, only counted against you as an asset.

When you are poor and unusual or different it becomes repeatedly clear how hatred is murder, and oppression is mass murder.

Reply to this comment

avatar 117 Anonymous

I have a 1994 GMC Ventura Convertible van. The bed is very comfortable, and the van is paid. I never will know what will happen with the economy, but if I must, I would live in my van. I would try to be a unpaid roommate to an elderly person also, and I would try to housesit,or pet sit.
So far things are going great, and I have cut back. I got rid of cable, but I do have AOL dialup, Netflix, and I use Peapod.com for groceries. I am a senior, and many my age have been attacked for our groceries and money. I do not want to hurt anyone protecting myself. I am very generous in gift giving, and I do save. I still work from 8-2:30 daily, and I have my summers and holidays free, since I did retire in 2001 from my main computer job. I help young people learn English now, and I love it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 118 Anonymous

I live in Arizona and want to move to California. I want to save money by sleeping out of my van while in California until I find a job. My question is, how do I obtain a job if I don’t have a home address because most employers obviously want their prospective employees to fill out their home addresses in the application form. Also, can I get a job in CA with an AZ driver’s license? Because if I were to apply for a CA driver’s license, won’t they need a CA home address?

Thanks

Reply to this comment

avatar 119 Anonymous

Hey Shaun, if you dont know anybody in CA who can let you use their address, the best thing to do would be to contact a homeless persons service. They specialize with helping people with things like that. They would probably let you use the address of a homeless shelter. If you dont know where the shelters are just ask a cop. Good luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 120 Anonymous

I’m planning on giving my boss a fake adress, and get my mail mailed to my P.O.Box, I don’t know if that’ll work for you.

Reply to this comment

avatar 121 Anonymous

I am so ashamed that roommates would steal from each other. No one would have to live in a car, van etc., if we would just stick together. Rents are too high, for the money we earn, so we must pick honest people, and share a room or a small apartment. Personally, I feel two is the max to share a studio and split everything 50/50. The more people involved, the worst. I am thinking of having a registry for people who want to share a room or a studio, and tell them to please have then checked out at the local police station. Never loan money to room-mates and always have an emergency fund of 6 months. Live frugally, until you get that emergency fund. Never share phones..Times are goingto get WORST folk, and we need honest people to pair off platonically and try to save some money.

Reply to this comment

avatar 122 Anonymous

I think if I had a camper van I would have been more likely to do it, I have a fiat seicento like this one http://www.rentcarseminara.com/immagini/automobili/fiat-seicento.jpg

which is tiny and the seats don’t go down.

Reply to this comment

avatar 123 Anonymous

Laura, that is a cute car. I have a 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara, its roomy but I have never slept in it. I will find out by Memorial Day when I am living in it then.

Reply to this comment

avatar 124 Anonymous

As for the laptop question. A lot of people use their personal laptop at the library.

And for the person that needed an address for her CA driver’s license, you could always get a UPS postal box. It cost a little bit more then a US Postal box but you get a physical address no a P.O. #.

I’m a woman, and so far I’m on my third month of sleeping in my car and it’s working out fine. You would never suspect that I sleep in my car. My hatchback is comfortable, every night I put down the seats, I layered the bottom with a thick comforter, I have pillows and black sheets so that it looks dark when people pass by. They don’t even notice I’m there.

Reply to this comment

avatar 125 Anonymous

“And for the person that needed an address for her CA driver’s license, you could always get a UPS postal box. It cost a little bit more then a US Postal box but you get a physical address no a P.O. #.”

Thanks, I was thinking about opening a PO Box until you mentioned that UPS has a physical address, that will probably work best for me in my situation.

And also thanks to MercPDX, I sure the homeless shelter will provide me with some sort of service to help me find a job in CA.

Thank you both for your good advice and quick response

Reply to this comment

avatar 126 Anonymous

I lost my job out in Denver about 4 months back then I spent the rest of my saving on a move to Idaho for another job. Which I was laid off from after 6 weeks so after two months without work I’m pretty much broke. I just sold/pawned/gave away most of my possessions and in 2 weeks I’ll be moving into my ’95 Subaru wagon and driving to Portland to look for work I’ve got heard that the shelters there offer free 24 hr showers and a place to send/receive mail. I’ll admit to being a little anxious about this decision because if my car gets impounded for vagrancy I’m on the street but I’m also somewhat excited as I’ll be living on my own terms with more flexibility than I’ve every really had. I don’t think I have a romanticized view on doing this I’m sure some days I’ll get damn sick of my car but think it’ll force me to be more active than I’ve been in the past. Anyway this is a great thread I’m glad to have found it lots of great pointers and I look forward (sort of) to joining my fellow vehicle dwellers in PDX

Reply to this comment

avatar 127 Anonymous

Yes, I am in a similar situation. I was laid off twice. I live in the east and am leaving for a job out west which starts in June. I will be living in my car till I find someplace to live starting on Memorial DAy. My biggest fear is having my SUV impounded. Does anyone have any suggestions on what works to tell the police. I will have out of state plates so it may work if I say I have been traveling and am a bit tired from the journey. Any suggestions?

Reply to this comment

avatar 128 Anonymous

Scared of impounded ‘homes’? Yes, that is a big deal. One tip is to go directly to the local police station and simply ask; do this before you’ve been living in your car too long, to avoid that whole “I’ll significantly reduce property values with my presence” look. On the road I met a fellow who would literally go town to town, seek out the police station and get a free night’s rest in an (unlocked) jail cell. Nice cot and nice company; although I’m not there yet.

If you know you’ll be in one state for a while, job searching or soul searching, try and get volunteer hours at the local State parks. The readily available jobs may not be so pleasant, but cleaning bathrooms is a good trade for a safe place to sleep and a shower in the morning. If you get much internet time, you can look at a town’s census information; pay attention to the number of teenagers or the ratio of old to young; the most gruesome state park jobs are left for teen summer jobs.

Also, if you’re going out west to find a job, let’s cross our fingers that it’s a good job, and get familiar with a place that doesn’t get too cold in the winter. Insulating an SUV is a pain-in-the-butt, and no matter what actions I took, I’d be frozen by morning.

Reply to this comment

avatar 129 Anonymous

Jails are NOT safe. I’m sorry to say. Sometimes it is the police officer you need to fear. Esp. if you are a female. I know several people who were raped by police officers. This is no joke.

Reply to this comment

avatar 130 Anonymous

Yes, just tell the police the truth. Thats what I did. You might be surprised how understanding and compassionate some of them are.

Reply to this comment

avatar 131 Anonymous

Try volunteering for a homeless shelter. If you are “staff”, you get the choice of food, clothing and beds. They are all over America. I heard Salvation Army is the best.

Reply to this comment

avatar 132 Anonymous

I have been more fortunate than some on this board, but what a great board, huh?
We are all here for different reasons, but we are obviously alike enough to be here.
I live in Maine, have a home, a “regular” white-collar job, and a part-time weekend job at a fitness center. I’m lucky – both jobs have showers! I love living in my SUV. I call it “camping” to certain family and friends, and most don’t understand why I do it, but they seem to think I have “balls.”
Maybe it’s the gypsy in me.
For me, I guess it’s the freedom and adventure. The Romance of the Road. Knowing if/when I do lose my job and my house, it won’t devastate me…..I’ll just move on in the adventure I’ve already started.

Right now I “camp” about 3 nights a week, but I’m about to go off-grid full-time at home by living in my SUV, or my small egg-shaped camper……..and building a funky shelter/A-frame/shed/cabin in the backyard as well. Yeah, you’ll call me crazy, and I still have the mortgage and mostly empty house and all, but I guess I never got out of that “fort-building” mentality as a kid, where a sheet and a couple chairs went a long way.

As for car-living and such – I’ve used a curtain rod in my SUV for years….wedge it above the windows just behind the front seats, and hang a dark blanket over it…..instant cabin. I take a nap at lunch EVERY DAY, and once I climb in the back, I’m in my own world.
Obviously, living in Maine, heating is an issue, and I’ve spent many a night with long underwear and blankets. Knit cap is a MUST, of course – you all know that’s where most of your body heat escapes. Just got the propane camping heater……not sure if I can do a pre-heat in the SUV before I settle in for the night. I assume there is a level of toxicity in a closed cabin, right? But what about a 5-minute burst? Anyone have experience?
I also highly recommend a backup battery, trickle charger and an electric blanket. Recharge the battery as you drive, or work, or somewhere…….plenty of places to find an electrical outlet.

Laptop. Netflix. Red Box.
Keep your sanity. Enough said.

Need a free gym membership?
Volunteer at the Y. Ask them if they need volunteers to file paperwork or wipe off machines once a week. They will love you. Just be cool, get along with the regular employees, and don’t abuse the system (like sneaking in your friends)……….gym, showers, restrooms, new friends can be yours for a couple hours of your time.
You might not even mention that you want a free membership if they don’t mention it. Just help out and start popping in once in awhile on other nights – “Yeah, I’m doing the volunteer work on Thursdays….just want to grab a quick workout tonight.” Let people get accustomed to your presence and DON’T JERK THE SYSTEM and don’t stay for hours.
If they don’t need volunteers, a Y membership is about only about $50/month, and they offer FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE that could drive it down to under $20! Most YMCAs these days look just like any other gym…….not your grandfather’s YMCA.

Keep up the great posts – Car Dwellers are the rare modern-day adventurers, so embrace the adventure……..even if you didn’t ask for it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 133 Anonymous

Snowcat,
That’s some interesting stuff. I live in Florida and worked out of my car for up to 13 hours a day. Gets really hot in the car and running my car for all that time just to stay cool would be a lot of wear on my car. In your case, when it gets cold, how about running a hot hair dryer down your coat to warm up? I have a plug in socket that works fine for running fans. They are very simple to find and easily plug into your cigarette lighter.
I’ve worked out at the YMCA, but are they open 24 hours? Mine wasn’t. There are people in this website who work different shifts. The Y would work out for people working 3rd shift. 24 hour fitness has over 400 locations and would be great with an All-Club Membership for those searching for better jobs in different cities. According to sugarfit.com there are more than 1000 gyms nation wide who never close their doors because 5% of gym bound people, use the gyms between the hours of 8:30 pm and 5:30 am. So it looks like the fitness centers are the best suggestion and won’t be going anywhere for a long time. Plus they have lockers to store your belongings, but only for ONE day. Then you have to take your stuff out again. I would store like a laptop or anything electronic to keep it away from heat. Unfortunately these fitness centers don’t have free cable (meaning for your advantage to watch what you want), but that’s no problem. Ever watch PIMP MY RIDE? Direct TV now has a satellite option for your car or van.

Volunteering:

DON’T JERK THE SYSTEM is a great option. It’s best to keep a low profile. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a volunteer firefighter but I won’t stay at my fire station because some of the paramedics do. They have everything from free cable to phone access. Not to mention a fat pay check. They’ll catch on real quick to what I’m up to, because they are doing the same thing. The ones who have been doing this for twenty years at the station are ready to collect a pension and probably have over a million bucks saved.

Getting out of debt, escaping reality, beating the system or saving for a house this car deal is probably the best way to go. As long as you are not married with kids there’s probably nothing stopping you. I can see how living in you car can be considered semiretirement.

Reply to this comment

avatar 134 Anonymous

Living out of the car is best for teens who get kicked out of the house and no place to go. And singles of any age. I f..ked up back in 1996 when I received a $35,000 settlement. I had already saved $10,000 at the time for a total of $45,000. If I lived out of my car since then I would have saved 90% on my normal income which would generate a savings of more than $200,000 to this very day. But I was dumb and purchased a condo which today is in dire straights—-and I’m flat broke.

The economy has absolutely NO effect on single men and women living out of their cars. This is such a brilliant way of beating the system. I suggest getting a membership at a 24-hour gym which of course has ALL the facilities, a PO box, cell phone and you’ll be just fine.

Reply to this comment

avatar 135 Anonymous

God bless everyone on this site. Times are going to get even WORST, so try to help others, and then you help yourself.
Please do not leave animals in any car,van etc. Go to an animal shelter, and volunteer if you and the dog can sleep in your car. The dog can be in dog runs, whoile you are at work. Keep your word and do help.
The rich will neer know how we struggle to survive, not do they care. I watched the documentaries, SICKO, and Imelda. Talk about GREED! We know who have SOLD US OUT, but they will reap what they have sown.

Reply to this comment

avatar 136 Anonymous

Acajudi,
Wells Fargo won’t give me a loan to pay off the credit cards and a different lending company claims they can’t give me a loan until August because they have to wait six months after a home has been taken off the market. Sounds like a bunch of crap to me. I want to f..k these clowns back by filing bankruptcy and ditch my place.
Speaking of the rich; some are okay people. But there are rich people—-one I know inparticular who inherited money from Rolls Royce who does nothing but complain. He’s gay too, and always calls the guys down at my desk to come up to his penthouse to take care of noises and BS just to get them in his place. He made a pass at me a few times. People like this have no values in life. And from one trip to Aruba to the Virgin Islands and back to their cribbs, their only problems along the way may be a loud noise on the roof, a spot on the pillow, or coffee not hot enough.
As far as times getting worse. A little worse yes, as far as crime goes that’s up. The ARM loans destroyed our economy. When the real estate bubble exploded, the mortgage rates broke record highs. A lot of folks were paying a high mortgage on a house of less value. But the ones with the ARMs really got f..ked. They should have stuck with a fixed mortgage rate. Their loans jumped from some families paying $200 per month up to $1,500 per month. The only way for the folks with the ARMs to save their homes was to completely eliminate all other expenses and just focus on their mortgages. No more movies, restaurants, bowling, vacations, new cars, etc. All these economic activities on the side were put on hold. NOT GOOD! So the car dealerships, etc. had to lay employees off because no money was coming in.
The banks got their bail out, but the interest rates on these loans have still not dropped. GREED is the word here. Until the interest rates on the ARMs return to a low interest rate again and these homeowners can refinace, the economy will stay the way it is.
Doesn’t look good for a while. And gasoline has risen because the reserves are getting low. Gas prices were about $4 a gallon. Thankfully there were reserves filled to drop the prices down but that doesn’t last long. Can’t drill off shore because the EPA will stop that. If gas goes up to $4 per gallon in a time like this we’ll really be f..ked.
I want to know where Obama went? Nowadays he seems more interested in Gitmo and disarming weapons. He won the election to improve our economy.
It’s hotter than hell in South Florida now, but my car will make a great place to get away. I hope things improve.

Reply to this comment

avatar 137 Anonymous

Bob, I happen to be a mortgage professional of 17 years. I too, am feeling the pain as the mortgage business sucks right now. The ARMS you mention had to be sub-prime loans. Those had teaser rates with ridiculous margins that when adjusted were very high. Those loans are what caused this mess. Personally, I’ve always worked for prime lenders. Didn’t do sub. There are plenty of people that are actually loving their ARMS. Their rates have actually dropped because the index that the ARMS are tied to have come down with rates down in the financial markets. I could go on and on explaining, but I’d bore the hell out of you. Hope this makes sense.

BTW, I had to stop paying my mortgage and credit cards. I will probably end up filing bankruptcy and sell my home. I’ve witnessed people staying in there homes for up to 2 years w/o making a payment because the banks are giving people time to get back on track, if possible.

TR

Reply to this comment

avatar 138 Anonymous

im with u on obama however this started with th US dropping the backing of gold and other precious metals for our currency and instead went to fiat paper money. look at when our debt started getting out of control and when we swapped to papper money the correlation is undeniable

Reply to this comment

avatar 139 Anonymous

Hey everyone, just want to give you a heads up. Last night I woke up to someone shining a flashlight in my car and it wasnt the police. As soon as I jumped up the would-be theif backed off. I called the police on my cell and they arrived one minute later. Dont know if they found him though.
Something similar happened last month. I was sleeping in the back of my stationwagon and had my bag up on the front passanger seat when a guy came up to the car and tried to open my door to get to the bag. luckily the doors were all locked. I grabbed my baseball bat and prepared to fight him off but he took off when he saw me. He looked damn scared too! haha
Our cars are a big invitation to these idiots because of all the belongings we have to leave in them. Try to hide as much as you can by putting a blanket over your stuff. and always take your valuables with you. Living in a car is an adventure, and no adventure is complete without an element of danger. Be careful out there!

Reply to this comment

avatar 140 Anonymous

115 MercPDX,
Try to park in a busy area. Avoid secluded locations. Shove as much things as you can in your trunk or get a storage bin. I googled around and found a storage bin 5×5 ft for $13.00 per month. Others at that size can cost a lot more. Try publicstorage.com
Sorry about those two wild encounters you had. That’s sad. My wife’s car was broken into a few months back. Her car radio was stolen. I posted before that I live in a condo and man, does it suck. At least in a car you can drive away. You won’t be stuck like me starring at the same old rotten neighbors and criminals. I live in a pretty slummy area.
Some suggestions of other places to sleep at night: Apartment parking lots, condo guest spots, hotel lots, 24 hour grocery parking lots, place of employment, 24 hour fitness locations, rest stops, restaurants (Dennys), Night Clubs and a new one—-nudist clubs. You can actually crash out inside nudist clubs. Memberships are not too pricey either. Take care! Write back about your status. Love to hear from you.

Reply to this comment

avatar 141 Anonymous

I have found a nice “regular” spot – it’s a small business center (like three or four doctors/real estate/whatever) and they are next door to a hotel. I park at the rear of their lot, and am actually nose-to-nose with the cars in the hotel lot.
The business center is vacant in the evening, as most are, and why would they care if one of the hotel guests spilled over at the back of their lot….?
Being able to blur the lines of the two very different businesses, I suspect I will rarely, if ever, be hassled – each business thinking I must be connected to the other……….so maybe that’s another good tip: blur the lines.

Be safe everybody!

Reply to this comment

avatar 142 Anonymous

Well Bob, I dont have any nudist clubs around here to park next to. haha.
The problem with busy areas are the noise problems and people who might see you and hastle you. For instance, someone once called the cops on me for no other reason than I was loitering in my car. Maybe they thought I was a stalker. Also, now that the weather is getting warmer i have to put at least one of my windows down. My strategy is to park up against some bushes or a wall so that no one can see that I have a window down. In order to do this i usually have to find secluded locations.
Yes, I do have a storage room, but I still need some of my belongings with me, like my laptop computer etc. I am thinking about buying a car alarm but they are expensive, and you have to pay to get them installed too. For now, I have my trusty baseball bat and a cellphone. Hope that works….

Reply to this comment

avatar 143 Anonymous

MercPDX,
That’s the main reason I quit my Private Investigator job. I got so tired of people calling the cops on me all the time. I don’t get it. Why is someone parked on a swale or in a lot such a threat to them? Even when I called the police and gave them all the info on my car they would still come out on the caller’s request. I’m a volunteer fireman and can park at any of my city stations and use their facilities all I want to. 85% of the fire departments in the US are volunteer. Maybe you should try looking into that? Park at a police station. If they ask who you are tell them the truth. Also tell them you don’t have a house and feel safe parking here.
Another suggestion would be to sacrifice your shift to working nights. This would give you more freedom to park just about anywhere during the day to sleep. It’s 90% more difficult to try and find a place to park and sleep at dusk when only about 10% of the localities are open.
It’s not right for you to hide out behind bushes or in secluded locations. That’s too eerie for me.
If your in the south Florida area I’ll give you a bunch of locations to hang out at and at any time.
I don’t know…, if I can come up with any other ideas to help you out I’ll let you know. Keep in touch!

Reply to this comment

avatar 144 Anonymous

Thanks Bob but sleeping during the day would mean sleeping in the summer heat. As it is, I have to wait until the sun goes down before I even think about getting any shut eye. The parking up against bushes in a residential area so that I can role down some of the windows has been my best strategy so far. I highly recommend it. Just try to find some bushes in between houses so that no one thinks that you parking in front of their house!
With the windows down, I have to spray around the area with bug spray to keep the critters out. So far that is working.

Reply to this comment

avatar 145 Anonymous

I will most likely use my Thule roof case on my Jeep if I have to resort to this lifestyle.

Reply to this comment

avatar 146 Anonymous

For those who live in Florida I tried looking up the best way to stay cool without running the engine and burning up gas. I found a website that sells portable auto air conditioners. May be worth checking out. http://www.swampy.net/auto.html
I tried to come up with ideas like solar panels and custom made coolers, but I think this website might be the best step as of now.

Reply to this comment

avatar 147 Anonymous

Thank you Bob Johnson. I stay in Southern California so I’m going to check it out because I’m going to need it soon.

Reply to this comment

avatar 148 Anonymous

WOW!!! I just read each and every comment and at first I felt so alone at the thought of living in my car. But now I feel much more confident and I feel way more informed about what to do. All the stories on here help so much and give me a good idea of what I am getting myself into. At first I was terrified at the thought, but one tends to fear the unknown, but now that that I have some tips and stories about this I’m not as scared.

I planned on moving out of my ‘walk-in closet size’ studio at the end of August. I live in Southern Cali and I stayed with my brother in the past and he has absolutely no room for me then and have no room for me now. However he lives about 45 mins away from where I go to school and work. So my plans are to; 1) get a PO box 2) get a storage 3) get a gym membership/ or use the university’s facilities 4) and tint my windows. I want to avoid driving up and down the mountain 7 days a week for an hour there and back. I spend most of my day in my current town and driving 45 mins to and hour just to ‘possibly’ sleep in a bed and only get about four hours of sleep just isn’t what I want to do, and traffic drives me a little crazy! (well I haven’t met anyone who likes traffic ;p )

Also, instead of simply moving into a cheaper apartment, I want to live rent free for as long as I can and save as much as I can. I have also tried living with roommates and it definitely has its ups and downs.

I never thought of it as ‘beating the system’ but I’d say it definitely is. So I’ll be doing more research and making preparations and soon I too will join the car living community. I really like the idea of sleeping on the beach, but I would stay inside the car cause I’m female and I don’t want to be outside or in a tent alone at night. Well lit or not! Well thanks for the tips, and inspirational stories! I will definitely keep coming here for more first hand advice.

Stay safe everyone!

Reply to this comment

avatar 149 Anonymous

Hopeful,
A lot of Walmarts allow you to park in their lots to sleep. Try fire department parking lots too. Firefighters are laid back and if you tell them about your situation they will allow you to park there. They’ll become very used to your presence too. Working nights is the best because you can park almost anywhere during store hours, but the choice is yours.
Remember to keep your budget as tight as possible or living in your car will be close to what you’d pay renting an apartment. If you can’t save at least 80% of your paycheck it’s not worth it.
If you can save that much, you should be able to place a nice down payment on a house in about one year. Try also to deposit your savings in an account with at least 3% interest to speed things up.
I hope it all works out for you.

Reply to this comment

avatar 150 Anonymous

I was able to visit Singapore, and they offer dormitory living for the homeless. They ask that you help keep the place clean, and they give you a job working around the city. You get up, cleanup, and go to your job for that day. They give you a nice bag lunch, if your employee for the day does not feed you. There is not any panhandling in Singapore, for they take care of their own.

Singapore allows deductions from your income to purchase a home. There is insurance on your home, so if you are ill, the house payments would still be paid,and you can repay once you are back at work. Murderers and drug dealers are hung on Friday morning. They fine you for tossing trash on the streets, and you pay to get a permit to drive a car in the thousands. Your car cannot be junk, for they have an excellent public transportation system. They avoided 9-11-01 in their country by paying attention and not worrying about stains on a blue dress. They have excellent healthcare, and you do not go broke paying for medical services. I wish I could live there,but they have very STRICT immigration laws, that you better obey!

Reply to this comment

avatar 151 Anonymous

You cannot get 3% on savings. The online savings pay the most and that is 1.50% and falling. Many people are living in all the forclosed homes. I do not understand why lenders would rather homes to sit empty, then to work with the families.

Reply to this comment

avatar 152 Anonymous

Has anybody lived in his/her car in the washington d.c. area –

and if so do you know of the location of any good “spots” i.e. walmart-supercenters etc.

I am planning to go to DC in september but I am not familiar with the area, so any suggestions would be welcome.

Reply to this comment

avatar 153 Anonymous

Hi John,
Actually I am from Washington, DC and relocated to Los Angeles last February. Washington DC is a little bit tough to sleep in your car, however, a spot where you may be safe is in South West near the waterfront. There is a street called Delaware Ave which would probably be your best bet. It intersects M St. SW, but got on the South side. However, make sure your car is fully registered because DC tickets very hard.

Reply to this comment

avatar 154 Anonymous

The William Penn House near the train station and The Capitol is owned by the Quakers. They are a very nice group that offers shared rooms for about 12 per night. They may let you sleep in their yard or on the street in front of the pace. It may cost more now, but they take people in, and help you.

Reply to this comment

avatar 155 Anonymous

thanks guys….I plan to go to DC soon but the problem is that all the walmarts are located outside the capital in MD or Virginia.

positivebro – I was planning to buy a car on craigslist and then park it at walmart so thanks for the tip – “make sure your car is fully registered because DC tickets very hard.”

Acajudi – whenever i am in DC I aways stay in a hostel which costs me about $25 per day so the news about the The William Penn House charging only $12 is very welcome.

Reply to this comment

avatar 156 Anonymous

May I add, check out http://www.ally.com It seems to give the best interest of all the banks and they have a no penalty CD that pays 1.888%. Most banks hate savers.

Answer to this post:

Romana,
Great advice. Vans concern nosey folks though. They call the police with one thing on their mind and that’s crime. I was a PI and experienced this. The best place to park is to talk to a friend with a house. You’ll never be in his/her way by simply using the driveway.
What hasn’t been posted on this site yet is investment strategies. Everyone should deposit their money in a bank that pays a decent interest rate. Some credit unions pay monthly interest rates. Since this plan of living in a car will save 75 to 90 percent of the average income you will be saving a lot in time and receive interest on top of it. Never leave your money in the console. Cars catch on fire all the time or your vehicle can be broken into. Besides, even car people have bills too. Suppose you save up to $100,000 in five years. At 3% monthly interest you’ll never have to work again. Mutual Funds are okay as well. You can open one for around $2,500 and forget about it for ten years. IRAs and CDs too, which are things that most renters or house owners can’t do. For folks with children I’m sorry for. They need a house or apartment to suit their needs.
Unfortunately the Internet was introduced to the world in 1989 or I would have jumped on this idea after high school.

Reply to this comment

avatar 157 Anonymous

acajudi
as far as banks go i have been thouroughly screwed by every bank i have ever been involved in whether they would hold payments until they knew i would overdraft or they simply took out money for no reason they wont reimburse you there is no such thing as a bank error in your favor they only want to hold you to the rat race it sux but no banks are not the way for me. and im sure most on this site will agree

Reply to this comment

avatar 158 Anonymous

hi,im looking for some advice,im relocating to the los angeles area from ohio in oct.ill be driving out,will be sleeping in my car till i can try to get a job and a place to stay,just wondering about the best areas and safest areas to park at night to sleep,thanks

Reply to this comment

avatar 159 Anonymous

Hi jeffmitchum, I would call the Walmarts in the area you want to stay and ask if they allow overnight parking for RV’s. Some do, some don’t. If they do, they don’t mind if you park your car overnight either. I also recommend you try sleeping in your car before you make your move so you can know what you need to do to make it comfortable. I have a hatchback that I lower and a few foam mattresses to make it feel better.

Reply to this comment

avatar 160 Anonymous

Hello Jeffmitchum,
The Wal-Marts in LA will not be a good idea. There are not many Wal-Marts in LA and the ones that are here are not in safe areas. One is in Crensaw and the other is in Long Beach. There is no parking lot in Long Beach and the one in Crensaw is attached to a Mall, Baldwin Hills Mall. Go to Brentwood. You can park along the side of the VA compound on San Vincente Blvd and Bringham. That is the best place to sleep in your car.

Reply to this comment

avatar 161 Anonymous

PositiveBro how are you managing in LA? Still using the VA or have you found a place yet? Any luck on jobs?

Reply to this comment

avatar 162 Anonymous

Hello ER,
I am still in my car next to the VA compound. It’s going on 7 months. The truth of the matter is that this isn’t for everyone. I do long for being back into some form of housing now. I respect all who can do this.

Reply to this comment

avatar 163 Anonymous

I was searching the net, and I found a place in California, that have tool-shed type housing to keep people from the underpass. I feel the little houses are better than a car, but a car is better than the doorway or sidewalk, under a cardboard box. I look at all the people who own many house, and I wonder why they do not own one, and rent, when they want to visit other areas. You cannot live but in one house at a time, and with people on the street, I rather get them in housing, even if it is the small doll house type. I still say that 1-2 people should be the Max for this type of housing, and foster home is better for children, until you can get straight. I do not like to see anyone on the street, or in cars, when they have children or animals.

Reply to this comment

avatar 164 Anonymous

acajudi n it
not trying to rant but i grew up in foster care industry, and yes thats all that it is. it is an industry, there are good people it however most are in it for the money. all i have to do is let some kids sleep in the bunk and i get to make a living, cool lets get it done. i need that money. i have no kids, however being a ward of the state if was given the chance i would much rather have been with parents, learn from them, what their life was like, i know nothin about them, not even my nationality. foster care has done good things for people yet looking at statistics how many make it out of the “system”. not many

acajudi your posts have been helpful keep up the good work, just offering my two cents, once again sorry to post back to back comments on you. its already hard enough for us not trying to cause more trouble, just offering wat ive seen, and experienced. thanks again

Reply to this comment

avatar 165 Anonymous

Jeff:
Go online and search for Homeless in LA, and Homeless shelter or housing in LA. There is no such thing as a good area, dealing with the homeless. It is a dog eat dog world, like in politics and business.
Try volunteering for the local Salvation Army, in exchange for sleeping in your car. Use the Internet to contact businesses in LA.

Reply to this comment

avatar 166 Anonymous

I’ve recently just thought about this. I moved to California about a year a go. I moved in with my best friend and her boyfriend in his house. Let’s not say the best situation. A lot of fighting going on plus i pay tons of money to live in someone else’s house with rules. I live about 10 mins from Santa Monica and work there also. I work nights and sleep during the day. So, i really wouldn’t even have to sleep in my car. I guess i could just sleep on the beach. I wouldn’t reccomend sleeping on the beach at night( i beleive its illegal) but during the day I would be just like anyone else.

Reply to this comment

avatar 167 Anonymous

Abby:
I am sorry about your friend and her boyfriend. I worked nights and you really need a quiet place to sleep in the day. How about renting a storage space near your job, and sleep there in the day. Make it a place for your car and your stuff. Get there as soon as you get off from work, and you can sleep in your own bed, that you will have there. Rent a cheap membership to the Y, and you can clean up there, and you can eat at the soup kitchens. Save as much money as you can, and then get your own studio apartment, near your job. You are working night, so you will not have to be there at night. (storage place) Use your friend’s address, or any friend. The very best to you, and to all, who are trying to make it, while the rich stomp on us daily!
Ask not what you can DO for your country, but ask, WHAT your country can do TO YOU? Our country is doing us a job!!! I am strong, and will hang in here. I am glad I will be 67, and I am not a young person, trying to make it. It was so much easier in the 60’s.

Reply to this comment

avatar 168 Anonymous

on the subject of the storage unit. 1st it is isllegal! when you sign your terms and conditions that is a point in which they will make sure you undrstand no living out of ur unit. the main reason for this is people dying due to heat exhaustion and then they are responsible. the cold u can always add clothes/ blankets to keep warm, but when its 90 degrees outside and 110 in your unit you can see why this is a big deal. always going to be safer and more comfortable sleeping at night in a homeless situation. less weather you have to worry about and its going to be less conspicuos if done right, remember most “normal” people go to bed at 10:30 so you can get away with more at night. most crimes happen at night because it is less noticeable and there arent as many people to deal with, kinda the same situation. we are doing something that is frowned upon yet not necessarily illegal, a grey area deffinately but not tottally homeless or illegal

also a thought for people thinking about moving to cali, esp. L A. i sold off everything i owned last summer to move out there and pursue my dream of living in cali and being an artist. have cooked for ten years in the restaraunt industry, painted commercialy and residentially for 5 years and been a wedding/ bar mitzfa/ private party dj for six years, had plenty of exp. just couldnt find a job, it is so oversaturated with homeless people ( i do not mean homeless in the since of wat we are talking about on this site, rather the crazies who talk to light poles and are seen ranting and raving on the side of the road) and such living off the state, i could not find a job. two weeks out i got pickpocketed and had to enroll in their residency return program so i could make it back home and resume my job to where i knew even if i was homeless i could have a good job and still enough time to take care of my personall BS. dont ever tell people about how “bad” off u are they willl never understand, just think that you are living less of a fullfilling life than they are.if we stick together and share our knowledge there is nothing we cant overcome peace be with you my fellow family.

Reply to this comment

avatar 169 Anonymous

I roasted my ass off over the weekend in 91 degree weather. I need to get a generator and A/C window unit. I know I’ll draw attention to myself, but why run the car for 8 hours while sleeping? Swamp coolers are a little too pricey to experiment with. I can get the generator and a/c unit for less than $400. Daily expense should be less than three dollars. I will just toss the unit and generator back in the trunk when I leave.
EXAMPLE:
This 8-hour generator goes for $299.00
w2www.duropower.com/images/upload/products/x/DP2000S.jpg
This A/C unit goes for $85.95
http://www.refurbdepot.com/HAIER_HWF05XC7.cfm

Reply to this comment

avatar 170 Anonymous

I have all but mastered living out of my 2007 crew-cab Toyota Tacoma. (It is certainly not for everyone.) The greatest advice I could give to anyone is: GET A VAN. I bristle at trying to imagine car living from a sedan. My truck is good, but a van is in a class by itself, and the ultimate one-person road-living vehicle would have to be Dodge Sprinter van with diesel engine.

The trick to the whole thing is not to appear gypsy-like. You want to look as normal as you can.

The advantages of a truck or van are many, not the least of which is being able to pull into most any church parking lot and park right next to their church vehicles. Black out your windows, no one will mess with you.

As for bathing, a truck or van will allow you to carry a good tank of water, but even better is simply joining a local gym, where you can bathe any time you want.

The down side is that, if you are not careful, vehicle maintenance will eat up almost everything you would have spent on rent in any given month.

Reply to this comment

avatar 171 Anonymous

COOKING IN YOUR CAR

I have been living in my car since, October 07, everything has been great but for the problem of cooking. I prefer to eat natural home cooked foods, but that can be tricky when you don’t have a place to cook.

I tried everything, cooking in my car, eating cheap chinese food, etc,…but i didn’t find a convenient way to cook until I rented a storage space. The management comes in at 9am, so I try to do most of my cooking before 9am. My storage is on the ground level and it costs $86 per month. Expensive yes but I figure it is cheaper than renting an apartment.

I drive a small car so cooking in my car is not convenient.

David Waters is right when he says that vans are the best accomodation when it comes to living in your car…”GET A VAN. I bristle at trying to imagine car living from a sedan. My truck is good, but a van is in a class by itself, and the ultimate one-person road-living vehicle would have to be Dodge Sprinter van with diesel engine.”

Reply to this comment

avatar 172 Anonymous

GUYS just spent half an hour typing about storage units, unfortunately it all got deleted sorry i have some good info for the combination of the two things, storage unit, and car homelesness, whether we are homeless or not this is how are seen. let me just say that if u are paying for a storage unit then my suggestion would be to sleep in your vehicle there you are already paying rent. you have every right to be there, and alot of people run business’s out of them. keep your head up and never loose your sense of superiority, because we are better than the people stuck in the rat race, they just dont know it and we care to much wat they think about us

Reply to this comment

avatar 173 Anonymous

Eric:

Volunteer at the Salvation Army and you probably can cook what you want to eat, while helping them.
I have never lived in my car, but I would try volunteering, house-sitting, running errands to keep a room in someone’s home. I would save all I could to get a furnished studio, or an unfurnished one. The SalavationArmy will give you furniture, clothing etc. They are the best of all the Charities. They really care.

Reply to this comment

avatar 174 Anonymous

I would like to let you know how apartment owners are ripping off renters. I have always paid my rent, and that was it, unless I paid for electricity, heat and gas. Two years ago, my rental agency decided we have to pay for the water based on the # of residents in the apartment. This month I was told I have to pay garbage removal fee. I am on a fixed income, as everyone is today. I was told to add the extra charges to my rent payment, yet an out of state company bills me for water. I have been a condo owner and a home owner, but apartment rental works best for me. If they keep going up and adding more fees, then I will be living in my paid for van, and cleaning up at a health club. It seems no one cares about the real American people.

Reply to this comment

avatar 175 Anonymous

Acajudi,
I know. And renters make noise and cause trouble. I moved back in my condo due to the south Florida heat. But once I get my generator and A/C unit I’ll be on my way.
I saw a nice van the other day for $12,000 Brand new too. If I had a van I’d get the inside fixed up like a bedroom. A 12,000 BTU A/C unit, built in generator and satellite television.

Reply to this comment

avatar 176 Anonymous

The Salvation Army in Fort Lauderdale, FL has security and won’t let you park overnight unless maybe you ask the manager. I volunteer for a fire department, so it’s no problem for me to sleep or hang out. They are a bunch of great people and I’ll bet anything that they will let you use their parking lots wherever you are. Won’t hurt to ask. Firefighters are very laid back and always there to help. Trust me, I am one.

