Author Topic: I'm considering living in a van for fun and to save money on rent. Any advice?  (Read 3499 times)

intotherealworld

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
I have always wanted to live in a van. Ideally while road tripping, but more and more I've been thinking that it would just be a great way to save on rent.

I think I will be able to pro it at work and uae the shower/bathroom there.

Ideally I would like a fridge in the van, maybe a small camp stove. Obviously a bed.

Has anyone done this?


JoJo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1356
There are loads of videos on youtube.  Check 'em out.  Some really creative ideas to make best use of the space.

Larabeth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 279
  • Location: Alabama
I was forced into a situation where I lived out of my vehicle for six months.  It's doable and some days I wish I could go back to that.

Parking was kind of a pain.  I wanted to be somewhere safe especially being a female.

The biggest thing I found was, for others that might get interested but don't have a shower at work, that the gym was the best investment I could make in that situation.  I would work out every morning and shower and no one was the wiser about my living situation.

As for food, I ate more fresh things because I only bought enough for 1-2 days.  More fruits and veggies and nuts.  I didn't have a camp stove or fridge or anything at the time.

I did invest in a good sleeping bag and comfy pillow and it was totally worth it.

PhysicianOnFIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 452
  • Location: Up North
    • Physician On FIRE
Park it down by the river.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/4183

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8691
  • Location: Canada
You've seen dagiffy1's journal?  He's badass.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/living-in-a-volt/

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2658
Have you confirmed it's okay?  A friend who worked for the same company as me at a different location did this for a while, and when work found out they were none too pleased.  They didn't fire him, as I don't think he was violating any specific rules, but they told him it was not okay, especially bathing at work, and it seemed to really change how they viewed him.  I think he was sometimes sleeping in the office, so perhaps that made a difference.   But it seems like something you'd want to run by them if there's a risk of it souring the relationship. 

Larabeth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 279
  • Location: Alabama
Have you confirmed it's okay?  A friend who worked for the same company as me at a different location did this for a while, and when work found out they were none too pleased.  They didn't fire him, as I don't think he was violating any specific rules, but they told him it was not okay, especially bathing at work, and it seemed to really change how they viewed him.  I think he was sometimes sleeping in the office, so perhaps that made a difference.   But it seems like something you'd want to run by them if there's a risk of it souring the relationship.

This is a good point you may want to consider... I didn't let anyone at work know what was happening because of the stigma that goes along with it and the risk of losing out on promotions/other opportunities later on.

randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
In hindsight, I wish I would have tried this in college. I went to a heavy commuter university that had huge parking lots. I definitely could have gone a couple days in a van or large SUV and then drove home to the parents' or to a friend's apartment if it got too cold.

Instead I drove 50 miles a day junior and senior year in a financed(!) car.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
As others have mentioned, a gym or pool membership can be worth the cost if you aren't comfortable showering at work.

SeanMC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
Easy to find people blogging or posting videos doing this. E.g., http://www.tosimplify.net/ (links to current and older blog in different van).

How easy or enjoyable this is has to do with parking situation and weather where you are trying to live.

Rent or find another way to try out van or RV living before you spend $ on the vehicle. You may discover you hate it. You also may figure out what amenities you care about more and what you can live without for cooking, water, etc.

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
I also advise not telling work. There are people who will treat you differently for any type of frugal choice....but this will be considered very odd and extreme to many people.

Investigate some of the 'stealth camping' forums and chat boards....there are a lot out of them out there.

If the van looks, from the exterior, like just another vehicle, you can cook/read/watch videos or whatever in one location and then just park in any neighborhood to sleep....stealth mode.

There is some safety in numbers though, so if you want a 'community' find the people doing something similar---there are in every city---and just observe for a bit. Perhaps they all hang out, cook, etc in one place but disperse for sleeping.

It is doable, depending upon climate, police vigilance, and your capacity to be flexible and 'read' your surroundings.

IT MIGHT NOT SAVE YOU MONEY over say, a studio apartment or a roommate situation. But, it can be done at extremely low cost.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3086
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
My dad has been driving cross country between Washington State and Florida every year for the last several years, so he ends up spending several weeks living in his van.  He's met several people through a Van Dweller's website (not sure which, but Google that), and they seem to have a community that provides lots of information.

He's not living in his van full time, but he's had everything from a giant diesel Ford van to a Scion, and eventually settled on a Chrysler Town and Country with back seats that fold into the floor.  He finds that when he does need to park overnight on the street, no one looks twice at a beige minivan, whereas cops are more suspicious of a big camper van.