Living out of your car

Extreme Frugality: Living Out of Your Car

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Last updated on July 5, 2020 Comments: 618

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.

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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

Article comments

618 comments
Denise says:

I am a 66 year retired woman living in Massachusetts and I am homeless…I have no family..have called every agency and organization out there, along with senators. congressmen, etc even the governor. No help at all…I don’t drive so I don’t have a car…any one have any idea for me…if I had a car I def b living in it…any ideas. Advice, etc wod b most appreciated. I have no problem moving out of Massachusetts

Jesse says:

I have lived in my car since 2018. Various places from Southern California summers to the winter in Montana. I found being nomad was very easy on my wallet. The only huge expense was buying a 0 below sleeping bag for those harsh Montana winters. California was actually difficult to find a suitable place to sleep due to crime and cops being around. Montana is easier as it’s a huge thing out there during the spring to fall months. Find your local Walmart and you’re pretty much set. Missoula, MT has two of them. I kept a huge Gatorade bottle to pee in. Went inside Walmart to poop. The other issue of winter car living is moisture build up while I slept. This would frost out my window even with them cracked. I worried for mildew build up.
I kept clean from using the local gym, had a near by storage for my gear and clothes and a job to keep me busy. The only down side is of the car doesn’t work then you’re screwed. Also living in a parking lot makes your car feel like a prison. Sanity is a huge factor. You can pass all this, you’d be fine.

Nancy says:

I am in shock this thread has been going on since 2007. I love to see the varying perspectives over the years I have bookmarked this page. I am 52 years old. I see many over sixty people struggling and I want to prevent this in my life. I’m considering a 4 year degree. I have 25 years experience so maybe I can earn a six figure annual income. Please advise. Do any of the car dwellers have a degree or valuable skills that they are still able to excel at? I am concerned about my future.

Alan says:

I have a home with my kids and finance in Bakersfield, Ca.

I live in my car four nights out of the week when I work in Northern California to shave down costs.

It’s been a tricky situation trying to figure what is safe, how to shower and things of that nature but so far as long as you’re dafe and respectful it is all worth it in the end. Wether you want to save money or just live that kind of life.

Lisa says:

I’d like to find some folks who are willing to rent out their back yard or any yard that is safe, fir a low fee. Living in Floruda.

Phil Phil Philly says:

When I purchase land in Florida, I’ll let you know. 🙂

Dru Lewis says:

The biggest problem for me is banking: IRA rollovers, “churning” (taking advantage of bank bonuses) savings accounts, ect.
I miss cooking. With storage fees, eating out and gas, I haven’t saved much at all compared with how I was saving when I had a lower-income apartment. In my part of CA almost all of the lower-cost housing opportunities are reserved for Mexicans, the refugees and immigrants with their own sub-cities and those who are just clever and can walk into a city and magically get housing within a few months despite jail and assaults and drugs ect. I know of one recent case.
For this reason I would like to see An End to the corrupted but insanely lucrative lifelong subsidy lottery called “subsidized housing”. It’s driving up the cost of even shacks here in SoCal.

j says:

boo hoo

Denise says:

What is your issue with the comment

PJ says:

Hi All! I am a 68 year old disabled woman looking down the barrel of living in my car for possibly up to two years. Going online and researching has really helped to squelch my fears. There are lots of websites with tons of info. Invest in a propane hot plate and a couple non stick pans and a pot. Get wind or rain guards for your windows so people cannot see you have your windows cracked, which you need to do to minimize condensation. Get some silicone or moisture packets to keep your car from getting musty or developing mold and helps reduce condensation. If you do not have a car alarm get an after market alarm for safety. Get quick dry towels, they dry quickly and don’t develop mold and bacteria. When the gyms open join a gym that offers mobility so you can move from city to city. You can keep in shape and take showers. Until the gyms re-open you can use truck stops. Get a below zero sleeping bag for when it gets cold. Make sure you have enough blankets and pillows. Park in 24 hour lots so you have a bathroom if needed. You can also get a Luggable Loo at Lowe’s or Home Depot and a good supply of plastic bags. It is a five gallon bucket with a toilet seat for when you don’t have access to a bathroom. Get inexpensive sheets of window tint for privacy and to keep light low in well lit parking lots. Get a good ice chest and look online for the best way to keep food the coldest the longest (too much info to cover here). Keep your car/van clean. It is your home for however long you have to/choose to live in it. You can also get a small inexpensive storage unit to store items. Make sure it is secure and you can get into it after hours if you need to. There is more info on the Internet but these are the main things that come to mind. Everyone will have their own concerns and needs. My main advise is to research, research ,research. There is a lot of info on how to be comfortable and safe. I feel so much better now that I have taken the time to prepare. When the time comes I can take a deep breath and jump into the lifestyle with my eyes wide open. Good luck out there and stay safe.