Reply to this comment

avatar 177 Anonymous

I heard in the news today that Mattel has come up with a new addition to the American Doll collection. Her name is Gwen Thompson and she and her mother are homeless and sleeping in a car. She has her story, dad ran off when he lost his job and her mom lost her job too so this poor little girl has no home just a car. She sellls for $95.00 Isn’t that something? It’s the “Sign of the times”

I had a big scare a few nights ago. I parked in a business zone because I don’t like parking in a residential area so I won’t disturb the neighbors that could call the cops on me. Well, someone saw me and called the cops anyway. They came banging on my windows with flashlights. I sleep with a big black sheet on top of me so people won’t notice but since theywere looking in with flashlights they could see a body and even since I ignored them they continued banging with such a force I finally raised my head and they were shocked to see me and they asked me to open the door. Since it was hot, I was wearing little shorts so I climbed overn legs first, and I don’t mean to brag but I am fairly attractive and in great 24 hour fitness shape so they were a little flirty with me. They asked what I was doing, I said I was was resting. They asked if I had a home and I said yes. I had a fight with my boyfriend and I left and was just resting. I told them I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong. They asked if I was scared of gang activities. I said no, I wasn’t aware of this happening in the area. In my head I was thinking how I’m more scared of them because they could give me a ticket and impound my car and ruin my life even more. I apologized for doing something I didn’t know was wrong and told them I would go home now. I said good by and drove far away from that place and I will never go back there again.

I’m desperately looking for a job. My unemployment runs out November 21st and I will be in big trouble once it stops. All I hear is bad news everyday about the job market and the layoffs and now Mattel is cashing in on the Homeless American Doll. And they tell us that this is the greatest country in the world.

Reply to this comment

avatar 178 Anonymous

I would have told them what was really up and asked if you could use the main parking lot at the police station. They knew what was really up. They don’t give tickets in situations like this. And they ran your tag before they even spoke to you. You sweetened their night a little and they usually just ask that you move on.
I’m a little scared for you. I hope you get a job and things work out.

Reply to this comment

avatar 179 Anonymous

Thanks Bob Johnson. Well, the good thing is that I am eligible for another 13 weeks of unemployment so I hope I find something decent that pays me more the unemployment soon.

I found a sweet spot to park in a shopping center where they have a 24 hour fitness gym, starbucks with Wi-Fi, supermarkent and everything else I need on a daily basis. A couple of nights ago I noticed there was a new security guard taking his job a little too seriously. He was looking in to a car with flashlights because the car was parked far away from the rest. I got a little worried but thought he wouldn’t bother me. The next day I hear a knock on my window, I answered yes…and he says, you can’t sleep here anymore and walked away to his security car. I said okay and started my car to leave. I saw that he left me a violation ticket on my window. It was more of a warning ticket because it didn’t have an amount to pay. I went to a Walmart I heard has overnight parking for the RV’s that night, but there were no RV’s. The next day I called 311 which is the non emergency 911 and I told them my situation and how I wanted to know if there was a safe area where I can park and not be harrassed by the police that can give me a $500. ticket. They apologized and said they had no answer for me. They wished me luck.

Santa Barbara has a parking lot for their residents who have fallen to hard times. They have to be there by 10AM and out by 6AM. They go through a screening process to check that they are not crazy or on bad drugs. They are working on opening up in Ventura and in Venice beach. I want to know how I can start something like that in the town I live in. Does anyone know how we can start these kind of lots? Times are really bad right now. Our country is going down the drain fast. There are no good jobs anymore to help us live a average decent life. This is what Capitalist greed has done to us.

Reply to this comment

avatar 180 Anonymous

I believe the one in Ventura has been open for a while. It’s somewhere near the Ventura Marina on Harbor Blvd. near the golf course at Olivas Adobe. (I’m searching for the info. If I find it, I’ll post it on here.)

When we traveled by RV, we found that Wal-Mart and Home Depot were very accommodating. All we had to do was tell the manager we were there. Wal-Mart is usually quite open to this arrangement because they want you to come in and shop. (If they were smart, they would designate an area, offer you a job, and take a small amount from your pay for the space in the parking lot.)

If you can afford it, stay one night in a cheap hotel to give yourself a shower and the opportunity to wash/rinse your clothes in the sink/shower. The #1 thing I tell my friends to use – especially those who travel on missionary trips abroad – is baby wipes. Get the generic ones with shea butter or aloe. (Walgreen’s or CVS has them cheap.) I have used these head to toe when I could not take a shower. Plus, I’ve used them on my face for years…and people compliment me on how beautiful my skin is. (I just turned 50!)

God’s blessing for each of you. Remember: God never gives you more than you can handle (though I have had my doubts at times) and if you believe he will take care of you, he will.

Sharing Life’s Abundance,
Cindy Brock (Atlanta, GA)

Reply to this comment

avatar 181 Anonymous

Hi. I live in my campervan by choice. I refuse to rent. I am a very basic, and simple life lady, also 50. There’s some ups and downs but staying focused always helps.

avatar 182 Anonymous

in alberta not all wallmarts have open parking lots, i was also doing some thinking is if their is a boarding house in any area, speak with the owners to see if you could rent their facilities at least their most if not all now adays have a phone,shower with washing machine and drier. most owners are polite with a small fee I’m sure they would accomdate you and the renters are normally 1 paycheck away from living on the street.

avatar 183 Anonymous

baby girl the fact that we can do this with only being disturbed by the cops is what makes this the greatest country. keep your head up im not saying its perfect but try doing wat your doing in pakistan and see if the “cops” only disrupt your rest no matter how attractive you are. good luk

Reply to this comment

avatar 184 Anonymous

almost forget to mention that if you are not that worried about what your are doing for employment look into a slaughter house or processing plant, I know JBS Foods and Cargill foods are always looking for new hires and honestly these places are not that bad, you get paid every week with the chance of steady employment, you would kill two birds with one stone, full time employment with always having a place to park n live. They even have showers for the employees, as well most places will provide cloths to the work staff so they wont ruin their own cloths. best part is they have parking security. I remember hearing about a few people that worked at the plant i work at n thats what they did, live in their cars and work 12-16 hrs every day. The company management didnt say anything and the guys were left alone. i think 1 of the cars is still their. as for the doll if it looks like anyone theirs always a chance to sue the company lol any takers????

Reply to this comment

avatar 185 Anonymous

Hi everyone. Well things picked up as I had managed to move out of being a lodger in a bad situation with the person I didn’t get on with at all and it wasn’t my home as in I was there living in their house. I moved into my own accomodation but it was in a bad area and not a very nice place at all. I am lucky, I have managed to move away into a flat in a better area now and things are picking up.
Laura

Reply to this comment

avatar 186 Anonymous

I have got this down to a science now. I got a storage unit to put my stuff in. I put my laptop on the floor of the passenger seat. I have a small sedan. At bedtime I put two fluffy pillows ontop of the laptop case. I recline the seat back and sleep in it upsidedown! My legs are a bit elevated but I used to sleep this way anyway to rest my sore legs. I do go to sleep early like around 8pm because I work at 7AM. I find the darkness to be my friend. At 8pm I can move my bedding from the trunk to the back seat I have tinted windows so know one can see whats in there. Also I can get my clothes together for the next day work uniform and clothes for after work. these I also keep in three small boxes in the trunk. One for clean undies, sock and bras. the second is for work clothes and the third is for regular clothes. My trunk is pretty full. I wake at around 4AM to got to the gym and workout then shower and off to work.

I joined a volunteer organization that has a thrift store. I can work there whenever I want. I would never have gotten so involved in community activites if this situation hadn’t occured. I would go home a get lazy! Interesting?

Also I go to libraries a lot. It will get colder soon so I realize right now things are kind of easy. Its hard for me to stay up late on weekends because I got up so early so I do hangout with friends but I am usually the first to leave.

One more cool thing I found this great laundry mat. While my clothes are washing I take everything out of my car to reorganize it again it keeps me sane.

I realize most people would find this desperate but I really feel like i am getting away with something! Sort of silly I suppose. My goal is to pay off a $5600 debt. I am able to put $!000 o month on it so its going ok. I shouldn’t have to do it for too long. But I am starting to question the value of having my own place. I mean once you sign the mortgage papers you don’t really own it until its paid off. You only really signed to have the right to pay for it! And then life becomes so limited?

Reply to this comment

avatar 187 Anonymous

I understand Rebecca. Im a medical doctor and when my ex-wife cleaned me the first thing i did was buy a vw camper bus. You’re very smart n the way you are approaching life, and you will do well in time. Best of luck to you sincerely.

Reply to this comment

avatar 188 Anonymous

Gary
I was looking at the VW Campers but where can I find one in good shape? I too will be living in my car in about 2 days….its a voluntary thing I want to pay off my credit. With paying rent, a little on back bills, car payment, insurance and classes by the time my I get my check on Friday its gone friday evening…this doesnt allow for social things…so the debate is eiather rent or school at this point…Nothing ever outweighs my education!!!!

So since I’ll be mobile I was wondering where you got the Camper from….Im willing to travel so it doesnt matter where I have to go:)

Reply to this comment

avatar 189 Anonymous

I read your writing about living in your car. I related to you completely. I wanted to go on vacation last year and the year before and the year before that. I could never afford it. So last year I got in my car and drove to Austin and got a job right down town in the nicest office building there…and low and behold I lived in my car. I showered at the yoga place and other free shower places. After 3 months there I went to Tucson and worked for the census. Then back to California. Now I am rethinking the value of having my condo at all. For what? So here locally I am “practiciing” again living in my car. I find it is very liberating not to mention that I save about $275 a month on heating bills and $60 on water and garbage and internet maybe $40. So how much is that? About $375. So I’m going to take $39 a month and join a gym.

But first I want to spend the summer somewhere…not sure where yet. The best thing I got were a couple of survival blankets for $7 each from a sporting goods store. One side is blue and the other is foil colored used mainly for really cold weather for wrapping around you to keep warm. I put one on my carseat and then I put on a blanket and over that I put the second survival blanket. Keeps me toasty warm. I put another one on the passenger seat floor with a blanket on it for my mini-schnauzer. Then I put a blanket over him although he actually likes being on the cool side.

I keep a bag of groceries in the trunk including peanut butter and Matzo crackers and honey and cabbage and trail mix. I have an inverter in case I need to plug in my hair curler in the car into the cigarette lighter.

I still have to pay for gas and so forth, but I am “out there” all day. I don’t feel lonely as I would in my house and I love not having to pay heating for the whole condo. I had a problem with knots in my shoulder from working on the internet bent over in my car but I found if go to the gym and use the exercise equipment for my shoulders and pull on weights and life stuff then knots are not a problem anymore.

Reply to this comment

avatar 190 Anonymous

I lived in my car in idaho, Mccall is wonderful, camping ubove the lake on the upper Payette River I was not bothered once all summer. Bergdorf Hot springs above and the lake below. I can tell secret places to park to sleep in town at night and hotels leave back doors open at night. I used the public rest room and did my dishes there.

Reply to this comment

avatar 191 Anonymous

It is a shame that some of us have to live in cars. Many people hae multiple homes, which they can only live in one at at time. Greed is the reason we have to suffer, and one day God will end it all, for the betterment of the people being ripped off now, in many ways!

Reply to this comment

avatar 192 Anonymous

Few people have multiple homes

Reply to this comment

avatar 193 Anonymous

I have multiple homes…a 1984 26′ motorhome (The mansion), 1990 Ford ranger with cap (my summer home). I suppose that makes me an “affluent” car dweller. LOL. Believe it or not, I find the motorhome the least convenient and cost effective. The benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks for me and it only gets used when I have “houseguests.” I’ve got the pickup truck down to a science; it is very accommodating. This was a lifestyle choice, and I feel it’s a very rewarding one on many levels.

Reply to this comment

avatar 194 Anonymous

dont abuse this posting for your religious rants. save it. until u are living in a ” homeless situation” dont preach to us. however i understand what u are saying, only try to understand that we have been shunned by all, including ourselves. dont knock it before uve tried it

Reply to this comment

avatar 195 Anonymous

Hey, my husband and I have a second home. We started out with an apartment. Worked overseas and saved money for a house. Continued to work overseas, saved money and found out that we needed a tax shelter. If we didn’t get the second house we would continue to pay crazy taxes. We let family and friends stay in our house and I don’t feel a bit bad or greedy. We work our butts off, pay high taxes, save for our future and don’t depend on the government for any a dime.

Reply to this comment

avatar 196 Anonymous

Some people want to live in their cars and chose this life. I have apartment and look forward to moving and living in my truck camper.

Reply to this comment

avatar 197 Anonymous

Exactly Acajudi. One of the reasons that i am out here is because i got into some serious debt because i could not afford healthinsurance.
It has been half a year now. Having a cellphone, laptop, and gym membership have kept me sane.( Luckily i was able to get a credit card to help me get these things). Looking for work…its been difficult out there. Two months ago it was the heat that was a problem, now it is the cold. Winter is coming…
Hopefully our nations healthcare will be reformed and this kind of situation can be avoided.

Reply to this comment

avatar 198 Anonymous

At the very least, get a couple of those $1.00 emergency mylar “blankets” you can find at Wal-Mart in the camping/hunting section. They may not feel like a plush electric blanket, but it won’t take for you to realize they aren’t so bad, they hold in a TON of body heat, and you’ll wonder how you ever tried to stay warm without them.
Tape one up (like a pouch) to stick your feet in, and use one as a normal blanket. Add your other blankets over that………

I did find a Red Cross sanctioned survival mini-heater – again, probably Wal-Mart or similar – which plugs into the cigarette lighter and does a simple pre-heat without having to wait for the car to warm up, etc. Probably around $20.

Best wishes……..stay warm everyone!

Reply to this comment

avatar 199 Anonymous

Acajudi,
Greed is a big part of it. I was making 10.00 per hour back in 2000. Today I’m making 10.50 per hour (50 cent difference in ten years). It’s very clear that by year 2030 I’ll be making 12.00 per hour.
I’m a certified volunteer firefighter, but that’s not going anywhere “careerwise”. I have way too much schooling to be a $10.50 per hour security guard. Enough of my complaints, but
I just wish the recession would end. My brother was recently laid off from a $75,000 per year HR director. This president we have was elected to try and fix the economy—-whatever happened with that? He was off to a good start and just let it go.

Reply to this comment

avatar 200 Anonymous

Hang in there Bob. There is no magic wand when it comes to this stuff. At least it didnt get any worse. The good news is that Economists are optimistic about growth. Its not going to happen over night but we are destined to recover.

Reply to this comment

avatar 201 Anonymous

MercPDX,
Thanks! :0) Just takes time I guess.

Reply to this comment

avatar 202 Anonymous

I just read where the airlines are sending planes to El Salvador to be maintained. THEY HAVE OUTSOURCED EVERYTHING FOLKS! People need good jobs, that reflect the cost of living today! I am 67 today, and when I was in my 20’s my salary reflected my low rent, and my employer gave me free insurance after 30 days. I am not happy with Medicare!!! I am blessed that I work 30 hours per week for 10 months out of the year. I am glad I am not a young person today, watching my country hire anyone from anywhere, as long as they are not native born and legal Americans. We have so much in this country, if people were not so selfish and greedy. I pray the hottest part of HELL is reserved for the so call leaders, who sell out their people.

Stay away from the swine flu vaccine. Body bags were sent with the vaccine to the Aborigines in Australia. Check it out!

God: We need you. Help us to help ourselves. Get the greedy ones out of our pockets!

Reply to this comment

avatar 203 Anonymous

Ok “The Greedy Ones” look Im not trying to be confrontational. But I just want to explain, last year I was rich “>250k per year” by our presidents standards. However, I have also been targeted and have very little. I am living in a fema trailor and vw bus. So, I think we have to be careful about how we categorize people. Its not how much money you make, its how much you get to keep

Reply to this comment

avatar 204 Anonymous

sorry Acajudi for the post earliear maybe jumped the gun and stepped out of line sounds like you know whats going on and despite our religious beliefs, sounds like we are in agreement on the other stuff

Reply to this comment

avatar 205 Anonymous

I used to have an Astro Chevrolet van, I would only sleep in it after work. You see I would sleep 30 minutes or 45 minutes, before getting to the gym. I read somewhere in a magazine an article stating that, Americans are very sleep deprived. Due to long hours of work, poor eating habits, diseases and/or disorders the average American needs another half hour of sleep during the day. I tried to sleep at work during the lunchhour,but I couldn’t realy enjoy. You see I put a nice thick,padded sleeping bag in my truck, a pillow, and blanket. I felt so full of energy during that short nap. Mhhhjjjfff,, It felt so rewarding like when I was in kindergarden and I would sleep on the floor. Remember just clean up your body at work before getting to your van and get good quality earplugs. Take in mind that their are people with fancy bed matresses who have a hard time to sleep. In Mexico people sleep a siesta during their work hours, in some cities.

Reply to this comment

avatar 206 Anonymous

People in the same financial condition should join forces. Do not rip each other off, and rent a studio apartment, and be quiet, and have a place to sleep. The monsters ripping us off stick together to harm us. I have always paid a high percentage of my income to live in the safest place, that I could find. I tried roommates, but they were did honest, so I rather work multiple jobs and overtime, then to trust another crook. I am older now, so I still pay a high rent, but I am happy and at peace, and I still work. If I lose my job, then I will apply for a senior citizen apartment, that will limit my rent to 30% of my gross income. America could do better, for Denmark and other countries make their citizens #1, and if unemployed, you get 90% of your salary for four years. They have hardly any homeless. Wake up America, and take care of your own, by STOP outsourcing jobs, and making the rich richer!! Just how much money, do you GREEDY PIGS NEED? A Brinks will not follow your hearse!

Reply to this comment

avatar 207 Anonymous

Hi guys!
Going on month number two of this adventure. I was thinking of getting a tent heater but I am afraid in my small sedan I could get overwhelmed by fumes. Any advice? Had a set back I accidentally set my car alarm off one night. And I am not sure but I think someone called security. They never questioned me because I was on the way out when they headed in this complex. They did turn around and follow me until I exited. I have been too nervous to return and I have been sleeping at my work parking area. I still need a different place though any
ideas? It would be hard to explain if I get caught at work.

Thanks,
Rebecca

Thanks
Rebecca

Reply to this comment

avatar 208 Anonymous

What about an rv site? They sometimes have facilities too. It may cost you a little, but, you would have some peace. Also, finding someone who would be willing to let you park on their property, like they do at biker rallies. One more thing, no matter what your religious beliefs are, pray.

Reply to this comment

avatar 209 Anonymous

yes their are easier ways to heat your car/truck/SUV and van. 1 of them would be a heater but that would take alot out of your electrical system in your car. I’ve been doing research on every avenue for living in your car. For me i was very lucky when i bought my 97′ Ford Expedition (full size/4×4/fully loaded/leather with a 40/60 back seat) and yes it’s by choice to move into my suv.. If you can afford it, buy an isolator so you will be able to run your main battery plus a back-up battery. You will want to look into a different type of battery as well but it will work in your favour in the long run. you will want to change your batteries to what called agm, the battery isolator is so that you can run a 2nd battery and best part is that you can charge the 2nd battery when you go from point A-B. I figure that what i pay in rental/bills i can live off and be able to bank the rest. I bought the expedition for work, at the time i was working comercial construction. So i needed the full size bc i was the only one on the crew with my drivers and i found the Expedition was a very representible suv. which in my case it fit everyone on the crew, 1 plus 4 ;-) march 1-2014 i’ll be moving into my 97′ Ford expedition suv. oh if you are looking into heating up your car, look into a full size “heated pet blanket” they are reasonably cheap and will only turn on when your sitting or laying on them. they take only 6 watts of power so it wont even be that much.

Reply to this comment

avatar 210 Anonymous

Pet warmers DO NOT use 6 watts of power. I know I made this comment elsewhere, but just incase some one reads this other posting above, I am just posting my response here also. I have pets, electrical pet warming pads (medium size), marine deep cycle batteries and heating pads made for people. PET WARMERS USE AT LEAST 50 watts, sometimes more, like 70 watts. The 6 watts has to do with the switch that is continaully on. When a cat walks on the pet warmer, when it detects a pet, then the heating wires turn on. It takes 6 watts to keep on that electrical device that detects the weight on the pad. that is why it says the continual wattage use is 6 watts.

that is the amount of wattage it takes to charge AA batteries or a cell phone. NO WAY does that provide heat.

What you can do is get a 140 watt inverter, and plug your heating pad in there. Pet pads are smaller and much more expensive than a medical heating pad. Look on Amazon. and remember the continual wattage consumption is for the device in the heating pad that detects if heavy weight is on it or not, not the device that heats up the pad. Look on Amazon and you will see the cost for pet pads is much more higher than human medical heat pads. You can get a 2 foot long medical heat pad from rakuten.com for $16. I got two of those last year. They use 50 watts on HIGH. 1 foot long heat pads from Wal Mart can be the same cost, and they use the same wattage, 50 watts on HIGH.

Pet pads give you no choice. Human heat pads have low, medium and high. That means low and medium uses less wattage than high, which uses 50 watts. Pet pads require that you have a certain weight on them, so you cannot use them in any kind of situation. Human heat pads are the way to go, but make sure they do not have an automatic shut off. And a manual switch is better than digital, because you could accidentally turn off a digital and not realize it. The manual switch will sit where it is positioned regardless if you move things around, and in a vehicle things really do get in the way of other things.

I put a solar panel in the back window of my car, fits perfectly, only shifts out of place with a very hard fast stop. A 100 watt solar panel from Renogy.com. I plan to secure another 100 watt solar panel on the trunk.

Reply to this comment

avatar 211 Anonymous

Dan, Im a College Student in Colorado, I want to live in my car through the winter, i have a gym membership on campus and think this would be a great way to save money, any advice?

Reply to this comment

avatar 212 Anonymous

Get some cashmere sweaters, second hand stores don’t even know what it is, 3 bucks for cashmere. and it is washable by hand. but the new fabrics for skiers are great too. A wool hat and some goose down comforters. I find that having a hat on at night and wool socks helps a lot. Goose down is vital wool blankets too. I put them into bags during the day so the dog stays off of them. He slept in the front seat. My cat had a pet box and went outside during the day. I parked at a place where she could go out and find me at night. (small fourplex with a large parking lot). My horse was bored and I had a tack room where I stored my things.It is easier to bored a horse in the city, then find an apartment.
If you can park at a friends house, pay half of the electric bill and get an electric blanket or hot pad, keeping your core warm is important.

Reply to this comment

avatar 213 Anonymous

I am a freshman at a community college and im so tired of florida.Im ready to move and travel around.follow the seasons lol.Im thinking of getting a van and paying off my insurancefor 6 months so I don’t have that monthly bill to worry about.make my way to colorado and get a storage & po box. I plan on putting a bike rack on the back and using my bike as daily transport,when possible,to save on gas.my moms a single mom and almost 55.she wants to move to this old folks retirement place but they won’t let her cuz I live with her.I don’t want to keep her unhappy plus I loved colorado the winter I spent there…anyways im rambling..will my plan work?? Sound good to start off??

Reply to this comment

avatar 214 Anonymous

alicia, do not live in your car in the winter and especially in colorado. It Sucks! Also, be careful about leaving your bike on your car, it might get stolen.

PS. I tried using a thermal survival blanket that somebody on this site suggested that I use, but condensation collects on it and makes everything wet and the cold still gets in.

Reply to this comment

avatar 215 Anonymous

look into whats called “heated pet blanket” it only takes 6 watts of power and it only heats up when your sleeping on it. it wont drain your bettery and i don’t think their will be any condensation. full size blanket is a fair size. as long as theirs heat does it matter what its made for??? hope this helps

Reply to this comment

avatar 216 Anonymous

I responded to this idea several comments above, please read that entire response with other valuable information. Pet warmers do not heat on 6 watts. That is stated as the continual wattage consumption on pet warmers because they have a device on them, that stays on continually, that you cannot turn off. Since you cannot turn it off, it has to state upfront that the continual wattage use is 6 watts. That device is always on so it can detect when a pet has walked on it and stays there. When it detects weight staying on it, then it turns the heat on.

You are lossing energy using a pet pad because this 6 watt device cannot be turned off. You have to unplug it, which is a hassle. pet pads use 50-70 watts to heat the pad, depending on the size.

Reply to this comment

avatar 217 Anonymous

You have to find secure places to park. Food that will keep you well nurished I did oatmeal made into shakes that almost no one would have drank (water , powdered milk , protien sometimes shake in a covered cup) Bottled water you can refill at water fountains, I ate lots of applesauce (you have to eat this right away or find a way to keep it cold water bottles work as ice chest too sometimes. Peanutbutter ate it right off spoons. Old coffee can (or plastic container will work in a pinch for female bathroom if all others are closed due to middle of the night) Gym to clean up in. Organized car trunk helps one box clean clothes one box dirty clothes one for work one for weekends almost like a dresser. Keep in mind if you have to drive coworkers or clients around put your blankets etc. back in the trunk every day. (Mylar blankets will keep you warm, it gets really cold even in Florida and CA in the winter!)

Reply to this comment

avatar 218 Anonymous

alicia, just a word of warning, I am from Colorado, grew up there along the front range and it has changed. I don’t know when you were there last or where you were, but crime has literally taken over there. Colorado springs and Denver, but really all over. I would not recommend Colorado to anyone! If you like the winter or seasons, I would recommend Flagstaff, Arizona. Beautiful country and the winters are not bad.

Reply to this comment

avatar 219 Anonymous

I’ve always found that parking in an apartment complex is a relatively safe place to park overnight, and I’ve never been hassled by anyone, police or otherwise.

Many of the apartment complexes around this particular area are gated and have keypads at the entrance, which makes it an even more feasible place to stay overnight. You can either follow a car through the gate, or rush through an open exit gate after a car leaves.

I’ve managed to find out the keycodes to ~200 gated communities around the Houston Area (talking to management during the day, speaking with people who live there, or are out by the pool, etc). I recorded them all, and I have them organized in my laptop.

Being a smooth talker can help you find out stuff like that. Social engineering works wonders when it comes to surviving like we do.

Reply to this comment

avatar 220 Anonymous

for another spot look around for any busy hotels where the people are constantly in and out. reason being is when i stayed with holiday express due to work reasons i noticed that the staff was always polite regardless and if one was quiet enough they could park right in front without being hassled. unless you make it a point to make a fuss then no harm no fowl right??? oh yeah as i was saying the traffic in general when it comes to cars their was always changing so their was no way for them to know who was where n whatnot. if you found 3 -5 different hotels you can rotate and most places do have wifi all you gotta do is call front desk and ask them what the password is ;-) cheers

Reply to this comment

avatar 221 Anonymous

please any info on camp sites in ( so. e. arizona ) needed= cost,= time stay= limits=what ever =thanks heaps= greatest site ive ever read about this subject so far=every one keep on= we dont have much freedom left ==

Reply to this comment

avatar 222 Anonymous

Artie,

There are several sites online that can tell you where to stay, cost and time limits. Just search RV parks in the area you are looking for. most of them cost about 45 a day but if you stay for a month you can pay as little as $350 a month. If you find a resort that needs help, and there a lot of them, you only have to pay for electricity. You have shower, laundry, swimming, club house and garbage service. These are usually included in the price. You also have internet access. Good look and be safe.

Reply to this comment

avatar 223 Anonymous

I have been living in my car for five years.I have two incomes and I stress this is not a plausible way to live.If the elements don’t kill you then the fear alone and depression will send you over the edge.How have I done it so long.I am a strong-minded human with good health but i personally hate it.You not save money because your vehicle and bills will use up what you have.This a unacceptable for a female so I suggest some other avenue.Please dont do this, you will someday regret it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 224 Anonymous

I’m a female and I’ve been doing it for a little over a year now. I’m not afraid and lonely like. I feel like a true free spirit. If you would see me you would never suspect, I’m not on skid row so there is a difference. The only problem I have is that everything takes longer because I have to drive from one place to another for something that I could have right at my door if I had a home to live in. I have to drive to my storage to change my clothing, drive to the P.O.Box, drive again to the gym to shower whether I’m going to work out or not and to eat 3 meals a day is another extra mileage, gasoline and time. The good news is that I finally got a decent paying job. It’a only a temp to hire, part-time position but if they hire me permanently it will be a full time 40 hour a week job so I will be able to afford a place to live. The only reason I want to find a home is so I can save time.

Reply to this comment

avatar 225 Anonymous

OK, I have a question.

How can the police impound your vehicle if you’re just taking a nap or sleeping in it temporarily? How is that legal? I am insured, have a valid license and registration. Can someone please answer this who knows the law. I would never let any officer take my vehicle, for just taking a nap or sleeping in it!!! Where is this car-vagrancy law?

Reply to this comment

avatar 226 Anonymous

illegal lodging

Reply to this comment

avatar 227 Anonymous

Anaheim, that is a good question, I am a Paralegal, and I will answer as best I can. First, it depends on the state, city you live in, some have ordinances that would restrict this. Second, there is a difference between napping and living in a vehicle. This is illegal if there is an ordinance against it, or if you are on property that forbids it. Although this is an ordinance violation, if you are ticketed, your vehicle can be towed if they find you have come back to the same local. This is called reasonable means, which is simply another way of saying, either you obey the ordinance, or we will take the means to prevent this from happening. Sad huh?

Reply to this comment

avatar 228 Anonymous

Hey CLS and other so. cali people,

I am in the inland empire area, do you have any tips or good parking spots for my car-living-adventure. I do work but need to get ahead and save some money. I need to know the laws as well. Please tell me they can’t take your car if you’re fully legal. As for giving you a ticket…REALLY, in todays times? What crappy cop would give a ticket to someone sleeping in their car, who is fully legal and without warrants???

Reply to this comment

avatar 229 Anonymous

Hi 182 Anaheim_Ducks_Hockey,
From first hand experience, I have learned that our justice system is not just. The law is very unfair and they could do what ever they want because they have guns, bars and a court system that backs them up. You could always tell them you were driving home and felt really sleepy so for safety reasons you decided to take a nap because you didn’t want to cause an accident. Isn’t that what the driving manual recommends? You should be ready to give them a physical domicile address though just to cover yourself. As for looking for an overnight parking spot, I would look up the local Walmarts online, call them and ask if they allow overnight RV parking and park there. Also, now that summer is coming I recommend you find a shady spot to park during the day so that you don’t roast at night.

Good Luck!

Reply to this comment

avatar 230 Anonymous

Thank u CLS.

I understand what you are saying. I have thought about this and have decided to try the hotel parking lots. Not many police go through those (at least, not the nicer ones) and I would park in back. As far as dealing with police, I would just tell them, I am temporarily sleeping in my car for a set amount of time. I have to be honest. I don’t know how anyone could sleep in a Wamart parking lot, too much noise and activity. Hotel parking seems the most logical, safe, quiet place to be.

During the day, before work, I am allowed to park anywhere, pretty much. You can use public parks.

I really wanted to use state and fed campgrounds (called Prado regional park) but they charge 30.00 just to pinch a tent!!! That is ridiculous. K.O.A is not much better. R.v. parks are exspensive as well. I think it’s ridiculous that a person cannot camp or park on public land…which we all pay for in our taxes, for free or a very reasonable fee.

Good luck everyone.

Reply to this comment

avatar 231 Anonymous

Well 184 Anaheim_Ducks_Hockey, you should do what is best for you. The experiences I’ve had with the police, along with other people close to me has taught me that honesty doesn’t get you anywhere with them. They’re not here to protect and serve me, they are here to screw me in anyway they can. I don’t know, maybe you’ll be lucky and really run in to a nice one, but that’s very rare nowadays.

As for sleeping in Walmart, the RV’s are allowed to park far away from the store so you don’t really hear any noise from the customers going in and out of the store. I usually go late anyway so the store is closed by then. The hotel parking lot sounds good, but, I would worry about the clerk spotting you and calling the nice police officer. You’ll see and learn. I’ve changed my routine around many times to make things work better. Good Luck!!!!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 232 Anonymous

Well, I’m disabled living on a fixed income, and I decided to live in my little Ford Focus wagon after my wife kicked me out. I’m actually having a great time traveling around the country, and I plan on living the nomadic lifestyle as long as my health permits.

Reply to this comment

avatar 233 Anonymous

Great for you I hope to be doing what you are doing soon.

Reply to this comment

avatar 234 Anonymous

Whoa,

I have done a ton o’ reading…has anyone tried Flying J or TA truck stops?

I read they welcome rv’s and motorists alike. They have certain areas for the non-truckers to park in over-night. Truck stops are huge, with lots of people so I believe they should be somewhat safe.

Walmarts seem to be cracking down. While truck stops don’t come right out and say it’s ok, they want our business. If staying overnight, like the truckers do, just be lo-key.

Please give your opinions and stories.

Reply to this comment

avatar 235 Anonymous

Ahh, this question. When I was on the road, I looked into truck stops as a safe haven for sleep without the dreaded knock of the cop. Unfortunately, I came upon a truck-driver forum, all about Lot Lizards, that made me change my mind fast.

Apparently, some truck stops are in such condition (and location) that these crack-addled “ladies of the night” will open any locked doors and begin their performance without confirmation just to get some cash, or to steal your stuff and resell it for that next hit.

There used to be a truck-driver forum that spoke of the safe vs. the worst stops. Blast that I can’t find it now. But I believe it was on this site, and here is a similar query:
http://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/questions-from-new-drivers/63782-lot-lizard-free-truck-stops.html

I <3 Walmart and campgrounds. National & State Forests are a LOT cheaper than National or State Parks, just not as many amenities. Walmarts, if you can nest yourself between a few RVs, aren't the BEST of sleep, but they really help to supplement the budget. Plus, I'll usually go in and buy an item under $10 to support the store – or because I had to pee and didn't want to be seedy. : )

How much a cop pays attention to you varies by local ordinance – The good guys will move you along, the bad ones will harass you AND move you along. In my town, we've had officers give homeless a ride north to the next city, just to get them out of our village.

Reply to this comment

avatar 236 Anonymous

Hi,trucks tops are great places to stay. Most all have a tv room and there’s always Bored truckers that enjoy talking with a person. As for a shower. I keep DVDS on hand that I have watched and hang around around the machine where they get their shower ticket from and offermtomtrade amDVD forgone of their extra shower tickets, Works real well for me. I am not begging. I am battering, plus they have waste dumps. Nice people at the trucks tops.

Reply to this comment

avatar 237 Anonymous

Truck stops are free and so are many 24 hour restaurants. There are many places to park and stay for free.

Reply to this comment

avatar 238 Anonymous

I read up on truck stops and any where a truck is parked would give a notion that its ok as well. like in general how many truckers have you seen being harrassed my the police for parking on the side of the road, if anything i’ve seen as many as 15 big wheelers parked along the side of the highway over night in front of a small truckers restaurant. The reason i know this is I was the only car parked in the back sleeping ;-) To be on the safe side of things, call around and let the establishments know that your on a road trip and finding the best spot in town to park n eat etc, stretch it a little you would be amazed on how much information you can get just by saying “hi I’m planning a road trip” works everytime. I’m getting ready to move into my expedition once i start my new job ;-) so in what free time i have calling the area and they have been really helpful, since i know i’ll be working nights i’ll be able to crash in the employee parking lot since working 12 hrs i wont want to drive, already told my new boss that from long hrs i’ll be crashing before going home. he said not a problem, as long as you are safe ;-)

Reply to this comment

avatar 239 Anonymous

Some truck stops are good and will allow you, some truck stops will not allow you, and some are trashy, and the people are always suspicious when you get a trashy truck stop. The better ones do have some kind of trucker lounge or laundromat that you can also use. I use them at night just to avoid people. Because I like quiet. Some truck stops have hitch hikers which can be decent people to talk with. I am sure the lot lizards exist, I have only see one and she was really pitiful – but not at all aggressive.

The truck stop on 65 east and south, just outside of Harrison, AR, WILL NOT ALLOW you. If I am going to the resturant and park among the trucks for a few hours just for the shade, they get all mad and aggravated about it. You might be able to sneak for a night, but it is not reliable at all.

Reply to this comment

avatar 240 Anonymous

Hi CLS,

I understand re the police. But if you lie, won’t they know you’re living/sleeping in your car and be more hostile??? Please give me some info.

Do sob stories work or shouls I avoid them and just say I got tired or use another excuse. I thought lying would be worse than try to play the sob story. Like you just need a few weeks or a month and you’ll be back off the streets.

As far as hotels, medium size ones work well with out security guards. They have multiple entrances, use one that does’nt go by the front lobby. Park in back, away from street sight. Sleep soundly! You don’t want a nice/ritzy place and you don’t want a small roach motel.

Reply to this comment

avatar 241 Anonymous

Hi 189 Anaheim_Ducks_Hockey
I don’t know what would be best when it comes to the cops. I would think that the only way they would know you’re lying is if you’ve been spotted sleeping in the same spot for a while and then you tell them it just happened because you were tired. The one time I had the dreadful nightmare of having the cops pounding with flashlights in my car, I was sleeping in an industrial area and I know it was a big truck that pulled up behind me and saw me so he called them. I told them I had an argument with my boyfriend and left. They asked for my license and registration and I told them I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong and I would go home now. The 2 questions they asked were if I was having sex in the back seat of the car and then they asked if I had home. I answered no and yes. I apologized and said I’m going home then and left. The way they were pounding on my glass stayed stuck in my head for months. It was terrifying.

