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Old 05-15-2019, 01:48 AM
sta3535 is offline
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Cheap Living Options (Non-Housing)


I've heard of people living in the following conditions to save money:

- In their car/van (Some people even put mattresses in the back of their van so that they can sleep more comfortably)
- In an RV
- In a mobile camper
- Camping everyday of your life or living off the grid (Yes, I've heard of people camping 24/7, 365) - To avoid taxes and mortgages.

So, what do you think of these "cheapskate" options? Do you personally know anyone who lives like this?
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:19 AM
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I know someone in a tiny house. It's parked on their parents yard. It's basically a home-made camper. I'm not impressed with it. But these 2 are trying to pay off a decade of overspending and living above their means. They lost a house and a car and a bunch of other stuff. I respect the reasoning but not the means.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:39 AM
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Yes and no.

I've known a few travelers, but not quite to the OP's description.

Several were truck drivers that lived on the road and slept in their rig, but not 7/365. There are always motels and weekends at a friends house.

Same goes for some entertainment folks, jumping from one traveling show to another. Lots of sleeping on the bus, but not 7/365. Plenty of hotels and weeks off at friends, girlfriends or parents houses.

The closest I've come to knowing a real traveler was an old scooter tramp I knew, he lived on his bike and in a tent. He claimed he just rode from bike show to bike run to car shows and made his money pin striping everything...Cars, bikes, helmets, semis, guitars, signage etc.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:06 AM
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I know a few people who live in vans- generally home converted plain white ones, so they can park up for a few days before anyone works out they're living in there. The people I know generally have one 'home base', a friend or relative's house they can park near for a while, to use the shower and on really cold nights maybe sleep on the couch, but much of the time they're away. Mostly -doing short-term odd jobs, festival work or busking.

I also have a friend who lives in a yurt in the woods at the back of a camp site year-round, though that kinda is a grey area if it's housing or not. In theory it could all be taken down in a day, and may have to be if the local government finds out it's there 'cos it's got no permit, but it's been there a few years now, and she's got mains electric and does pay rent for the site.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:10 AM
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I know a couple of people that live in vans. The main problem with them is that if it's stolen, you haven't just lost your transport, you've lost your home.

There are also people who live on canal boats. You can rent them like you rent a flat, but they are also far cheaper to buy than buying a flat or house, even taking into account maintenance costs. The main problem with them is the mooring fees. Some people move up and down the canals every few days, so don't have to pay much, but permanent moorings in prime locations can be very expensive - though they do sometimes include facilities and council tax.

One guy I know moves from hotel to hotel, mainly to avoid having to pay council tax. Booked in advance they can be pretty cheap, as long as you're not too fussy. The government got wise to this a while ago, and now you can only stay in one hotel for a maximum of 90 days per year, or you're classed as a resident and are liable for council tax.

A female friend of mine was getting so much overnight catsitting work that she just did that for a few months, air B & B'ing on the nights she didn't have a cat job. This works much better in the summer than any other time, though, because of people being on holiday more.

I don't think most of these people would choose to live that way if they had more money, though. Houseboats can be lovely, and are proper homes, but I'm fairly sure the people I know who live in one would buy a house if they suddenly came into enough money.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:52 AM
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No, I don't know anyone who lives that way, but apparently it's a valid choice sometimes.

This guy runs a website and youtube channel dedicated to off-grid, inexpensive RV living. Mostly he seems to move around BLM* lands and other free areas in the desert southwest. I've watched a lot of his stuff just for tips on reducing costs (I live in a house, but have an RV). He claims to manage on less then $500.00 per month. I don't think he's including an RV payment in this though. It seems he assumes one has bought and paid for a cheap used RV already.

*Bureau of Land Management -- basically public lands in Arizona, NM, and Utah.