Rae says:

Thank you so much for this comment! Awesome article, extremely informative comments, so helpful 🙂

Dru says:

WOW! I hear to learn. Lol

Nikki Page says:

I like those ideas, I am 62. My husband is dying from copd. We had a home paid for, land and 2 cars. After 3 years of trying to find out why he was declining and unable to work, we sold the home, lost the cars, sold the land, used most of our savings and are now in a fixer trailer in a park going up in price yearly. my costs have increased by 130 a month from 2 years ago when i started. Once rent hits 500. if hubby had not passed, we will be in trouble. If hubby dies by then, I will be selling my mini wagon, trailer and some investments left and get an suv to live in. I also have researched. I am not anxious to do this. The conveniences of modern life will be greatly missed. But being outside and being a snowbird will be worth the loss of convenience..I hope.?

sherry beasley says:

Hello Nikki, sorry to hear about your situation and your husband ailing so badly. I have been through 2 divorces, and am married a 3rd time. But he was abusive and I was forced to leave for my well being.
Now I am living on social security. If you stay out of the big cities, and go to more rural areas, there is less problem with low income housing problems of any kind.
I made the plunge a few months ago, and moved North of Kansas City to a town called Bethany. There many small towns here in this Northwest Missouri, areal. I live in the government low income housing. It is one story, I have a handicapped unit, which is roomier, but am not handicapped. I have two bedrooms, a front room, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and three huge closets, and one area outside the bathroom for a washer, and the dryer hookup is in the kitchen by the back door.
My rent is $245 per month because I live on $1,000 per month. It is very peaceful here. This is a lovely little town with plenty of friendly folks. I am considering living in my car. Currently it is in need of an oil leak repair. But I have no money for that after car payment, insurance, gas, food, rent, utilities, etc. I will not have extra money to fix the care before August. I think I need to live in my car so I can save up some cash, fix the car, then maybe get back in line for housing. There are some 3 bedroom units available, here is the number to call. If you just tell them your situation, they will probably give you a two bedroom bid. However, when you get close to move in they might up the rooms as they did with me. Simply because those are the units they have available. The max rent here is $475. You have to pay a $100 deposit to move in and a $100 deposit to the city for your power. You can move out with a 30 day notice. I think it would be a good choice for you and your husband. Just plan on moving with him. It will be so much easier for you if you think of that way? Good luck, I hope this has helped you a bit. The units are clean and well maintained and maintenance fixes anything needed, which is very little. Everyone even has a little clothes line out back of their unit, and a little storage cupboard, which is very roomy. You can have a bbq out on your back porch. They remove the snow, and there is ample parking, no domestic violence or distrubances, permitted, and a pet is allowed with a one time $250 deposit. However, if you have a medical condition that requires you have a pet, they wave the fee. 660-425-3349

sherry beasley says:

There are low income housing units. Try to get to a more rural area, where the wait list is shorter.

Teresa David says:

my brother sold his home and now he tells me I only have two weeks to leave that is December 5th 2020 I’m a senior have health issues have to live in car not sure what to do or where to go I tried to find help and no one will help me low income they said that my income is too low and they cannot help me all they can say is sorry I was trying to find a place there and Fort Worth Texas or I can live in my car at a safe place but I cannot find the accurate place you know where I can get help I would appreciate if you let me know thank you

Richard Monk says:

This is very helpful. I’ve just turned 60 and have been rejected from almost every job I have applied for over the past 9 months. Covid-19 and ageism are a reality. Time to get out of the quagmire and start living a different life. Coming from a poor background, I’ve spent my life trying to educate myself and become successful. Success for me now is not a job, but a new way of living. I’m used to living on the road and camping and making do with what I have, so, the car will be my home and I will see where it will take me. Thanks for the help.

TX Mom says:

Due to the entire nation shutting down in some form or another, I’ve been laid off from my corporate job in the restaurant industry. My husband is an Über driver, and no one wants to take rides right now, so he’s not getting any income either. And, to top it off, the unemployment website and phone line are currently ‘unavailable’. Looks like we’re not going to be able to stay in our place, since we were living paycheck to paycheck. We’ve got two teenage kids who can live with my dad, but he’s got a one bedroom house, so we’re not going to overload him with us being there as well. I’ve also got a service dog who’s going to have to now sleep in my car with me (luckily, my husband and I each have a car, giving us a bit more room to spread out at night). I’m pretty freaked out right now, honestly.