The parking situation is a big problem if you want to be frugal and save money on rent by sleeping in your car. The other thing is how comfortable are you going to be sleeping in your car? I’m a petite girl and I’m a little too big for comfort but somehow I’ve managed. I’ve been doing this since February 2009 and it’s starting to get old. As soon as I can, when I get hired full time on this temp to hire part-time job I now have, I plan to rent a studio apartment somewhere.

There are no truck stops around where I stay, but I remember hearing on the news that because of the bad economy they are going to start closing them down. The story that Jaime told up above is scary.

I wish you all the best!

Reply to this comment

avatar 242 Anonymous

CLS,

I appreciate you telling me, I know it’s hard. I think most people woiuld need a van if they have a pryer of doing it for mor than a month or two. I know I would. My car will have to do, I only need a month or so. I have no one to stay with but I think I can park in a friends driveway. Otherwise it’s hotels and truckstops or wherever. Hang in there and get a room for rent, they’re cheaper. Then you can find an apartment. Most everyone would love to rent to a female vs. a male living in their home. I wish you and everyone else, all the best!

Reply to this comment

avatar 243 Anonymous

Hi 87 Anaheim_Ducks_Hockey,

I don’t know how far back you started reading this blog, I started writing a couple of months before I took the plunge in February 2009, and I explain how due to my past terrible roommate experiences I made my decision to sleep in my car instead of paying someone that’s going to rob me.

Reply to this comment

avatar 244 Anonymous

December 29, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Yes cls, That is the date you first started to post. I have read all your posts and I know you’ve had a hard time. I;m moving for similar reasons. My neighborhood is crime ridden and my friend/landlord, ripped me off for 460.00. I am moving in a few days and I might park in a friends driveway or do the hotel parking thing. I do have a job, it’s just not enough. I don’t take drugs and I do not look like a “homeless person”. I wish we could rent/share an apartment..haha, since you and I are in so. cal. That was a joke, I’m not a stalker lol.

Well, since everyone saye what knid of car their sleeping in, I guess I’ll share mine. 2009 Chrysler Sebring, nice ride but interior is sorta small for me, being 6’1 in height.

I cannot believe you’ve been doing this for over a year…wow! Thankfully, I will only need a month or two. I wont ask about your family situation, cause I know how dysfunctional families can be. Mine is, and my parents are muti-millionaires. I gues I’m the black sheep, who didn’t go to college and I broke their hearts and they basically dis-owned me. I’ve always worked, and worked hard. It seems a shame that you being a young female, is out on the street. If you were my sis or daughter, hell no.
I’m doing this to get ahead a little.
Like Bob said in a previous post, I’m worried about you. Rent a room, it’s the cheapest way to go. You can find a good situation, just look. Try living in a married couples house. Maybe try living with older roommates, in their 40’s/50’s. I know a studio is better but a room is cheap and easy. Just find some good people. Take care CLS.

p.s I’m in Corona if you know where thats at. Yes, the crappy inland empire lol. If you want to talk to someone nice, who’s not a weirdo, then email me and I will give you my cell number. No, I’m not trying to hit on you, just would like to talk, sometimes talking to other people helps. [email protected]

p.p.s. If you’re ever over this way, I’d be happy to buy you an early breakfast, or an late dinner, before we scout our places to park! :)

Reply to this comment

avatar 245 Anonymous

You’re funny 184 Anaheim_Ducks_Hockey. Thanks for the invitation, but I have to gracefully decline. I do have a long story behind all this but I really don’t want to get in to it. It’s so funny that you mention I should rent from an older married couple. I did, that was the last place I rented. They were in their early 50’s and she was a clepto. I didn’t realize it until I moved out and realized all my brand new clothing was gone once I got to my new place. Every pretty thing I wore she made a fuzz over how much she liked and wanted to borrow and at the ended she ended up stealing it from me.

I did this to save money. Everything happened at the same time including a $500. camera ticket in the mail for a classic California Roll and after hearing all the doom and gloom in the news about the economy I thought this would be the best I could do. I’m not scared. I’m okay. I can’t believe more than a year has gone by too. It went really fast and I learned a lot on how to live this lifestyle as comfortable as possible. I didn’t save money though, but I have been paying the car and keeping a healthy lifestye.

My car still looks new and clean. I see that yours is newer. There is a new breed of car sleepers out there that aren’t on skid row, we are just trying to make it in this terrible economy One of the people that I recognize parking where I park has a brand new infinity and he watches movies late at night. It’s a new world. Please don’t worry about me. I’m a strong girl.

Take care

Reply to this comment

avatar 246 Anonymous

You are strong!!!!! I have to agree with you about the cops. My ex is a cop and he was abusive. They get away with everything. I guess that is going to my biggest fear about living in my vehicle. I know how they act like they are God. They like the power of the position. Well thanks for sharing your experiences.

Reply to this comment

avatar 247 Anonymous

Hey everyone… Gonna make the plunge, start living out of the covered bed of a pick up truck. completely invisible to passersby. yay. my question is, what kinds of penalties are there for living out of your car? if the cops catch you and it’s obvious you are living out of your car, what kinds of monetary fines are there? can they repo your vehicle? i’m sure it varies from city to city, i’m just wondering if the money saved on rent outweighs the potential and possibly recurring fines. thanks in advance to all who reply.

Reply to this comment

avatar 248 Anonymous

You park at truck stops- rest areas- 24 hour restaurants so you do not have to worry about that.

Reply to this comment

avatar 249 Anonymous

I have been busted by cops before. it aint no big thing as long as you do not have warrants or are not in possession of anything illegal.
I had a friend who got busted for drinking and sleeping in his car. even though he was in his own vehicle and not moving he was cited for public drunkeness!!!!! Watch out for that. Also, no open containers of alchohol and most if not all states.

I have had the neighbors call the cops on me. they problable thought i was a stalker. most of the time the cops will just tell me to find a different place. no bigeee

Reply to this comment

avatar 250 Anonymous

Always keep the keys OUT of the ignition if you are intoxicated. You can’t be charged with anything. The police are mostly liberal when it comes to these circumstances. But there’s always that ONE who’s having a bad day and will take it all out on you. Just be honest—-let’s face it, the economy sucks and you will unlikely become the first car-liver he/she comes across on patrol.
No one here is homeless either. Your vehicle is your home. It’s like an efficiency on wheels.

Reply to this comment

avatar 251 Anonymous

This is true. Just keep the keys in your pocket. Then it will seem that you were not wanting to drive while intoxicated, you were just sleeping. You can’t be charged with DUI.

Reply to this comment

avatar 252 Anonymous

Great site. I enjoy car living in my 1988 corsica 2.8fi v6. Its great. And a great place to park is beside a lake. Or in summer time just go camping. Without the tent or with. Whatever is best for you. If the cops came. I will just say. I’m parked here so I can start early on my fishing. Good luck to everyone. God bless. Shawn from edmonton Alberta.

Reply to this comment

avatar 253 Anonymous

An increasingly relevant discussion, at least to me. Congrats to the new breed of pioneer!

I’m currently thinking of selling my car and buying a work van to convert. I find I’m actually looking forward to taking up this lifestyle, dangers and all. I believe it will actually be good for me as I’ve kind of gotten myself in a rut. However, I just celebrated my Big Five Oh, my kids are gaining their own self-sufficiency, and I’m ready for my second childhood – this time I really am gonna run away from home, at least to someplace warmer and drier. I want to do it while I’m still young enough. There is a silver lining in the middle age thing — though I am not unattractive “for my age,” it makes me pretty much invisible already. LOL Of course this is too easy a perspective in the beginning and hellish days will follow but, that is not contingent upon living in/out of one’s car, is it? Crap happens even if you have a house. Sometimes especially if you have a house – that is the point, isn’t it?

Thankfully, I have disability income and none of the expenses that come with holding down a job. I really don’t need much and, curiously, the more I get rid of, the better I feel. Hello, George Carlin. God willing, I’ll be able to save 1/3 of my income for the inevitable rainy day. Maybe the rat race isn’t for us because we’re not rats?

Here is my list of anticipated monthly expenses:

-$150 – Rainy Day Fund
-$100 – Fuel 400 mi.
– $70 – Insurance ($400 2x/yr.)
– $50 – Camp fees, laundry?
– $30 – Prepaid phone min.
– $25 – Disposables & toiletries, soap, TP, etc.
– $25 – Cigs (I know, eww)

What am I missing as a regular expense? Obviously, It’d be nice to afford a gym membership but saving is more important to me and, I’ve been homeless before and it’s not that tough to find a place to shower plus, I have a pocket puppy who needs exercise, too. We can hike in the winter and swim in the summer. Velcro attachable weights don’t take up much room.

We’ll probably drift up and down the Left Coast with the seasons. I won’t be mobile-homeless; I’ll be a snowbird! LOL I’ll admit I’m looking desperately for any and every silver lining because, even though it’s been many years, I did sleep in my storage unit for awhile; I spent days working and used the municipal pool to shower, it was scary — but I had lots more responsibilities and drama back then.

About security, I once received an email several times which advises to keep your key fob on your nightstand so that you can press the panic button in case of burglary. I’m under the impression that this isn’t exactly standard equipment on a van but, even aftermarket, especially with remote starting capability seems like an even better idea than using it from your bed in a prison cell …. I mean house! /humor

Anyway, what a relief to know I’m not really alone. I won’t consider myself homeless OR “willingly” homeless either (and really, is there such a thing? circumstances MAKE one “willing” only as a last resort, greedy mothafukas). I’m a homebody to a fault, but it’s been due to finances and responsibilities that I haven’t done more traveling. My dad built his own camper before I was born and I practically grew up in that thing. I’ve inherited only a fraction of his ingenuity for which I’m always grateful. When I find a good survivalist forum, I get in this zone and lose track of time. I think I’ve got myself talked into detailing my really cute fun to drive car and putting the For Sale sign in it (I printed it out a couple of weeks ago … it’s just been sitting on my desk but I know in my heart that the S WILL HTF and I’m too smart not to be prepared. I’m probably going to have to do it eventually and having the time will be crucial to my success. Oh, courage, don’t fail me now.

Until I get this set up, I’m living vicariously though you, so any words of wisdom or encouragement are more than welcome. I’m looking forward to reading your updates. Disenfranchised, unite!

Reply to this comment

avatar 254 Anonymous

Kathleen – Sounds like you’ve got the right mind-set and optimism to deal with the hardships that can come with vehicle-dwelling… Honestly I had way more headaches with home ownership than I’ve ever had while living in my van. That’s right – we are not rats, screw the rat race… I’ve been in my van for 2 years now and can’t think of many bad things to even say about it, other than my vehicle breaking down on occasion, but even then I had AAA to call for a rescue… Whether you can vehicle-dwell or not comfortable really depends on your resourcefulness and mindset. As for your expenses, don’t forget food! lol. That is where most of my money goes. Or vehicle repairs and gas. I’ve got a financial budget on my page, just go to http://www.faliaphotography.com and click on “cost of living” along the right side. Yes, S is going to HTF, so I would recommend getting as prepped as you can in your vehicle.. I highly recommend joining the WhenSHTF.com forum for survival info, too – lots of great stuff there. As for needing courage, honestly I have found van-dwelling to be more free, fun and exciting than fearful, worrisome, or dangerous. You’ve got to prepare for the worst, but keeping a postitive outlook is key. Maybe check out the book “Transcending Fear.” It is an excellent read and has helped me in many areas.

Reply to this comment

avatar 255 Anonymous

Kathleen,

Your list is missing food and a POBox so you have a place or way to pick up your disabilty check and other mail.

Reply to this comment

avatar 256 Anonymous

Sonja, thank you. I think I might have found my way here using a link from your site yesterday. I’ve just scratched the surface of the info you’ve provided. It’s not that I don’t look forward to this but the transition is probably the scariest part. I’m adaptable, though.

It’s not so much fear of the unknown as it is just being stuck in a rut but …. drumroll please ….
First baby step: I’ve offered my daughter a commission for selling my car. She can use the dough and she’s not so attached to it. A van will be more practical whether I end up living in it or not.

Since I’m on disability, I’m also on food stamps which, I realize, are not “supposed” to be for those who live in/out of their car. As far as they’re concerned, I’m camping. So, food: check.

I didn’t want to tempt fate by naming the “Rainy Day Fund” the “Auto Repair Fund” instead – why take chances? LOL Comparing your budget to mine, I feel as though I can make it, if only barely and God willing.

Reply to this comment

avatar 257 Anonymous

Food stamps are given to homeless people and people who have shelter, there is no rule. My friend lived in his car in Oregon and was given food stamps.

Reply to this comment

avatar 258 Anonymous

Good’on’ya for giving the road a go, Kathleen!

One word of warning on your budget – Campsites, during the ‘on’ season, will bleed ya. Seek National and State Forests over National or State Parks, and Walmarts are always a good deal when you get stuck. Private campgrounds vary greatly, but may offer a discount earlier in the week if its a non-holiday. Weekends are rough.

Best of luck! Keep reading, there are more and more van/car/truck livers than you might imagine, and a lot of ’em have blogs.

Cheers!

Reply to this comment

avatar 259 Anonymous

Hi my good people.

I do own a van, and it seems all I do is pay rent etc. I know I should not complain, but I almost feel like putting my “stuff” in a storage locker, getting me a gym membership and bank the money, that I am spending for the very high rent! I do work, so if I did it for a year, I could pay cash for a small house. It would mean living very frugal, but I can do it. Hang in there, and thanks for letting me vent. I am debt-free, because I listen to http://www.daveramsey.com. I just want to save some of this rip off high rent. Perhaps I can care for an elderly person for free rent, when I am home. I can purchase my own food.

Reply to this comment

avatar 260 Anonymous

Jaime, thank you. You’ve described my campground plan perfectly. I shall use them only when absolutely necessary.

Now, I’m dithering between buying a box van or a full-size passenger van. I’ve read that box vans (even converted ones) aren’t exactly welcome at campgrounds, even if they’re self-contained? OTOH, campgrounds ARE expensive but, would be good to be ABLE to use one when need arises. Either way, I plan to have a little gas-powered scooter in/on the thing.

So, thoughts on box/cube truck v. full-size passenger van? City stealth v. country stealth v. comfort and roominess.

Reply to this comment

avatar 261 Anonymous

Pros. Diesel engine,roomines
Cons,not the best for stealth,diesel prices,

Reply to this comment

avatar 262 Anonymous

I have read this entire page of amazing and great storys about “Homeless Mobile” or is it “Mobile Homeless?”….
I am SWF, disabled & have SS income, no pets, no kids that care, no friends to speek of.
I have an old 98 Ford ranger. ….anyway are there any other negatives? I know you have to be safe, parking, hygene and so forth is there more that ppl don’t talk about?

My questions
1. What about the looks of your vehical? mine looks like it needs to be scrapped,just like me.
2 What about being alone and lonely? 3 What do I do during the day for example 7 am to 8 pm?

I have a laptop & play a game on the web, that helps me when I am lonely and excape reality,
you can kill only so much time at the library and malls and so forth,….then what?

A gym memshp would be great but I can’t work out
I see most of the ppl here are athletic,young and healthy.
My only bills are…Storage,Cell phone w/internet, truck insurance, a personal loan (hopeing it will help fix my credit again) All this takes about less than half of my income. not including food, gas,.. And I am trying to stop smoking. No lectures pease,I’m to old to hear any more about that.. I did say I was trying to stop. I read that you need to save at least 80% of your income or not live in your car. Is this true for everyone? Or is this an individual thing?

Why don’t more ppl mention Homeless shelter? Never thought of it? Did it & didn’t like it? Not one around? what???
I live in Texas, and it is hot hot hot. I have researched until I am blue in the face, Scared to death,need a friend or 2. One thing I have taught my self is repeating “Change can be good too”, not always bad. I hate being alone. I wan’t sure if I could leave my email here or not,just incase someone could help. I have been encouraged by the ppl that have and are still living in their cars.thank you

Reply to this comment

avatar 263 Anonymous

Not sharing the same background, one item I’d recommend is: California. At least there you would not be alone. So many transients there, who live out of their cars but sleep mostly on the beach. The weather is fantastic, if you really get hard-up they treat the homeless so well, and there will be plenty of folks to talk to.

Venice Beach is a good place to start. Safety is certainly an issue, but if you’re in such dire straits anyhow, it couldn’t hurt to have a look-see. In my opinion, it’s the absolute best place to be homeless.

Now, if your job is in TX, and you don’t plan on leaving TX, forget it. Hopefully someone else here can help you with your other queries.

Good luck!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 264 Anonymous

@Jaime –

Where do people sleep on the beach? The beaches I’ve been to in LA seem to close at sunset.

any good places to park in LA for sleeping in your car?

Any suggestion for best places for free internet?

Reply to this comment

avatar 265 Anonymous

Go out in your truck to WalMart and do an overnighter. See how that works. Then go to the next town and do a two nighter.See how that works out for you? Will also give you an idea of what you need and what to leave at home. Hope this idea helps. HoboJoe

Reply to this comment

avatar 266 Anonymous

I have three words for all you guys and gals who sleep in their vehicles – if you want privacy both in the day and night:-

TINT YOUR RIDE….

I have been sleeping in my car for more than one year, at first i didn’t have any tint on my windows and i was forced to use several dark cloths to cover my windows at night…if you sleep in your car you will end up having lots of stuff in your car….laptops, blankets, etc….thieves only steal what they can see….so i decided to tint my windows….

i paid $75 for my tint…..and the minute i got into my car I was in a whole new world…i could see outside but they could not see me. the first tint i put on my windows was so dark and illegal [5% VLT], i had to row down my windows at night when i was driving. i managed to drive for several months without getting a ticket but i had to drive to 2000 miles to seattle WA. and back again, so i removed the tint in the front and put 35% tint, in the front windows. you can get a ticket if your tint is too dark.

Today I would never sleep in my car without tinted windows…even with tint you will still need windshield sunshades and several pieces of dark cloth if you want absolute privacy.

Reply to this comment

avatar 267 Anonymous

I have 35% tints on my car “toyota camry” including back window and i drape the car in towels at night to go to sleep in the back seat.
I have been doing this since June, I’m in college, work out daily (my body would kill me if I didn’t) and I shower at my gym. Currently out of work (thanks to our great economy) In credit debt and just trying to get by day by day. I have two more years to go in college and hopefully I will find a Job and a place by then.

Truly only thing that get’s me by week to week is spending $20 a week to eat and watch football at my fav bar watching the DETROIT LIONS.

Good luck to anyone else doing this (and if any car company wants to pay me to live in there car ill do it, heck make a huge luxury commercial about it and how it’s so comfy you don’t even need a house (get your marketing execs to make it better) lol

Reply to this comment

avatar 268 Anonymous

hi everyone. i do have an apartment and a van, so i am blessed, and i try to help others.

Reply to this comment

avatar 269 Anonymous

This is fkn kool folks. Well, after getting kicked out by the angry live in girlfriend..yeah i slept in a car freezin cold..for like 16 days yup just to keep my sanity..I was able to keep my job by this..it pays good but dang it seems that cost of living is higher..the trunk is not a good place to sleep..had too bad neighboorhood one night….Definitely it helps by saving money…alot.but use it to progress unless u want to chill in a car for longer time…o yeah shower and yup keep a caterer handy…..ja ja…better yet JYm…well…good hearing ur stories…keep on van camping folks…lessons learned is wisdom earned..peace

Reply to this comment

avatar 270 Anonymous

I understand and applaud this man’s determination to get out of debt. I also lived in my truck… my 1986 Jeep Cherokee Laredo.

I was probably the only graduate student at Duke University to live in her Jeep throughout most of my dual Practitioner program. It is amazing at the resourcefulness that one develops. Logistics is big as campus police wouldn’t let me stay overnight in the parking lot THAT I PAID ACCESS TO. Sometimes I would get to the hospital long before my shift, garment bag (and toiletry kit) in hand, find a deserted staff lounge and shower/prep there…and walk out in my lab coat to take care of my critically ill patients. In extreme weather I utilized libraries and study buildings as long as possible at night to study and rite papers, catch up on news, etc. The nursing administration building had a student computer lab and lounge..with a kitchenette. Microwavable meals, especially having HOT WATER for tea at night…went a long way to keep me warm during winter snow and ice storms. Once a week a late night diner was my big treat… all the coffee I could drink and one ‘sit down’ late night breakfast was my self-reward. The faculty and my colleagues never knew…good thing, as I would probably have been thrown out for disgracing the almighty name of DUKE.

My best advice to anyone contemplating this: fluffy sock slippers, two trashbags with a towel in between will provide much needed insulation for foot warmth…the floor of jeeps gets quite cold in winter. An extra large down comforter will be your best friend…and compacts nicely into a stuff sack to stay clean and out of sight during the day!. I used a duvet cover that matched my upholstery and parked in dark locations to minimize the likelihood of someone peeking in and noticing the apparent “bum” sleeping in the jeep ;(.

I did save money…besides school (and two residencies) I was working full time in one of the ICUs and auto-deposited my not-so generous Uncle Duke paychecks (minus $50/week for my complete expenses) back home to take care of my children. It was almost ten years before I was able to tell my children how rough it was.

For the past 8 months I’ve been doing something similar: living out of my car and sleeping in a hammock in the woods (yes, even in winter storms). I’ve learned even more during this adventure. I sold most of what I had, house included, bought gold and stashed it away for the future, and decided to save more to pay cash for a house next year. I am debt free except for basic bills (a storage facility, cell phone bill and car insurance). Funny thing is that I sleep better than I ever have before…with more energy to do what I do during the day. I’m in a different and colder area now but I receive strength from being free and independent while working expeditiously towards a bigger goal. One thing that is easier now is that I can go to see different family members, bring supplies and cook dinner, enjoy their company and have the benefit of regular hot showers! The kids (now adult) still think I’m a bit odd…and they are right… but they love to go camping with me!

Reply to this comment

avatar 271 Anonymous

I decided to live in my car by choice. I take showers at the gym where I also workout and bodybuild regularly. Living in a car has changed my life in so many ways for the better. It’s peaceful, no overhead to manage and can travel freely. When it gets cold, use a sleeping bag. Get tinted windows for optimal privacy. It’s not that bad, even in a sedan, but only if you’re single. If you have pets, get rid of them. I personally don’t care for them. They’re too much maintenance. I go bar hopping on the weekends, party every day and meet new people to stay with who invite me over to stay for a while. It’s really not that bad. It’s actually quite enlightening. I’m doing this by choice and will have no plans to ever rent or own any property in the future.

Reply to this comment

avatar 272 Anonymous

I realy like what you had to say about living out of your car. My dog is the tuff part. He is 50# and i will allways love him. hate to let him go. i think i agree to get rid of the pets. i think i am making to much of living out off my car. your comments made me feel better. The time is now. it’s like what really is there to plan??. every thing will hopefully work. staying in the moment work

Reply to this comment

avatar 273 Anonymous

I googled this “living on my car” this website came out . I was going trough so much stuff that the best way for me to leave that was living my house. After a month I can said wao!!! I never expected to live in my car it is incredible how I manage to live with so many limited resources and I am so happy because I have learn tons and tons of stuff. Before I used spend money like crazy or I did not really care.Now that I am living in my car and at the same time going to college. I make sure where every cents goes. For me it is definitely a learning experience I have learn a lot. I never thought about about being able to live like this !!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 274 Anonymous

i am currently working and still cant afford a place due to how mutch i pay in chiled support.
so i have been getting my truck ready to live in. but i have lived in colorado for my whole life
and know where i can camp and be left alone so my girlfriend and i have bought a small camper and a huge army tent to park the camper in when its -20. we also have a toyota truck and 4runner both 4×4 and 4cylinders so we can make it to work and back affordabley and with very few repairs.

Reply to this comment

avatar 275 Anonymous

I have no idea how old this thread is, but I thought I would toss in my two cents worth. Have any of you live-in-car people thought of visiting so-called intentional communities? Yes, just like in the hippy days of old, there are quite a number of communes still in existence. Most want “interns” or visitors for extended periods of time to help with the work. You might learn something about organic farming. You’ll certainly have company. Heck, you might even like the lifestyle so much, you’ll become a member! It seems so many of you are desperate to get right back on the mortgage treadmill, back into the ratrace, when there are alternative lifestyles out there. Check out the http://www.ic.org webpage. Under “Find” you can narrow down the communes to the ones you might be compatible with, to the ones in your state, or the ones along your travel itinerary. I suspect they will be very understanding of your situation. Many expect interns to “tent,” well, your car is your tent! If the commune doesn’t appeal to you, just drive to another. It’s just a thought… I wish you good luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 276 Anonymous

if you are interested in this you should also google WWOOFing, it’s a program where you can go somewhere and in exchange for ~2weeks-2months of farm work you can live on their property. alot of places that do this are communes. some of them want you to take care of yourself food-wise but others feed you too.

Reply to this comment

avatar 277 Anonymous

What an awesome blog. I am so glad that I came across it. I have been living in a friends apartment garage for free. But now her son and his girlfriend want to move up there so now I need to leave. I went through a bad custody battle and lost to an abusive ex. It is all about who has the most money. And it wasn’t me. So now I am in debt with to attorney fees (2 attorneys), and medical expenses. Even if you have insurance you have to sell your lung to pay for things. So now I have been trying to decide what do I do now. So I decided to live in my car. Right now I am packing. I am excited about the experience. I got a gym membership so I can shower, and I found a Loves truck stop where hopefully I can get a goods night rest. I dont have a PO Box yet because there is a waiting list. I didn’t realize there was such a high demand for PO boxes. I am trying to find a 24 hour storage close to my work so it won’t be out of the way when I need to go there. Same thing with my PO box. I live in Texas and I don’t have any family. Plus I was in foster care growing up. The closest thing I have to family is my co-workers. They are amazing! But I don’t want anybody to know.
If I get desperate I already drove by a shelter that would take me in.

Reply to this comment

avatar 278 Anonymous

One more thing… Does anybody know how to keep your car cool without leaving your car on all night? I am about to hit hot summer weather and I want to be prepared.

Reply to this comment

avatar 279 Anonymous

re: SherryR and the air conditioning: I sould find a really safe place like a friends driveway to park. If you could pay them for the place to park even. Because i would be afraid of leaving my windows all the way down on a public street. kI was in Idaho where it cools down at night in the mountains, or in the valley, I was in a safe parking lot where I could leave windows down. That is a difficult one. I said before I was at Mccall Idaho for a summer. I couild go to the state park, ponderosa, and buy a day pass. dawn till dark and you can swim in the lake and barbaque read, lay on the beach ect. It was a cheap place to lay over during the day. I went there after work, when I found work. A lot of locals started out camping out until they could buy land. Winters are harsh there so, finding roomies is good.

Reply to this comment

avatar 280 Anonymous

Have any of you thought about living in an RV? My parents are no longer able to use their 5th wheel, truck and camping package. This is a rare combo because it includes a camping membership that allows you to stay free anywhere the camping club has a park in the US and Canada. Granted, if you have a job, this probably isn’t feasible; but if you’re disabled or retired, it’s a great option. (And, no: I’m not trying to sell you my parent’s RV package!)

There are lots of camping options that would take you one step above living in your car. It’s still very frugal. In fact, my husband and I did it (with 3 pets) for almost a year.

I have a question for some of you in cars that have jobs: have you considered upgrading your vehicle to a mini-van or something with more room? Used cars are very cheap right now (because of the economy) and you can probably find a great deal. (Again, I’m not trying to bypass those of you who have serious financial issues.)

If anyone happens to be in Georgia (I’m 30 miles north of Atlanta in a town called Cumming), you are more than welcome to stay in our driveway. Feel free to send me an email at [email protected].

Reply to this comment

avatar 281 Anonymous

So I moved out to socal from Chicago in august 2010 with my gf(soon to be ex) were living together in LA and I need out and don’t have enough yet for an apartment. Reading this feed really helped I’m getting storage so its a little less obvious to cops and a gym membership for hygiene. I have a jeep cherokee ill be living out of and I work in Santa Monica. Where are some good spots to park to sleep downtown Santa Monica? I work on 5th and Santa monica and a ymca next door luckily.

Reply to this comment

avatar 282 Anonymous

Positivebro, can we have an update on your current situation. Its very fortunate that they let you park at that VA compound. I have lived in my car before and I’m thinking of moving to the LA area.

Reply to this comment

avatar 283 Anonymous

I womder if it is ok to park at a travel stop all the time? I know that people that live in their vehicles do not stay in the same place due to not wanting a run in with the cops. But I wonder if it would ok to stay at a Loves travel station every night to sleep. I am about to live in my vehicle in less then 2 weeks. I looked around and found a Loves in a safe area. I really do not want to be going from place to place to sleep. But I will if that is what I have to do to survive. Any advice.

Reply to this comment

avatar 284 Anonymous

Hi SherryR!

That’s a really good solution. Obviously, truck drivers get to stay there all the time. In fact, they can even take showers, get food, etc. They *probably* allow them to do this at no cost because they buy diesel from them.

I’m still the advocate for checking with someone first. They probably have security walking the grounds and if they find you, they will probably ask you to leave.

Good luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 285 Anonymous

I would rather not ask someone if I can park there every night due to the fact that I don’t want anyone to know that I will be living out of my car. I don’t want to be a “sitting duck” for any criminal activity. I don’t know maybe it is best to move around.
I dont want to be harassed by cops either. I had enough of that abuse from my law enforcement ex-husband. Well thank you for your advice, it is appreciated.

Reply to this comment

avatar 286 Anonymous

I have been in my car for almost a year now, and I get a lot of checking from police. I mean they are nice, and also offer help. but is this typical? really need to know.

I have found that neighboring cities can be very different. one city in the phoenix area the officers will encourage you to leave, Glendale, but in a neighboring city, Chandler, the officers will not.

if police do speak with you, ask them if there is a code or law where they could fine or arrest you. they will usually say that you just need to move your car.

also, security officers, if they are not totally intolerant, they are so suspicious that it makes parking there too uncomfortable.

Construction sites or stores in a mall that are not rented out, have been the best places for parking. since there is no business going on, just as long as you do not sit there 24 hours, but move around a bit.

ever noticed how all parking lots are designed so that there is no shade? the parking spaces have little or no shade? that is to discourage us, and other bums, loiterers. supposedly attracts crime or ugly people, not good for business.

Reply to this comment

avatar 287 Anonymous
avatar 288 Anonymous

There are some grocery stores that will let you park every night for months and others that wont allow one night… sometimes if you see someone parking that looks like they do it regularly you can ask them politely will anyone hastle you… sometimes this underground community can be a great rescource, if you need a jump, if the group watches out for one another. If questioned by the police dont say your just doing it once.. tell the truth and they will work with you. definately need a charged cell phone every night if you need to call 911. Being female I would try to sleep so that a person doesnt know your in the vehicle, or that your a woman(beany hat or covers pulled over your head. Have met some wonderful people who will look out for you without looking for a return… God bless and keep you

avatar 289 Anonymous

No place will really let you setup camp in their parking lot. Truck stops, Walmarts, etc. are lenient b/c truck drivers & RV’ers buys a ton of gas. And they know that they will leave after a night’s sleep or so. But it’s not for vehicle dwellers. If they allow it, people can sue them should something bad happens as their parking lots are not zoned nor suitable for dwelling. You need to blend in and be stealthy. Many people get a cargo van for this purpose and are able to park like they’re there working. Apartment complex parking lots are another good place to park. But you cannot stay more than 2 nights at the same place. You need to scope out a new place just about every night. Anyone would immediately notice a stranger’s car in front or close to their house, let alone one that’s parked there night after night. And always stay away from playgrounds, parks with lots of kids, school zones, etc…as a van hanging out too long will look very suspicious. With out of state tags, it makes things even harder. Good luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 290 Anonymous

I wouldn’t advise attempting to use Apartment Complex parking … these belong to the people who live in the apartments ,& these people most likely pay for them . Parking is hellish in LA so be aware you are going to generate considerable animosity if you do this . We have started to see more & more vehicle dwellers parking in our area ( Los Feliz) & i am personally ok with it as long as they respect other people & don’t dump their trash & blast music from their vehicles …sadly many do . If this persists i for one will be glad to call the police & have them removed . RESPECT is the key word here !

Reply to this comment

avatar 291 Anonymous

With all this heat, I look for shade. Fields are a great place, because they have shade, privacy and are more quiet. Also great if you have a pet, or like to help the occassional stray cat/dog with food and water or rescue.

The deep shade of a field with trees and shurbs is a lot more cool than shade of a building, or car shelter. Because the cool ground and plants cool really off the air. that is how all these animals can live in the heat without A/C.

I found cheap fabric at walmart, for $3 a yard, that I simply put on my windows at night to keep out bugs. just some kind of white netting like material. Put it over the open car door and shut the door on it. you can also just hang it over the car keeping the door open for maximum air. Also a fan at the window if you have electrical power.

It is so hot, my car would not cool off at night, i have to keep it in the shade.

To find a filed, just look for a shrubby background and drive around the area and explore. I have found that people who own parking lots next to fields are really the most tolerant. Helpful, really.

In one situation the owner of the property owner was pleased for me to park there, because they were having problems with criminal activity being it was so empty all the time. The crooks might become a little more brave, but I am not planning a fight.

Just make sure you stay well out of the way of any business going on, be nice to any passing customers, and neighbors. I also volunteer to keep the grounds clean.

Secluded fields around a driving area/path are not obvious, you are going to have to drive around side streets. When you find one, park in it for a while to check it out. If you like it, speak with the business or property owner if it seems one is there. But if you think that the property owner will not, usually wealthy establishments or chain stores, then just wait it out – until you are asked to leave.

In a snall town I found a field behind a fire station and the fire fighters asked me if I wanted to use their facilities to clean up. The field is along a ravine, deep shade, which is just great for hiking or contemplation or using your port-a-potty.

In a big city I found another field besides another fire station. Try the local fire station in your area.

Cops and security like to scare you against field areas, always saying there are lots of homeless people wandering or going around them. the answer to that: give them good decent food or help and talk a bit humble. I do this anyways.

however in the south, very near the U.S. boarder, that could be a serious issue that you want to avoid fields.

so you might encounter some serious police acitivity near a field, I mean checking on you, in the middle of the night, but if you get the property owner’s permission, they will stop. Or after checking and watching you, they might realize you are really just not threatening.

one time the night police came at me with a helicopter-and-spotlight then three cars. no kidding, an inner city field. but allowed me to stay and stopped that checking.

Reply to this comment

avatar 292 Anonymous

Dear sherry,
U can get away with it to some exstent but u really need to find more than one place like loves to park because ur gonna attract attention to yourself if u stay in the same place so find other spots ur comphy with an move around from place to place every 2-3 days,,walmarts are good,,travelers are always staying there while passing thru so u can use that as an excuse unless u have been camped out for days when u get asked,,,ive done it,,,the main thing is b polite if ur approched by secutity guard,,most of them dont care but is thier job so leave an give it afew dats before u come back an most wont mind!,,good luck an god bless!

Reply to this comment

avatar 293 Anonymous

i sleep in loves almost every night. had no problems thus far.

Reply to this comment

avatar 294 Anonymous

what is “loves”?

Reply to this comment

avatar 295 Anonymous

Love’s is a brand of truck stop like Pilot or Flying J. Love’s is a bit cheaper and less uptight than Pilot.

avatar 296 Anonymous

Most cops don’t give a fk and will be reasonable if you aren’t an asshole to them. All “security guards” are f-ing douche-bags and your best recourse with those is to tell them to fk their mothers and drive away. You need to find mutliple spots, like at least 10. Some spots are better than others, some nights/days you are going to be f-ed though and there will be no way to avoid the suck of it all. Travel light. This can be an ideal way to live given a few very important factors: A) you do not have to rely on strangers for paper checks or cash (e.g. a “job”) & B) you do not have to remain in any one town or city any longer than you desire to be there. Cannabis is helpful (particularly on solitary nights in the wilderness) and alcohol is a straight up killer. Nothing worse than waking up with an on deaths doorstep hangover in your f-ing car. Avoid that at all costs.

Reply to this comment

avatar 297 Anonymous

Travel stops are hotbeds of shady activity. I would NOT stay at one if I had a choice. I’m currently living in my vehicle and I have found that churches are fantastic places to park. Leave out the part about whether YOU are religous or not and ask to speak to the pastor of the church. Explain your situation and that you are living in your vehicle. They are very sympathetic to such circumstances. Explain that you will not be leaving trash anywhere or wandering around the parking lot in your pajamas during times when services are being conducted. Finally, tell the pastor that you don’t have a great deal of money to spare, but make an offer to contribute $20 or so to the church’s general funds (in most instances they won’t take your money). Granted, all you have is a parking lot and no showers or amenities, but in most cases they’ll tell you you can park there. Do this at several out of the way churches and those off the beaten path. Find ones that have parking lots that wrap around the building and you can park BEHIND the building so your vehicle can’t be seen from the main street. Nobody ever really cruises through church parking lots looking to cause trouble and, if you can’t easily be seen as a target from a main road, nobody will suspect you’re there. SAFETY IS GOLDEN!

Reply to this comment

avatar 298 Anonymous

I park at my job. Of course not everyone can. Not everyone can live out of their car either. However, I’m bouyed by the thought of the money I’m saving and not being stuck with 25 or 50 bucks after each pay period.