Last edited by pullin; 05-15-2019 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by sta3535 View Post
I've heard of people living in the following conditions to save money:

- In their car/van (Some people even put mattresses in the back of their van so that they can sleep more comfortably)
Downsides are a lack of room, lack of security, cops hassling you about parking too long in one spot, the ability of a thief to steal not just your vehicle but your home. Also, lack of a shower/running water necessitating some alternate arrangement if you don't want to wind up smelling like dead skunk roadkill on a hot summer day. Lack of a toilet. Lack of facilities for cooking for refrigeration for food. You'll either live on junk, which is not good for you, or spend a crap load of money in restaurants which, often, isn't healthy for a long term diet, either. And, I don't know about you, but sleeping in a car just ain't comfortable. The van, which allows a person to set up a sort of bed, would probably be more comfortable.

Quote:
- In an RV
This solves the bathroom/shower/toilet conundrum, as well as allowing for at least minimal cooking/food storage. It's basically the original micro-apartment, but on wheels. The downside is that it can be hard to find parking and they suck down gas/petrol at an amazing rate.

Quote:
- In a mobile camper
I'm not quite sure what the differences are between "RV" and "mobile camper" here, but I'm assuming this is the larger option. The upside is that it's more like living in an actual apartment with modern conveniences. Downsides are the RV ones, but on steroids. Even harder to park, drinks gas even faster... and it can be like trying to drive a barn down the road. I mean, sure, they're mobile in a sense, but it's a big, heavy thing you're driving when you move it. And if you're not moving it, why not just have a tiny home or small apartment?

Quote:
- Camping everyday of your life or living off the grid (Yes, I've heard of people camping 24/7, 365) - To avoid taxes and mortgages.
Camping 24/7/365 might be something you do when young and in a mild climate, but around here trying that in winter might wind up fatal (we do have a certain number of people freeze to death every winter despite local authorities trying to get people off the streets/out of the woods on really cold nights). But, let's assume either the weather isn't that bad or you have a means to cope with it. Wow, even less space than a car or van. Still no bathroom/toilet facilities. Cooking would be either over a fire or on a camp stove... well, OK, but that means either gathering fuel or paying for it. And, let's be frank - a tent wall provides little to no protection to either human bad guys or wildlife. Don't know about where you live, but in the Chicago area we have these creatures called raccoons that are sneaky, aren't that afraid of humans, have forepaws that are nearly as dexterous as proper hands, and a mouth full of sharp, pointy teeth. A couple years ago I had them invade while I was living in a proper building and came home to one cleaning out my pantry. If you're in a tent with food they'll just come right in if they're after food whether you are also in the tent with the food or not. As just one example. We have others. More rural areas you get fun things like bears. And, as I mentioned, there are human bad guys, which you can get anywhere there are people. The homeless sometimes band together in groups and "camps" for a reason - safety in numbers.

Quote:
So, what do you think of these "cheapskate" options?
Usually inferior to proper homes. There are times and places they're appropriate, maybe even fine, options but there's a reason most folks like in actual buildings these days.

Quote:
Do you personally know anyone who lives like this?
Not voluntarily, no.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:00 AM
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I know people who do a version of this- it's full-time but only six months a year. But it's not to save money. Instead of being snowbirds six months a year and staying in NYC the other six, they spend six months in NYC and six traveling around the country in their RV. It might save them money over doing he same travel in a car/flying/staying in motels- but it's more expensive than staying in their NYC house.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:39 AM
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I've toured in a band and haved lived on a bus with no money. Can you do it? Yes. Do I recommend it? I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy... because it's likely to be one on the guys on the bus.


I have an old friend who still travels solo playing music. He has a small camper so he basically moves from town to town playing gigs and parking in either friends' or strangers' driveways, yards, etc.. until his welcome has worn out. It was cool 25-30 years ago but these days we all have wives, kids, neighbours, etc.. so it's a little intrusive to have him living in your driveway, showering with your garden hose, coming in and out at all hours, , etc. Most of our wives have banned him.

Funny, he just sent a message out last night that he was coming into town this summer looking for gigs.... and driveways. I don't think anyone has responded yet.