Carey Johnson says:

God bless you and your family. I pray God helps you in all ways but especially with peace and hope and His presence.

Rozy says:

Hi. I’m a pensioner senior who had planned only on a few months in USA then I planned to return to Greece which is economic for someone on social security but now I’ve been stuck burning up savings in a hotel x 80 a night and its killing me. I’m really trying to give myself confidence to do it — live in my Odyssey van. I got rid of all 2nd and 3rd row seats. It’s too full but it’s still freezing out. I got no ideas I haven’t tried but this pandemic is making all options seem not existent!! Senior centers are closed. I went 2 months no blood pressure pills. I need a dentist. And I’m looking at my van. Its scary to put it mildly. I am seeking others I could maybe cross communicate with. Im retired with 2 small dogs. I hear what you’re ‘saying’ it is a strange new world. I hope I’ll be ok too.

Mary Ellen says:

Try staying at an AIRBNB. You could cut your housing expense tremendously. I stayed at an AIRBNB in Sunnyvale, CA for about $22 to $23/night. It was a room with 4 beds, so you share a room but it’s really the least expensive I have found when it comes to housing. It’s a regular home that through AIRBNB, the owner rents out the beds. You have access to the kitchen, living area, backyard and bathroom. There is a refrigerator and kitchen supplies for food storage and cooking.

Denise says:

I am right there with.i have spent 8000 on hotels since March..I am 66, retired and homeless…no family..if you are ever looking for a roommate in your vehicle I am available….lol I live on the porch..not enclosed of an old building. Massachusetts is very expensive for housing n I can’t afford it.

Denise says:

I will come join and your dogs…I have no vehicle and I am terrified out here.

sherry beasley says:

Apply to government low income housing in a rural area. As for Nikki above, they have nice 3 bedrooms here right now. Call 660-425-3349 Bethany Housing Authority, Bethany Missouri. The highest rent can be is $475. But if you are very low income it will be less. You still get the three bedrooms, and the service dog will not have to have a deposit. $100 deposit at move in, $100 to the city to turn on power. Background check, before that.
Income check. The lowest you can pay to move in is $25 if you are extremely poor. They give food packets also, once per month. I hope this helps. God Bless.

Ford girl says:

Living in your car is a lifestyle and you need to be smart about it. Key factors are to have a regular job that pays you enough money to:
Pay for a gym membership for showers and a locker (unless your job provides you with this). Regularly maintain your vehicle so that it’s working properly(this is now your house and transportation in one and it needs to be well kept). Use caution when picking somewhere to sleep or park and make sure it is public parking and not a residential area or parking lot that is monitored by security because they will have you leave. Find places that work out and rotate them, don’t go to the same spot every day or night. Keep your car clean and don’t use towels and blankets as curtains as this is very obvious and worries people. Invest in proper visors, the 99c store has foil ones that can fold wonderfully. TINTING YOUR WINDOWS IS A MUST. keep your car clean and throw out trash regularly. Use bags for dirty clothes and tie it up until you go to laundry. Don’t be dirty about living in your car or you will smell and so will your car. For cold weather all you need is a good sleeping bag. For hot weather you need to stick it out and stay in the shade or cooler terrain (mountains or beach) until the season changes. You will have to have cracked windows Or sunroof to stay alive so buy bug spray or by screening material and apply it with tape or velcro stickies. DONT litter around your car, people will see this and have you removed from wherever you are instantly. Keep it simple and don’t hoard things in your car. One back pack (Full of hygiene and a couple towels) and a bag of clothes should be enough with a couple pairs or shoes. have a good cell phone and good service so you can access things to do like watch Netflix. Living in your car is fun and keeps you more active instead of lounging around the house doing nothing. Use the time to exercise study go to the gym take classes or whatever interests you.

Vaughn says:

Considering doing this soon as possible. Tired of my landlord. Started packing last night, get my stuff down to three bags. Then go houseless, save and buy a car. I REFUSE to pay rent anymore …. I’ve had nothing but bad housing experiences since moving here….