Reply to this comment

avatar 299 Anonymous

Well my last day living in my apartment is coming up. I know that this is going to be such a challenge. I can’t just be lazy and decide to take a shower in the morning instead of in the evening. I am going to have to take advantages of any opportunities. I found a gym that is rather cheap, but it is not open 24 hours a day.
I got a great deal on a storage. And it is open 24 hours, so if I need something I can just go by there to get it. On top of that they provide a moving truck for FREE!!! So I called and cancelled my Budget truck rental. Things seem to be falling into place for the good.
I think the only thing I am concerned about is finding a place to park without having to move around a lot, and keeping cool through the hot, humid summer days that are already here. Well wish me luck!!!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 300 Anonymous

I wonder if you can make a deal with someone to park in their driveway or near their home. Maybe for $50-100 a month depending on what they allow you to use….ie. get water from their garden hose, plug in an extension cord for some electricity, etc. What kind of vehicle are you living in? To keep cool for a van, people install a ceiling hatch fan (used in RV’s) that runs off of a secondary battery. It pulls a lot of air, keeps condensation down, etc. Much safer than leaving your windows down. You need to check out some of the “van dwelling” sites for proven ideas.

Reply to this comment

avatar 301 Anonymous

i have a question for sherryr. could you not live in the storage area? discreetly of course.

Also, have you considered bug bombing your car? My car has teeny little spiders, even though i never have food in my car, and am a very clean person. would it be safe to set off a bomb?

Reply to this comment

avatar 302 Anonymous

The management for my storage facility lives on site, so I would not be able to stay there. They even mention it in their “rules.” I have a Nissan Altima. I have tinted windows thank goodness.
But right now I am not living in my vehicle. The day I was moving I feel and sustained a trimalleolar fracture to my lower leg, plus I dislocated my ankle. I had emergency surgery. I dont know what happened with things “falling in place?”
I am staying with someone but I feel uncomfortable, so I am waiting for me to get better and then I am going to try it again.
The good thing is that the weather here in the south has hit record highs, 100’s. So I have had some where cool to stay.

Reply to this comment

avatar 303 Anonymous

try vandwellers.com for blogging/emails. A great how to site is cheaprvliving.com. He has written a book and covers most all areas. Try the rd=edneck air conditioner. Get a 50 gal. cooler, cut a piece of stiff foam insulation to fit the top of the cooler( lid raised) get a small fan, mark the outline of the fan. cut it out. Get a 2″ piece of pvc plastic pipe. cut it about 4′ long mark the out line on the insulation at the other end. Cut it out. Fill the ice chest 3/4 fullof ice. tight fit the insulation into the top of the ice chest. fit the fan cace down in the whole in the insulation. fit the pvc pipe in the other hole. ass an angle to the pipe for direction controll. turn on the fan. cold air comes out the pipe. A guy tested it out and found the air comming out is around 60 degrees and it cooled his van to around 70 degrees. I’m going to make one for my self. H.

Reply to this comment

avatar 304 Anonymous

Shari,

I work nights and spend the days at a Korean Spa for about $12.00 per day. They usually have sleep rooms, fresh towels, and a way to pamper myself when I wake up. Unfortunately my home is several states away and is rented out at a loss…. but I still have a mortgage payment since the market is so bad. At my age I have to hold onto something. I never thought I would be homeless.

Reply to this comment

avatar 305 Anonymous

Sherry, here are other places to stay. At upper class hotels
Apatment complexes, truck stops, try to stay and blend in at
Residential places. At apartment complexes you can even do your
Laundry there. Find an ideal place with in 10 block radius where
You can hang out. Here are ideal living conditions; you sleep in your car
With tinted windows in a safe place. You wake up, put your cap on and go
To any hotel lobby where they have free coffee. Take two one for you
And one aunt sally. Try to join a fitness center between 10- 50 dlrs
A month, 24/7 you can exercise and shower there. If you have a job where
You earn 800 dlrs a month you can make it. Find a good Christian church to
Attend and learn from Gods word. Be faithful and attend regularly
And be a servant, help out in cleaning or anything else.
Gravitate towards the good things in life: good people, a good church, any
Good opportunities, get good advice. Stay away from those that want to
Hurt you. Hang in there, you will be ok…

Reply to this comment

avatar 306 Anonymous
avatar 307 Anonymous

I have been living out of my car since hurricane Wilma in 2005. From that time I have rented rooms and have had positions of employment to care for the elderly as a live-in companion. My day begins at 4AM, as where I park I do not want to draw attention that I park there. I have a small bottle of water that I drink as I drive to a Perpetual Addoration Chapel to pray. After going to Holy Mass I have a cheap breakfast at Burger King and Lunch is also cheap at the same place as senior drinks go along way. I do not eat or drink anything after lunch (12:30 pm) as I do not have access to any facilities where I park. I park at a hospital parking lot and as far away from the main entrance as I can find. Everything else I depend entirely on God to take care of. I go the the library where it is cool and quiet and have access to the computer to continue my search for employment and for a room. The economy is really in bad shape and has taken it’s toll on alot of opportunities, but I keep looking and by God’s Good Graces, I will find what He helps me with. I take one day at a time, and I also volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul Society to serve the poor in the community I am close to. There are alot of people hurting out there,and alot of times those families with young children. I consider myself to be very much blessed as I have a roof over my head and I can lock my doors and an ignition key to leave if there is a situation should occur, I can leave in a hurry. God watches over me and cares for me as He does for us all. He asks that we love Him, and trust Him and thank Him, He’ll take care of the rest. And at night, instead of counting sheep, count your blessings!!!!!!!!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 308 Anonymous

if ur renting a storage unit u should be able to park there

Reply to this comment

avatar 309 Anonymous

I plan to live in my Land rover and the only thing holding me back is what to do with my mail?Do i have to have a permanet address to still be working full time?Will a PO box solve the problem?other than the mail thing I am totally down to doing this.Please help

Reply to this comment

avatar 310 Anonymous

Yeah it’s important to have some kind of address and a PO box will do.

I actually was living in my car for about 5 months while I rented a really cheap office in North Hollywood for around $200/month. I had free internet, air conditioning and electricity to work and do graphic design jobs all day and at night I would park somewhere safe to sleep in my ride.

Reply to this comment

avatar 311 Anonymous

That sounds fun, I love graphic design and 3d modeling. I live in San Diego though.
You inspired me. ^_^ Cops in San Diego won’t let you sleep in your car and if they catch you they will write you a ticket for illegal lodging. I had to go to court for this and they asked me if I wanted to plea to disturbing the peace instead. I ended up paying 125$ and the case was dismissed.

Reply to this comment

avatar 312 Anonymous

you dont have to have a permanet address unless you have public assistance. They most likely don’t give it to homeless people anyway.
A PO box is not necessary if you use a debit card, you could get mail at your parents address if you have parents.
Privacy is a good reason to have a PO Box.
I was put out of my home maliciously and the Postal Servace has been the biggest one to discriminate against me. Small town postal workers don’t like to put my mail in the box, they just return to sender, I guess it makes their day. The rest of my mail was re-routed to bangor maine.
I sent myself mail just to see, and I was correct, not paranoid. They are funny ha ha.

Reply to this comment

avatar 313 Anonymous

Some shelters and other welfare agencies allow you to use their address to get all kinds of mail. all you need is your i.d. to get your mail. and you do not have to be staying at that agency. you will just have to call one of them in your area and ask. or a church will know their number.

Reply to this comment

avatar 314 Anonymous

Mark,

You spend about $6.00 a month and get a post office box. Its not that difficult. Instead of using the USPS, go to one of those mail box etc. stores to sign up… somehting on a convenient. I found myself on the highways about 3 hours per day and now feel like a turtle.

Reply to this comment

avatar 315 Anonymous

A PO Box requires a residential address, something about homeland security.
I have used both PO Box registered under a grandparents home and also the Welfare office. I prefer not to use the welfare office because they require you to check your mail at least once a week.

Reply to this comment

avatar 316 Anonymous

I have my mail sent to my job. I plan on a PO Box but I really don’t get paper mail except for utilities of which I have none. I use an ex’s address for my license.

Reply to this comment

avatar 317 Anonymous

After 16 yrs living in nys our landlord decided not to re-new our lease. By passing my tale of woe, I started researching everything. without sufficient funds to secure another place to live I was introduced to the mobile homeless via a u-tube video
Mail was my 1st concern as my hub gets both ssd and his pension..Here it is, if you cannot afford a P.O. box and your basically stationary or staying within a 10-15 mile radius pick a zip code and as follows
John Doe
General Delivery
middletown, NH
11094
Stop by and speak with the supervisor of Post office and let them know of your situation and that mail will be sent there for you ( ask if they do it) I know for a fact one of the post offices in Manhattan NY do this for the homeless so they can p/u cks. Checks will be held up to 30 days.
Also if your on SSD as of March 2013 all disability checks with out a direct deposit will auto go into a debit ck the day it is to be received ( kinda scarey thinking of the number 666 where you cannot buy anything w/o the mark of the devil ) Or george Orwells 1984- inserting a bit of humour here..we will be officially homeless in 3 1/2 weeks with our rat terrier to boot and 19 yr old son, If it doesn’t make me crazy it will make me stronger~ Cynthia

Reply to this comment

avatar 318 Anonymous

Mmmm My story. I have a truck with a topper shell I’ve been in it for almost three yrs now in Colorado. Showers at the local rec center for a Buck. Cooler w ice and easy prep food. Have a job good pay. Just don’t NEED the whole house bathroom kitchen thing. Air mattress -40 sleeping bag. Toasty all winter long. If anyone needs help or pointers on staying sane or being inconspicuous or anything else don’t hesitate to ask.

Reply to this comment

avatar 319 Anonymous

Hi, I need to live in my car for at least a year. My only hesitation is that I live in Chicago, any suggestions on how to get through winter?

Reply to this comment

avatar 320 Anonymous

I am renting a a basement and was just told their house is being foreclosed on and I may need to live in my car for 6 mths as I paid my rent up with them for 5 when I moved in hence there was my savings I also live in a sub of chicago any tips thanks!

Reply to this comment

avatar 321 Anonymous

I highly suggest you get a marine battery deep cycle, like an optima or another kind that is not lead acid, and an isolator. you can use this battery for extra electrical power, like a small space heaterheat pad, or electric blanket . the isolator is a device that regulates the charging of your car battery and the marine battery, so that both are kept charged and in good condition. the marine battery recharges from the isolator whenever your car motor is on.

the lesson that I learned is not to use you car like a generator. for extra heat or electricity, but get a deep cycle marine battery that is not lead acid and sealed.

if you have access to an AC outlet several times a week, you can buy a regular marine battery recharger and get it recharged from that AC outlet. otherwise you will need an isolator.

to get the electricity from the marine battery to your heater or other electrical device, you will need an inverter. it will invert the DC power to AC power. an 800 watt inverter at the least is about $80. a 1000 watt inverter is about $100. try to find a liquidator store in your area to get these things at a discount or a sports outlet store.

here are some websites to start reading.

For Inverters
http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1RNAN_enUS434US434&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=inverter+1000+watt

if you can get some old marine batteries, maybe from a recycling center or a farmer or mechanic, that are not lead-acid (lead acid batteries will send off fumes into your car) you can desulfate them yourself which is far more cheaper than buying them new, and they will certainly last you six months.

For homemade desulfators
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=home+made+battery+desulfator

you car puts out 600-1000 extra watts of electricity when the motor is running, and this is a great way to capture that power without making any more pollution.

otherwise, buy a small 1000 watt generator (they run on gas like a car motor) and a good chain with padlock. you have to put it out the car to run it, it is illegal and dangerous to run it in the trunk of a vehicle or any where else. But it is not any louder than a car, if you get a small one – so people should not mind if you are discrete. chain it to something other than the car, in case you need to leave in a hurry, you can always go back and get the generator, so get a real good chain and padlock.

get a small generator like 1000 watts. because the larger ones consume a lot more gas just to get the generator to operate. the 1000 watt is just enough to run a couple of devices, like a small space heater and something else.

Reply to this comment

avatar 322 Anonymous

Get a good, I mean good, sleeping bag. Never sleep in your shoes and once you start to aquire money find a cheap motel with weekly rates for the coldest periods. Always be prepared to go back to the car and amass that money Jack!

Reply to this comment

avatar 323 Anonymous

hey you sound like you no how to do things being homeless, i ben homeless for the better part of this summer and right now im living in my truck with some bare essentials in the back and a bed frame in the bed but i sleep inside the cabin and no job except scrapping metal and finding money in parking lot anyway i ben sleeping at apts, walmarts, trcuk stops, rest areas, hotels but am running out of places to stay and getting low on money any suggestions? thanks

Reply to this comment

avatar 324 Anonymous

For work try Day Labor places otherwise I don’t know what to say. For sleep Walmarts are good – but always have a plan B and plan C. Only keep what u really need – there will be time to aquire “stuff” later. Carry only a week’s worth of clothes (tops) but two weeks of underwear. U can always throw clothes away and restock at the GoodWill, underwear u gotta buy new (expensive). Several loads of laundry can cost more than a pair of pants and two shirts at the G.W. although decent pants are the hardest to find. If u can, avoid fast food period. Train yourself to eat on 15 dollars a week. Cans Jack. Collards, peas, yams, beans. Treat yourself to burger on the weekends. Buy a 78cent gallon of water from Walmart and stay hydrated. Never pee in the cab of your truck if possible – one spill – even a little and you’ll regret it. Brush teeth every day. Have a secure place to do #2. Above all, save as much as possible and force yourself to see your own advantages. Take care of your vehicle. ” cash heavy and baggage light” – naturaly, money in the bank. Don’t be ashamed of your plan – no need to explain it to others – just be cautious, clean, smart, safe.

Reply to this comment

avatar 325 Anonymous

Thank you Marc. You have just helped me cross the threshold. I’ve planned and packed but couldn’t get out of the door. I’m heading north for awhile.

Reply to this comment

avatar 326 Anonymous

Hi Everyone my name is Rick From Edmonton Alberta in Canada.
I have been living in my van since August I really enjoy being on the Move all the time . I had an apartment that was fully furnished with all the amenities and necessities one can think of with wireless computers and flat screen tvs in the bedroom and living room yet I was bored out my fucking mind, i didn’t had a girl friend nor a wife so every day it was drudgery coming home to this isolated existence, I snapped when I lost my job at the Pick n pull and after listening to Lauryn Hill song I get out of all your boxes and psychological locks I get out I really did get out so I rented a uhaul took all my furniture to the good will store after hours and dump all my belongings except my clothing. I dont miss a thing up to this day I have a storage for my clothes which I visit twice a week I had a lock on it i recently took it off , I dont care if someone want to enter my unit everything is replaceable, I am glad I took the steps and doing the homelessness thing,I have found out that I have Attention Deficit Disorder Hyperactive Disorder which makes me cranky and restless , so far I hate apartments many acquaintances trying to get me back in an apartment but I hate apartment living,you cant blast your stereo ,you have no freedom , basically the landlord expect you to pay the rent ontime and shut the hell up , that is too much control over me .I like to be free, I have a full time job looking a part time as well too much time on my hands. Currently I am hanging out at the 24hour macdonalds surfing the net sleeping in the parking lot and my gym is just a few blocks away ,where I showered and work on my Cardo .My biggest problem area is eating a well balance diet Macdonalds doesnot cut it , I cant afford eating at buffet every day
My next dilemma is surviving winter in a dodge Caravan , but I am thinking the Eskimos did in igloos why cant I ?

Reply to this comment

avatar 327 Anonymous

I was wondering how to heat my van? I am in Michigan and it looks like am going to be in my van for awhile. What is the safest way to heat at night?

Kim

Reply to this comment

avatar 328 Anonymous

Hi, I would love to get some pointers from you about where to stay in Coloraod when living in your vehicle. I have a chvy blazer and I plan on buying a pop up camper to pull. I can’t afford rent anymore so please help.

Reply to this comment

avatar 329 Anonymous

Do you have one of those coolers that plugs into your lighter yet?
I have been living out of a vehicle for over 14 years, off and on. Some situations are cush, some less so. I worked trails and fire for the park service for years so it made sense. I now live in boulder colorado and sadly my little 85 nissan truck doesnt get much love these days…
I am always looking to connect with other people who have outfitted their trucks to make them livable. Do you have a water tank or solar panels. I knew a guy who had those to heat the back of his truck. So many ideas, sometimes I geek out on imagining all the ways I can live for free. Ever done it in Boulder? You have any special accouterment in your truck? Always curious-
z

Reply to this comment

avatar 330 Anonymous

hey im tired of living pay check to pay check I am going yo live in my car in wisconsin how do i make it threw the winter months. were are some places to sleep im going to go from first to third shift so I can sleep during the day I think i have a better chance not to stick out.and getting a gym membership to shower and work out. its open 24 hrs I hear walmarts churches and some truck stops are good.and I would be living in a jeep liberty I thought of tinting the windows also. any thing else can you think of. and I use to live in colorado im from longmont.

Reply to this comment

avatar 331 Anonymous

Ok so starting the 1st of july I will be living out of my car in san diego in order to save money but im having a hard time figuring out where I can park at night without being bothered by cops! Im busy all day with school, work and working out and i go to LA every weekend so I usually end up only getting 5 hours to sleep 4 days a week then im off to LA which makes it pointless to rent out an entire room for 20 use of 20 hours a week. Im completely prepared except for the thought of cops waking me up left and right. There has to be a better way or some trick I haven’t heard of yet! Im hoping that is. Please email me back if you have a solution to my problem :/ [email protected]

Reply to this comment

avatar 332 Anonymous

I asked the cops if there was any place in San Diego I could sleep in my car and they told me no and wrote me a ticket for illegal lodging in a park and ride which I was only in for less then 2 hours. Cost me 125$ at the El Cajon Courthouse. I talked to some cop friends of mine and they told me that I can get away with sleeping in my car if its private property and as long as the business is open. I tried a burger king after they closed and the cops kicked me out.
I felt lucky I hadn’t fallen asleep yet cause they would of rolled me up again. From what I can tell 24 hour walmarts are so far the best bet. You just need to park wisely. Try to find a hidden area in the parking lot but don’t park so your the only car in the back of a parking lot. The welfare office gave me a address in spring valley that has a private parking lot that allows you to stay in your car there but like most people I do not want people thinking I’m living in my car. I just can’t see giving half my income to some stranger for rent. San Diego kinda sucks for renters. Arizona I found you can actually rent a 2 bedroom home for 300$ a month. Only problem is I don’t know anyone in Arizona and I have tried to live in Arizona many times and always end up back in San Diego. SD is just my home even if I don’t have a home. The second best place is a motel/hotel parking lot.

Reply to this comment

avatar 333 Anonymous

San diego is the worst. Cops are on the fascistic side there. San diego is an all around pain in the ass/unpleasant situation for car dwelling. If you drive around enough you’ll come across some obvious spots where others are doing it and clearly not being harrassed, it is in shitty, nasty, dirty spots. Would reccomend leaving san diego before trying to live in a car there. San diego sucks, sorry.

Reply to this comment

avatar 334 Anonymous

So i have a full-sized conversion van. I has fold out bed in the back and it does not look too camper-like, no running boards and a latter. Right now I live in an apartment but when my lease is up in October Ist will not be able to afford to live here any more because they are going to raise the rent and I barely making it as is. So aI figure I live in my car and save up some money and find a cheaper apt in the future. I was thinking if I got a membership to 24 hour fitness I could shower there and I have a brand new porta podie. I live in Ventura right now but one of my big fears is staying away from areas that might have crime. I guess my question is, what’s a safe bet for places to stay without getting robbed or killed? I know I sound paranoid but I was attacked by a gang once back in2004 and ended up in the ER, I don’t want to run into that again? I hear some churches let you park and Costco? Thanks for any advice

Reply to this comment

avatar 335 Anonymous

Hey bvan. Places I like to stay are walmarts, costcos, big k’s, park n rides, apartment complexes, churchs, police stations sometimes will let you. Be careful of truck stops. Denny’s, village inn, 24 hr fitness.

Reply to this comment

avatar 336 Anonymous

I packed my car, just totally packed it. food, drinks, blankets, clothes, cleaning things, etc.

I use all kinds of organizers – different size clear plastic containers, so you can see what is in them. at wal mart or big lots. large travel bags of different kinds that have a lot of organizational sections is really helpful. I get these at thrift shops, they are way too expensive retail. so you have to shop around and be patient and PRAYERFUL .

I did have to remove the back seats entirely or I would never have enough space. some good mechanic school volunteered to do this and some other work. ask around at local car mechanic schools if they will do some small things or some repair or maintainance for reduced cost or free.

I put a 800 watt inverter under the front hood for electrical devices. Ran electric cord from inverter under hood to surge protector in car, has 8 outlets. for all kinds of things. use special heat reflecting tape to cover inverter – tape that sells at Auto Zone for $20, meant to cover things near engine, like wires, so they do not get hot. or the 800 watt inverter will turn off when it overheats, as safety. then you can cook in a little electric rice cooker anything, while driving.

when I need to sleep, I just move things from behind the driver’s seat to another place, like the dash board or near the gas and break pedal and rest my feet on them. Then I put the back of the driver’s seat down. I am short and cannot sleep flat anyways. but you can make it flat with blankets.

my cat travels with me and enjoys it. he alone requires one entire seat area, that is below the seat, all the seat itself and behind it, for his stuff. food, litter, bedding, carrier. but I let him sit anywhere he wants. his carrier is behind the driver’s seat, on a small tall plastic container with his food. So I can still put the driver’s seat all the way down to sleep in. his litter box is actual near the front passenger door. so that when he uses it I open the door and pull him out before he starts to scatter the litter about. usually we stop at a field and I put the litter box outside for him to use. you have to get a plastic container that comes with lid you can securely snap shut. so that when driving a higher speed, you put the secure lid on, so that the litter will not go everywhere in case of an accident.

all kinds of plastic durable boxes. It is very organized. but the space is packed. one most important rule that I found was never to stack more than 2 or 3 boxes up. 2 works best. because you will frustrate yourself trying having to move more than one or two loaded box to get to something underneath. and you will not do it. also do not stack things more than 2 or 3 deep in a box for the same reason. you will also forget what is at the bottom. that is why I use clear plastic boxes.

before I did this, made sure that I have at least $800 always accessible in case car breaks down and needs big repair. but you might need more depending on your vehicle.

my car broke down on the road one time and I slept overnight in the car at the mechanics place I was towed to and they did not mind at all. first time I slept in a car.

Reply to this comment

avatar 337 Anonymous

Jcasil, you sound like a pro at living in your car. I’ll be traveling with two happy cats back and forth in my F-150 truck after I build a plywood camper top for it. These metal and fiberglass camper tops for sale now are extremely expensive and easy to smash with a hammer by a determined thief.

As the economy weakens even more and the costs of maintaining a house rise, I pretty much see myself living in a long wheeled base pick up truck for the rest of my life. Designing my new home now which will include a flushable camper potty and solar electricity panels on top for charging a deep cycle battery and inverter hookup. It’s a doable life and keeps me a whole lot less materialistic.

Reply to this comment

avatar 338 Anonymous

Do you know about homemade desulfating of an old deep cycle marine battery? I do not really have the money for a new one, so I was thinking of desulfating one that someone is discarding.

I would like to build a website where people can input and read really ORGANIZED information about how to live out of a vehicle. anyone interested?

Reply to this comment

avatar 339 Anonymous

I forgot to mention that if you are going to put an inverter under the hood by the engine, it needs to draw in cool air from below, because the air around the inverter will be extremely hot. the inverter necessarily has its own cooling system – just a fan, but that needs outside unheated air.

so I had to get a metal automotive hose. they sell ones that are already heat reflective. designed just for that purpose of drawing in cool outside air and keeping it cool. or you can get a metal one and wrap heat reflective tape around it, they sell that tape at Autozone, but the best thing is to get the hose that is already heat reflective. ask if they can special order it. I tried the tape idea, and the glue did not work, so I then had to buy metal foil tape at Home Depot and put that around it.

if not, the inverter will automatically shut off, sensing it is overheating. and you will have to turn it off and on manually to get it working again. if this overheating keeps happening, the fan or other part of the inverter will get ruined.

another thing about inverters under the hood or in the back, where you are not. do not get one with an alarm, or get one with an alarm, but then disable it. that is open the casing and rewire the wires so that they just bypass the alarm.

it is a stupid alarm, it goes off after it stops inverting power. not before as a warning, but after, continuing to drain power off the low battery. you get no electricity so you know the battery is low, it is just foolish to add an alarm. get an inverter that stops inverting when the battery is low, and disable the idiot alarm.

if you forget to turn off an inverter with an alarm, the alarm itself with drain the battery dead – very very low. and it will be hard to recharge it. if this happens several times, it can ruin the battery.

just walking away from the car for some hours, when the battery is low, or going to sleep, forgetting to turn off the darn inverter, and the battery is very dead.

I have a 600 amp jump start battery with me, this is also a must for living out of your vehicle.

but when the battery is very low, it takes 2 hours for the 600 amp battery to charge it.

I could get a jump start from a passer-by, that would take about 3-5 minutes when the battery is that low, but I hate attracting any more attention to myself. however, I have done that on occasion out of necessity.

Reply to this comment

avatar 340 Anonymous

Hey i really enjoyed reading your article and it gives me hope that while im living out of my truck that someday ill have a job soon and everything. I graduated college in may and have ben pretty much homeless eversince i had a gf for a week then she kicked me out and i met another girl and she didnt wanna date me cuzz im homeless, but alrthough parts of it are hard (shower, food, blending in etc…) i have found out a lot about myself these few months i ben out on the streets and you gota look at the positive of it… how many people can go from a subpar life and make it homeless? the answer not many! you dont take things for granted everyday and with a truck i can scrap metal and thats ben helping me out a ton and then some, i got $40 today for scraping and got me some fried catfish. I shower wherever i can school or truckstops you learn to be nice to people. Good traveling and God Bless ps i miss tv and video games but i also would like to comment that i believe it would be beneficial is one should try their own homeless experiment to learn about yourself more and no wats it like but i do not endorse anyone taking me up on that tho

Reply to this comment

avatar 341 Anonymous

Chris, I had some serious issue to deal with, totally forgot to check my email and this message board.

One thing is a must, if you are going to take a companion cat, dog or other, is pet insurance. gopetplan.com is a good one. monthly rates range from $15 – $30 for cats. this is really a must for any outdoor/indoor pet.

To not be bothered, make sure that you do your activity (around/in your vehicle) in a place separate from your sleeping space. not the same space. people will notice your activity and call the police. to pretend like they are seriously concerned, get rid of the “homeless garbage.”

a park is a good place to do your activity, no one will call the police there, but make sure you know and observe the closing hour of the park. the police come by a little while after closing to make sure no one is there.

but then, you will have passer bys looking at you in a park.

do your activity in one place, prepare you and your vehicle for sleep; then drive to your sleeping place and just sleep.

twice I had the police pop up from behind the bushes! at night. I was prepareing food and someone noticed me. you will have to realize, peopel are evil, and just want to get rid of the homeless bum – make them work, get a job. they know that you are not criminal. they just want you to “get off your but” so they will harrass you.

the police have to respond to a call, that is check you out, but they do not have to make you leave, unless the owner called them or it is really illegal. sometimes police will tell me, “just leave if someone tells you to.” or they will ask me if there is anything I need, like a shelter or social service. I was humored when a Colorado officer gave me his business card.

I currently do not have work, ect. Keeping a regular scheduel is a real complication I have not had to deal with.

Another warning, is that the police will often think that you are mentally ill. so be sound minded, calm (even mildly bored) and normal with them. police do not need a court & trial to take a citizen immediately to a mental state hospital – prison – for “observation.”

If I preceive a threat or tension of any kind, I stop all what I am doing, hold my CRUCIFIX in one hand and READ THE WORD . CHRIST IS the best COMPANION in all this, and I would not do or suggest so otherwise.

(written August 29, 2011)

Reply to this comment

avatar 342 Anonymous

From what I’ve read of other folks living in their rides, keep clean and conservative looking and that goes for your car or truck, too. No hippie or Mohawk haircuts, biker beards, weird clothes, marijuana leaves painted on your ride or dope promoting bumper stickers on your bumper or back window. Be very nice to the cops and their snarling dogs when you meet them.

Keep your car inspection stickers and car tags current. Keep your car insured, too, so the cops won’t have any reasonable reason to arrest you and tow your car or truck. If you have the time, volunteering a respectable organizations like the Salvation Army, Red Cross, or other community based non-political organizations keeps your street record 5-star, too. Here in Jackson, MS there is a city department that helps the homeless find safe places to live or stay. Some of these organizations throw in a free meal and shower, if you volunteer with them.

A clean and conservative image appears to matter a lot when living out of your car or truck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 343 Anonymous

Thank you Flexo for this place to connect. I have been sleeping in my car for about six months and am trying to figure out how to keep warm in winter. I have not found a battery powered small heater, but only propane ones, which might not be safe. Any suggestions?

Also, for what it’s worth, I am one of a growing number of people forced out of their homes by the installation of smart meters. A certain percentage of the population is sensitive and gets sick when exposed to microwave emissions. Before the meter went in, I already had discovered that using a cell phone would give me a headache and wifi was also a problem. Argh. I had nothing against technology, but there was a clear problem with these transmitting devices. Anyhow, you may see more people like me here if they have access to or can tolerate using a computer. The new transmitting utility meters being installed nationwide are creating a whole new group of nomads.

Needless to say, places with “free wifi” do me no good, and sleeping near a cell tower does not work too well. BTW, I go home during the day and spend as much time I can there before feeling too bad to stay. Then, I drive to a park or lot and bring things to do. The utilities have refused to replace their smart meters with the old, safe ones even if you have a letter from your doctor, or a legislator tries to intercede. As I said, they are creating much suffering and a whole new group of homeless people with nowhere to turn.

Once a person is sensitized they cannot go back to not being sensitized. Putting smart meters on people’s homes puts everyone at risk for many health problems. Smart meter protests are building, esp. in California, Maine, Texas and Wisconsin. Some of the sites include Stop Smart Meters and the EMF Safety Network. Thanks for letting me vent.

I wish you all safety and security out there.

Reply to this comment

avatar 344 Anonymous

a sleeping bag for sleeping in the cold.

lots of blankets – three or more folded ones. I make sure to cover the ares where drafts come out of. the come under the car seat and around the door.

heating pads, two or three, that people use for muscle aches. they only draw out 50 watts each. you can get a 100 watt inverter to plug into your cigareet lighter. but usually these heat pads are designed with an automatic shut off after an hour. so try to find ones that don’t. ask the pharmacist. go online. inverter is about $20 and a heat pad about $13. try to find a salvage store or liquidation/outlet store.

I usually use these during the day, when resting, reading, or napping. because I have ones with the hour-limit. Use them on my lap or for a cold stomach. when you are cold in one place, like your lap, your whole body will feel cold and it really is not. Good warmth from one area, like your lap, which is a large area, also spreads quickly to other parts of you.

Also I use an electric blanket. but that requires an inverter, to turn the car battery (which is DC) into AC electric power, which is what you plug into in your house. a 400 or 800 watt inverter. check how much total wattage you need to run all your electrical devices. for boiling water., that will require an 800, because most hot pots use that

an 800 watt inverter will cost about $80 or $40 at a liquidation or outlet store.

but that will run your battery empty in a few hours. the inverters have an alarm and stop invertering power, but the alarm itself may not shut off and that can drain your battery.

you can get an optima deep cycle battery, $200-$250. and this will give you all kinds of electrical power. like for your electric blanket all night long. connect it to the car with cables so that when the car is running, it is charging the optima battery. an optima yellow deep cycle battery or blue deep cycle battery will give you lots of electrical power. you can drain it to almost nothing lots of times and not ruin the battery. it does not put out fumes. only get an optima battery, others put out toxic fumes. they are more for boating or open air applications.

I have not installed one in my car as of now.

Reply to this comment

avatar 345 Anonymous

Thanks for the heat ideas. A sleeping bag and a couple small dogs at the foot might work, too, until the dogs hear something to bark at. ..

Have you seen those small personal portable fans that run on 4 batteries? Why couldn’t they make a small personal heater like that? I don’t like electric blankets, but maybe could warm up the car inside and turn it off to sleep.
Thanks lots for the ideas.

Reply to this comment

avatar 346 Anonymous

space heaters require a lot of energy. the lowest wattage that I have seen is about 700 watts, that will drain the car battery in a few minutes, and those batteries are large and heavy. blankets and heat pads use a lot less.

as far as I know, optima batteries are the most advanced, and they are still heavy.

a car like mine, when running on the highway, puts out about 1000 watts of extra energy continually, and it just gets wasted, and in stop and go driving, 600 to 800 watts. that is why I have an inverter, only that I need to get an optima or other battery to capture that power so that I can use it when not driving.

there are electric blankets that are designed to take weight, that is you lay on top of them. used to sell at wal mart, twin size, 5-year warranty for $25. better, more versitle, than the top-only electric blankets.

another way to keep warm without danger might be to try soy candles. read this article:
http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/1149/Can-lit-candles-be-toxic
about toxic candle fumes.
I have not tried this. I don’t know where to get soy wax cheaply – as finished candles it is very expensive. but you can use any old large tin to put block soy was in and use regular yarn for a wick.

Blankets are more versitle than a bag. you can drape one around yourself to keep warm while seated in the car. or for a pet or stray pet for warmth. and also to go to an outhouse, drape one all around you to keep warm all around.

there are a lot of electrical devices that I found I use and trying to get battery powered all the time, will require then a battery recharger and lots of rechargeable little batteries, like lighting even. Might as well just get devices with a cord and an inverter and a deep cycle marine battery.

I plan to do this and when I do I will write how it goes: There is something called a desulfator, you can find online or ebay – about $40 – $50. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Battery-Desulfator-Optimizer-Solar-Wind-Bank-any-Ah-/200658557885?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb82e9bbd
these can repair most dead batteries to about 70% efficiency I had read. a farmer or garage mechanic might have old dead batteries that they do not want, ask them for a few of the largest ones and run the desulfator on it and see if it repairs the battery. you can run the desulfator from the vehicle battery directly, so that it is working while you are driving.

just remember when you run a battery, it puts out toxic fumes, Only the optima batteries do not. if it is a lead-acid battery you will need to place it outside of the car when using it, or seal it in a battery box and vent it, so the fumes go out the window. and any fumes that are in the trunk will get into the passenger area. so you cannot put it in the trunk without sealing and venting. usually it is only some thick carpet like fabric that separates the trunk from the passenger area. and the gas/fumes easily go through the fabric or sofa material.

you can always put the battery right outside the car when parked, being that when the car is running, you use the car’s electricity. get some bulk chain at home depot (whatever size and length you want) – and a padlock – and chain it to something, not the car, if you are concerned about theft. you might need to drive away in a hurry, so do not chain it to the vehicle.

Reply to this comment

avatar 347 Anonymous

I actually tried that candle idea I had this year in the spring. I got a this layer of smoke on everything in the car. rather stubborn thin vauge smoke layer on everything that I had to clean. I did not like that. And you need rather a lot of candles, I did not take a record of the degrees, but in the cool spring I would need at least 4 large candles, sometimes 6, with the windows partially down.

Someone told me that a small tea light candle in a closed car will keep the temperature below freezing point and keeps small candles in the car in case of an emergency.
.

avatar 348 Anonymous

Electric heaters suck a lot of power. Battery powered heaters just are not practical.
You would kill normal (D) batteries in just a few minutes and you would kill a car battery fast too. Depending on the Car Battery you would probably range 1 hour max with a marine deep cycle battery and probably 15 minutes or less on a standard car battery. Also depending on the wattage of the heater too. Heating uses pure energy. Your best bet to stay warm is simply a sleeping bag and blankets.

Reply to this comment

avatar 349 Anonymous

I thought the same thing about two small dogs.You’d be surprised how many homeless people have dogs for protection,warmth and companionship.Id like the idea of my dogs warning me if somebody tries to break into my car.Over in Africa they rate how it is cold at night by how many dogs you have to sleep with to stay warm.Makes me think of the 70s band 3 dog night.

Reply to this comment

avatar 350 Anonymous

P.S. Flexo, since you are focused on aspects of consumerism at your site, what do you think of the forced installation of products consumers do not want on their homes by the utilities? That is NOT capitalism or a FREE market. Consumers should have a voice and a choice regarding products to use in their own homes, especially when health concerns or issues exist, not to mention protecting our property rights.

Reply to this comment

avatar 351 Anonymous

Thanks everyone for your post here. I too find my self in the same position. Very good information here.

Reply to this comment

avatar 352 Anonymous

Has anyone written a blog or a book on the points to remember to successfully live out of a car or truck? As the economy grows weaker and weaker, such a book or blog will be very useful.

Will be living out of my truck within a couple of years or less, after I put a plywood camper cover over it. I own a hiking tent, but would feel safer with four solid walls around me as I sleep. Plus, I will have two cats with me and don’t want them wandering around while I’m trying to rest.

Reply to this comment

avatar 353 Anonymous

I was hoping to find a forum or something like it. Saturday I have to haul my motorcycle to a friends house 3 hours away and store it there. For how long I don’t know. Keep the post coming.