I have a BIL who has a small unserviced lot in Colorado and has set up a Yurt to live in. Apparently, the neighbours have complained and the township sent him notice that he cannot live there in those conditions.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:41 AM
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I used to know of a few guys who temporarily (about six months to a year) lived in campers or motor homes.

In our industry it's common to leave home for these extended periods of time in order to build new assembly lines and launch new product models. The tool integrators typically pay a flat rate, tax-free per diem to their employees, and as a result you’ll see people in private hotel rooms, people sharing hotel rooms, people sharing a rental house, and people who bring their RV’s and live in them. For example, for people in Chicago right now, that’s $207 per day.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:51 AM
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When I was living in a homeless shelter, there were people camped out along the river that ran beside it. The town's police knew about them, and the town even put up additional benches for these people to sleep on.

I asked a cop about them (who sleeps on a bench when there is a good homeless shelter nearby?) He told me that most of them cannot live under any rules whatsoever, and had been kicked out of most places. He didn't know what they did in cold weather (and the last three days have been very cold and rainy here).
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:34 AM
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I knew a retired couple with an RV who lived in it year-round. They had an agreement with a Pennsylvania campground where, in exchange for their lot fee, they served as the campground overseers. After Labor Day they headed south, where they had a similar agreement with a campground in Florida.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:50 AM
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I have known several people that early in their careers were single and consultants that were on the road a lot. Their firms would pay for them to be in a hotel during the week while they were traveling to clients. On the weekends or the odd week that they weren't traveling for work, they would couch surf with friends or family, etc. They had no rent or mortgage to pay, and saved a ton of cash in those early years. They kept their possessions to a minimum, mainly clothes.

Usually when they decided to get married or wanted their own places, they would revert to a more normal existence.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:59 PM
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I know people who have lived in cars for a while to save money, although I'm not sure I know of anyone who does so right now. One friend I think might do so, except that he mostly is just a world-traveler. He lives in a van or crashes with friends when he's in the states, but most of the time he just backpacks around the world and lives in hostels or camps or something.

I have friends who live aboard boats in the harbor.

I have some friends who bought a house, but they rent the house out, and they live in a tiny house built on a trailer that's parked in the backyard.

One thing to realize is that someone living in an RV in a developed country probably has a higher standard of living than the majority of humans on Earth.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:19 PM
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I think around here a young person could do very well just doing housesitting/dogsitting or such gigs.

Those that travel all the time. Do they have a mailbox somewhere?
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:43 PM
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I only know people online who do this, nobody I know personally.

Options include
  • Live in a vehicle (RV, van, car)
  • Live in a tent
  • Live in a tiny home or even a shed
  • Couchsurf
  • Live in a tow behind camper
  • Live on a boat
  • Housesit for other people
  • Buy a home or apartment with 3-4 bedrooms and rent out all the other bedrooms (this can be surprisingly affordable in a LOCL area. If total rent and utilities is $1000/month but you charge $350/month for the 3 spare bedrooms in a 4 bedroom apartment).
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:57 PM
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I know a guy who bought a decommissioned bus from the city of Philadelphia. He drove it cross-country to SF, where his job was, and then started upgrading it. He put solar panels on the roof, installed sanitary and cooking facilities, and a couple of beds. He lived on the streets for a while, and was constantly fighting parking tickets. (It turns out that the neighbors don't like having a bus parked on the street, and complain to the cops, who sometimes ticket whether or not you are legally parked.) He eventually rented a lot, and bought a few more vehicles, and started a little community called "Buspatch". He's recently moved to ordinary housing. I have no idea why he wanted to live in a bus, nor why he decided to stop. It's not money, he seems to have plenty of that.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:07 PM
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Those that travel all the time. Do they have a mailbox somewhere?
I think most probably have a family member or friend who gets mail for them.

There are services that will receive your mail, scan the outside, then if you choose, open up and scan the inside.

I assume they also set up their life to rarely need any actual postal mail.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:48 PM
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My brother worked out of town and living in an RV in an RV park was cheaper than a cheap motel or apartment. He'd go home to his family on the weekends.