Buddhalove says:

Same here. The little over a year I’ve been where I am at, I’ve had two major pipe bursts in the walls. They took forever to repair, didn’t finish and think I have a huge mold problem. There is still plumbing he fails to address for months, now dealing with ants and flies. I’m very clean, even more so now to where it’s obsessive cause of them. Constantly shaking out clothes and shoes. Then tonight. Laying down to sleep in my living room, cause I have breathing issues in my bedroom(mold?!) I had a bat fly across the room!!!!! A bat!!! In my apartment complex in the city. I grabbed my dog panicking to the bathroom. So now, I am hanging out with my dog in my car cause I can’t stand the psychological torture. I’ve been wanting for awhile now to buy a van and do the vanlife. It’s so me. Maybe this is the universe saying to just do it. Can’t afford the van, but I have a car and my dog and the open road. That’s all need. Anyways thanks for letting me rant. Very frustrated tonight and related to your post.

Shazetta says:

Hi everyone! My name is Shazetta. I am working on a project that explores the lives and lifestyles of people who live in their cars, by choice or by force. I think that there is grave misconception around homelessness, van dwelling, car dwelling, mobile living, etc and I would like the opportunity to learn more and share some of your stories, if you all would be willing. If any of you are interested in sharing your stories with me as a part of a photo journalism project, I would be honored to spend some time with you.

Rebecca says:

I moved to another state 900 miles away for work. I had to live in my car for 5 weeks in a medium sized city. I love it. I mean, it’s great. Yes, it was a LOT of damn work and, at first *everything* took way too long. I never got to do anything fun because when I wasn’t at work, or at the gym keeping it tight, I had to “organize my car”. But I’ve developed a system and I’m pretty damn happy.
There is definitely room for improvement, there are still a few obstacles.
All these articles you read about being mobile and seeing beautiful places, going on the road and adventure are all bullshit. Seriously, even on days off there no time for that. AND those articles don’t mention gas costs, wear and tear and being alone in deserted areas. Whoever writes those BS articles is either rich or living off someone else’s dime, or getting monthly checks from retirement or welfare because there no way a normal working adult has the time and money to just adventure around. True story.
My three pieces of advice for living in your car in the city: get a storage unit, figure out the easiest way to get laundry done, and forget about cooking your own food. Give up anything that requires washing dishes.
It’s a nice life. You don’t have as much money as you think because of the cost of eating but it’s still much cheaper and way more fun than paying rent for an apartment.
My paychecks have caught up and i could move into an apartment as early as next month. But, I’m not going to.

Tammy says:

Hi I’m Tammy
Just wanted to say I’m living in my truck in Pa. You are so right about not having time, not even to think lol. It’s only going my 2nd week and I’m busy from morning till after 12-1am till I can sit down but them I hurt so bad I have to get up?
It is a full day of work, enjoyed your story

Nattie Herman says:

Hi Shazetta. I would be more than pleased to share my romacar lifestyle with you. Hi all. I am a 57 year old nomad. I have been living out if my car since 2010 when my Mum passed away. I was a tad daunted by the idea at first but over the months I adapted and have grown to love it. I am unable to lie flat as my car is full of all my belongings so I put the driver seat back and wear support stockings to enhance leg circulation. Before lockdown I was pet sitting so living in folk’s houses most of the year but most of last year 2020 and this year so far, I have been full time in the car. I love nothing more than finding a nook in the countryside to park in and waking up to an awesome sunrise. I have a camp stove so I sometimes use that to make porridge or cook vedge. There is a lovely laundrette at my base near London that I use and a shower at my local service station. I was previously using swimming pool showers after a swim. Pubs are great places to hang out and also libraries. I tend to use supermarket loos and petrol stations. Also local crematoriums have toilets. I can charge my phone up in my car and I have a good monthly deal with EE so I can watch films etc. I try to give my car a clean out every now and then and using bug spray is a good plan. I use plastic bags to keep things in and never leave anything valuable on show. I use coats to cover things up. It is fascinating to come across this thread. I don’t feel so wierd now! There are certain places that I will not park up at night but for the most part living as a nomad in my car in the UK has been a pretty safe adventure?the main thing is to be as organised as poss so I know where everything is. I have a swim bag, clothes bags, toiletry bag, cool bag for food, first aid box, sewing box, torches, sleeping bag, pillows, travel case, admin bags, art bag and a place for all things. Stay safe everyone?

Vaughn says:

I appreciate your positive post! It’s rare to see..

Rozy says:

Thank you a lot! I’m 64 and may need actually to do this and though I had the spirit to live alternatively as such — I never expected it to be at 64 and a pandemic too. I like looking at simply the facts. Thanks.

Dave says:

Im about to live in my truck so your comments and advice give me peace.

Geezer says:

Have lived in Colorado with my s.o. for 19 years, rent free. She is now moving to another state for a job and her situation precludes me from going with her. I’m 63 years old and terrified. Considering living in my SUV. Maybe sleeping in a shelter during the cold months, and taking advantage of gyms for showers and exercise.