Reply to this comment

avatar 354 Anonymous

I hate to say this and I do love cats but you really need to find them a home even though you won’t have a home yourself. My cat went to my sisters house and I simply visited her and paid for all the food and litter and vet visits but unless you own a motor home of reasonable size its just not a good idea to have a pet. Especially 2 cats. Its going to be hard enough taking care of yourself on the road. My sister offered me a room for $500 a month but I prefer to live free(away from all her kids) I do love them all but they would eventually drive me nuts. I wouldn’t want to live there for free even. =^_^= Cats are creatures of the night. They require a litter box if they are locked inside and I really don’t think anyone wants to sleep next to 2 cats stinking up your car/truck while you sleep.
Anyway, Just my opinion. Some times people must learn the hard way.

Reply to this comment

avatar 355 Anonymous

Built a small camper (10.5′ x 6.5′) for the cats and me. We’re doing okay. Looking for a job now. Fear the USA economy is going to get even worse, so I will live cheap and sharpen survival skills.

Reply to this comment

avatar 356 Anonymous

Hi, Im getting ready for living in my Volvo . Big Car . Im going with my dog pepper. i want to get some gold. My dads maps are cool. they are all mapped out. know that i have lost everything, except for my son, who lives with my ex. I wanta go gold panning whilke i camp out. ? what the hec, im totaly bored bummed out salesman dude. i am on unemployment and caught up on support. THOUGH the toll it will now taken. Im totaly embarressed to the point of anger with myself. I have lived out off a car for 6 month once before. It’s been 1 yr. im on the bottom with now else to go ,but up. bri

Reply to this comment

avatar 357 Anonymous

Don’t give up hope Brian. I am very lucky to have some really good friends. I lean on them hard. I don’t want any of there money I just want someone to talk to, and they have been there for me. It has helped me get through some thought time like now. With out them I would not be here. Good luck panning for gold. I hope you find lots of gold.

Reply to this comment

avatar 358 Anonymous

im gonna be living out of my mini-van for awhile. just graduated college and dont feel like going into the work world right away. just wanna drive around, travel, explore. i hate running into cops. For awhile I didn’t have internet in my house, so I would drive around to the nearest public place to surf the web. This led me to have so many run ins with cops. hate it. i can’t imagine how hard it’ll be to avoid cops when i’m living out of your van. I’m planning on going to the southern tip of florida in order to be in the warmest place possible for the winter. I wonder if it will still get too cold there at night during january?

im pretty much fed up with life. school was such a drag, and i’ve just been ITCHING to be free. i’ve got a bunch of books i want to read. I’ve got a bit of savings to pay for food. a portable propane stove. figure i’ll wash clothes at a laundramat or in a bucket. it would be great to just find a hassle free place, to just live, read, meditate…find myself. shower could be a problem. i figured i could just find a local gym, and go there morning and night; but then I worry about finding a good place to sleep. i swear i’m alergic to cops knocking on my window in the middle of the night. i wonder if it’ll ever get too hot in my van all closed up. maybe i’ll have to get a battery powered fan, i’m not trying to mess with any complicated stuff to extract electricity out of my car battery that might drain it.

i just want to be free. i don’t need much.

Reply to this comment

avatar 359 Anonymous

Since you want time to meditate, you might look into meditation retreats — sometimes they are free/donation-based and would give you a safe break from the world.

Good luck!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 360 Anonymous

Do you have any recomendation for where to find these free meditation retreats? I would really REALLY love to do something like that.

Reply to this comment

avatar 361 Anonymous

Here’s one organization — mostly West Coast, but a few out your way:
http://www.dhamma.org/

Reply to this comment

avatar 362 Anonymous

I been living out of my Saturn for almost 22 months here in the L.A. area. Staying everywhere from Long beach to compton to Hollywood. The best places are dennys, 24 hr fitness, some ralphs are 24 hr and even street parking in some spots is cool. Just don’t stay in 1 place for more than 2 nights in a row and be careful that you park from locations that may allow you to get hit. I got hit by another car last night while I was sleeping. I’m still living in my car and hope to get out soon. If you don’t have to, than don’t because it does mess with your sanity. Anyway godspeed!

Reply to this comment

avatar 363 Anonymous

I am male 38 years old and I have lived in my 2005 Prius in Dallas,Texas for 9 months. I have chosen to adapt my life to living out of a car to see what life it might create. After getting rid of 85% of my stuff and buying a Dreamtime Therma-rest pad from REI and a piece of plywood to extend the backseat by 4 inches beyond the seats laying down, I am living in plushville. So far missing a internet connection in the car has been the biggest thing i would like. I am thinking the 3G iPad will be my next logical leap. I also realized that past 85 degrees sleeping in my car is unpleasant ( i am a bit of a princess and i prefer not to sleep with the car on except in extreme weather conditions). I need to procure a solar powered fan with a battery by next summer (note to self).

This post was inspired by my first experience with a police officer. I was parked in the Mockingbird DART station parking lot( I really like this spot for some reason). After having parked there for over 4 months I got a knock on my door. They told me to get out and hand them my license. They checked my record and asked me to move on. They asked me has anyone ever told you you can’t park here? I said no.
No warning
No ticket
Just move on.

Oddly i am wondering what attracted their attention.I have a low profile vehicle – i mean NO ONE lives in a Prius. did you know a 6foot 4 man can sleep fully stretched out in the back with the front passenger seat pulled fully forward. I use a front windshield sun visor to block the light in the front(which i am guessing is what did it -since it is winter and sun is not an undesirable thing) I also use fabric stretched from the rear hatchback to the sun visor to block out the light on the two sides. I usually back up to a wall or a bush.

I would love to find out if I could be charged with anything. I do realize that at City run DART station is more likely to have a law protecting it. I just wonder what they would charge me with. If vagrancy is the charge i would be charged with what does that mean for my record?

I guess i am just sharing since i am starting to realize how fantastic this mobile life really can be..

I saw that people are worried about showers. I have a yoga membership that i am going to and will be moving to the King Spa in Town at the end of the year but in a pinch or baby wipes are a dream. In fact I find it more comfortable to wipe down before going to bed every night. I like my bed clean all the time.

I see this form of living to be more and more common. Whether it is by choice or not. I am excited to see how this new understanding of living can become a part of a nomadic life. I admit it has taken some time to figure out what i need and don’t need.

still curious ( and happy about it)
Gregory

Reply to this comment

avatar 364 Anonymous

In the Dart parking lot they likely would or could charge you with trespassing, since you are not a customer of Dart.

Reply to this comment

avatar 365 Anonymous

I’m a 40ish year old woman living out of her van in Southern California. At the time of this posting (November 2011) I’ve been doing it for just over two months. Click on my name if you want to read about my experience.

Reply to this comment

avatar 366 Anonymous

I have been living on a college campus for 6 months out of my truck. I am a professional staff, but find it amazing how much money I can save. The biggest problem I have is in teh summer the sun is up at 4:30 am or 5:00 am and it doesnot get dark until about 10:30 pm, so I have to fill my days up.

Reply to this comment

avatar 367 Anonymous

Anybody tried this in Austin, Texas?

Reply to this comment

avatar 368 Anonymous

Jeff: Yeah, I was in Austin about a month ago living out of my van. I’m travelling across country and have got this down to a science. If you’re in an RV it would be A LOT harder, cuz you would be 100% visible all the time. In my van, I had the back seats removed and spread out a small mattress & sleep down below the window line. I can pretty much do that anywhere where there are cars. I find it’s better to park “in plain site” so that it doesn’t raise red flags to cops if you’re parked in some dark corner somewhere. Get a membership to some ymca for showers. Get a portable stove to do cooking if you want to save money on food. I didn’t have even one run in with any cops and I was there for like 3 days.

Reply to this comment

avatar 369 Anonymous

For heat when sleeping in car or truck the absolute best thing is electric blanket, in the northern areas and am sure online you can buy them in any truck stop they plug directly into your cig. lighter and work awsum. A great blog I found that may answer many of your questions is: http://guide2homelessness.blogspot.com. I just found it the other day, the dude is a fantastic writer and wrote a small book addressing most issues you can think of regarding being homeless in a how to fashion.

Reply to this comment

avatar 370 Anonymous

I’ve been living in my car for 22 months so far and it has been a pretty interesting experience. I started doing this because I was about 2k in debt and had trashed my credit to the point where I felt I probably wouldn’t be able to move into a nice apartment. My goal was to pay off my debts and have enough money to start over again. I paid back all I had owed in a little over 2 months, but decided that I needed to have a little bit of money in the bank before trying to put my life back together, something like 2k. I would eat a loaf of bread a day and drove my car as little as possible to cut my expenses. I really was so frugal, but it had paid off, I had reached my goal, saved up 2k and could move into an apartment now. But I looked at my life and it was 100% better than it was when I was living with my ex. I was happy, I wasn’t drinking anymore, I had time to think about what I really wanted, and the more I thought about it, the less I wanted my old life. So I stayed in my car and continued just throwing money in the bank and living frugally. Since the first day I moved into my car, I have learned how to play guitar and harmonica, built a website learned how to program in HTML, CSS, Javascript, and some PHP, traveled a ton, and read classic books that I should have but never did when I was younger. It has been almost 2 years and I have been able to save almost 30k working at a low wage part time in retail. I have never been happier in my life, and I still eat a loaf of bread a day.

Reply to this comment

avatar 371 Anonymous

wutwut, 22 months wow! If you read this some tips and advice on you you do it would be greatly appreciated. Your day to day living, where you park your car at nights or how you find a good spot, what you do during the winters ets.. Any contact with the police when you were living in car, how did you deal with it? Any tips and pointers would be great for me and rest of people reading.

Reply to this comment

avatar 372 Anonymous

You need to keep your body and mind in good shape. Eat as good as you can and exercise regularly. You should already have a gym membership for the hot showers, take advantage of the gym since you are paying for it. Get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. You don’t need to have a huge social circle, but a few friends will help you from feeling lonely. If you can’t make friends, there are tons of people on line to talk with about whatever you want to(this conversation counts). Doing all of these things will keep the chemicals in your brain and body at healthy levels and keep you from such feelings as anxiety or depression. Also you should try to lift weights when you are at the gym. Heavy lifting increases your testosterone levels which will give you motivation.

The little things like what to eat or where to park are easy problems to solve. I’ve only once been encountered by police and that’s because I was parked in a very obvious area. Stay out of big parking lots, or if you are going to park in them, don’t park far far away from any other cars, park with the crowd and it will draw less attention to you. If you are going to park on the street, park on the side of a house (at the street corner)where people can’t see you if they look out there front windows. I prepark somewhere before I go to where I got to the place I will sleep for the night just to get all of my bedding set and ready to go so that all i have to do is climb in the back.

You should try to get in the best physical and mental shape that you can though. Once you get those things in line, everything will fall in to place effortlessly. Fix Your diet, exercise, make a friend or two.

Reply to this comment

avatar 373 Anonymous

This is amazing. Do you supplement your intake with vitamins? I mean, a loaf of bread is great, but what about the nutrients one needs on a daily basis? just curious.

Reply to this comment

avatar 374 Anonymous

I get my carbs from bread and oatmeal, my fats from raw almonds, and my protein from fat free milk and whey protein. I sometimes eat out just to feel like a normal person, but the nutritional value is much worse than what I normally eat. I drink water, OJ(for vitamin C) and coffee (for internet access (I’m writing this post from a starbucks) and because I love it. I don’t take any multivitamin but am considering fish oil. Sometimes I get tired of bread and treat myself to some bagels. I get around 2.5k calories a day, sometimes less.

Reply to this comment

avatar 375 Anonymous

For over 3 years, I have lived in my Van. I am 54 years old. One Thing homelessness has taught me is that, we people do not need as much as we think we need. There have been many people who try to laugh, and look away from my situation. However, they do not realize, they could be in this situation very easily. Since I have an east coast style of dressing, many californians are shocked when they find out that I live in my Van, because I wear double-breasted, mohair, silk, or wool skirt suits. I use baby wipes to clean my body when I cannot shower. I buy my food at the 99 cent store, and I wash my clothes every week the same way I did when I had my house. I stay near a lot of factories, and the reason they don’t chase me away, is because I never throw any garbage or waste on the street. The people know me now in this neighborhood, all the cops know me, they are all very friendly, because I am a very clean woman. They always see me on my laptop looking for more work, or attending online college. In my spare time, I write music, read my Bible, and sell my hand-made pouches. I am a good-looking woman, so ocassionally, I accept invitations to dinner dates.

Reply to this comment

avatar 376 Anonymous

Hello Lady Rose,
I found this website and was taken by your post. I, too, am a 54 year old lady and I am just now desperate enough to be considering living out of my van. You post gives me hope and the vision I need to step out in faith. TY so much for writting.
If you would like to e-mail me, I think I would like it and we could be friends.

Reply to this comment

avatar 377 Anonymous

I might be an odd one, but..

I like a car because it is small, meaning the driving is easier, cheaper, more fun, and I can easily fit into any space. It also keeps me from collecting too much stuff. and forces me to organize and keep things clean.

but I like my comforts, so I have the car packed up to the window line, Actually about 1/3rd up on the side windows, but I can still see what I need to see.

So it is obvious that i am either living in my car or moving in my car. but close up, it looks like living in my car.

and I like the alone places, because I love quiet for meditation. For thinking, for studying, for anything and everything, I love quiet, stillness. even lots of continual motion just looking out the window makes me sick and I have to cover it up.

so I do get an usual number of police encounters. I think they look on their computer and keep some kind of journal of me there, by my license plate. it is a like a conversation in series from one officer to another, one town to another, in whatever area I stay in.

My only regret is that I do not have room for someone needing a ride, I meet homeless hitchhikers and they are nice people, but I can never give a ride, so I give food and money and company. they have some great stories, really important, especially the older ones. I suggest you try this.

Reply to this comment

avatar 378 Anonymous

About sleeping in truck stops.
I am an ex trucker. The major truck stops are: T/A (Travel Centers of America), Loves, Pilot, Flying J (Pilot bought out Flying J). Those companies listed are about 95 percent of all truck stops. They create the standard that almost all few smaller ones follow. Truck stop parking areas (for trucks) are all considered private property. This prevents the DOT from harassing truckers and gives the T/S owners and management more controll.
Some things to keep in mind. Truckers get harassed mercilessly at truck stops by beggers looking for handouts, lot lizards (prostitutes), people trying to sell pirated DVD’s or other hot items ets… Becouse of this most truckers have a very low tollerence for homeless people or beggers. DOT HOS (when you can drive and when you cant drive and HAVE to shut down) are very strict, and places to park an 18 wheeler are limited especially if you are not familiar to an area. Needless to say, if a trucker especially if they are using E-logs which cant be tweeked aka cooking the books needs to shut down at a certain time and the truck stop is mostly full they will be very unhappy if truck parking areas are full of 4 cars/jpickups and they risk loosing there job. Truckers are nasty fockers. A lot crap and urinate in sleepers becouse they to lazy to walk to bathroom. If you sleep in truck stop area look out for plastic bags filled with poop, or poured out urine and or used tampons/pads. Truck stops are a cesspool for diseases. If you do use on never walk bear footed, and always wash your hands when you touch anything. Never sit on a toilet seat without using an ass gasket. Showers are easy to acquire though. Virtually all truck stops give out a free shower to any truck driver (and co-driver) who purchases $50.00 of fuel or more. Truckers usually acquire a surpluss of showers on the variouse fuel cards they use. You want a free shower, just look like a trucker (homeless bum is perfect) with your little back pack or whatever and hang out near deisal counter and ask any of the drivers if they can spare a shower. Most will be glad to give you one becouse it doesnt cost them anything. They will hand you a little slip, this slip will have a customer #, example: customer 62. You look for the sighn for showers there will be a little screen nearby usually waiting area that says showers. When you see something like 62 shower #3, you find shower #3 in the back and punch in the code at bottom of shower slip into the touchpad by door, it unlocks and your good to go. Leave the towels in the shower unless told to do otherwise. Last thing is that Truck Stops gouge the hell out of truckers. The price of food/drink is way overpriced much more so that the normal convenience store

Reply to this comment

avatar 379 Anonymous

While my name is fictitious so that I can remain somewhat anonymous and cower in shame, slightly. I am an educated person who is currently living in her mini-van due to a long arduous and exhausting set of circumstance. I have been living in my vehicle for 2 weeks now and I can’t say I much like it. I pray it’s temporary. I’m working hard to overcome it. I can say a few things about the posts listed above…

1. If you are homeless, living in a vehicle (which by all means can be a cleaner and safer place then some of the homeless shelters out there, believe me one that I tried to stay at had body lice/bedbugs crawling everywhere. I took off like a chicken with it’s head cut off running from that place, gasoline is expensive. Limit your driving to school, work, or job hunting. Truck stops are on the outside of town usually and are likely a bit of a drive. Many organizations in the Minneapolis area provide free showers for the homeless staying in a shelter, the Salvation Army is included. However, if you elect not to stay at the shelter, you are on your own in showering here in MPLS most of the time. I have a LA Fitness membership for $29.99 per month and it pays to have a shower every day, especially considering it allowed me to interview and not be so smelly I didn’t get the job. I have two jobs now, which equate to full time, but it will take time to save enough money for deposit and first month rent.

My suggestion to those living in their vehicle is this. I follow some very simple rules.

1. Don’t park on the public street in a rich, upper class area. They are more likely to have security and it is too risky.

2. Don’t park in a bad, inner city area, where crime is more prevalent. I like to park in a suburb of Minneapolis. Yes, I have to drive there, but it’s quieter and I feel safer.

3. Do not park, ready to bed down for the night, until after 11 pm, as people usually don’t go to sleep until that time or later. When I pull into a spot. I sit real still and survey the area. Is anyone looking? Can I bed down safely? Is anyone peering out their windows at me. If anyone is seen in 5 minutes of sitting real still in the drivers seat, I leave and find a new place.

4. Do not play music, talk or do anything loud in your vehicle. Get a cheap sleeping bag or nicer one if you have one already, climb in it in the farthest back space available in your vehicle, put a hat on if it’s cold, gloves, also, and take some melatonin to sleep. I rarely ever can sleep without it. Do not move around alot or rock the car, be still. Set your alarm, cell phone if you have one, or just be ready to wake early. In my mini-van, I’m concealed with the tinted glass more then you would be in a car, so I generally can sleep longer. If you’re in a car or other more visible vehicle, leave early. I would say 5:30, so no one notices you. You can always nap in your car later, when your not working. During daylight hours I think it’s fine to sleep parked in a McDonalds parking lot or other less conspicuous place and nod off a few hours. If someone wakes you, simply say that you’re working a 12 hour shift and trying to get an hour of sleep in between. Most people will leave you alone. People get more concerned at night, about burglary and theft.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. My difficulty right now is figuring out how to not spend so much of what I’m earning on food right now. With living in your car, you don’t have any cooking stove or refrigerator, so you end up eating out which is very expensive. There are some food kitchens that are free at dinner, but there’s driving and at $3.89 a gallon, is it worth it to drive 15-20 miles to get a free meal, when you only get 16 mpg because you have an old crappy minivan. Any ideas on somewhat healthy, yet non perishable, yet portable food that doesn’t need cooking would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Autumn

Reply to this comment

avatar 380 Anonymous

Regarding your experience, Autumn:

1. Don’t park on the public street in a rich, upper class area. They are more likely to have security and it is too risky.

2. Don’t park in a bad, inner city area, where crime is more prevalent. I like to park in a suburb of Minneapolis. Yes, I have to drive there, but it’s quieter and I feel safer.

I find Inner city people, the “bad” areas, are a lot more nicer to me, more accepting, less harrashment, even the security at stores. because I look poor and have alwatys been.

I think it is a class thing: I heard of a woman living homeless in her car in very wealthy California area – forgot the names, but she was doing fine, because she was always wealthy. Had a nice car, and knew tricks to keep her appearance high fashion, like the wealthy – really interesting story. Wonder why the wealthy car-livers are avoiding this website?

She was making lots of good money, but did not want to spend it on an apartment in the area, they are really lots of money, so she was living in her car, saving up money to buy a really nice house, no to rent or any common thing.

The rich do it too! not just the huge RVs that ignore everything in site.

Reply to this comment

avatar 381 Anonymous

My personal experience living in my car. First thing is Im a dude. In order to get out of bad relationship with my ex i got my CDL and got a job at as a truck driver OTR living out of tractor trailer while on the road for a few years till I rolled it, I have enough savings to get an apartment for a solid year or so with no worries, but worry about loosing financial safety blanket. So I bought low miles car and been living in it last couple months.

I live very frugal cutting expenses at every corner in a series of routines here is how I do it. I live in a smaller city (about 300,000 people) in California. The car I bought is a smaller car (I’m a small dude) with large trunk which is perfect for me, it gets great fuel mileage, even though its tight, it has enough space to store my stuff and still be livable. . I keep it spotless inside and out, dark purple, looks like a granny car. I keep all my stuff extremely neatly concealed at all times. The back of the rear seats fold down over the top of the back seat to expand storage. As far as general public and cops go the car is invisible.

I bought a cheap gym membership close to the center of the city. I store a couple towels and my gym clothes in a locker and lock it so I dont have to store it in my car. The gym has signs saying you have to pay to rent a locker, if you want to keep your stuff there overnight, and all lockers not paid for can be cut and stuff removed by staff. I just change lockers every couple days or every day if I feel paranoid, Its a cheap gym how are they going to know.

Where I sleep at night. There is five large department stores in completely different locations close to downtown but bordering on the outskirts with huge parking lots that I sleep at on a rotation. I picked them out because they are huge, there is lots of shrubs on most of the borders, and best of all there are always a few cars parked in them in the back 24/7. A lot of people park there cars in all of them to car pool, some park in them to walk to where they work close by dew to limited parking ets. In two of them there are even little tree and shrub islands more so in the rear areas of the parking lot. Sleeping in my car is not as hard as I originally figured it would be. I usually crash at between 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I have a -10 degree sleeping bag I bought a few years ago witch gives me lots of padding and ensures I never get so much as even a slight chill in the brutal California winter. I lay the backs of the rear seats down so the bottom of the trunk of my car extends to the backs of the driver and passenger seat. Crawl back into my trunk and curl up in my sleeping bag which goes diagonally with stuff on both sides. I have a semi folded up dark sheet that I set in the rear window ledge and let the unfolded part run down. Giving me a perfect tent. I keep all my stuff in my trunk or the foot areas of the rear seat area, the passenger side is bare and clean armor-all clean. So when I sleep me and my car are also almost invisible to cops and public.

How I spend my time I wake up whenever between 05:00 and 09:00, hit the gym (about 8 blocks from closest sleeping spot, 2 miles from farthest sleeping spot) for about 45 minutes or so, shower shave change cloths and I am gone again. There is a unemployement/welfare building about .5 miles from gym. I dont collect unemployment, or any other government money or subsidies (dont qualify for any), a few times a week I go there after the gym to kill a few hours using there free computers to check my email and look for work online. They did an awsum job helping me put together a great resume, perhaps the first gov. assistance I have ever received in my life.
I spend a lot of time in one of the few parks going for walks and just being lazy, I go to the library a lot and use my own laptop with the free wifi to get on the internet to do things the govt. building would frown on like coming and posting here and other web sites, reading news, playing games ets.. I do make it a point to turn in 3-4 job applications a week sometimes more and am on call at 5 temp agencies which I keep in contact with. I also read a lot which kills lots of time.

How I keep my cost low. I drive a fuel economical car which sucks, but being homeless aint an easy gig, and its lots harder without money, with the price of fuel and high unemployment rate its a necessary compromise to long term survival. Even though I have a nice car I force myself not to use it as much as I like. I often put on back pack and walk to gym in the mornings. I try to park car in central areas and spend most of the day on foot. I dont have to I have the cash for fuel, but I force myself to. I almost never eat out, when I do I usually hit the little ceasers $5 pizza cause it taste great and for 5 bucks you get more than other fast food places. The stuff I eat mainly comes from a can all generic labeled. I’ll hit the super walmart and buy lots of different cans of fruit, cans of mac and cheese, chilli. Walmarts great for saving money because it list the price per ounce in little red tag next to food, Those little red tags is what I always look at when I buy food. I always buy a few of the generic 2 litter Cola for like ninety cents cheep cookies ets, cause its cheap and you gota treat yourself, life is two short. Besides I am small, in great shape, and cant easily gain weight so not an issue there aether.

One last thing is if anybody has the option of a shelter or living there car, always choose a car. Even if you cant afford fuel, you can always park it a couple days and move it and so on. All a shelter gives you is shelter (what your car provides you and so much more). What they take from you is your pride and most importantly your freedom. They say you have to be in at a certain time, you have to leave at a certain time and a gazillion other rules nessary to efficiently manage such a place. Maby you can only have so much stuff ets… Lots of rules that take away your freedom and pride a tiny bit at a time till its all gone. I have never been in a shelter so could be wrong. The free meals and showers offered by shelters I think you can get without sleeping there probably depends on which shelter. A lot of drug users people with mental disorders ets use the shelters. Which means risk of theft, loss of safety, lots of potential diseases ets is always a present risk. Probably quite a few disruptive people ets. Once you figure it out temparily living in a car is something you can do, and you still you have all your freedoms, your life revolves around you not some institution used mainly by less-desirables. Live in your car, look for work, keep yourself clean and in shape, spend time in the parks, libraries ets.. Life could be worse, how I choose to cope with the hard time I am facing hope something I said helps somebody else cope a bit easier.

Reply to this comment

avatar 382 Anonymous

I wish I could live in my ford focus, but my 4 siblings would freak out and commit me.

Reply to this comment

avatar 383 Anonymous

you should’ve picked up a focus wagon, lol i have a 06 focus zx4 back in vernon but right now in Brooks i’m driving my 97′ expedition which i’m working on camperizing for when the time comes to move into my suv. rental is cheap but starting to not like living here and main reason just going to stick it out till it warms up late feb-early march. although you could always hnt round for a roof rack or something so that way you could store your stuff uptop at night and have more room in the back considering its like a twin size bed

Reply to this comment

avatar 384 Anonymous

Everything posted above is great information
From California to Mile High City
I sign up at a homeless shelter… use their proof of address to receive a new id card with the state I am residing..
any new tips I can not think of that is not mention above
all the tips above are great
MRE are very very awesome… if you know anyone who have MRE I strongly recommend
tThey are Military Meals Ready 2 Eat….. I bought mine for $5 each… just wish I knew how handy they are…. would had bought more

Reply to this comment

avatar 385 Anonymous

Starting this Tuesday after Memorial, I will be driving out to California to begin a new chapter in my life, titled “My adventure to freedom and a newer me”. I will be living out of my car for the next 4 months at the least. This is not a must but a choice which is why I feel good about the title. And, this will not be a first experience for me since I have lived out of my car, different car, in my earlier years. For a almost a year I lived out of a Pontiac Grand Prix. And, In this situation I had to do it. Today I choose to go back to that life style cause I want to rid myself of the waste and the lack of drive towards self achievement. What do I mean? I meant the monotony of my everyday routine of sleep, 45 minute drive to work, 8hrs of yes sir no sir, 45 minute drive back home, eat, watch tv, contemplate going to the gym but instead, falling asleep on the sofa.(what a waste of gym membership), and then do it all over again. Sure, I had a very good paying job. Between my wife and I, we made 97,000 last year. We own a 4 bedroom house in an affluent suburbs. We have 2 grown children with their own careers and one married. I had established a decent savings and few retirement portfolios. My friend envied me because of my salary. I have it good in the eyes of most people, right? Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was in a cage feeling trapped, and the only way out was to wait for death. I felt something missing! Something that I will regret at my death bed if I continue this path of life. Most people of my age go through midlife crisis and do things to deal with it best they know how. Hell, my neighbor bought a Harley and huge RV. I wish I had his RV, LOL!!!
For me! My solution is to experience life and see the country while I am able. I have decided to quit my work and commit to traveling. Now, my career is in medicine so finding work is not at all difficult. But, rather than work for THE MAN, I opted to freelance. I offer my expertise to any company that are in need of healthcare professional temporarily. I work under contract. The facility provide me a salary, travel expense and housing subsidies. I choose which state to work in and in which city. I do not want housing so living out of my car is exactly what i prefer. I read everyone’s advice and helpful tips which I will definitely keep mind. I idea is to live without and just do everything natural. I need to improve my body and mind so not having a place to live will cause me to spend more time being outdoors. I will only eat fruit and vegetables. Canned if I need to store. Nuts and dehydrated meats, water and supplement vitamins and minerals. Get a membership at gym to shower and actually work out. I love to read so now plenty of time to sit at parks or beach or Starbucks. I will not waste a day without having accomplished something. Everyday counts at my age! However, I will be without my wife. I won’t worry about my children cause they have their own life and happy. I just worry for my wife and will definitely miss her while on the road. Thank God for cell phones and unlimited text and data plan!!!!!!!!! Skype anyone? She supports me in everything and over 25 yrs of togetherness, she is ready for some time to herself. I love her which is another reason I choose to live meager. My salary goes to her. I may be away but I am still caring for my soulmate. If there is truth to the old saying “distance make the heart grow fonder”, I will find out. I hope to keep going with my life for a longer term. But, if not then at least I made an effort to change.

Reply to this comment

avatar 386 Anonymous

If he got a jump start booster pack and plugged it in every day when he drove around then at night he could easily plug a heater into the pack to keep him warm. I don’t think it’s a great idea to keep the truck running to heat up the cab since there is always the worry of carbon monoxide and also the waste of gas is costly.

I think as long as his vehicle doesn’t have any major break downs or issues he certainly could save money living in his truck. Normally, he would in an apartment still need a vehicle to get to work so the insurance and truck expenses would be the same. I think it’s smart to get out of debt to feel freedom from that pressure instead of just ignoring it and having it pile up.

Reply to this comment

avatar 387 Anonymous

Hello recently I’ve been living in and out of my van, not very long but I’m really worrei. I have a few places to stay here an there but nothing perminet atm. Due to an aray of events I left my house hold because it simply was not safe there and I left in a hurry. I have a job that pays decent working in a hospital but dont have the funds available to get my own apartment as of yet. I’ve tried to look into different oganizations to help with this situation but help is limited or non-exsistant. I’m not against living in my van ya gotta do what you gotta do to be safe. The problem I’m facing is that it’s sooooo hot! Idk what to really do to keep cool. I work midnights 6pm-6:30am 3 days a week and during the day it’s VERY hot to sleep. I’m a girl an get super nervous about creepers messing with me if i leave the windows down too much. I bought a battery operated fan and used it a little bit and it helped so perhaps buying a few more fans might be good?? IDK i’d ike some advice plz. With ahving alot of fans I’m worried about spening a crap ton of money on batteries. I read some people were doing generators or the sort but I’m really not looking for that since I’m mechanicaly inclined and would like to give as little as possible that i’m living in my van. I’m not sure where to park but have a few ideas. My mom belongs to a sportsmans club and you have to be a member to get in (camping, boating, very safe small town place and I have a sticker to show i’m a member) and they ahve showers so i’m thinking about staying there when I can. Also since I work at the hospital do you think it’d be ok to stay in the parking garage on days I work? I have a sticker that says I’m an employee so I doubt they would hassle me because I have that sticker and working 12 hour shifts ppl wouldn’t think much about it. I’d just be SUPER embarrassed if security was to find me sleeping there because I have to work at this place and I dont want people to feel bad for me, ya know? The windows to my van are tinte which helps and I’ve been putting towes pinned up on the back seat windows when I sleep. You can’t see them due to the tinted windows, I’ve checked lol Any suggestions to make this work easier would GREATLY be appreciated especialy on the lines of how to keep cool. That’s a big one right now. Also any info on how to keep up appearances because working in a hospital I dea alot with the public an don’t want to be looking dirty or totaly unkempt. Thanks so much! :)

Reply to this comment

avatar 388 Anonymous
avatar 389 Anonymous

hey guys !
pickup truck with a shell cap(without windows)is the answer
also for winter sleeping use the best quality pro sleeping bag like westernmountaineering
they are expensive something like 500-700 usd
if you handy you can install flat flexible solar sheets on the top of your pick up truck and produce some power for your devices
mount a few hidden day/night cameras on your truck so you can always see what’s going on around you
I know this will require some money up front but it will make your life a little easier I think
Good Luck to all of You !!

Reply to this comment

avatar 390 Anonymous

I am in Europe (English person in Luxembourg) and have just read the above posts. Some excellent info there, thanks. I am 14 days away from the same situation except the car is going too. I am considering buying a 500 euro (650US) Ford Fiesta type car, maybe something a little bigger as Renault Megane type cars have a low resale. But insurance etc will be expensive and require an address…. I can earn some money as an English (as a foreign language) teacher but need to look the part; especially for the adult students who tend to work in banks and therefore have higher standards. I also want to keep fit and so will continue to swim and shower by the pool (before entering water and after!). I think shaving and teeth cleaning (English people do you know) will not be accepted by other users so that will be a no-no. This is not like America so a parked car not in a residential street will attract attention, especially if old and cheap. There are homeless people here and a community that drinks beer in the square but I prefer to avoid that (I don’t know where they sleep, altho they are well dressed and so i guess they get clothes from some charity). I have read about US tent cities and that would be great here too but not likely to happenas lack of the outdoors would be a problem (everything/where is private). So my plan B is to live in a small survival tent. This can be carried in a pack (I hope) and if I walk off the track in the woods each evening and put up the tent in a densely treed or ferned area, i should be almost invisible including from above. I am worried that I am living in a fantasy and will freeze to death. In winter, it can be -15 C (5F). This site gives me hope. I hope that all or most of the posts are real.. Anyway, I have been reading about little one man tents and that seems fine. The sleeping bags seem Ok too. I have around 800 dollars in cash and can earn enough to eat / drink / swim but nothing else. I have clothes / books etc and I am not sure what to do with them. Storage sounds good but too expensive (unless i live in it but that seems too difficult to get away with). So nearly everything will have to go although some can go with friends (who i am not telling about this). But I can buy a few things to survive/live. I am 54 and in reasonable shape at 160 pounds. My first question is whether it is feasible to sleep in one of those blizzard survival bags. Are they just a one day thing or could they perhaps go inside or outside my bag? Don’t tell my ex but the thing I will miss most is my two cats. I dream about keeping them in a tent to keep me company and keep my feet warm but sadly that IS a fantasy. So blizzard bags? Anybody tried living without the car or even keep the car, possibly to store some stuff in the boot (trunk) but sleep outside it to avoid police attention. Sorry for the long post but I have little time before I leave the nice flat that I am currently sitting in. Thanks, tim

Reply to this comment

avatar 391 Anonymous

Those survival blankets? the ones that look like aluminium foil? they are good. It takes a lot to rip them, they are cheap and take up hardly any room in a pack. If you are in a tent or a hammock wrap yourself in one of those emergency blankets and then get into your sleeping bag. Socks, hat, gloves. If you choose a hammock, get one without a space bar and made of parachute nylon which folds up small, Ticket to the Moon makes a good one, buy a double size and sleep in it diagonally, that way your body will be flat and not like a banana. Hennessey is good too. Maybe tape another foil blanket to the surface of your hammock underneath. If you put the foil between hammock and sleeping bag it gets all scrunched up. good luck. If your pool showers have cubicles you can shave and clean teeth in the shower where no one will see.

Reply to this comment

avatar 392 Anonymous

To the English guy in Luxemburg.

Hello mate, I,m from London. I think what your talking about is what we call Bothy bags for shared use up in the mountains. Otherwise it may be smaller Bivybag. I use an ex British army gortex Bivybag with a good winter army sleeping bag. The thing is you have to insulate yourself from the ground so a foam roll up mattress would be best for the woods. You would also need a tarpaulin to keep the rain off you and there would be no protection from Mosquitos or flys or other ground insects. I used to wake up with lumps and bites, I did make myself a huge mosquito net bag to place over me and it can be very muddy if it has been raining overnight. Butthere are better, more comfier systems. One of the easiest most comfortable systems is to buy a Hennassy Hammock, made in USA and exported all around the world. You can string it up between a few trees and it has a built in mosquito net and comes with a great tarp to keep wind and rain off, but you can still look around you to see if there’s any danger. Entrance is through the bottom via a velcro snap opening and one can escape to enclosed hammock in seconds should you need to with a quick push down of both heels of the feet to open up the velcro fastener, and no, you cannot fall out bu mistake. If one must have to sleep outside of vehicle then this is one of the best systems. They cost around £120 then you gotta buy yourself a decent sleeping bag.

I used to be a traveler back in 1993 traveling all around England and Scotland with a convoy of new age traveler, all of us sleeping in old ambulances, army trucks, vans, box vans etc. we even had a fire engine with us. Then the government jumped all over us a banned us living together and introduced laws to disband us. It was the most fun time in my life and met great characters I can never forget. I’m might leave my flat and live in my 16′ cabin cruiser on the River Thames and may even buy a van in the future. I plan to live in my vehicles in England in the summer and save up and in October to to Kerala in southern India and spend the winter out there cheap and come back to England in April and do it all over again. Saving up for a river side retirement home in Kerala. I am forty this January so I have around 25 years to get the money together. Good luck and god bless to all those great people here living alternative homesteads. May you be blessed with what you need. Rex.

Reply to this comment

avatar 393 Anonymous

P.s don’t leave your flat first, try it out and see what you think. You may hate it. I’m slightly concerned about ya, but hope you have a good head on your shoulders. I started traveling and vehicle sleeping when I was 18 or 19 and had a very strong crew around me to teach me to make it easier. It sound attractive but not something to enter lightly if you have to leave a cheap flat, ie social housing as you may have to wait years before ever getting another one again or if you plan on leaving a loved one. You done the right thing by researching, do more research and learning as it is so helpful. I am still learning things every day about alternative living. Good luck mate and you can email me if you want to on 73foster@ live.com. All best! Rex.