StG
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:50 PM
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I have friends who lived in a motorcoach with their cats and a dog for years after retirement, 9 of them. They are now settled down near one of the adult children. My great-uncle and his wife did it for two years after retirement. They were dairy farmers and just never had much of a chance to travel before.

I considered the option of a tiny home or an RV before deciding on a condo. Building regulations can be a pain in MN, and I needed to stay in the metro area. There are a few people who live in yurts or teepees in greater MN, but not the metro.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:59 PM
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I know several people who stayed in their workplace for at least a few consecutive nights. Sure, it's against the office's lease, but there's at least a microwave, toilet and sink available. Take a shower at the gym, wash your clothes at a laundromat, and you can live there forever.

I've also heard of people either renting or using someone else's storage unit to sleep.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:14 PM
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Some people get a YMCA membership and with that, you can go cross country and you always have a place to shower and use the bathroom at least and possibly free wifi spots.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:18 PM
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There seems to be a whole movement called "stealth camping" where you have an ordinary looking vehicle that looks on the outside like say a service vehicle but is really a camper inside. The big trick is avoiding any light getting out from the inside.

I am thinking about building one when I retire just for the thrill of being able to stay for free at places like shopping center parking lots.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:57 PM
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Getting the planet fitness black card is also a good idea, for $20/month you have access to the showers at any PF location.

I've heard box trucks are good for stealth camping. But people will see you get in and out of it, which kind of ruins the stealth.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:57 PM
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My brother worked out of town and living in an RV in an RV park was cheaper than a cheap motel or apartment. He'd go home to his family on the weekends.

StG
I knew a woman who did this in the 1980s when she decided to finish her degree after retiring; she and her husband are both deceased now. They already owned the RV, and decided this would be less wear and tear on them, and their vehicles, than commuting 50 miles one day, every day.

I also knew of a woman who did full-time housesitting; unfortunately, having known her before she did this, I suspect it was out of necessity. She got divorced a few years before doing this, and it looks like she and her daughter, who was in elementary school at the time, are estranged, and knowing the mom, it's "gee, I wonder why" kind of thing, as in she fell on hard times, it gave her daughter the final excuse to move in with her dad, and nobody was willing to help her out because nobody liked her.
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Old 05-16-2019, 06:40 AM
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I have an uncle who lived in Montreal but spent every winter in the Florida Keys back in the 70s.

He'd mostly play guitar and throw frisby on the beach then play gigs at night. He'd live in a tent hidden on the beach, couch surf, etc. He'd take menial jobs like washing dishes, digging ditches, etc.. for a little bit of cash.

It wasn't the high life, but it beats trudging through the snow every day.
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Old 05-16-2019, 06:34 PM
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I know several people who stayed in their workplace for at least a few consecutive nights. Sure, it's against the office's lease, but there's at least a microwave, toilet and sink available. Take a shower at the gym, wash your clothes at a laundromat, and you can live there forever.
Heck, there are some pretty prominent and well-paid people who do that, even.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:32 AM
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I don't know anyone like this personally, but I know of lots of people like that. Hell, the part of the country where I live is a magnet for transients, hobos, drug abusers, sex offenders, and off-the-grid types. It's comically easy to disappear into the National Forest, and I've seen everything from shacks to crumbling campers to campsites with tents.

Not for nothing, my retirement plan is to move into an RV in a campground not far from here.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:11 PM
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Well, I know of someone on a different message board who had a great thread about the commercial RAM van [classic white, no windows] he picked up at an auto auction that he converted into a residence. He was geting tired and stressed out with working full time and still not having enough to have an apartment, he didn't want to move home to his parents or couch surf.

He installed some sort of solar panels and battery system to run a couple tiny high efficiency lights, and recharge/power his laptop and cell phone. He had a small workbench to prep and cook food upon/use as a desk for his laptop. All his storage was in bins except for a small area for hanging clothes. He did belong to a gym, he worked out every morning and got his shower there, did his laundry at a laundromat, and if the weather was particularly inclement and he was worried about running his batteries down he would occasionally spend a few days parked in his parent's driveway. He said he was way happier when he didn't have to drop most of his income on rent, so he was able to keep a job he actually enjoyed.