Transient says:

I’ve lived in my car and been homeless. It’s not that bad. You’ll get yourself in great shape, lose quite a bit of weight. What I really liked about it is the pressures of life are gone. I now own a home and every month there are bills that have to be paid. You feel like your trapped and have no options in life.

Erika says:

Same here. I’ve done both. I was a trucker for 10 years, lived in a sleeper. Than I decided to scratch the entrepreneurial itch I’ve always had that never goes away. Started my first business, but chose to live in my car rather than have that money go to rent. Doing so meant freeing up $700 a month I was able to put INTO the business. The business itself went downhill. Who would’ve known? (Shy-startup-founders-who-are-terrified-of-putting-themselves-out-there-don’t-get-customers). OOPS. Cart before the horse moment, I know. Ended up getting jobs working in retail and food service to smash the shyness to smithereens. But it took so long so the time the business ate my money resulted in me doing the dumbest thing ever: getting a personal loan for cash to put into my business to save it and keep it afloat when (fast food / retail earnings) weren’t enough to do so. Than I got sick of car living, and there’s a girl I like who wanted to be become roommates, so like car living appeal dissapeared. Got rid of my car since I live in a city and can walk everywhere. In time, rent sucked up so much money. At end of lease I had no choice but to go back to car living. But I didn’t have a car. EEK. I just kept getting further behind because not being in trucking anymore didn’t keep pace financially with bills from the past and the personal loan. Long long long story after this point, but I have a car again (and am living in a place), but soon going back to car living (INTENTIONALLY), and to MAKE MY LIFE BETTER, VS (PURSUE ANY CRAZY ENTREPRENEURIAL AMBITIONS THAT I DON’T *YET* HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO ACCOMPLISH). Car living and street living and starting businesses (is really good at eliminating naivety).

Rozy says:

Thank you a lot! I’m 64 and may need actually to do this and though I had the spirit to live alternatively as such — I never expected it to be at 64 and a pandemic too. I like looking at simply the facts. Thanks.

Rozy says:

Hey I like the brutal frankness – it’s refreshing. I am trying to pull myself to do this in my van. 2 dogs. 64 years old. Wow. Never say never and for me also I’m doing it to NOT throw away like 1000 bucks a month. Phew.

Gabby says:

A bat??!!! Not with Covid 19

.you are probably safer in your car!some.cities have safe parking lots funded by non profits.

Denise says:

66yr old retired frmale..homeless, no family, don’t drive, so I am on the street… anyone who can spare their passenger seat, let me know,, I be there in heartbeat…I am DEFINITELY TERRIFIED OUT HETE SLONE

Steven says:

Steve here. Hello fellow car dwellers . Im a 58 year old man that was recently kicked out of the house I was living in with my ex partner and my 12 year old son . Ive been living out of my car for about three weeks now.I work as a security guard.I guess you guys know the security pays nothing to its people .90 percent of my paycheck goes to my ex ,only because I dont want my son to do without . I am really depressed about my situation and fill like giving up .I feel at my age,there is really no avenues for a better life .Every night ,I park my car in a different location so not to attract the attention of the police .I take food from my job which they give us guards at the end of the day . late at night,I think what went wrong in my life .

Sharlene John says:

nothing went wrong in your life. the great american dream is just that…….a dream. when you have cities like new york charging $3000 rent for a one bedroom large closet sized apartment. Even here in florida where i moved to because i thought i would be able to save money, rent is $2600 monthly for a 3 bedroom. It is simply impossible for anyone to afford to live semi comfortable unless you have two incomes and minimal other financial obligations.

Karen says:

Agreed Charlene!!! I raised 6 kids in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach California. Divorce led to depression anxiety and my ex sold our home which is now a million dollar home. Homeless in my car with 2 dogs and 2 cats. Because of Covid showers and bathrooms aren’t available. I bought a huge box of wipes as my shower. Brush my teeth with water that’s getting expensive. There’s just no room in my Hyundai Accent for food, water, us and clothes. Layed the seats down a lot of pillows and blankets. Drove from California to Fayetteville NC where my 25yi son said come here we’ll rent a house. Had to leave bc him and his gf are in an abusive relationship, physically and verbal. I could t do it. Had no money packed us up and in the car. He knows it but has done nothing about it!!! Him and the gf are warm in the house and I’m in 30+ degrees during the night oh btw he’s a US Army firefighter. He wasn’t raised this way there was none of that in his life. Honestly I don’t know who he is. Anyone in North Carolina know of an apartment or room to rent?? Good luck everyone

michael says:

Trust me, you have done nothing wrong. Things happen, even to the best of us stuff happens. My wife and Both went willingly to becoming car dwellers and have learned to absolutely love it. Times are becoming much more aggressive, lack of love and respect for anything. Keep your head up, I promise that everything will be ok. My wife and I have both learned to take one day at a time. We actually jumped in to car dwelling by faith, as we both believe in God but even believing in God, life happens. Trust me you are not alone.