Reply to this comment

avatar 394 Anonymous

Hi All,

I sure am glad I found this site. My gf (correction, ex as of last week) wants me out. I’m on the lease, but it’s easier to just leave. It’s already getting ugly. I’ll be living in my car a few days after Christmas. I have money, but no job nor the time for one (in my last semester of college this spring), so a new apartment just isn’t realistic.
My expected set-up is this (for southern California): living in a four-door car with limo tinting. Rod with black curtain hung across the back seat. Popping down the back seat to sleep half in the trunk with a 25 degree sleeping bag. Rotating between 3 and 5 locations for sleeping. Showering at a gym on weekends, showering at the school during the week. Free internet at school, plenty of parking during the day. Lots of schoolwork to keep me busy. When I graduate, I sell my car and move home, and hopefully buy a house in six months. I might try to work part time to make the no-rent time of my life productive (as if getting a degree wasn’t productive enough!)… but my courseload is heavy, and school is my top priority… why else would I dare live in a car?
The question I have is food- how do I minimize my costs without starving or eating crap (McD’s). I figure fruit keeps for a few days, as do nuts and breads.

Reply to this comment

avatar 395 Anonymous

You’ve got the right idea about food. If you have a camp stove that runs on butane canisters or liquid fuel, good. they are reasonably cheap. Peanut butter sandwiches, with additives if you haven’t any means of cooking. Jam. pickles, parsley if you like it, for iron. If you can cook, try dicing two washed potatoes, one onion, boil in salted water till soft, don’t drain the water, add milk powder and more salt to taste, eat. Practically a complete food. and surprisingly filling and yummy. Eat it out of your saucepan, and you won’t want takeaways. Potatoes will keep in a dark place. Onions will keep.

Reply to this comment

avatar 396 Anonymous

Sill need suggestions about keeping food? If you’re going to do this for months, realize it could be twice as long as you desire. Things might not turn out right. So prepare right. Get yourself a large deep cycle marine battery and an automobile cooler. you can put enough food in there and the best ones cool down the air by about 40 degrees. They plug into the cigarette lighter, but you can buy an inexpensive socket like that that has wires and clips exactly for attaching it directly to a battery. Look at Amazon.com. There are many good ideas here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=DC%20socket%20with%20clips

Make sure you keep the cooler in cool shade for the best effect. Your vehicle is too hot in the sun or closed up under the shade in hot weather.

Food packaging is too bulky and empty. So get a lot of small and medium size zip lock bags and take ALL the food out of the packages and put it in those. And you will have more than enough room. But those zip locks occasionally leak, So get several small containers that will fit nicely in the cooler and put the zip lock baggies in there. (32 ounce SQUARE SHAPPED hydrogen peroxide plastic bottles sell at WalMart for 88 cents. 16 ounce SQUARE SHAPED hydrogen peroxide bottles sell at Big Lots for 50 cents. After I use the liquid I cut the tops off to make containers for my cooler and other places in my car. These fit perfectly into my cooler.) Never fill a baggie full or it will leak from the pressure. (however I do purchase the cheapest ones.) With liquids stay less than 2/3rds full.

This is costly, almost $200 at this point, but is far less than the cost of eating prepared food or illness from junk food. Look – getting ice for a cooler for a month in hot weather will cost you $60 and daily effort. So you really are saving this way. I did that for a year and I would never suggest it, it is a waste of money and time.

To recharge the battery charge it with your car, whem you are driving it. You will need 2 guage wires. I found them at WalMart.com.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Motor-Trend-25-Jumper-Cables-with-Parrot-Clamps/17617230
These were $50 when I bought them, but are $90 now, so go online and look for deals on 2 guage automotive wires. You will have to cut your wires from this Walmart package. So you will need two pairs of eyelets for 2 guage wires (Autozone). The eyelets allow you to attach your wire to the battery posts. I found someone at a car garage that would weld the eyelets onto the wires without charging me.

Put the marine deep cycle battery under the dashboard, run the wires from under the hood to the cycle battery. My wires pass between the right car door and right frame without being crushed. I cannot describe it without a picture.

The cooler will just have to be outside somewhere. In the car will just not work unless it is in the shade with the windows down or in the trunk with the top ajar.

If you can get a line of electricity from an outlet where you are parking, you will then need to buy a very long cord and a battery charger and just charge the battery when needed. I purchased this one for $65, but it does not function very well.
http://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-XC12-SpeedCharge-Battery-Charger/dp/B004EIBXAA/ref=sr_1_39?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1387225686&sr=1-39&keywords=schumacher+battery+charger
I really don’t recommend it. It is working for a year now, but I would have preferred something better for $100 if I knew which one that was.

You might think “forget the battery, etc – I will just plug the cooler directly into the line of electricity.” But then you cannot take the cooler with you, when you drive. In that case, you will need a source of ice to stock your cooler when it is off. And you will need a transformer you plug into the cord, and plug the cooler into that.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schumacher-DC-to-AC-Converter-6-Amp/13005735

When the cooler is off, put a folded blanket on and around it, to keep the cold in for as long as possible. Also air is terrible insulation. Buy some of those bags they put in mail to keep medicine cool during shipment. When your cooler is low in food and drinks, just throw those in – improves the insulation.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=ice%20bags#/ref=nb_sb_ss_fb_0_7?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=refreezable+ice+cubes&sprefix=refreez%2Cautomotive%2C351&rh=n%3A1055398%2Ck%3Arefreezable+ice+cubes

I actually do all these things, depending on the situation, which varies. It does cost, but you are saving money in less than a year and EATING WELL. that is extremely basic.

Look around, ask around for salvage food stores in your area, or discount food stores. Especially ask people who work at Thrift Shops or liquidations (not charities or shelters). There are some in your county or area, you just have to find them.

What is the best kind of deep cycle marine battery? I don’t know and have not found anyone with that answer. I got the largest that my local AutoZone store sells. It has a 1 year replacement warranty. WalMart sells a similar one with a 3 year replacement warranty. Of the two I would choose WalMart because you are really going to be using that battery. DEEP CYCLE MARINE battery – not something else. not DUAL PURPOSE.

Reply to this comment

avatar 397 Anonymous

I forgot to state that I use the hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant, especially for hands and eating supplies. I mix half and half with purified water and put in a spray bottle they sell for $1 at dollar stores.

Reply to this comment

avatar 398 Anonymous

IMPORTANT: I put a plastic baggie or plastic glove around the eyelet of the wire, when passing it through the door and door frame, so I does not spark touching the metal frame. I forgot to mention that. You must cover the eyelet with plastic when you pass it between the door and frame.

I cut the 2 guage wires 10-11 feet long. Any longer and they loose power.Those long 2 guage wires that run from under the hood to the deep cycle batter are long enough to go to another vehicle to jump you car really well. I easily remove them from the battery and take them back out from between the door and door frame easily.

Reply to this comment

avatar 399 Anonymous

I have read most of these post and there is a lot of good advice in them. To the people trying to keep cool; I lived in my old Ford Aerostar last year for about two months. It was pretty warm — but I always tried to keep it in the shade during the day because if it is in the sun..it retained the heat at night. I went to Home Depot and got one of those vent covers for a couple bucks and cut a hole in the side of my van – low to the bottom and installed the vent. Then I purchased a $10 inverter and a 12 volt Ryobi batt operated fan to place in front of the vent to draw outside air. It seemed to work pretty good. On a full charge it ran most of the night. Fast forward to now….. I am now living out of my new van and realize how much more I spend on gas since I have to drive around a lot. At first I kind of liked it. I got a mini laptop which holds a charge for over three hours and I downloaded a lot of documentary’s to watch, but lately I am getting a feeling of hopelessness. I know/hope it will pass as I have a job out of state coming up in April 2013 that I can make some pretty good money on. I am a contractor and sometimes make pretty good money, but from the times I didn’t make good money — I went well in debt. I don’t want to give up my Credit score, so I’ve opted to live this way. I sometimes think I should just let my credit go and not worry about it but that thought scares me as I am 53 years old and want to buy a house when I can save up enough money. I have found that if you can park your car beside a library at night you can get free wi fi. I also have a gym membership. I have been doing this for 24 days. I broke up with my partner of 10 years. He was fine with us until he got his masters and a good job and then he didn’t need me anymore, which is the best thing for me anyway. Just have to get over the feelings since I am sensitive and it still hurts. I haven’t told any of my friends or family I am doing this. I would be so embarrassed — I just couldn’t–hubris I guess. My friends and family ask me all the time where I am staying now and I tell them “with a friend”. I am happy that some people find this enjoyable…I’m sure that helps–but for me it is not fun at all. But I will do what I have to do but I hope this will be the last time I have to do it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 400 Anonymous

Hi all, I am seriously working on getting out of my situation. Housing costs and debts and mostly lack of freedom due to a mortgage. I am about to retire and I want out of this…I am going to let my best friend who is homeless pay the mortgage and condo fees and if all goes well. I will pass all of this on to her and her children. I have way too much material things and it gets all in my way. I wanted to do this years ago but was talked out of it…oh well, now is the time. I will continue to work and live out of my car but I don’t want the family to know that. I am thinking I will tell them I have taken a job in another county…close by and they provide everything. I really need to do this..I am 62 years old and I figure I have enough spunk and realism to make this happen. I am open to any suggestions but seems like all the leads are already posted here…Thanks! and to all others, I pray that life continues to treat you well.

Reply to this comment

avatar 401 Anonymous

I’m twenty years old, and I live in my car, in Louisiana. There’s not much here for me, I’m wondering if there’s anything at all for me. Well, as I lay here itsnice to know I’m not the only one doing this. There’s not much I can do here, jobs are scarce.. But I believe goddoesnt give you more that you can handle.
Ill make it momma, don’t worry.

Reply to this comment

avatar 402 mjfbinks

What a lifesaver it is finding such a helpful resource as this website. I haven’t needed to wonder where I would be laying my head down for a nights sleep in many years. Now I’m allot older, some would even say I’m old and not in the best of health and frankly kinda scared cause I know homelessness is coming for me and coming quick and when those kind of hard times come you find out how few if any friends you have, they’re all really sorry but they can’t help you, they have their own families and all the problems that go with it. It’s those times when things are at their worst that even family disappears. So the only one that can get me through this is me but at this point in this tough old man’s life prayers will be indispensable and definitely welcomed.

Reply to this comment

avatar 403 Anonymous

I’m 58. Once I knew I had to do it, I started thinking of it as an adventure of late middle life! It is possible, don’t be down hearted. If you are a praying person, include God in your adventure every step..

Reply to this comment

avatar 404 Anonymous

my husband and I are trying this living out of the car experience. we really have no money. he just started a job bmeut the friend we were staying with live to far away. we wouldn’t be able to afford the gas for the commute on top of our regular bills. as soon as I find a job we plan on saving as much as we can so we can bring our toddlers( who by the way are in a wonderful living condition with my mother in law) out here with us. we have been very disheartened and down on our luck this last month or so. we are currently in Durango Colorado and weep
need ideas on where to park and sleep at night. if anybody knows of any where within the Durango limits please let me know. I’m thinking about investing In a car cover so we can sleep without being disturbed or looking too suspicious. with a cover I think we could definitely sit in an apartment complex or somewhere similar. reading these posts has been extremely helpful not only do I can learn do’s and don’t’s but it kept me sane through my first night of in car living experience.
any information about Durango Colorado would be extremely helpful!!!
thank you

Reply to this comment

avatar 405 Anonymous

I was a security officer for about 13 years, and I can truly tell you what cops and security look for: Things that are out of place…things that don’t seem like they belong there. For example, in an apartment complex, if you park with the other vehicles (blend in), and keep a low profile (no lights at night…cigarettes, lighters, reading lights, etc), then you probably won’t get noticed. However, if you park in a secluded spot, I can almost guarantee that you will get the attention that you don’t want. Cops and (professional, trained) security look at things in black and white: Normal, or NOT NORMAL. It’s the “NOT NORMAL” things that trigger a response. Keep that in mind and you’ll do fine. :)

Reply to this comment

avatar 406 Anonymous

I was thinking of a car cover with one clip off so I could still slip inside, in apartment areas. has anyone tried this ?

Reply to this comment

avatar 407 Anonymous

I’ve been stuck in sticky, humid, big-ridden Louisiana for years and am sick of it. I’m 22 and am planning on driving out to Flagstaff, AZ and living out of my car until I can get a job set up and find a little apartment. Let me say that I read every comment here after I thought of Googling “living in your car” and the sea of information presented will be incredibly helpful. I never would have thought that there were people whom actually preferred it to a conventional house.

Reply to this comment

avatar 408 Anonymous

I’ve noticed few of you have pets. I have 3 dogs and a cat – all indoor pets and geriatric. As my fiance keeps threatening to throw me out every time he gets mad I’m seriously concerned about how to keep my pets comfortable if I have to live out of my Jeep Cherokee. Getting rid of them really isn’t an option as they’re like kids to me. I’ve considered purchasing a tent to camp in for the summer but in hot weather it would be a death sentence for the pets while I’m at work. I’d love to get another vehicle since this one seems to need repairs constantly but I still owe on it. I’m also concerned about the winters here since it gets into subzero temps. I’d consider moving to another area but just don’t have the cash to accomplish it.

Sorry for rambling but would like advise on living with pets out of a vehicle.

Reply to this comment

avatar 409 Anonymous

Is it too late to respond to your comment? I saw someone on youtube show how you can make a portable air conditioner wih a couple of small fans or one small portable fan and a large cooler of ice. The fan blows the air in, and the air hits the ice and cool air comes out the other end. This man used it for his car when the AC broke and stated it works great during the summer driving in his car. You would need a source of electricity for the fans, even if they are low wattage like 50 watts. One or two deep cycle marine batteries could work, with a small inverter. And a daily source of ice. and it would have to be a confined shaded space to work effectively. the old friends could stay there all day when you go off somewhere. If the fans fail, they could always put themselves up against the cooler loaded with ice to stay cooler. In my experience I had only one fan fail, but that was because I hit it hard.

I been sleeping in my car with pets sometimes. And if you still need suggestions, just ask.

Reply to this comment

avatar 410 Anonymous

Wont go into why but I’m 8 months into living out of my car and haven’t really encountered any problems. I think I benefit from living in a “tourist town” where there are 2 casinos and plenty of hotels/ motels. Every hotel on “the strip” (not Vegas) has computers in their lobby’s with free interent connection which I use 3 or 4 times a week. Never been hasseled about it. There are two or three hotels which have washrooms close to the pool area that have a full shower. I have used these on numerous occasions and never been stopped. Try going into any major hotel and find the pool/spa area and you might find a washroom with a shower. As far as parking my car at night to sleep I have used Wal-mart without any problems, motel parking lots and 24 hour coffee shops. I’ve pretty much done the same as others have said here, including using “wet wipes” to clean up, work great. The one thing I did do that may be unique is before lift-off I bought a small digital tape recorder and taped a ton of hours of tv programs so that I could replay them in my car for, well, “comfort food”. This little digital recorder holds tons of tv shows, I could’nt believe it, I’m still not half way through them all. The blind have been listening to TV for years and once you do it for a couple of shows its just like listening to 2 and Half Men on the radio. Winter is coming so I’m going to have to work with the cold as best I can. Thanks for reading, Orsenl

Reply to this comment

avatar 411 Anonymous

I am a business student and I am 26 yrs old and I have recently struggled with jobs. I currently do have a part-time and interviewing for a full-time today. I am thinking of living in my car because my family is finally separated and I don’t no where else to go. If anyone knows others in the same situation in IL or has valuable information to assist me please let me know.

Reply to this comment

avatar 412 Anonymous

Someone suggested a pet blanket that only uses 6 watts. THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE

Reply to this comment

avatar 413 Anonymous

actually it is possible, they are designed only to be turned on when their is pressure applied kind of like a switch you turn on and off. i’ve researched on them bc they are the only thing reasonable when you have an open space, i do not remember what name they’re under but check amazon.com you will find em their, as well if you are looking for old batteries be careful unless you can put them in the back of your truck due to charging chemicals. I also remember that you can usually find them at auto wreckers for rather cheap and also at the auto wreckers you can also find all sorts of wires that you will find lot cheaper than the usual store, for the reason as they just want the stuff sold, another place you can find great deals is 2nd hand stores such as salvation army and Value Village. I spoke with my gf and she does not agree with me moving into my SUV, but since she is not living with me i kinda feel like i have to since it’s just me, why spend round a grand on living in someone else home when i really dont mind living in my truck??? i just remember when i was 13 and lived on the streets the “freedome feeling” that anything was possible. so till March 1st getting my Expedition camping ready with 200 amp alternator,200 amp battery isolator with 4 1000cca agm batteries. with a 12k debt sitting on interest of 39.9% i’m finding it hard to breath. if i come across anything that may be useful for this site, i’ll keep posting maybe it’ll be able to help someone and yes everything that i have been posting is true, i will be using the same stuff in my truck that i will be posting on here. take care and be safe……..

Reply to this comment

avatar 414 Anonymous

THE PAD IS CONTINUALLY ON LIKE A SURGE PROTECTOR DIODE LIGHT. THAT IS HOW IT IS ABLE TO DETECT A DOG OR CAT ON IT AND TURN THE HEAT ON. IT IS CONTINUALLY USING 6 WATTS OF POWER. THAT IS A SIGNIFICANT

Reply to this comment

avatar 415 Anonymous

FOR YOU TO KEEP 6 WATTS CONTINUALLY DRAINING YOUR BATTERY, IT WOULD RUN IT DRY IN A DAY. that is like leaving the glove compartment open all night so the little light stays on and the battery is dead in the evening. MANY devices are like this, being digitalized today. They are continually on, using a little bit of power, like six watts, like the diodes on surge protectors. It is always on, so that when you turn it on, it is ready to go. DVD players are like this. You laptop power cord transformer box is like that. so it is necessary to remove the laptop cord when not needing to charge the laptop battery.

That blanket you are referring to is not a good device to have, being it will drain dead the batteries six watts at a time unless you remove the cord, or get a switch plug (A plug that has a flip switch on it to totally cut off power.)

You stated you just read about this online, you have not owned one. I have owned heat pads and devices that are always on like surge protectors or AA battery chargers. My cell phone charger takes 5 watts of power to charge. YOU CANNOT GET WARM WITH SIX WATTS, six watts does not have heat to warm you. it is just not there for anyone to access.

you misread this online or they printed it in error. This has happened to me. If you could keep warm with 6 watts, you could cook food in 12 watts — what do you need four 1000 CCA batteries for? that set up you described is a good set up, a LOT of electrcity, becuase you will need it. Even smaller slow cookers are 70-100 watts but they take hours to cook.

I would not advise getting batteries from a junk yard. waste of money, and they could be leaking or damaged. they certainly wont hold a lot of power and go bad fast. Batteries that have been dormat for a long time are NEVER good. not even new ones. Autozone rotates their NEW batteries every six months. if the battery was made (not shipped but made) more than six months ago, they take it off the shelf. They will not sell it, and they give only a 1 year replacement warranty on NEW batteries.

Get a good large size battery with a 3 year REPLACEMENT warranty. wal mart sells them for about $100. NOT DUAL PURPOSE batteries but deep cycle batteries that you can drain low and recharge. They are not spillable, they require no maintainence, the chemicals will not come out of them.

however looking for wires at an auto salvage seems like a good idea, something to try, thank you for that suggestion. And the alternator, four batteries, ect is a good set up. But people cannot be thinking they can keep warm on six or twelve or eighteen watts, or so.

My vehicle cannot have another kind of alternator, so I had to go the other way that I described. And many vehicles are like that. Ask a professional if you can change the alternator on your vehicle, and I would get more than one opinion on that matter. Because with a wrong alternator, the damage could be disasterous.

I am looking into Solar panels, homemade solar set up, but that is in the months or years to come.

written Dec 16, 2013

Reply to this comment

avatar 416 Anonymous

WARNING!!!
Changing the alternator to a different size will prevent many businesses from servicing your vehicle. Places like WalMart and AAA have strict policies in which they can not work on any vehicle that has modifications to it.

Adding wires as I suggested, wires running from the vehicle battery to a inverter or other batteries in the vehicle, however you run those wires – is NOT a modification to the vehicle, but putting in a different size alternator is a modification to the vehicle.

One WalMart I went to and one AAA mechanic shop told me that they could not service my vehicle at all because I made modifications to it. Because they saw all the wiring that I had in my car.

Adding wires does not modify the vehicle. like adding a superior stereo system is not considered modifying the vehicle. WalMart itself sells different kinds of vehicle inverters and wires and stereo systems. They want you to buy those things when you are having your car serviced there. If they say you have modified your car, you can walk them through the store and show them the inverters that they sell or go online with your laptop and SHOW them the many inverters that WalMart sells.

Drawing electricty from the battery is not a modification or everyone who has jumped their car to another has modified their vehicle and cannot get service anywhere.

I showed these walmart people that I could easiy disconnect the wires, so they could have no problem servicing my vehicle. A modification, like a different kind of alternator, you cannot just remove or disconnect and have the car fully running and operating. that IS a modification to the vehicle.

I was amazed these WalMart people, the whole crew working in the middle of the weekday, were so stupid, that they thought there was a modification, when their own store sells inverters and wires. So I asked them to contact a store manager, and he put the issue to rest. so the WalMart workers were able to do an oil change on my vehicle, which is what I came there for.

Granted I have a lot of wires in the seating area, because I have lots of little devices, like net book, heat pads, cell phones, AAA battery chargers, lamp and so on; what you put in and around the SEATS is no modification to the vehicle.

Mechanics are not so stupid, WalMart was just maintenance, so when a AAA mechanic shop told me the owner said I had modified the vehicle and I had to leave and take the vehicle with me, I knew it was not that issue, but that they were greatly offended when they saw all the things in my car that they did not want to have anythiong to do with me – bums.

Some shop owners are exceedingly niggardly, and will put that lie on you (modifying the vehicle) or some other professional bs because they want nothing to do with you, you are a louse.

But changing the alternator IS REAL MODIFICATION. and be aware that many places will not service your vehicle and you cannot afford that. I would prefer to not change the alternator on that ground, even if I could change my alternator, because when I need my car taken of, I really cannot have no where to go, or have a difficult time getting to a mechanic, because I have no other place other than my car.

So check out this matter with your regular mechanic or maintainence company. Wal Mart and AAA as far as I know, will not service any vehicle with modification. Check this out before you change that alternator!!!

Note: I had the catalytic converter removed from my car, because it was so clogged it was causing problems. And WalMart still serviced my vehicle. The car still operates and runs the same in every way without it. I don’t think it is considered “Modification.”

Reply to this comment

avatar 417 Anonymous

I have inquired about bigger alternator for the suv and I was told that it would be fine, regardless on how many batteries that also is no concern to the shop, the only thing they ask is that their be no random wires in the open, as long as the suv is clean that would be fine, the shops ive spoken with have never refused to do any work what so ever on any vehicle, unless it was in violation bylaw on the vehicle or the person (registration/license/insurance)

Reply to this comment

avatar 418 Anonymous

Someone suggested using a pet blanket cause it only uses 6 watts. THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE for humans to get sufficient heat with 6 watts. Animals like to curl up tight and have fur and other things. I use a human (plastic cover) heat pad on my lower abdomen, becuase there are so many blood vessels there in cool weather it keeps me warm all around. If the blood stays warm, you will feel and be warm. With cool weather clothing – but not when it gets very cool. They are 50 – 100 watts. You need to find one without a timer. Rakuten.com sells a “king size heat pad” that has no timer. You just cannot do with one small car or suv or truck battery. You need to get some larger deep cycle marine batteries. there is no getting around it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 419 Anonymous

Due to child support from three seperate states for three kids I have been living out of cars and in tents for eight years now. Being homeless is alot easier when you get farther away from mainstream society and camp. If you can afford it stay in a campground with showers etc. If not try finding a quiet place on the river or lake somewhere. Or up in the hills close to a spring or small stream. I hated being homeless in the city but popping a tent in the wilderness is not that bad and is good for the soul.Nature will provide all that a person needs if you know where to look and how to use what is available. Circumstances are different depending on the region you are in. Personally I have a strong spiritual connection to the forests that I frequent and over time a person will develop this. The more you realize that you are a part of the earth the more in tune you become with your surroundings. You do not own the earth. The earth owns you. lol.

Reply to this comment

avatar 420 Anonymous

I am wondering if you are choosing to be homeless as a way to escape parental responsibilities. Granted, the system will not show mercy to fathers in efforts to collect child support, especially when once your obligations are garnsihed you have nothing left to live on. This presents options to living and simply leaving undone tasks undone can be a solution. My other question, how do you eat, get suppiles, etc. and what part of the country can you stay in wilderness without man, animals or the elements keeping you constantly on the move…just curious

Reply to this comment

avatar 421 Anonymous

Moderators of consumerismcommentary.com:

Can you remove gwen’s threatening comment from your website?
This inhumane gwen has clearly attacked everyone of us “homeless trying to escape responsibility” and other things.
We know these people exist in our communities.
Please keep these kinds of animosity and harassment out of this particular discussion which is for encouragement. FOR us.

Reply to this comment

avatar 422 Anonymous

in all do respect for each owns self with well being, we are all our own person, with being said that much it’s also called honesty to the people that we come in contact with each and every day. Every one on this site has become or becomes homeless for 1 reason or another, passing judgement towards one person is the same as saying we’re are all identicle. I must apologize but we are all living in our cars/trucks and suv’s for the simple fact is that we can not afford to have the life style as the next person, some by choice while others have no choice. 1 things is for certain, we all have our reasons for doing what we are doing and why we do what we do, right??? I would rather hear n read the worse from the person on my right then hear n read lies from the left or vise versa right??? it’s not that I can not afford to have my place any more, I would rather live this way for what I remember when I was a kid and living on the streets, rules with no regulations, and absolute freedom of the concrete jungle where we all know it as Town/City/metro etc. their are two things that will destroy each and every dream, 1 is called money 2nd is time. which one is the reason u r where u are??? Honestly for me it’s both. Be safe I hope the best for everyone ;-)

Reply to this comment

avatar 423 Anonymous

I am so sorry if my comment offended anyone. I will re-read my post and make the necessary adjustmentts. I am semi=homeless myself and have learned a lot from each one of you about survival skills etc. I am expericing a major transisiton in my life and appreciate each one of you. peace and love

Reply to this comment

avatar 424 Anonymous

I think people on here do not consider themselves homeless. I am giving up the apartment to live in my van full time. I consider it a step up. I can now go when I want and not be tied down to a certain town or city. This is true freedom.

Reply to this comment

avatar 425 Anonymous

Hello All!

I’m 20 years old and I currently am taking out loans and dorming at college during the semesters, but in between them during the warmer months I’ve got no where to stay. I could stay at my friends houses a couple times out of the week I suppose, but I haven’t enough money for an apartment yet and I’m going to be living out of my car most likely. There’s really no other option, I can’t make enough money for an apartment and couldn’t maintain it for my next two years of school.. I’m hoping I can find some safe places to sleep- does anybody have any good ideas? Also, my car is a chevy lumina. I’ve slept in it plenty before, last summer, and I’ve never been bothered, but I’m afraid my set up makes it obvious that I’m in there. I cover my windows with cardboard (the inner sides facing me have art on them, I like it to feel like home) and I use one of my very large wrap dresses to hang from the ceiling and drape over the front two seats so no one could see in back, yet they could see through my front windshield and windows to see my fort. Any suggestions for safety and ideas for not getting caught?

Reply to this comment

avatar 426 Anonymous

I would like to make a video and put it out on youtube. I have no good video equipment of my own, I would have to find some college students studying video or movies, interested in making an independent film project.

Laws and tolerations are extremely different from place to place. So the video would focus on practical things.

Reply to this comment

avatar 427 Anonymous

Let me know..I would be willing to contribute my personal experiences.
I am ~Gwen~.

Reply to this comment

avatar 428 Anonymous

I made some black shades for my car windows out of black foamboard. Use newspaper to make a stencil of the window and then cut the foambard just slightly larger than the window itself so it will hold itself in place by tension From the outside it just looks like limo tint.

Reply to this comment

avatar 429 Anonymous

during the winter, this foamboard cover also acts like insulation since most the heat is lost through the glass.

Reply to this comment

avatar 430 Anonymous

when it comes to your windows you have a few choices, for the back ones you can get them tinted then just put a shade over the front window very much the same as what you do with the sun during the day. nothing wrong with that and who’s going to really notice. the 2nd option you might want to consider is painting the rear back door windows , from the out side it would look just like black tint then of course it would make the back follow suite just from looks.if you are taking out loans etc why not take out a little extra at least enough to cover the cost of a bigger vehicle. I know it might be a little more expensive but it would save on your sanity. As for places to stay I also found out that if you put a “security decal” on your vehicle people wont bother you as much. I always thought that when i see security stickers on any vehicle the 1st impression i get is stay away. If you go that route make sure it looks like every other security sticker out their to make it look official. Hope that helps.

Reply to this comment

avatar 431 Anonymous

You cant paint the rear windows because then the driver may be subjected to tickets because it obstructs view while driving. I almost backed into a police officer trying to drive with the rear windows covered.

Reply to this comment

avatar 432 Anonymous

not the back window, i should have been more specific, in a sedan you can paint the back side windows where you can still see out the back window when you look in the rear view mirror , it would be no different than driving a full size van where it has no windows behind the drivers/passengers windows on the sides. and the full size vans do not have windows on the sides any where except for the back doors.

Reply to this comment

avatar 433 Anonymous

I have a 07 Prius I have refletix covering the rear window it is the largest window on the car. There is still a small window in the back of the car that I can see out of. When we go on vacation the car is always packed and you can’t see out the back windows anyway. I avoid backing. This is easy to do you first survey a parking lot or just park on the fuel island. If you go into a grocery store pull through your spot or back in when you get there to avoid backing when some dummy will get in a blind spot. I keep the reflectix on year around because Louisiana sun is always out even in winter it will roast a car. When backing I NEVER apply gas I idle in reverse.

Reply to this comment

avatar 434 Anonymous

i found that church parking lots are the safest myself, some will chase you off but there are those that encourage it, i found one on the corner of dewey and madison, they’re also fantastic people when my alternator went out and just starting a job with no way to get there they ran out and donated an alternator, im usually there about 2 days out of the week now im comfortable there, the rest of the time i work a graveyard shift thats turning full time, so for right now during my job i found most parking lots are good, i get enough sleep and work. Another discovery i made as far as showering in most business buildings the bathrooms usually has showers, some has codes but i found a funny way to get around that; before i tell i need to let you know where something nice so they’ll think you work there that always work for me, anyway what i did to get the code i just went to one of the secretaries and asked what the code was, worked everytime so far

Reply to this comment

avatar 435 Anonymous

Walmart is a great place to park. On Amazon, you can find a cheap book of all Walmart locations across the US, and if they allow overnight parking, etc. Great book. Sometimes it is better to ask a manager if you can spend the night. Park way in the back, near a light. Don’t leave any garbage on the ground. Ever. Use their bathrooms. Pick up any supplies. These are fairly safe. Depending on the area. Usually a RV or semis will also use the lot. Keep your doors locked while sleeping.

Reply to this comment

avatar 436 Anonymous

Walmart’s in Hew Hampshire no longer let anyone stay in the parking lots overnight. They have put up signs and gone out to tell the people they can’t stay there. I was recently kicked out of one. They made travel trailer move as well.

Reply to this comment

avatar 437 Anonymous

How would they know that your car isn’t just an over night employees car?

avatar 438 Anonymous

Because they have security that drives around and watches people, and they have cameras too.

avatar 439 Anonymous

I work overnight at a Walmart in North Carolina and they have signs stating “No Overnight Truck or RV Parking”. Even though it is chilly in mid-January, we get several trucks parking every night, as well as smaller RVs and other vans and trucks. The managers couldn’t care less, and the cops that frequent the store ignore all but the most obnoxious behavior.

avatar 440 Anonymous

Hi, As far as Wal Mart parking I concerned you don’t need a book. Theres a group on the Internet that will tell you which Wal Marts allow parking and they keep their files updated with the latest info. FREE is the key word here. Don’t forget your ear plugs! Here locally the teenagers use it for the local hangout and the street cleaner runs by about every night. Sometimes better to ask the manager and sometimes as long as you don’t ask unofficialy its ok (wink!)….HoboJoe

Reply to this comment

avatar 441 Anonymous

Also to add most police officers will likely look the other way but if they get complaints they are forced to tell you to move on, i have one that likes to park in the same parking lot to do his paperwork, ive talked to him a few times and is a great guy

Reply to this comment

avatar 442 Anonymous

You should sell your car for a safer option to sleep in like an SUV or a Truck w canopy. Curtains on windows are a dead givaway and as a woman you need to put safety first.

Reply to this comment

avatar 443 Anonymous

Suvs and trucks cost more to operate and own. The foamboard that you get for a few bucks in the school supplies section works very well.. it must be BLACK. It just pops in and out and when you’re driving just throw them on the package tray.. they don’t even take up space. Nobody realizes im in the car except the police who have noticed my pattern… I know people are unaware because I’ve gotten handle checkers and people coming up to the car to “Rescue” my dog, thinking he was in here by himself (he likes to sleep on the package tray, they see him in the rear window). To be safe parking just never park somewhere where you could be blocked in and not be able to get away, like the parking spaces on the edges of lots against the curb. Someone could just pull in front of you and then you can’t drive off and escape.

Reply to this comment

avatar 444 Anonymous

Judith,

I’m ready to take the plunge and live out of my F150 with cap however I’ve hit a wall. I don’t know how the hell to keep my dog (pitbull) cool while I’m at work? Do you have suggestions for keeping a normal temp in the vehicle for a dog?

Thanks,

Sam

Reply to this comment

avatar 445 Anonymous

I have cats, not a dog. But cats are smaller and if I would go out of my car for a several hours, they need a litter box and flowing air in addition to cool temperature. You need a secure way of keeping your dog outside for your 9 hour work day. Get a doghouse, a secure chain, park near a field with lots of good shade – trees and bushes or tall grasses.

avatar 446 Anonymous

For the front windshield, use of those thing people use to prevent the sun from shinning inside the car. Can buy it cheap at Wal-Mart.

Reply to this comment

avatar 447 Anonymous

hi there just saw this, so im posting a reply.
It may be zero for you, i feel for you though been tghere choice yrs ago, parentas yeah blessed ?God dont know why Jesus being real and all gave me as i reached about 30 onmore than i ever deseraved could deserve you know, lonely no right one date even even though ohhh so many say and i know im pretty but not the greatest duhh and still… no one nortth cal.[normal decent not a bbig guy etc yep cant fake interest, but sooo i recall my time choice despite parental assistance as needed but land! geez folks thats whaty i could have used sighh you know its there’ way, whoever has the monety, i dont, retired now and not a lot of money.
But i have lioved short term and also researched in the past, so heres some……….youd have to move, so i dont know……..But,
CCarson hot springs resort call if ever… they have no utilitiy bills buy all youu need or theres freebies also some,through salvation army etc thrift stores there, buy all furniture yourself etc…. but! 350.00 yep a month rooms with bathroom set up like cottages, avoid drinking etc neighbors, see who ones neighbor is ist[too nopisy otherwise. but plenty i dfound were good neighbors…. so 350 a month bathroom in large rooms, thats it, ouit the back windiows Geez! lovely you see a hill i rock hound, no view butnature from the bathroom windows………….. so nearby on the way to Dayton Nevada a few miles east from Carson City, park camp overnight i did it all the time just wash car lol once and awhile if ever a cop comes through, never happerned to me in 10 yrs…so far of going up adventuring there,hot summer but many ideas helped me… But i moved my car sometimes, and found accross from the turn off one sees the dump sign,ahead a few yards on the left is where i pulled off wow found a gravel road amidst a sign, old that says be careful old mine[s] [past and theres none right there…. further description of location? Just ask…….. but i d drive what goes down a little on the gravel road,nothing on
either side a distant house left of you cant see because a hill on freeway side and the other, love it, theres more i know about where all over and what you can use to help yourself in your vehicle ok? For me, In Christ Jennifer

Reply to this comment

avatar 448 Anonymous

Dear Ansonetta
I know what you mean, having people approach your car while you’re asleep can be scary indeed.
My advice for you is to never use cardboard boxes, unless you have a clever disguise designed to make it seem like boxes piled up instead of sealing window.
I personally altered the seat into a bed like setup, and when ever possible try to park at walmart (I try to spend money for my essentials there to in order to stay a patron) I also sleep at rest areas, but you’re a young woman and I would advice against this for safety reasons.
If you’re within close enough range to a rural area a vacational harvest job may be a good alternative renting a place in the city. Don’t think of this job as an actual job, but if you’re looking for a humble place to stay and save some on food, farms are a good choice. Not that every farm offers such option, but you never know.
Few people would open their properties for minimal-cost living environments, and this is highly due to legal issues they may draw to themselves. Gyms, Walmart, and rest areas are a sure thing. Trail hiking parkings at national parks are a good option too if you don’t mind the cost of an annual pass and a lot of driving.
You cannot always trust people’s advice so you will have to figure it out yourself, and there is always a risk. I pray for you and hope it all works out okay.