Me, my ex husband and I lived in a small campground for several months while working a nuke plant outtage in Surry VA - with our cat Pyewackett ... we used one of those big green canvas 4 man issue boy scout tents I stole from my dad, our 'king sized bed' was actually 2 army cots cable tied together with a futon on top, and we showered in the camp bath house. Coking was done on one of those oval cast iron hibachis and a classic 2 burner coleman white gas fuelled stove, and I baked in one of those coleman ovens that goes on top of the stove. Lighting was a string of the little LED party lights [brand new for 1988] and a coleman battery lantern, we recharged the batteries where we plugged in the party light string. While I have no issue with camping, I now need to be up off the ground all the time so I would prefer something like one of those sweet-jumping-jebus extra tall, extra long Sprinter conversions.

[I will fess up to having had a recurring dream over the past several years where for some reason I am living on a small pension and living in one of those converted sprinters with my cat. I have a laptop, and a tablet, and somehow manage to hook up online for email and occasional limited surfing on my phone and have a satellite dish thing for cable tv .. much of my 'living' is outside under one of those off the side canopies with mosquito netting, and most of my cooking is done outside on a coleman stove and a hibachi. I travel from state or federal park a week at a time as there is some sort of program for retirees/park members that you can get a week or two free but not consecutively ... I leave sunday morning, shop for the weeks needs then head to the next park.]

For being handicapped, I have very little in the way of high maintenance needs, I am happy reading and listening to music, I do require good nutrition, access to medical care [going to be accentuated for the next 5 years thanks to my recent bout with colorectal stage 3 cancer, my current high blood pressure and diabetes] and I can no longer sleep or sit on the ground/floor. While cable and internet is nice, I could deal with just catching free wifi somewhere a few times a week [or find a camp ground that includes wifi] I don't do the expensive wardrobe/makeup thing, neither of us really drinks much, we mainly use wine in cooking, neither of us does recreational pharmaceuticals so we really have minimal outlay normally. mrAru and I could actually manage to live in an RV at need ... we would just have to somehow arrange an address of convenience for mail and legal purposes.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:16 PM
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Some people get a YMCA membership and with that, you can go cross country and you always have a place to shower and use the bathroom at least and possibly free wifi spots.
I just checked into getting a YMCA membership for that use. It required that at least 50% of my monthly visits had to be in my "home" location, so it wouldn't work for constant travel. The Planet Fitness black card, as mentioned by Wesley Clark, doesn't have that restriction.

I've lived in a motorhome traveling around for 16 years now. Things have changed dramatically in that time, and not for the better. Many more people doing it, and in cases where forgiveness might be sought instead of permission, when you have a lot of people doing it, forgiveness is taken off the table as an option.

If living in an RV or tiny home and paying for a place to park it, it might be cheaper than living in a house or it might not--depending on where you are. With more people doing this, the rates at RV parks have increased significantly in recent years. And of course you have to pay for the RV, and its maintenance. Although I've seen plenty of them on the streets in California where the people living in them appear to be eschewing maintenance entirely.

Stealth camping can get old because every moment of your day is an existential event--where am I and where is my vehicle, and am I going to get rousted out?

That's why a lot of people mooch off friends--it's cheaper and you have permission. Or you do until the neighbors complain.

There's a guy who has a project of walking every block in the five boroughs of New York City. He doesn't have a place to live, and instead strings together pet-sitting gigs. But like people who live fulltime by stealth camping, I'd say he has a personality that is well suited for that.

https://imjustwalkin.com/
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:05 PM
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I had a relative that had a custom home built.

The contractor and his extended family lived on the property during construction. Nearly everyone in that family did construction. I was told there was a licensed electrician and plumber in that family.

They did a great job and the house was built quickly. Permits were issued and everything passed inspection.

I assume they had a home base, but most of the time they were building someone a home and living on site.