Ino20seal says:

You still hanging in there?

Nate says:

Hey there, 26 yr old guy here, with a daughter that is now 7. Me and the mother split, then she had a drug incident, then I got custody, then a yr later I mistook a court date for the following day, then she got custody and filed support immediately, then I couldnt afford my rent, then she wouldnt allow contact with daughter and I, then I moved into my vw passat, which died shortly after, just as I found a temporary rent to own old chrysler cirrus which lasted long enough for me to build credit for a “newer reliable car” of a ford focus, which I delivered pizza in, living off of cash tips, until my emotionally distraught high school sweetheart and reunited gf of 3 yrs took off for Colorado, where I was to be headed in a year or so.

Disconnected from daughter, suffering from cptsd and a toxic family history, and now the woman I love taking off accross the country with no plans to establish a job or secure life for herself, I took off after her, rushing plans to kickstart an app I intended to launch, with a development firm I partnered with to build it once the crowdfunding campaign reached its target… Only for her to refuse to get a job and establish pillars of security for herself once she got here, for her car to finally die, for men to try breaking into her car in the next town over where she had parked, for her to be on foot, staying in my car between shifts at my job, hopping from homeless shelter to homeless shelter. For her then to suddenly become ill, coming down with multiple blood clots in her lungs from a reaction with smoking and her birth control, for blood clot going to her lung, killing 10% of the tissue. For her to then enter a program for troubled women giving her a place to stay and a job but demanding she sever all ties to family and friends until stable for a couple years, having no idea if she is okay, or if she even entered the program for sure, but for her to become unreachable suddenly, for me to not launch the app, for me to start losing my grip on reality from the stress, to getting upside down in the car loan, for the ford focus’s transmission to give out at 140k miles due to lots of recalls I was already past due to receive, to getting a non delivery job at a place I parked my car near which was close to the gym, to the car dying before I got a backup, to getting a backup car off craigslist for 900$ after weeks of having nothing more than a lockable tent of a vehicle, to that backup car having issues and then not starting a week after purchase, to getting a storage unit nearby which luckily a mechanic owns and also has a shop out of, who agreed to fix the ford and help me out, to right now, with a daughter who no longer has a relationship with me, her mother spreading rumors and lies about me, emotionally attacking me and enabling then denying contact between me and daughter…. Living in a car is okay as long as your gym is cheap, you can hold a job, you meditate and do cardio for mental health, you teach yourself an employable skillset, you dig into philosophy and your own spirituality, and you hang on tight.

Sheryl says:

I moved to Denver in late July because I was running away from home to live in my car. I left behind an emotionally abusive husband that was always kinder to the kids I also left. (I knew I would be in my car at least a few weeks – never imagined I’d be trying to winter in it.) The job I came for wasn’t actually mine when I got here. So I day labor, and do odd jobs, and sleep in my car, and apply for jobs that apparently don’t want a technically-homeless person. Except now the car needs a second round of repairs I can’t afford, with the same symptoms as the first time a couple weeks ago. (I was driving it out of a parking lot, the dash lights came on with a simultaneous loss of power under the hood despite pressing the gas pedal, then when I parked it and turned it off, it refuses to come back on – doesn’t even act like I’m turning the key. I’m about to be on the street, as soon as somebody takes exception to my car’s current location.) Folks have said there’s no reason to stay here in my situation, but beyond my car’s need of repairs AGAIN, I also have to be here for court over staying too long at a public park charging my power banks (car’s “cigarette lighter” has never worked for charging things so I HAVE to have power banks). Cops chose to harass me because I was back in my car and not still roaming the grounds when they arrived, so the various pedestrians and bikers got off easy. At any rate. My advice for fellow car-dwellers that are struggling with employment and finances is to have a backup plan for when this life blows up in your face. Because if you’re like me, it won’t be content to sit there and simmer.

Marc says:

How are you now?
If I can be of any help with car mechanic’s advice.

David says:

I just started living in my car while working and going to school. Since i dont have any other financial support, i am taking extreme measures to not end up with student loans. I am at the university all day so all i have to do is sleep in my car.