Reply to this comment

avatar 449 Anonymous

Ansonetta,
Church parking lots i feel the safest because very rarely nobody bothers cars, you’ll need to talk to the church people because some but not all will not allow it but most understand, im a religious person as well and feel im in the watchful eye of God as well. There are police that many times will drive through and nice enough to see how im doing, also the police in my area explained to me that the majority of them will leave you alone unless they get a complaint about you sleeping therets just that they have to do their duty and have you leave

Reply to this comment

avatar 450 Anonymous

I am 20 years old and i’ve been living in my car on and off for the last 2 years. If you instagram, I’m madisonemmaleth and i have tons of pictures. I actually enjoy living in my honda fit thoroughly and i share the compact vehicle space with my dog. You can make living in a car very discreet and enjoyable.

Reply to this comment

avatar 451 Anonymous

HI Ansonetta, I also live out of my car for close to two years as well and have a good job, my situation is a little different, im close to my retirement age, no friends, no caring family, and ex’s divorce nearly wiping out my retirement and savings so with the job i have i have made plans for a different plan for retirement, a Van for a larger living space and taveling to places ive only dreamed of until i could no longer drive for any reason buying food and gas from my Soc. Security retirement (if its still there).
Now for advice, spots for sleeping….i found church parking lots best my preference is close to somewhat busy highway (close enough that it wouldnt disturb your sleep) I found a great place for myself not only is it where i described its also close to a sheriff substation. There are churches that frown upon sleeping in thier parking lot but not many so if you can either ask and tell them your situation they usually appreciate it or you just sleep there and wait to see if they say something. If your religious as i am you also get a sense of being watched over by God (thats what i feel. also i found that city cops are different than sheriffs, city cops tend to be too eager to chase you away from lots where sheriffs will say nothing until a complaint is made about you, and some sheriffs will talk to you if your awake making friends with you and do their paperwork kinda watching over you as well.
Hope this info helps you

Reply to this comment

avatar 452 Anonymous

Just do it, i know tgis sounds too simple but its time to live. You are still working so see if you like it. . . can always go back at this point. I dream of a minimal life style but i still have kids in school. . . cant do rifht now but the time is coming. Dont worry about what people think. . . just do it. Good luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 453 Anonymous

You should tint your windows and use a front window shade cover to better conceal yourself at night

Reply to this comment

avatar 454 Anonymous

Cut cardboard exactly the size off your windows and spray paint em black on the side that faces out the windows. This works great if you have partially tinted windows. You want to face your car so the front is on the least likely side to be viewed. For the windshield I recommend reflectix because many people have windshield covers so this is inconspicuous. (can be bought at most hardware stores)

Reply to this comment

avatar 455 Anonymous

I started living in my car in Oct of 2013 pretty much the same reason of bills; i do have a good job, I do miss the kitchen and the toilet facilities but im getting close to ending my bill problem but im begining to think that living in an apartment or someplace is just a huge luxury, im starting to enjoy living in my car and plan to upgrade with a camper van and live there permanently, ive grown accustom and comfortable in it now, my biggest problem is dating because a persons first thought when they hear i live in my car is that im homeless, and thats not the case.

Reply to this comment

avatar 456 Anonymous

Much to my dismay, I am contemplating another years lease. I really favor living out of my car. I recently sold my condo…came up short…have a good job but I am tired. I can collect pension etc. but I am sick of paying out all my money…like that…Thing is I KNOW I CAN DO IT BUT DO I HAVE THE NERVE…and the skills.

Reply to this comment

avatar 457 Anonymous

Get that year’s lease.

Reply to this comment

avatar 458 Anonymous

Don’t get the lease you will be tied down stuck. Go with the car freedom.

Reply to this comment

avatar 459 Anonymous

Hey I live in Thailand for around $1,000.00 a month. But, once a year I come back to the USA to go to the VA for medical care. my brother has my vehicle. I stay for 2 or 3 months. Walmart has always been a good place for me to stay and as far as cops go I have a license, registration and insurance on my 17 year old Ford Explorer. Be polite and do as they say. I check in with the Mg. at a Walmart before I spend the night. I also bought a lot in Savanna, IL for $1,250.00 I stay there where I use the parks showers, toilet and library. You can have a good life in a vehicle remember North in the summer south in the winter. Bless you. Old John.

Reply to this comment

avatar 460 Anonymous

So…you live where you don’t pay taxes and then come back for the benefits? I appreciate that you are a veteran, but if you don’t choose to live where you chose to defend… why not get the benefits where you choose to live. My Dad was a Navy veteran who would have never thought of doing what you are doing!!!! Stay your butt in Thailand!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 461 Anonymous

Judy, glad your father is a Veteran. But, just because he did not think to live overseas does not mean Old John is doing something wrong. Or should be slammed by you.
Where did Old John say he did not pay taxes? Possibly he is from a state that does not have income tax?
As a veteran, I am sure he files Federal Income Tax each year. Regardless of income or where you live, you file Fed return and/or State return.
A veteran, or military retiree, can live where they chose to live. I am a veteran and a military retiree. I see nothing wrong for Old John to live out of the US.
Living out of the USA will not negate his VA disability income (if he is drawing that).
He stated he comes back to the US and goes to VA hospital for care. And even pays a lot fee.
And by the way, VA pension is tax free.
Do your homework and you will find out that you can live in another country without becoming a full time resident and NOT pay taxes to that country. BUT, you have to pay taxes to the US Govt and State Govt.
Veterans and military retirees can live anywhere in the world.
I thank Old John for his service to this great country.
Love to hear how you come up with him doing something wrong?

avatar 462 Anonymous

Its not homeless. It is a choice to live a certain way. Get the camper van..

Reply to this comment

avatar 463 Anonymous

if you have a full size SUV, you have more freedom, you can park any where literally, Campervans are nice but you are limited to where and when you stay so to speak. Full size SUV basically camo’s your life style. if you can not afford a full size suv a smaller suv is just as good. If you choose a car, look for a station wagon, if its a sedan look for an older version like a crown victoria. if possible stay away from coupes they are very small. If you can stretch out and stay warm you will be happy for the long haul. stay safe/keep positive.

Reply to this comment

avatar 464 Anonymous

nothing wrong with living in your car and dating. as long as your car looks presentable right??? in your case I would start thinking about 1 of two things, get into actual camping to make letting her know easier or save up for a bigger vehicle such as a van or a full size suv. I can relate to what you are saying. I told my gf that since she doesnt live with me that i’ll be moving into our suv, its a 1997 ford expedition “eddie bauer” 4×4. its really nice comes fully loaded with leather interior with a 5.4L yes it’s a little more on fuel etc, but if you look around how many expedition’s you do see every day, its comnon as people walking down the street. The women are more understanding than you think. If anything when she see’s how you live she might just want to move in with you. look into a van or a full size suv. the reason I say expedition is when you fold the larger part of the back seat down it fits a single size mattress with ample room. it already comes with tinted out windows.If your working full time saving your money, then it wouldnt be that much more to invest in something a little more presentable. I thought thats what you guys are all saying, make it look presentable. I already told my mechanic that i need at least another 20K’s on my expedition for the simple fact that Its going to be my new home literally. so he told me not a problem, i’ll go over everything and make sure you will get at least 15-20ks before anything needs repair other than oil etc everyday. A little longbut maybe it’ll shed some insite to what your talking about. be safe

Reply to this comment

avatar 465 Anonymous

Hey John,

Are you still living out of your car? I’m working on an upcoming television series that you might be interested in. If you’re open to sharing more, let me know. Reach out on here and I’ll send along my email.

Reply to this comment

avatar 466 Anonymous

Yes I am open to sharing.

Reply to this comment

avatar 467 Anonymous

What is the best way to contact you? feel free to email us casting (at) TFCasting (dot) com

Reply to this comment

avatar 468 Anonymous

I sent TFCasting an email, putting your name in the Subject box. But I am not John and don’t know John. Did you want to connect with only John?

avatar 469 Anonymous

I have been living in my car for going on two years. For me it is a choice. People make it out to be harder than it really is. The worst thing that I have found is that people assume that you don’t work or pay taxes. I do both. If you are in some lots a little too long, then I have had people tell me then are going to “call the police to check me out.” They assume I must have some kind of criminal record or something. The police don’t bother me as I have never been arrested and I don’t cause any trouble. The only advice an officer gave me was not be at the same place in any kind of pattern so criminals wouldn’t decide to steal from me. I have paid everything off but my student loans. I probably will do this for at least a couple more years until the student loans are paid off as well.

Reply to this comment

avatar 470 Anonymous

You sure are right about people being judgmental and assuming we don’t work or pay taxes. When I tried to get a library card the librarian recognized my proof of address as the post office and said without a residential address I am not a citizen (I live, work and go to school in this city) and cannot have a library card because “The library is funded by the taxpayers.” I pay hefty self-employment taxes and taxes every time I buy something! Then, she went on to say I could have the non-resident card for $200/year. … I just went to another library in the system and they gave me a card. If you don’t pay property taxes you’re considered a second class citizen.

Reply to this comment

avatar 471 Anonymous

If you’re having a problem getting an address try accidently having your mail sent to a hotel which in general looks very similar to an apartment address. or you can also speak with a hotel manager n ask them if you can use the address for delivery n pick-up. 2nd class person??? lol. that’s almost hilarious,

avatar 472 Anonymous

Wow, that’s harsh, I would imagine that libraries in general, as they are going out of business should be more friendly, but that sounds terrible that they treat you such way. Sorry.

avatar 473 Anonymous

John, you might be better off dating from an ECO or Environmental website or groups like that. You’re more likely to find women (or men) who don’t really care that you’re not a consumer. You’re dating the wrong type of women. Also, as long as you don’t chince on the date – no woman likes that no matter what they say, all women wanna feel special, then you should be good. But if you’re trying to date and take them no where and just wanna do the thing, then yes you will get turned down a lot.

Reply to this comment

avatar 474 Anonymous

well in the morning i will have my place all packed up to move into my Ford expedition, I’ve been slowly preparing myself for this day, the weather is nice. Winter is gone working full time going for an interview for a position to make twice of what i’m making now so long story short wont really have time to actually have my own place. I’ve told only the important people that i’m tired of the urban lifestyle so now its time to get into “Concrete Camping” I’ve kept everything to a bare minimum where its mainly bedding n cloths, laptop with external hard drives to keep my fair size movie collection. power converter to keep my electronics charged (cell phones,laptop) with a small power bar. I also have my gps to find locations and to map locations as I go, I wont have a problem with parking considering i’ll be working 12 hr shifts which will be at night so when i park it’ll be during the day so to speak. I figure instead of paying $1200/month for rent n car payment i can cut everything in half and live on what i pay on rent which is $500.00, thinking that this could very well be permanent situation. the hardest part much like anything else will be the 1st 14 days. I’m also on facebook, so if anyone would like to chat send me a message it would be awsome to catch-up with everyone, with moral support to pull each other through. I honestly know not everyone will be having a holiday but for me I honestly can not think of a better feeling and yes this is all about being financially set. Its the same freedom feeling when I 1st break-up with my ex girlfriend lol’ Be safe, and its Dwayne Jack ;-) except I didnt break up with my girlfriend, did alot of thinking. Came to the conclusion that no sense in having a place if its just going to be me right, have a safe night y’all peace out ;-)

Reply to this comment

avatar 475 Anonymous

I park in the employee lot at the airport where I work 4 nights a week. On other nights I’ll park at 24 hour grocery stores, fire departments, a 24 hour casino’s parking garage,
a 24 hour gym. I usually don’t go for secluded. Usually somewhere I feel safe, where I know there will be people around. I truly feel invisible in the back of my minivan. Oh, another way to add privacy – I’m getting my car wrapped by WrapMatch – they’re gonna pay me $400 a month to drive around with my minivan wrapped with an advertisement.

Reply to this comment

avatar 476 Anonymous

Can you tell me more about this WrapMatch? I also work at an airport and am planning on using the airport employee lot but it is uncovered and get VERY hot. How do you keep cool in the summer?

Reply to this comment

avatar 477 Anonymous

There are solar fans you can hang out your window.

Reply to this comment

avatar 478 Anonymous

The airport parking lot is a good idea. and thanks for the wrap match thing.

Reply to this comment

avatar 479 Anonymous

It’s been almost a month since I moved into my Expedition, I’m extremly comfy with this option. I found that for the sleeping bags, i just went with 2 bags for now. one light one of course then a 2nd one which is to be a heavier mummy bag and between the two they are great for the over night temperatures. I have also picked up a shumacker 1200 watt power pack that i use regularly to keep my cell phones charged. Since I don’t not have that much room for solar panels I went over to canadian tire and have purchased 2-2.5 watt solar panels. For the food, I have purchased a party pack coleman cooler and it keeps everything cool during the day since at night the temperature drops so the cooler adapts and yes its just awsome. i’ll be picking up a 2nd party pack cooler this friday when I get paid. they are smaller and they are designed to be stacked. I also found out that you can also use it as a small table top so I mainly use it for my laptop to watch movies lol.Very cool. For boredom i found with my psp’s and movie collection and sleeping when not working, I’m never bored. People are starting to get used to the fact that I am now living in my Expedition, at 1st they taken aback but since I’ve told them how much money will be going into my account, they have a different attitude now. Since i’ll have more than them when I’m done. Attitude has to be positive otherwise you will go into a slump regardless of where and why you are living in your vehicle. I make it known that this is what I’m doing and why I’m doing what I’m doing, lol best part is I speak with a genuine smile. with the high inflation of the living costs and since its just me I really do not mind, I’m enjoying this till the fall early winter. For the internet connection, i go to mc.donalds and buy a large coffee and turn on the laptop, mainly to check msn and facebook. For showers/laundry I go to the truckers stop, pay $6.75 for the shower which i go every 3 days. I found that if i have enough cloths boxers/undershirts/socks to go 14 days it will be easier. mind you that again is paycheck to paycheck right. to do my laundry it costs $3.00 per load to wash/dry my cloths which is way cheaper and faster then the laundry matte. since I’ve been living in my Expedition I found that I have more of a life since I’m actually out everywhere. Before it was, go to work, come home. when I would come home I would go straight to my room and stay their unless it was to eat dinner or to have a shower or laundry. People are more understanding when you are honest with them, if they ask tell them the truth. its great conversation, for me several people have told me “if i was your age i would be doing the same thing as you” way to go ;-) Remember this is your freedom, your piece of mind, your life that you are living. one person told me that since i have money i should get a place, I told him straight out, why??? I have no bills, I finally starting to have money in my accounts. So I was polite and broke it down like this.
rent-$500.00
Insurance-$200.00
car payment-$500.00
fuel$320.00(give or take depends on how much I drive)
Food-$300.00
I was not kidding on that having a rental was expensive and this is what i spent every month. Since I live on site, my insurance has dropped,fuel bill has dropped and the car payment has dropped. My paycheck is $1200.00 every two weeks. so I’m getting $2400.00 every month. 1st month was expensive since I have had to buy everything but even still i have $500.00 in the saving after everything is said and done.

Reply to this comment

avatar 480 Anonymous

I have joined the YMCA. I had been going there and asking if I could just take a shower. Most of the time they said yes without a problem, sometimes they would say no and I’d have to ask for a manager. Now that I’ve joined I don’t have to ask anymore. They provide financial assistance to low income people. It would have been $99 to join and $51 a month. They waived the fee to join and I only had to pay a total of $76 for a 6 month membership, which comes out to $12.33 a month. I plan on going there to swim in the heated pool and to climb their rock wall.

Reply to this comment

avatar 481 Anonymous

Hi inspiring people. I’m from San Diego and houseless too. I’m a short & asian who lives in my honda civic coupe. I was forced to move out of my gf’s apt due to a bad break-up, but anyways, it’s been a month that I’ve been sleeping in my car. Our building at work is open 24 hours so I stay most of the time at our parking garage. Hope everyone is doing well and don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you feel like chatting or whatever. Take care.

Reply to this comment

avatar 482 Anonymous

Sup, I am Asian too, I will be driving back to California in about a week or so, hope all works out man.

Reply to this comment

avatar 483 Anonymous

I got married almost 2 years ago.Now I’m 55 and my husband who refuses to settle.We have a 85 pound dog and chickens.I Had gotten them with the socalled knowledge that we were moving to Oregon soon.I was going to get work there.That was a joke.He later told me no.He had some work for friends to do.I hate where we are at.We live in a large van wIth tools all around.No water fridge air conditioner or heat.I Cook on a sm.propane stove and sweep out the never ending dog hair dirt.Always have some type of bug problem.flies mosquitos bees.I always get bit and have scars to prove it.He doesn’t so it’s nothing of his concern.Im a Christian and hate this .What do I do?

Reply to this comment

avatar 484 Anonymous

There are a number of things you can do to improve that situation, that I could suggest, but they all take a little electrical power or money. Do you have money to spend?

For one, you could get a lot of sheer very see through white fabric (that allows the air to move easily through it) and make a tent around your van using the nearby trees or putting up some poles, but that would take some money. They sell these at stores that they sell fabric in, like Wal Mart, for $1 a yard, but you would need a lot to go aruond your vehicle and then some living space around your vehicle. If you were to buy some kind of large ready canopy tent to put over and around your vehicle and living space and then add some fabric walls to it, it would probably cost over $200.

If you have no access to an outlet, even with 200 feet of extension cord, you just really need to get solar panels (meaning solar panels, wires, batteries, and a controller.) Even something modest that will run a couple of car coolers, “swamp” cooler in the day, or heat pads at night to keep warm or small electric blanket to sleep and relax comfortably and even to run a small electric bug zapper (instead of going with a tent set up) is going to cost $600. That is the lowest estimate I can think of. That excludes the cost of the individual electrical appliances, like the car coolers, heat pads or SMALL electric blanket and bug zapper.

Do you want more information on that.

I have be in my car for years, in HOT swampy weather, but I am mobile. I can drive my car around, say, to go to the library for the day. put my car in the shade (ususally several blocks from the library), fill the coolers with ice and work at the library.

I have just started my own solar set up now.

As for being a CHRISTian, does that mean you are too clean to be subject to this? too decent? that is not being a CHRISTian, but being a pharisee – your indignation is conceited and misplaced.

That might be a part of your cultural background – that your people do not live this way. That is not wrong. You are in a unique situation. and your background cannot cope or help.

If you think it is blasphemy, you are arrogant. CHRIST has no place to rest his head, as he said. And often the APOSTLES did not – you have more than that.

So all the poor people in the world are unholy – cannot be CHRISTian? you yourself have not read THE WORD then. you are letting greedy blasphemers tell you what THE WORD says.

I have been doing this by CHRIST , if you do not want to learn, if you want OUT, then you are in the wrong website.

Reply to this comment

avatar 485 Anonymous

Aren’t you the judgmental one against the Christain. I pretty sure that that was not what she ment when she stated the fact that she was a Christain. Glad I don’t know you.

Reply to this comment

avatar 486 Anonymous

Lots of people say they are CHRIST ian and are not. lots and lots and lots. good and evil people. It is not a fact that she is a CHRISTian. you certainly don’t know either. Do not be hateful of people living in that situation or on less because CHRIST and the APOSTLES lived on less and were hated. I don’t know what she is or what you are. you sure assume that you know me and her also.

Reply to this comment

avatar 487 Anonymous

You have made an argument where there doesn’t need to be one. All she did was ask for advise. She didn’t ask to be judged for her comment. Not many people would like to find out that their husband or wife doesn’t mind living in a filthy place with farm animals and tools. The Christian comment seemed to me to be for those of us that would tell her to leave the dirty bastard. That’s no way to live for anyone, Christian or otherwise.

avatar 488 Anonymous

Poor Margie. My gosh

Reply to this comment

avatar 489 Anonymous

when you get into solar power set-up, I used a shumacker 200/400 watt power pack with a 2.5watt solar panel, it was rather solid, in that alone just make sure what ever you are charging is turned off while charging, as for the solar panel, smallest you need would be 8-10 watts, last but not least look into whats called a smart charger, the company I went with is ctek. little more cost but you can charge main battery as well the external battery the same time.

Reply to this comment

avatar 490 Anonymous

Get out. Dump his sorry butt and move on. Doesn’t look like he’s going to change any time soon. He obviously doesn’t care about you. If he did he would try to do something to make your life easier. He’s a jerk and you need to dump him.

Reply to this comment

avatar 491 Anonymous

You are arguing and judgemental, “dirty bastard” on and on, and you claim you are clear of argument and judgmentalism. I said it is a lie that CHRISTians are not subject to poverty, or should not be when the vast majority of people are. When they ARE. Reality, robin. You claim that you know her mind or something. Even if you made the same comment in your life, “I should not suffer this, I am a Christian,” you don’t know her. You cannot take CHRIST out of CHRISTian. CHRISTian is not an adjective, or human vanity (vanity/blasphemy). THE APOSTLE Paul made it a point to suffer with the most hurting people. INCREASED his humanity and CHRIST ianity, FAITH. He did not say, I should not suffer this, I am a Christian. He defines CHRISTianity. I gave my advice on a screen and electricity and costs to get some reality on the situation. IN ADDITION using the name of CHRIST vain or wrong brings evil you want to avoid.

Reply to this comment

avatar 492 Anonymous

Dear Margie,

You can try this for bugs and mosquitos if you don’t mind the smell of garlic. You can mince some garlic, and mix water to it, leave it in open air near you, and the smell will help with bug problem.

Reply to this comment

avatar 493 Anonymous

I found truck stops helpful, they are lit , have restroom facilities I lock my doors put up shades and good night. I am going to gyms with passes for showers and exercises , do the mc Donald’s thing or library for internet,can’t have people over my place,

Reply to this comment

avatar 494 Anonymous

I have been forced into living in my vehicle. I don’t start the plung until the end of December. I need information on portable battery packs and how to heat my vehicle. I have a 2011Nissan xterra. I am almost 6′ tall. I can lay all the way out on the passager side of vehicle. I work 3rd shift full time. I believe sleeping during the day is easier than night. Less attention during the day. I would greatly appreciate any advice. I live in Micigan where temps are sub zero. I am looking at a -30° sleeping bag from Cabela’s.
Artimus

Reply to this comment

avatar 495 Anonymous

I have removed the passenger seat in my sedan for purposes of laying flat…can only take so many days in a row curled up in the seat. get a wood panel to lay on the floor because the floors have a shape. The heat will be lost through the glass. Foamboard cutouts that fit inside the window worked for me for insulation last winter when it was single digits. If its black, it wont be a giveaway that someone is in the vehicle, it’ll just look like tint and you can do all the windows for about 10 dollars.

Most your heat is also lost below you, through the floor or gound. Have layer of sheet and thermal blanket covering you inside the sleeping bag and have a mat below you for the heat loss. Blankets always seem to work better when theres a sheet layered under them, don’t know why.

vegetable oil candles burn clean and they burn hotter than wax candles. I’ve used those to heat my car. Made with a paperclip, cotton yarn and canning jar. Must be cotton or paper for the wic, no synthetic fibers. If you have several oil candles in wide-mouthed canning jars, you can just leave them all in the case (the jars came in) so theres less risk of tipping anything over. To extinguish without making smoke, just put the lids on. If they smoke while lit, the wick is too big.

Reply to this comment

avatar 496 Anonymous

I also work third shift. During winter, park car in sunlight so it can get through glass. Worked good for keeping me from freezing at least for a few hours, in single digits and teens in TX… Daytime sleeping is a lot easier in winter than summer but its always hard because of traffic and noise.

Reply to this comment

avatar 497 Anonymous

Thank you greatly for the advice Judith. I will certainly utilize the information you have provided. If you get an opportunity look at the interior of a 2011 Nissan xterra. It is hard plasic for easy cleaning and it lays perfectly level. I was going to get a good rug to lay on top of the floor then build my bed on top of the rug. Once again, thank you kindly… where do I send the flowers to… smile! Thanks!

Reply to this comment

avatar 498 Anonymous

I was just thinking, at those temps you might need something extra like a car cover. Lots of car campers use them but they are problematic in summer, you just get too hot. Oh.. and when its really cold it helps to find a parking spot that’s out of the wind… Near a building, trees or a wall that breaks the wind chill.

Reply to this comment

avatar 499 Anonymous

I am in Michigan too. Please don’t use the candles as people have accidentally caught their cars on fire doing so. Think bumped candle. If you are going to get to sleep during the day then you are already ahead of the game because sunlight really does help to warm up your car during the day. Buy two sleeping bags and put one inside of the other. Use those “Grabbers or hot hands” (they heat up once opened from their package). They are made for your pockets. But a few in the bottom of the sleeping bag or your socks are heaven on a cold day. Be careful as they really warm up. Always crack a window or you will end up with a lot of condensation (water) in your car and it never dries during the winter. Always have a plan where you can go if it is just too cold. Remember the winter last year – there were days it never got above zero. I have a policy that I don’t sleep in my car if it is -15 or below. Good luck. You can do this even in Michigan.

Reply to this comment

avatar 500 Anonymous

Judith has some really good ideas – heat loss does occur though windows and below.

The first year I just used lots of blankets – what I had at home.

This is my current set up.

For extra electrical power: AC Delco Marine deep cycle battery – size 29, 210 reserve minutes. You can run down marine deep cycle batteries 50% and not damage them, unlike a car battery. A large marine deep cycle battery will give you enough electric power to run something like a heat pad or small electric blanket. Or you can get two batteries for more power. To charge the battery, you can do it with the car, solar power, or a battery charger that plugs into a wall outlet. If you do not have access to a wall outlet to charge your battery every day, you need to charge it with the car or solar panels.

The less expensive is to charge it with the car. You need some 6 or 8 gauge jumper cables, or automotive cables and attach the Marine battery IN PARALLEL to the car under the hood. You can cut them to fit, so you don’t have a lot of cable loose or hanging around.

To access the power in the battery, you need a battery clip. There are 15 AMP battery clips made by Road Pro sold at Amazon. and others on Ebay that are 20 AMP and 25 AMP.

Then you need a 140 watt inverter or higher that plugs into the battery clip. a 140 watt inverter has a 15 AMP fuse, so it will fit any battery clip. if you get a 200 watt inverter that plugs into the battery clip, it might have a 20 AMP fuse, which means you need to have a battery clip that is 20 AMPS or higher.

Now the inverter has that fuse, in case something happens, the fuse blows and does not ruin your devices. So get some extra fuses, Amazon also sells them. So you will not be without an inverter. my Schumacher 140 watt inverter has 1 1/4″ 15 AMP cartridge automotive fuses that are sold on Amazon.com.

I always get two of everything, so if one goes bad, I am not without. So if I need one battey clip, I purchase two. If I need to use two battery clips, I purchase 3 or 4, in case the two I need go bad, I am not without.

Now you can plug in a king size heat pad into your inverter. You can plug into the inverter any regular household electrical device, as long as it is not more than 140 watts. The king size heat pad I have is only 50 watts. It is about 2 feet long and I put it along my abdomen and thighs, because there is so much surface area there, with all the blood vessels, the warmth is carried throughout all the body and keeps me warm all over. Make sure your king size heat pad does not have Auto Shut off. And a mechanic switch is bettery than a digital one – you can accidentialy hit that digital button when you are asleep and turn it off or turn it higher than you want. 50 watts is when you are using the highest setting. there are three settngs, low, medium and high. low is probably 30 watts or so.

Another good idea is to purchase a foot warming electrical blanket. A king size one is about 6 feet long and as wide as a car seat. I put mine on the car seat and sleep right on that. That takes care of all the cold that comes up from the floor board! This devise says it is 90 watts – that is the highest setting. Lower settings use less power, less wattage.

50 watts + 90 watts = 140 watts. That is the size of my Schumacher inverter. However I only need to use one to sleep very well in, but I live in north Arkansas, which is not nearly as cold as your place – yet.

So this is the list

1 – Large size marine deep cycle battery, or two.
2 – 6 gauge automotive cables to connect battery IN PARALLEL to car
3 – battery clips
4 – 140 watt inverter
5 – extra fuses for the inverter
6 – digital voltage reader

The digital voltage reader simply plugs into the battery clips, like the inverter, and tells you how much voltage is left in your battery. Marine deep cycle batteries should not be run down more than 50% usually. My battery is fully charged at 12.6 volts. So I was told I should not run it down more than 11.4 volts. it is also sold at amazon.com

You will need to disconnect the batteries from the car when you are using your marine deep cycle batteries. Because when they are still connected to the car, and the car is off and you are running devices from those batteries, it is still connected to the car battery – you are draining your car battery and could loose it. So you need to get under the hood when your car is off and you intend on using the marine batteries. You need to get under the hood to disconnect that cable. I have a clamp on the end of the RED, the positive, cable, So I just unclamp it from the car, I go under the hood and unclamp it.

It is really simple: 1] Clamp on when the car is on.
2] Clamp off when you want to use the marine battery AND the car is also off

Even with just one marine battery, this will cost you at least $200. If you don’t have that money, then get some of those durable aluminized emergency blankets sold at Amazon. They don’t tear. Use those with regular heavy blankets. They are a lot cheaper than a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags work, but you have to wash the entire thing, and the laundry cost will be very expensive. Blankets are a lot more flexible, dirt cheap at thrift stores (or free from charities), cheaper and easier to wash. just wash one, the dirty one, not all. You really want to stay clean because the vehicle is a very small space. So laundry cost is important.

Even without the marine battery, you can still get the 140 watt inverter, and one king size heat pad, when you want to just sit in your car for 30 minutes or so, you can keep warm. Plug the inverter into the cigarette lighter of you car, and plug the heat pad into that. you car battery does not have enough power to run it for very long. The digital voltage reader can also plug into the cigarette lighter of you car, so you can see how much voltage is left. I don’t know exact facts but I think for any 12 volt car battery, I would try to not go lower than 12.0 volts for the car battery.

Amazon does sell electric blankets that plug directly into the cigarette lighter of your car, but your car battery does not have the power to run them for very long. Those blankets are designed for passenger use when the car is running. When the car is running, the battery is not being drained at all. all the electrical power is coming from the alternator.

Heat pads are just not as cumbersome as the electric blanket. I use the heat pads when I am awake and the foot warmer when asleep. if it is very cold, you can use both in one inverter. as long as the total wattage of the heat pad and foot warmer is not more than the continuous wattage of the inverter. If it is, you can try running the heat pad or foot warmer on medium, which uses less wattage. The wattage shown on any electrical device is always when that device is operating at its highest setting.

Remember to get extra fuses for your inverter. They are a lot cheaper than a new inverter, and you will not be without heat if the fuse blows. I always also purchase two of whatever I need, so that if the device breaks I will not be without. For example, if I NEED two inverters, I will purchase three or four, so that if one of them breaks, while I am waiting for the company to send me a replacement, I will not be without. If I need one inverter, I will purchase two. if I need ONE battery clip, I will purchase two.

One marine deep cycle battery may no be enough to keep you in power. I just don’t know how much electricity you use and you really do not know yourself until you try. You might be fine with one, but you might need two.

I have three, but I use them for lots of things. not just the heat pad and foot warming blanket.

Reply to this comment

avatar 501 Anonymous

hot hands too expensive to use for staying warm every night. I’ve used them in TX winter and it just wasn’t good enough. Alternative is to use microwaveable hot/cold packs and microwave them at the gas station. Gas stations don’t care if you bring in your own stuff to cook in the microwave. If you have to drive far enough, can put stones or soup cans on your engine block then put those in the sleeping bag. Cooking on the engine block is called “carbeque” and you’d put the soup cans or stones on the same spot that’s optimal for cooking on. That will only work if you have to drive far enough though, it takes as much time as braising to cook or heat things. the native americans buried heated stones underneath them to stay warm at night.

When using oil candles I emphasize buying a case of canning jars and leaving the jars in the case so they cant get kicked over, they don’t all need to be lit at once. There only needs to be an inch or so of oil in the jar, it doesn’t burn fast. The wicks burn better when salted and there are lots of youtubes on making cooking oil candles. Its super cheap and in single digitis I only need 3-4 lit to stay comfortable. Baling wire makes better wicks than paperclips but paperclips work in a pinch (they’re not long enough to make wick holder that wont move around or tip over in the jar)

Reply to this comment

avatar 502 Anonymous

Living or sleeping in your vehicle, you have to do a lot of stuff around and about the vehicle, in cold weather. You need to keep warm enough to do that regular upkeep work too. Some man on youtube shows how he took out the heating element from a heated massage back pad and sewed it in his coat, attaching it to a battery pack he keeps in his pocket, so that he can work outdoors in cold weather, living up north.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdL3Tk74sQU

I just took one of the electric heat pads that I have and put it down my back, in between two of the sweaters I am wearing. They get way too hot to put next to your skin or next to anything but a heavy sweater. I put the cord over my shoulder and attached it to a simple household extension cord – $2 – $3. Plugged the cord into one of the 140 watt inverters that is attached to a battery clip attached to a marine deep cycle battery. So I am walking around my car in 20-30 degree weather, doing car maintenance or cooking some good meal or filling up at a gas station, and keeping warm enough to feel quiet fine. however I still need thick gloves for my hands. Electric heated glove and socks are sold online, but ridiculously expensive rip off.

You really don’t need marine deep cycle batteries for this, assuming you are working out around you car for brief periods of times, like 30 minutes or an hour. You can simply plug the inverter into the cigarette lighter, if you have a good larger car battery, however. You need those cranking amp to start the car in cold weather. Car batteries charge much more quicker than Marine Deep cycle. you can charge a car battery from low (or dead) to full in 20 minutes of driving. Marine deep cycle batteries are made to be slow charged – I don’t know why they made it that way, in this day and age where people want things done quickly. They will just last longer with slower recharging.

I find that I can even nap that way in the car, with the heat pad on high on my back, but you cannot put weight on those electric heat pads, you have to in a more vertical position, without lots of weight on the heat pad down your back. also in freezing weather, it takes the car a long time to heat up. With this you can sit in the car immediately and be comfortable right away, after working around you car.

If you were not using the pad, it takes 2-3 minutes for a heat pad to warm up well.

Reply to this comment

avatar 503 Anonymous

If you are using hot/cold packs microwaving them at the gas stations, there are lots of youtube videos on how to make your own microwavable hot/cold packs.

Reply to this comment

avatar 504 Anonymous

Cool story on carbeque. Does that work after you park or do you have to have the can there while driving?

Reply to this comment

avatar 505 Anonymous

while driving or idiling. I made deliveries for work so it was never a problem.. driving around just to cook something is way too expensive. you just have to find the ideal spot that transfers heat from the heat shield or block to the can to the best. …but something I just learned about the oven manifold trick… the cans can explode. They can even be not-exploded but too-hot and just the kinetic energy of you touching them can make them explode. I did it for 2 years without a problem then one night, I had forgotten about a can on the heat shield… and it exploded under the hood after about 3 hours of trying to make deliveries in record snowfall. I thought the motor had blown up until I noticed the smoke smelled like food. I was stuck and revving the RPMS so high the exhaust was glowing red hot so… l still feel safe doing it and continue to do so because it happened due to driving i’ll never do again.. just don’t leave a can on there and forget about it.. and if you did forget about it and its super hot, just leave it to cool. Carbeque is supposed to be done on the block, not directly on the exhaust…or on whatever part of the engine is the hottest aside from the exhaust… the exhaust is too hot. Someone told me that if someone is going to heat canned goods like that, they should poke a small hole in the can so they cant *BOOM*.

avatar 506 Anonymous

You get food very hot without running your car. You can get any kind of food very hot in a heat pad ($12) powered by a small inverter ($10). You can get 2-3 cans of food in a regular size heat pad. No going under the hood, exploding cans, melted containers, burnt skin, or waiting for the food to cool. You can use any container in a heat pad and get it very hot. You can take a water tight container, like a good zip lock bag, put food in it and heat it in the heat pad. It takes about 20-25 minutes on high – this should not kill or drain a good large car battery, just make sure that you charge the battery soon after using the battery like this. I use rubber bands to wrap the heat pad all around the container. Of course this requires an inverter. The heat pad is only 50 watts, so the smallest plug-in inverter will work. Heat pads are designed to transfer heat so they get cool or cold VERY fast too, a minute after they are shut off. So wrap the heat pad with the food in a thick sweater, towel, or stuff it under a pillow. It will heat up faster and STAY very warm.

I put a frozen pizza on a pizza pan on top of my engine and drove around doing errands. The crust rose, being yeasted, but did not cook. I did the raising part on the engine and the actual cooking part in a microwave at a gas station. It was decent, not bad at all.

avatar 507 Anonymous

Hey Artimus. They also have a fleece sleeping bag that goes inside your main sleeping bag that gives it another 10 to 15 degrees. Feels a lot better against your skin then those slick feeling bags. Dicks and Ollies and Gander mountain have them for !0 to 20 dollars. Also check out 12 vdc heat blankets………………………….HoboJoe “its cold out here”

Reply to this comment

avatar 508 Anonymous

Artimus,
I picked up a surplus army sleeping system for about a hundred from amazon that is supposed to be good sub zero. Its three parts, gortex shell, lightweight down bag, and a heavy winter down bag. . . see if you can find an extra large one its a litle snug. also I keep reading about a little buddy heater but its gas so ventilation would be a must. Good luck.