David Leland Fellows says:

I recently took to living in my Honda Fit. Good thing I’m very minimalistic:) didn’t do it because I’m deep in debt or because I can’t “afford” an apartment. The unfortunate fact is that there aren’t any apartments in my area that won’t cost me %50-%60 of my income. I value my lifes energy far too much to give it over to the rent trap. I now have even more money to save for investing, travel, and to eventually purchase property. It’s not always roses but the sacrifices far outweigh a life lived as veal.

Ralph says:

I have a 2003 Saturn SC2, I took out the back seat cushion and closed the back rest down and it becomes completely flat. I’m 6 Ft and I fit comfortable with my feet in the trunk and push the passenger side seat all the way to the front. Because the car is so small, when you’re laying in the back, no one can see you unless they really look. I live in Florida, you can sleep at any Walmart parking lot. I’ve slept in this car many times but I’m not homeless, sometimes I just don’t want to go home. I also like waking up close to water so I would sleep on the causeways. No one has ever come close to the car, so I assume no one knows I’m in there. If you sleep in the Walmart parking lot you can use their restrooms. The one bad thing about the Saturn is that there isn’t much room for gear. I want to get an SUV and do this full time. I work full time and I do Doordash after work. The good thing about Doordash, you can do it in any city across America. All you have to do is contact them and let them know, no paperwork involved and you can start driving. I don’t need a lot of money, I would do Doordash and travel the country. I would just need food and gas. God bless my plans.

Anonymous says:

I’m a 21 year old female living in Seattle WA, I work as a server at Red Robin’s, the tips are great but I can’t count on them as a solid source of income. I’d been able to finally afford a vehicle in a care taking arrangement in exchange for a place to live but she did pass so now I live in my 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. I’m sure if I pinched pennies I could afford to room with someone, an additional $600 at the cheapest, but to be honest it just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I used to resent capitalism; having to work hard to pay for a place you’re barely at or otherwise always at because you’re so tired you don’t have energy to do much else, its a cycle I’ve seen and lived many times before. But by living in my car using the gym as a place to shower or charge my laptop/study (free WiFi) (also an excuse to be at the gym which forces me to workout), I end up with extra money to actually do things, and unless I wanna sit in my car all day (I had the first few days but it got old fast) I’m almost forced to stay on the move and spend my time instead of waste it.
The savings in rent is more than what I end up spending on dance, classes, huel, snacks, concerts, so I make a point to stash as much as I can away for traveling once I get my PTO.
I’m just now quitting cigarettes as it’s been my last unmonitored use of money and quite frankly a really bad habit.
The lack of access to a kitchen isn’t much a loss as I never learned how to cook LOL though I do wish I had the option, lack of refrigeration makes things difficult and after a week of eating fast food my skin and body was very upset. I started being conscious of what I could eat that was cheap and healthy so with my workouts rendering useless if not supplemented with adequate nutrition it led me to research; I found “huel” a complete meal replacement with all the micro and macro nutrients you need in a day (it’s also vegan, even though I’m not quite, yet). So I bought the largest quantity I could, a friend agreed I could ship it to her house (a nearly $400 investment for over a two months supply) and every week I’m sure to grab another bag. I still keep some snacks on hand, huel simply ensures I have enough calories and nutrition in a day. For food I use a wooden bowl and I always have a water bottle equipped to fill when I stop by stores or work or a friends or the gym that I can use to rinse it out with some dr bronners or make tea in the morning with my 12v plug in water inductor.
I keep everything in my trunk aside from my guitar my keyboard and my gym backpack filled with hygiene essentials lotion and my laptop.
The best features of my car as far as a live-in is that it came tinted windows heated seats and the heat itself as I can turn my car on for a minute or two blast some heat and it’s hotboxed with warmth as I snuggle with my pillow and blanket the seat tilted all the back. Some people like to sleep in the backseat but I’ve found even with anything to fill the space behind the seats I can’t extend my legs (and I’m only 5’4) and I woke up with my legs really cramped.
The biggest challenge is finding public property to park on but Shari’s (24 hours free WiFi) has become my main spot.
That was really long but essentially I’ve found this lifestyle to be suited for me, challenging, only in the way it’s made me grow and become uniquely resourceful (and richer, I know I’ll be seeing another country this year easily, anyone working for minimum wage with a shitty apartment able to say the same?)

C says:

I’m also in Seattle, contemplating the same.

Aloy says:

Im moving to seattle next week and wonder how my social life will pan out. But other than that I think it’ll give me a fresh start.

Mike says:

I live in the Seattle area too, living out of my car. We should talk.