Reply to this comment

avatar 509 Anonymous

JCasil,
Thank you for responding. And also Getting-out-of-debt Girl. All your supporting information is huge. I have stumbled onto a generator [Goal Zero Solar Generator called the Yeti]. There is a 150, 400, and 1250 that are sold at Cabela’s. I have found a less expensive one at Gander Mountain. I am researching these generators. It needs to fit into my vehicle. I am still unsure about eating. I will eat alot of fruit, peanuts, peanut butter, cold cuts, and tuna fish. Canned beans. These items will stay fresh in my storage unit during the winter months. Not worried about warmer weather at this time. I tremendously appreciate all of your support and ideas.

Reply to this comment

avatar 510 Anonymous

I have a solar panel set up myself and I looked at the Yeti 400 at Goal Zero Solar website. You could really save a lot of money getting some solar panels and charge controller from Renogy. They are also online. You have to purchase your own battery and also an inverter, but you can get a lot more power for a lot less money. I can give you the details of my set up if you like. Camping in this country is designed and almost designated for professional people who have money. all the gear is ridiculously expensive and even kind of vain. It is not real camping. If you study the laws and rules or talk to rangers about the “right” way to camp, it would cost you thousands of dollars. That is not camping at all. Just like turning everything else into extreme money for the wealthy. The gadgets are not that complicated. Please do not purchase a 20 watt foldable solar panel for $199 that goes with the Goal Zero Yeti 400. I know you do not have that kind of money!

Reply to this comment

avatar 511 Anonymous

Renogy has everything you need for a solar set up. With the code THANKS2014 at check out you get $10 off your purchase of $50 or more until March 1st. I don’t work for them or get any kind of benefit from their sales.

Reply to this comment

avatar 512 Anonymous

Another great way to use electric heat pads in the cold weather is to put one on the car seat to get it warm before you get back to your vehicle. First attach it to a timer, so that the timer turns it on about 15 minutes before you plan to get back to your vehicle. The timer is plugged into the inverter, and you can use a small 70 watt plug in inverter for this – one that plugs into the cigarette lighter. They do 70 watts when the car is off and 140 watts when the car is running.

They sell heat pads specifically made for car seats online, that plug in directly to the cigarette lighter for $10. they have the shape and size of a car seat. But I like the king size heat pads because they are so much more versatile and easy to care for. You are not able to wash those car seat heat pads because of all the wiring inside and they are made with cloth and will just get atrocious filthy over time. They are not made to be washable like electric blankets. A heat pad is plastic covered and very easy to clean. You can put a foot warming electric blanket over your car seat. it is just larger than the size of a car seat and is wholly washable and durable. But they cost about $20 and you will need a plug in inverter to connect them to the battery. That is what I did and it works wonderful for sleeping. but if I want strong quick heat, like going back to the car to sit in or drive after shopping or studying for hours and the car is stone cold, you will need the heat pad.

When I go inside some public place to use the internet or restaurant I plug in the heat pad that I keep between my winter jacket and sweater. A lot of places keep the thermostate cool to save money, or encourage people to buy hot food and drink, and I just cannot study or do anything if I am cold all the time. Making or buying hot drinks all the time to get warm is a hassle (then you have to pee) and they do not work as well as the heat pad. So I plug in. If they allow you to plug in a 100 watt laptop, how can they be upset for you plugging in a 50 watt heating pad for a little while. Just enough to warm up. And 50 watts is the high setting. You will probably use the low setting, abut 30 watts really.

Reply to this comment

avatar 513 Anonymous

Why does it take so long for this site to post my responses? Am I doing something wrong?

Reply to this comment

avatar 514 Anonymous

This kind of living has always appealed to me, and I’ve lived in a van for well over a year when I was in my twenties. I too am a guitar player and an artist, so the small space doesn’t interfere much with my ability to do things that satisfy and entertain me. I’ve raised two children, done the big house-big, mortgage life of debt and servitude to my creditors thing, and find myself at 46 to be absolutely pumped about going back to that lifestyle. It’s the most liberating and fulfilling lifestyle for me. I must have a vehicle and the work and expense of owning it, I enjoy that, but otherwise I have no debt, no bills, no permanent neighbors, mobility and privacy. I live a life without useless clutter, never mow the lawn, spend a great deal of time outdoors and just generally living and experiencing life. I have FREEDOM, autonomy, comfort and keep almost ALL of the money I earn as well as have considerably more time to enjoy all of these benefits. I have a 26′ motorhome, but find the back of my Ford Ranger pickup truck far more convenient on so many levels that I rarely use it. In two words I would describe this lifestyle as liberating and fulfilling. The banks, utility companies, credit card companies, landlords, providors and the rest of the corporate bloodsuckers out there can now kiss my sweet white A**! Thank you very much.

Reply to this comment

avatar 515 Anonymous
avatar 516 Anonymous

Hi all, just found this site. Happy to say I have some ideas to think about in my own situation. It appears that I will be living out of my car in about 2 months. I figure that it will take that long before the mortgage company will take over my house. Thanks for all the info.

Reply to this comment

avatar 517 Anonymous

I did the same thing for 6 months after selling my home before losing it. I pray for your safe journey into a new dimension. Hope you are young enough to handle the transistion. I am
~Gwen~. Holla at me sometimes.

Reply to this comment

avatar 518 Anonymous

Okay so I decided to take the lease, keep my car and retire. The darn car costs me and average of 10K to keep and maintain. That includes car insurance, and upkeep and gas since I am a road hog. But to my dismay, my car was totaled recently and I did not purchase gap insurance. Folks ask me why not get the insurance and in this case eventhought the Insurance company paid off all but $2000, the gap insurance would have cost me an addtional $100 a month totaling me to date approximately $4000. Do you get my drift. Anyway, now I am at the threshold of deciding again, so what I will do is forget all about car notes, be carless, stay in my apartment. and bank what I was spending on the car. What will I do about wanting to life the life on the road. I guess, I will have to live with my memories and lean and advise others that it can be stressful and you must stay active while road hogging. Get out an exercise and eat only healthy foods, no matter how hungry you get….do not eat fast foods unless it is salads fruits etc. other stuff wears out your kidneys and damages your liver. Not that I have any of thise ailiments, my body is worn out from living that life of not being so-called stable. Even though I could save the money on rent, utilites, what will I do with it but save and spend on gas etc. Naw, I am giving it up…I am giving up cars, boats, RV’s and all that good life. I will opt to rent a vehicle while maintaining insurance on my car to cover me no matter what I drive. Oh and another problem I ran into while living in my car was not having a verifiable address and I was not about to include family nor friends who ask too many darn questions and pray over me like I was crayz..lol..I enjoyed it…I was able to see sunrises and sunsets and see storms forms and rock in my car as the winds rose to the highest of heights…I lost my fear of thunder and love listening to the rain pound on my rooftop(something that you dont’ hear when you are sheltered) plus I hear birds sing and saw big azz rats roam around th Macdonald’s parking lot in the night hours. It was an amazing experience and I loved it, But I am hanging it up…I am going to write this experience out and share with the world…HAVE NO FEAR!!!!!!!!!!! ~Gwen~

Reply to this comment

avatar 519 Anonymous

What does everyone say whenever they are approached by an LEO? Or if you were woke one by one.

thanks

Reply to this comment

avatar 520 Anonymous

Well is there anyone out there to answer this question?

Reply to this comment

avatar 521 Anonymous

I get approached by LEO quite often. IF you are not in a 24 hour lot, like a highway Wal-Mart, then your more likely to get approached. Just tell them the truth. They may notice the vehicle because the seats are reclined. I only ever had one LEO that was just screwing with me because he was bored and he was a real jerk, looking really hard for something to get me on and treated me like I was committing a crime by being in my car instead of a homeless shelter in the inner city. Most of them know whats up and wont try to bury you with tickets or legal problems just because you’re homeless. They may ask you (if you are parking in lot of a business that is closed) if you have permission from the owner to park there. If your insurance or stickers are out but you are parked instead of driving, they cannot write you a ticket for any of those. Some cities do cite parked vehicles for stickers though. I also had one police man approach me when I was not in a 24-hour lot and tell me all the things he could cite me for “Sleeping in a car is not a crime but you have no insurance, your tires are bald and your inspection is expired, I can’t cite you because you’re not driving but I cannot let you drive away like this so what do you want to do about it?” Then he just said “Okay, I’m leaving. Don’t be upset anymore, okay?”

Reply to this comment

avatar 522 Anonymous

I just let them do the talking and answer their questions. I usually am very ready to tell them what I am doing there, but I keep the subject away from myself as much as possible. For example, if I am parked somewhere and a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) approaches (why don’t you just say cop?) I will say I am parked there to let the cats out for a while, or to feed the cats, or because my cat did not return. And then I might say, “then I am going to the Wal Mart store” or whatever is nearby that I do business with. “Then I am going to the library.” “then I am going to MacDonald’s to use the internet.” I think that they would really NOT like to hear, “I am just resting here, just relaxing in this nice quiet secluded place, just eating and studying; I am just sitting here.” But I really take my time when I am parked somewhere; even though it is for my cats, it is also for myself.

Then sometimes an Animal Control Officer (ACO?) will come up to you, because people will call the cops on people with animals and I tell the officer about the good care that I take with my cats. I have full insurance for them, spayed/neutered, full shots, etc.

Or I will say, “I am working on my car.” and briefly describe the issue I am working on.

If I am in a park, where the public is allowed to go and just sit in their cars. Then I will say that – that I am doing there just what everyone else is doing.

I let them talk first, but then I am ready to answer. I have heard you don’t have to answer, MIranda Rights; but I want positive interactions with them, because they will approach you more or less until they get used to you, even so, if they get a phone call, they still may have to check on it or even ask you to move.

I let them talk first, I don’t presume to know what is going on. Sometimes they have to ask you to move because of orders, they are doing a drug sting, or the owner does not want people parking there, or some other reason.

Being woken up in the night, has occurred sometimes, I just don’t undress to sleep or wear pajamas. It is usually very disturbing and I find that I cannot sleep there after a cop wakes me up, I have to get up and go elsewhere. And I really don’t know how to handle that. I go to that spot another time and I can rest, but at that night the cops wake me up and check on me, I just cannot go back to sleep or relax. Usually.

Cops today come around in groups of cars. at least in the places that I have been. Not just one car. and it tends to attract attention. And negative attitudes, negative people. I think that is the reason that I feel I have to move after such encounters. and I think it is the right thing, even if just to have peace of mind.

Sometimes you come to rely on a place, and it really is not yours – you don’t own it, but you come to rely on it. And you can get attitudes yourself against people, that is the public. and that can get you into trouble: have an attitude with the public and someone will call the cops on you or worse, complain to the management or owners, who then call the cops and ask you to leave and you are pissed off already. Try not to agitate with the public or the people who notice you, whoever they are, customers or workers. If you feel that agitation coming on, leave ASAP and stay away for a few days.

I noticed that cops like clean and neat. if you are clean and neat when they approach. Healthy and aware. Cops are empowered to make psychological judgments, that is on your mental state too.

They are much aware of more people like you, sleeping in their vehicles, than you are aware of even in your own area or neighborhood. You are not so unusual or strange to them.

Reply to this comment

avatar 523 Anonymous

I also have a critter. A doggie. A Jerk LEO used it as a pretext to detain me because its against ordinance to tie dog to stationary object and their leash cant be more than 6ft long. I had him on a 20ft tether attached to my inner door handle, where I was sitting, so he could roll around in the grass… and I was the only one in the lot. Never experienced LEO or other government agencies threatening to take the dog away. In fact animal control came by the dog park one day to check rabies tags and registration. They asked why I didn’t have the dog registered and just told them I didn’t have an address. Then they said “Well, he looks good”.

Reply to this comment

avatar 524 Anonymous

Healthy is a great testimony. People see “healthy,” alert, sound, not chatty, nervous, on drugs, and they move on. We owe some thanks to the health movement that “healthy” has become such a convincing power.

Reply to this comment

avatar 525 Anonymous

I lived out of my car for a month as a matter of choice a few months back. The first two weeks were spent camping out at my job, working 50 hours a week to pay my way for the next two weeks. A shower and bathrooms were on site. Late summer humidity and anticipation for the upcoming roadtrip made them not the most enjoyable two weeks of my life. After I finished the two weeks of work, I headed out on the two weeks of leisure, taking a long, winding 1600 mile road trip west from New Jersey through Pennsylvania, then south through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee, before turning east into North Carolina and arriving at my parents’ home. My mid-sized SUV does not have many luxuries, but I saved roughly 700 dollars in motel bills.

Three months later, I still keep almost everything I own in my truck, although I am staying in an off-the-grid homestead as a guest. “Packing” would be the work of a moment, although I do have some rearrangements to make to my SUV interior before I depart on another journey of exploration. Currently I’m just keeping expenses to a minimum, saving a few meager dollars from my easy but boring job and waiting on my tax return to flood me with money before hitting the road in early spring.

Reply to this comment

avatar 526 Anonymous

3 years ago I moved into my crown Victoria when my living g situation became too volatile. I LOVED car living. I lived in the neighborhood where I worked, taking care of a young boy with autism. It was also a fairly heavily gang-infested neighborhood. But they kept a strange eye put for me, as did the police, who also knew my situation. Then came summer, and with it, oppressive heat. I moved North to live with my Mom. She died a few months later from cancer. Long story short, I bought my first house (mobile home) last August. However, I’m disabled now by PTSD & back/neck injury & can no longer work. I’m awaiting disability approval, but in the meantime, it’s looking like I’m facing a minimum of 6 months in which I will have no way whatsoever to pay my bills (including the rent for the land upon which my trailer sits) – no income, and no help.

The only think I can think of is to sell my trailer and my mid-sized SUV & buy either a panel van or minivan, and put the rest of money into savings, they try and find work on the road? There is little to nothing I can do here where there are no jobs but retail or labor-intensive. I am just at such a loss, and all of my family is dead; there is no one left who can help me.

As I said, I loved car living before… I just hope I can make it work as well. This time I will have 1, possibly 2 cats with me. This begs the question, what the heck do I do with them during the day, if the car is not running & I am not parked in the shade? I have to keep 1 of them bc he is 16, he was my mum’s, and he has only ever known she & i. I can not just give him away or give him up to SPCA. If cats can make it living in a van, I will find put how & make it happen!

Thanks everyone, if anyone is still around :)

Reply to this comment

avatar 527 Anonymous

I have been sleeping in my car since 2010 and always have cats with me. In addition I rescue cats and dogs and foster cats, and also spay/neuter feral cats. It certainly can be done if you are able bodied. If you can barely care for yourself I would not add pets to that. But that is not the issue, first of all, get your cat used to being an indoor/outdoor cat. that is go in and out of the house (if you do NOT live on a busy street.) Then have the cat go into the vehicle instead of the house – when it wants an indoor setting of peace, quiet, safety, food. Make sure you put a litter box on the floor. Then travel a bit in the vehicle with your cat there. Don’t let him or her out. Just drive around and then sit at a park for several hours studying or something. Do that several times.

If you cannot let him/her out of the house, try driving around with him/her short trips to a park, where you sit with him/her in the vehicle for an hour, not letting him/her out. Make sure you stop in a place that has no other person around so he/she will not be scared.

That will come later, your cats being used to the presense of a few other people or vehilcles. But at the beginning, they will panic.

There are also leashes for cats, they go around the neck and front legs and back legs like a harness so the cat cannot wiggle out of it. People use them like dog leashes to take cats out for a walk. That might help, but test it first indoors, to get you and your cat used to it.

Get a large (dog-sized) collapsable carrier, made from tough fabric and metal frame. Set you cat in it, right outside the door of the house or car, something comfy to sit on and some food and sit with him/her for an hour. Then walk away for a little while.

This is how I started, just gradually adapting my cat to indoor/outdoor house cat and then taking him on drives with me to a quiet gree park with trees and shurbs. Cats like trees and shurbs and tall grass, not just flat grass or gardens.

So today my cats are totally comfortable and eager, and people always compliment me that my cats are large and healthy and amazed that they act “like dogs” in terms of going around an about with me in my car.

I look for fields or parks that have grass, shurbs, trees. I stop my car there and if they want out, they run into the field and stay there for a few hours, When I return from my business, I call them, a loud strong whistle, and by name, (like you would a dog) and they come out and jump into the car. Sometimes they are afraid, and I wait patiently in my car about 5 minutes. Sometimes they don’t want to come back because they are having fun or sleeping so well. So I come back in another few hours.

I have fulll insurance on my cats from Pet Plan, which I strongly recommend for anyone that has an indoor/outdoor house cat or older cat like your 16 year old. I would really not want to give such a long time friend up. I never worked with older cats, so I don’t know if you can adapt him/her to an indoor/outdoor situation. I would try to meditate with him/her and pray with him/her. I found that kind of communication works when other ways of communication do not. Communing with your fiend and comforting him/her is very important.

Nomadic ways of living have been with humanity for ever in every place. There is a holy people remembered and honored forever in the Old Testament that were nomadic, (other than Moses leading Israel in the desert). Nomadic living is not just for the destitute, the alone (I am alone like yourself), or the mentally disordered. And there is an oppression and distortion about nomadic living in this country like no where else. People act like they have eradicated nomadic living from the modern glorious u.s.a. and there is no reason for it.

Reply to this comment

avatar 528 Anonymous

My facebook page JCasil has a photo of a kitten I fostered last year, Anise.

Reply to this comment

avatar 529 Anonymous

Thanks so much for your response. My old man kitty is very dog like in response ding to being called. He’s been an indoor cat his whole life, but since I took ownership 3 years ago (inherited him from my mum), I’ve taken him outside a handful of times with full human supervision, bc he does not understand the lethalness (lehthality?) ofvehicles, wild animals, etc. This is all wonderful information, thank you!

Reply to this comment

avatar 530 Anonymous

Glad to help.

If you manage to get your cat used to outdoors, let us know how you did it.

Another idea: during the day, when my cat would sleep, I would put him in a large solid plastic carrier with bedding in the shade, right next to the car, which car he was very comfortable with and thought of as safety, and chain-lock the carrier to my car, attaching the chain to some place in the tire well I think. It was a quiet place that I parked, little commotion. Not hot. He did not need food or litter box, because that was his sleep time. And you can put a blanket over the carrier to keep warmth in. I have also done this when I was fostering kittens. A large cage with blankets all over, because it was cold out, and with supplies (toys, food, water and a litter box). Then I would come back in a few hours if there ware no supplies or later that evening if they had supplies. Kittens are such fun!

Reply to this comment

avatar 531 Anonymous

It’s unethical to make cats live like that. Give them away or temporarily shelter them with a friend. When it comes to car lvng sacrifice is necessary

You’re prob a republican who doesn’t “believe” in this, but your situation is exactly what we liberals try to fight to help people for. Republicans would just say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” where we would provide a safety net for people in your situation just like every other civilized country does. If you’re a republican, I don’t feel sorry for you because you’ve voted against your own best interests. Our society should step in and help people like you. Ironically the same a holes who would leave u in the streets, are so called “Christians”. Jesus would help you if he was alive today and the same a holes would probably stone bith if you and leave you by the side of the road to die, if they could. That’s how heartless republicans are and they call themselves Christians.

Reply to this comment

avatar 532 Anonymous

Wntrgarden are you talking to ME abt liberal/conservative? 1st off, I am a democrat, but how absolutely RUDE of you to make assumptions, then rail against said assumptions. That is no way to live. Everyone you meet is going thru something you can never understand; be kind.

Reply to this comment

avatar 533 Anonymous

“Mischa” – if you are in the USA please note that the SSI program is insolvent in 2016 so it would be best not to really depend on getting disability. If you are under the age of 55 years of age, then your chances of getting approved for disability are slim anyway. If you have some money to support yourself for six months, then go to a community college and find a program that only takes 6 months to complete and do it. Better to be self reliant without trying to get a handout as that rug will always get pulled out from under you. Just in case if you were wondering, getting a lawyer doesn’t really help with getting disability as they don’t help with your case anyway. They just get you to sign an agreement that you have to give them 25% of your back pay if you were to win. The only work they do is getting you to sign the paper and then they let you do all the work on your own case anyway. See if they sign up a thousand people to work on a social security disability claim and only a fraction win their cases, what do they care as the only work they have done was getting you to sign the agreement. Pretty neat scam isn’t it? So a better plan would be to see if there is some kind of work you can do instead of wasting your time trying to get disability and losing everything. It is kind of nice living in your car as you can travel to find work no matter where the work is and if you don’t like your neighbors you can just start up your car and move to a different lot.

Reply to this comment

avatar 534 Anonymous

Dear people of the web:

I have lived in my car for almost three years in the southern United States. Unless you are in dire economic circumstances I do not recommend it. It is dangerous: you are visible and vulnerable to whom ever happens to be passing by while you are asleep.

It is a lifestyle that has a fundamental flaw: if you are in an accident or the car has a mechanical problem that cannot be quickly repaired you will be truly helplessly homeless. It may be illegal, and even if it is not you do not want an overzealous law enforcement busy body to give you an interesting talking point at a future interview.

Cars are not insulated to make a comfortable human habitat when the engine is not running. When it is hot outside even in the shade, your car is an oven. When the temperature drops it is still freezing inside. It is more expensive than you think: you can not attempt to live in an undependable car unless you are a mechanic. So that means a car with a note.

It is difficult for all but the most desperate or disciplined to give up all their earthly possessions, and climate controlled storage (to prevent mold and vermin) is not cheap. To prevent depression and maintain hygiene you will need gym membership (preferably 24 hours with multiple locations so no one will notice you are working out in the clothes you wore yesterday).

Least expected you may become addicted. All my needs were met, all my bills were paid and I had money left over. For a long while after I got over the shame and was able to sleep through the night I enjoyed car camping.

I barely made 30k a year with 36% being taken out of every check for taxes, paying off massive student loans, car note, car insurance, upkeep, gasoline, storage fees, gym fees, cellphone fees, a credit card, a medical bill, food, 401k contributions and sundry necessities but for the first time in my life I felt rich.

I had more disposable income than ever and practically no social obligations (it is difficult to be close to people and keep this secret). I went out to eat at almost every place the newspaper recommended (go for lunch specials always cheaper). I saw plays (student discount). I went to festivals (eat before you go, and joy the free music). I went on road trips halfway across the country.

If I did not have to start taking care of my Mum I am not sure I would have ever given it up.

Reply to this comment

avatar 535 Anonymous

I currently live at a volunteer firehouse, but I spend more time sleeping in my car than I do there. I do have a stable job and make a decent living, but I choose to do this to save money not paying rent as well as have time to myself since my life is so busy. Working two jobs (one full-time and one part-time) makes my weekends crazy, and rather than going to my station where I may not be able to sleep peacefully, I choose to park in my employee parking lot and sleep. I’d say I spend about 3-4 days out of the week in my car, and the biggest help I believe would be having a great support system behind me. My family doesn’t know that I do this, but my closest friends do and they always help out as best as they can. From offering a place to shower to even a bed for a night, that is the biggest help. A typical weekend for me would be wake up at around 8am on Friday and head to the gym, after working out and showering there I’d go to work for 12. From my full-time job, I head to my part-time job for 11pm and work overnight until 5am (this job has a shower that I’ll use occasionally). After getting off at 5am on Saturday morning, I’ll head to my full-time job and sleep in the parking lot until it is time to work again at 12 and repeat the process until Sunday morning when I’m off from both jobs, after which I’ll find something to do during the day and find a parking lot to sleep at for the night. I may or may not do that again on Monday depending on what’s going on. I recently graduated from college and I’m trying to save as much money as possible to enter the military in a few months debt free, but I truly do enjoy this. Sleeping at a fire station, while fun, is high stress and I love being able to get away for a few days. I’m working on tinting my car’s windows next, but the biggest challenge to me is staying organized while living out of a gym bag.

Reply to this comment

avatar 536 Anonymous

I envy this dude with a pickup truck, it would be a much better setup than mine.
I live in a car from time to time, it started when my car mysteriously broke down after a questionable motel stay. I have decided to steer clear of some less safe motels and decided to modify my car.
I took out the back to the passenger seat along with the back to the seat behind it. I have a camry, and it’s my favorite car, I drive it accross the nation multiple times a year.
I made a berth out of mostly 2by4 and a few wood pieces from an old book case(people throw those out a lot, now that books are no longer popular). The design is a shorter piece in the front like a bench setting on top of the bottom of the original seat, and a longer piece on top of the back seat in the back. The two pieces are not completely aligned because of the design of my car, but it’s real comfortable compared to just cramping up in the back seat.
I have a place to stay in florida and california, it’s when I am on the road that I resort to living in my car. I want to make friends with other people living in their cars, because I don’t car what people say, I am not staying in motels any more.
I cut a yoga mat in half to glue to my berth, and then there’s the foam patting on top, it’s a lot more a traditional bed than a seat.
I would advice some of my fellow men living in a smaller vehicle to make this modification, it’s good when you can’t afford the gas of a pickup.
My next project is to salvage a slow cooker or pressure cooker and hook it up to my car radiator with copper tubes. I plan to place this small cooker in the window washer tank place of my car. It’s doable, as a matter of fact, a alternating three way pipe directly out of the radiator with a line leading to the burp tank would perfect this project.
Power is always a problem for me, I have a lot of batteries but they just never seem to be enough. I pay for gym and national parks, along with rest areas I get enough power for cell phones, and then I have the solar panel with a car cig lighter and an emergency powerbank for additional power and road side assisting myself, but it’s no where close to enough power for my laptop…
Any how, it’s no RV, but I really enjoy the few months I spent on perfecting my setting. After leaving my previous job, I was able to get to yellow stone, grand canyon, bryce canyon, zion, smokey mountains, and so on… been to more than 20 states just traveling cheap.
I may not be very resourceful on solving some essential problems with living long term in a car, but I think I have made some pretty good designs in this way of living and would really hope to share the know how to maybe ease the backaches of some of my friends out there.
I think we scare each other when we meet. I saw this one girl in a car with her dog who woke up around the same time as me, and she smiled at me and she was so pretty, but then drove away quickly.
Fro privacy, I have been troubled with the delima of safety. I want to have privacy to the point where I can sleep without noise or bright light, but I also want to be aware if some one is to approach. If I can get like a heat radar thing that scans around my car it would be great.
Any ways, hope to make a friend or two in this community.

Reply to this comment

avatar 537 Anonymous

COOL! I am in a camry too. Camrys are actually kind of big inside so its.. slightly, more comfortable than an average car. I also made a bed! But took out the whole passenger seat to do it.. and boy do the cops notice that seat missing. Are you able to stretch your legs out in yours?… what sounds like is that you are laying across passenger and back with legs going into the trunk? ITs so hot in summer I can’t even use the bed since its in the floor.. end up just using the driver’s seat. The seats can recline a little bit further if the back seat cushion is gone.

Reply to this comment

avatar 538 Anonymous

Well, my bed is actually made of wood and it’s a flat bed that rides on top of the passenger seat and the back seat, so I do have my legs stretches into the trunk of the car, and it helps, but there’s always a bit missing to the left where the seat ends on the back roll, so I made a short bench of some sort to fill that. My left leg will not be able to stretch out straight unless I move tilted to my right a bit, that’s blocked by the rear wheel thing.
I am planning on taking out the passenger seat entirely as well, great minds do think alike. I am planning on keeping a relatively similar setting, in where I will build a heavy duty long chest for the bottom of my bed and build my bed flat on top of it. Might have to cut out the Cushion of the rear seat though, to get it level. My current setup is 100% reversible, I just put the backs of the passenger and rear seat back in place, and there it is. I plan to build my next setting with a dummy seat/in car tent to prevent other people from noticing it while I am driving. More on that later when I have the details figured out. If you’re in south CA, maybe we can hang out and we can learn from each other. Anyways, thanks for reaching out, it seems like no one ever replied. Or maybe I just didn’t check my email.

Reply to this comment

avatar 539 Anonymous

I also took out the back passenger seats YEARS ago; no passengers here; do or die :)

Did you get that slow cooker by the radiator going?

I tried cooking ON the engine. All I could get was the bread dough to rise. That’s valuable, but no actual cooking.

Julu’s reply has been there for months.

Reply to this comment

avatar 540 Anonymous

I wonder if anyone might be able to give me some ideas and tips about living out of my car. My future husband and I are forced to live in our vehicle because to be honest…money has run out, we were evicted from our home, forced into a motel with our cats, and have paid every dime we have to this room that has come up to over 3000 dollars in fees…We are now facing giving up our pets, he still works daily but I can’t work as I have some pretty serious back problems… I don’t know what we’re going to do. The car we will have to live out of is actually a nice car…but not nice for living in, its a 2012 challenger, a luxury we were once able to afford, now it’s our only home. Or it will be this saturday… I don’t know where to park, our insurance is up and we can’t get new insurance until we have money to pay for it.. and we won’t have the money to pay for it for two weeks. But if we’re to live out of our car I hear that is something we HAVE to have. Now I don’t know what we will do, is there no way to avoid getting noticed by police until we are able to afford insurance again and get our car covered? Is there a safe place we can park unnoticed? Our windows aren’t even remotely tinted, and there’s just…no hiding in this car… If anyone has any ideas for us, anything we can do, please let us know. I know some of you don’t consider living in your car being homeless, but in our case, that’s what we consider it.. Two people in a rather small car for an extended period of time isn’t my idea of a home… and frankly, I don’t know what’s going to happen to us, I’m terrified. We live just outside denver, and need to stay in the denver metro area because we need to stay close to his work.

Reply to this comment

avatar 541 Anonymous

I’d first go to the social services office and see if they can offer you anything. You could trade your car for a mini-van. I have a Chrysler Town & Country with stow & go seats that fold into the floor and tinted windows. Without insurance don’t park anywhere public.

Reply to this comment

avatar 542 Anonymous

Jessica,
your situation sounds really bad, drastic; I pray you will get some good help. I have written several messages on this web site about keeping cats. I have two cats and have fostered and rescued cats and dogs. And I have been sleeping in my car for five years. Just look for “JCasil” or do a search for “JCasil” and “cat” on these webpages – I think there are several pages because there have been hundreds of comments.

I also do not have tinted windows.

Park at Wal Mart or a large shopping mall that has some buildings not rented out or where there is construction (no public traffic). If you find a Wal Mart park in a place that is away from traffic. If that Wal Mart has security personnel watching the parking lot, tell them a bit about your situation and they might allow you to park there and give you some tips. I found one Wal Mart in Denver, Colorado, but that was in 2012, it was in the southwest corner of Denver, where the overnight security man, African American middle aged guy, allowed a few cars to park there for many months. I was only there for several days, however.

I was in Denver that year and there were several good places that I found to park. However, I did not have cats at that time. I will look in my notes and see if there is any definite information I could give you.

If your cats were indoor/outdoor cats, you can probably keep them with you. However, if they were always indoor cats, and went out very little, I don’t know if you can keep them. If there were indoor/outdoor cats, park near a field that has trees and bushes. I give much detailed information in the other comments I have posted on this website about keeping cats. Just look for JCasil or cat.
That WalMart in southwest Denver did not a nearby field, however.

Police usually do not ask for proff of insurance, just the ID card. Especially if you are in a place that is known to have some people sleeping in their vehicles, like most Wal Mart parking lots, or as I said above, a large shopping mall that has some empty buildings or buildings under construction. That ARE NOT next to exclusive neighborhoods or have exclusive stores like Dillards. Those parking lots seem to always have security and require everyone to leave after done with their shopping.

Some business that has a very large parking lot that is partly out of the way or partly hidden from most public view, traffic or other houses – if that business is a church, they might be willing to let you park there. Get something written so you can show it to the police, or ask the business to let the police know in advance so that the police will not bother you if some passerby or neighbor calls about you. Unmowed fields are very good indications of a place you can park near. No one will will care if all you are doing is parking there. And the cats or dogs will really enjoy it.

Your going to meet homeless people who really have nothing – no vehicle – who live out in the fields and other less visible places which they need just like you. I share food with them, a little money sometimes, and good conversation but not always, and I have NEVER had a problem. The police and security will tell you to beware of the homeless people.

Take Care

Reply to this comment

avatar 543 Anonymous

Anyone who wants further tips about living in your car should check out youtube videos search for “van living” or “converted van as full-time” Kirsten Dirksen’s documentaries there are documentaries about living on the go. there’s a whole community of people doing it now, it’s nothing to be ashamed of WE ARE THE SMART PEOPLE SAVING OUR MONEY!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar 544 Anonymous

I am currently living in my GMC Envoy, I have found that I have had no problems parking in the parking lot of an Extended Stay Motel where everybody’s license plate is from out of state.
I recently upgraded to a better parking lot at the, Hyatt Place Hotel parking lot. I joined a gym for $9.00 per month with no contract. Therefore, I work in the Virginia, D.C., Maryland job market as an Integration Supervisor, but I rent a nice house for $800.00 per month in eastern North Carolina by the water and go down there every two weeks and sleep in my bed and enjoy the water, marinas and sunrises and sunsets. I have lived in my car for about a year, in the freezing cold of winter and hotest day of summer. But being able to adapt and being thankful for every day I am alive is the key. All the best to those who challenge the status quo and live to inspire others to do what inspires them.
Tim

Reply to this comment

avatar 545 Anonymous

I’m considering becoming a vandweller. After the end of a temporary job position, I’m still looking for work. Living off my savings, renting is taking the lion’s share of my savings.

I look for inspiration when I see others, women, are successfully living in vans or RV’s full time!

I hope I get the position, then I will save for a used cargo van! This will be my retirement home, something I’ve always wanted. No more worries, I will have a place I can live and it will be mine. Whenever, I past the laundry facility, someone will leave the lights on, don’t they realize we all pay for that! No more, rent, utilities, administrative fees, common area fees. For me, it will be a retirement that’s affordable and offers freedom!

Reply to this comment

avatar 546 Anonymous

I’m disabled, but still able to live on my own; just limited financially. I have lived in 3 HUD apartments in the last 5 years; don’t go there!!! Clean your way in & out and don’t expect much in between. I know some people have great experiences, but mine were not. I’m at the 3rd place and almost died in March because of toxic mold issues. Had ER surgery and had to come back to the same mess. I’m ready to spread my wings and get out of here. I have five siblings, but only hear from them when they need something so nothing is going to hold me back anymore. I’ve read several of the posts and there are some great suggestions. I’m a Walmart regular so I know most of them will accept overnight parking. My biggest issue is with toileting & showers. I can do a sponge bath once or twice a week, but I am fussy about being “clean.” I have a 2005 Chevy Malibu Classic with only 67,000 miles on it. I’ve already tried out sleeping in it because of the constant noise in my apartment building at night. Sleep like a baby since my seats recline. I have found that when packing clothing rather folding pants/jeans up I roll them and it takes up less space. I buy the garbage bags that have Febreeze fragrance so it makes things stay fresh longer. Obviously, I’m on disability so I don’t plan to go too far away from where I currently live. What do others do about setting up a mailbox to receive paper mail? I’m selling my computer monitor, all-in-one printer and buying a laptop, which will be a learning experience for me. I would greatly appreciate any other suggestions anyone has to make my “new home” experience a good one. Thanks & be safe!

Reply to this comment

avatar 547 Anonymous

I live in the UK and I’m planning on moving into my car in the next month or so. I’ve been through divorce, lost my house and all money tied up in it to my ex-wife. I’ve also got 3 kids who I have to pay maintenance payments for each month. I earn £1500 per month (approx $2500 dollars). My rent is £600, bills £250, child maintenance £366, credit cards £100 plus car costs and food etc. Essentially I can no longer afford to live which is why I am taking this extreme step of living in my car. It’s a life choice, I will still be working and paying taxes etc but living in my car I can completely eliminate rent and bills putting over £800 straight into my pocket every single month.
It’s just me on my own, I can no longer justify the extreme cost of providing a roof and 4 walls, especially as I’m rarely home anyway. My car has a roof and 4 walls, electric power (and a heater)!!

Luckily my place of work has staff showers so I can shower for free in the morning and after work. I work all day every day so I only really go home to eat and sleep which I can easily do in my car. I’m a surfer so I spend most of my free time on the move chasing waves anyway so living in the car fits well with this and gives me lots of focus when I’m not at work. I’m also a volunteer Coastguard which provides me with more time consuming activities outside of work.
I’m 40 years old so I feel compelled to act now to save money to preserve my older age. I’m fit, strong and healthy right now, so by taking this step whilst I’m physically able to do so, I can sort myself out for the future. Based on savings of £800 per month I can clear my debts in about 6 months. Each year I can save nearly £10,000. If I can live in my car for 5 years I can save £50,000… Do it for 10 years I can save £100,000!! All of this just through not paying rent and bills.
At 50 years old with £100,000 in the bank I will have a heap of options going forward into older age. Almost enough money to buy a small home outright with cash, or maybe I’ll buy a boat to live on or some other ‘off-grid’ option??
If I stay as I am now, I may be able to live in relative comfort but all I’ll really be doing is slowly suffocating financially and continue to watch my money disappear leaving me in a perilous situation when I hit old age.

Reply to this comment

avatar 548 Anonymous

If you are “old” and “hitting old age” at 50 you are not so healthy. I know this can save you lots of money, but it is a way to enter life/living, to discard the lies of retirement and old age, not to get there sooner.

Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment

Note: Use your name or a unique handle, not the name of a website or business. No deep links or business URLs are allowed. Spam, including promotional linking to a company website, will be deleted. By submitting your comment you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.