-Mike

Samantha says:

Hi mike!

I’m living in Tacoma but got an unpaid internship in Seattle and want to live there, but in my car. I’m unsure about the winter. I’d like to connect, if that’s okay!
Thanks, mike.

Tom says:

Hey I was curious to see if you’re still living in a car after a year? If so how has it been? Any updates on what you learned?

Anonymous says:

I’ve started living in my Toyota Prius for about 3 weeks now. I’m trying to pay off debts and possibly save to put a down payment on s house. So far I’ve had no problems. I work about 50 hours a week as a caregiver so I have access to a bathroom and can wash up there, I also have a gym membership. This was my choice so I can try to get ahead financially, so I try to remind myself every day that I can do this. “Your future is composed of nows”

Anonymous says:

how about being single, making $100,000 a year and living in a Toyota Prius in MIAMI? For no other reason than to stick it to the man and a sincere hatred of spending any money whatsoever.

Roxanne Williams says:

I think I love you lol

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Sk says:

I would love to hear how you are getting on! I am 41 in an almost identical position and I’m planning purchasing a car with the intent of living in it.

Anonymous says:

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!

Kat says:

I am disabled also and in a bad relationship so I am planning to be on my own asap. I won’t be far from “home” but I just can’t live here anymore. I have a laptop no difference from your desktop. I plan on getting a Post Office Box for all mail. I have a 2017 Escape that as soon as it gets to 100,000 miles I am trading in for a van to live in. I am rural and have a cpl of friends that I will be able to park/camp on their property till they get tired of me. lol At 60 yo this is kinda scary but not as bad as staying here.

Anonymous says:

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!

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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!!!

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Carmela says:

Walmart lets you park in their lot at night when the store is closed, but you need to leave when they open

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous living in Philadelphia PA says:

I’m
Currently living in my SUV with my dog small dog and out of all these comments yours were the most realistic I’m so tired of people saying van life is cool van life is fun and going on YouTube send these people live in Vans thinking it’s cool no it’s not and know when you have to pay for gas food and everything else money does run out so no living in your car living in your van is definitely not for me and I would not recommend it at all so it’s not happy is not joyful and is not an adventure is very depressing you get anxiety and yes dangers is always lurking remember you’re sleeping in a car but you’re outside okay people stop
Glamorizing this situation Please let’s be honest……..I pray that I’ll soon find a place for me an my furbabyie the weather will soon get colder an im trying to keep my head & faith up every day its really hard

Anonymous says:

“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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Denise says:

What is your issue with the comment the whole damn government DOES NOT CARE…I was told by a housing authority their priority right now is the border issue
..not elderly white eoman…that is verbatim word for word

Anonymous says:

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 🙂

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

My facebook page JCasil has a photo of a kitten I fostered last year, Anise.

Anonymous says:

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!

Anonymous says:

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!

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

What does everyone say whenever they are approached by an LEO? Or if you were woke one by one.

thanks

Anonymous says:

Well is there anyone out there to answer this question?

Anonymous says:

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?”

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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”.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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~

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

🙂

Anonymous says:

Why does it take so long for this site to post my responses? Am I doing something wrong?

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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!

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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!

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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)

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

Cool story on carbeque. Does that work after you park or do you have to have the can there while driving?

Anonymous says:

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*.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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”

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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,

Anonymous says:

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?

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

Poor Margie. My gosh

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

Sup, I am Asian too, I will be driving back to California in about a week or so, hope all works out man.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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?

Anonymous says:

There are solar fans you can hang out your window.

Anonymous says:

The airport parking lot is a good idea. and thanks for the wrap match thing.

Anonymous says:

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 😉

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

Get that year’s lease.

Anonymous says:

Don’t get the lease you will be tied down stuck. Go with the car freedom.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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!!!

Anonymous says:

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?

Anonymous says:

Its not homeless. It is a choice to live a certain way. Get the camper van..

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

Yes I am open to sharing.

Anonymous says:

What is the best way to contact you? feel free to email us casting (at) TFCasting (dot) com

Anonymous says:

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?

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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,

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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?

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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)

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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 😉

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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……..

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.”

Anonymous says:

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)

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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. 🙂

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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..

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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 [email protected] live.com. All best! Rex.

Devin says:

It would be much smarter to invest in a waterproofed or moisture wicking bag like a kitesurfing bag. I could leave that thing in the rain and snow and nothing happened to it or its contents. I had modified mine though. Very large bags for sure.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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 !!

Anonymous says:

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! 🙂

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

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.

Anonymous says:

wutwut,