It must of been very profitable. No commute to work. All the labor $$$ went to them.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-17-2019 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:20 PM
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Kids these days! What ever happen to living/leaching off of someone and then moving on once your welcome was worn out? I know a lot of guys that got by like this when I was younger, still know a few women that still do. They basically eat their food, sit around watching TV while getting wasted, "borrow" the car and act like they are doing the other person a favor by keeping them company.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:25 PM
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I had a relative that had a custom home built.

The contractor and his extended family lived on the property during construction. Nearly everyone in that family did construction. I was told there was a licensed electrician and plumber in that family.

They did a great job and the house was built quickly. Permits were issued and everything passed inspection.

I assume they had a home base, but most of the time they were building someone a home and living on site.

It must of been very profitable. No commute to work. All the labor $$$ went to them.
Something similar, I heard of a family that moved around and lived in a converted school bus. Their "business" and how they made money was they had a machine and equipment that painted lines in parking lots. When they went into a city they would just look around and find someone who needed it done. They always had customers.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:29 PM
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For those of us old enough to remember: "Me and You and a Dog named Boo!".
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:52 PM
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There's a State park at a nearby lake that has a fairly large camping area. My wife and I used to go there to camp and cook-out for the weekend. We'd bring the kayaks and have a great time at the lake. Each campsite was fairly private, with a small parking area and a clear, level area that would fit a couple huge tents quite easily. Each had a fire pit and a (old and rusted but functional) barbecue. There was a common shower and bathroom facility just a couple minutes away.

We went one time after taking a break of about a year and were shocked to find that the campsites were virtually all occupied by large families. Most of them appeared to be immigrants. (I had no objections to this, of course, it's just that this was pretty obvious.) The camping fee was about $10 a night, so it was costing them about $300 a month. The bathrooms and hot water were included, so it was really pretty reasonable.

Shortly thereafter, the policy was changed so you could not rent a campsite for more than seven consecutive days. They also increased the fee substantially.

Last edited by ZonexandScout; 05-17-2019 at 03:53 PM.
  #36  
Old 05-18-2019, 07:12 PM
Textual Innuendo is offline
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I've lived a...less-homed life than most, so I'm glad to be in a thread where I can give some advice as somebody who's done most of these. I'll sum up my thoughts on some of these modes in worst to best order:

Car living: rough - awful sleep, no bed or comfort, difficult to stay warm without running the engine, the windows steam up so it's obvious you're sleeping in there, not a lot of room for your stuff. No bathroom, kitchen, etc. On a 1-10 scale with 1 being least desirable and 10 living comfortably in the home of your dreams, car living is a 2. It beats literally living on the streets, but that's about it.

Van living: Just like a car, but with a bed and more space. Same shortcomings otherwise. 3 out of 10.

Tent living: Depending on the locale, this can be terrible or it can be great. The "great" case requires that it be basically semi-permanent, in a nice location, with amenities like showers nearby (a house that you're paying "tent rent" to, a campsite with showers and grills like ZonexandScout mentioned, or other similar options), but if you have those things, it can actually be a decent option. More space for your stuff, more comfortable sleeping - heck, you can even get an air mattress if the tent's big enough. I'd give this a 5 out of 10.

If you're mobile and need to move around, tent living sucks. All the downsides of car/van with less protection and mobility, probably a 2 out of 10, maybe even a 1 out of 10.

RV or boat living: At last! The queen / king of mobile living! If you're used to camping or living in a car/van, living in an RV will seem like you've been transported to a magical Shangri-la of amenities, privacy, and luxury. You have a real bed - often several to choose from. You have a refrigerator and stove and microwave. You have AC and heat! You have a toilet *right there!!* There's no doubt about it, living in an RV beats the crap out of the other options for amenities. An RV is a solid 7 out of 10.

The only problem, as alluded to by Broomstick is parking and fuel bills if you want to drive it around a lot. RV's are big and awkward, and RV parks suck and charge a lot in any even halfway nice area. In or near cities, you might as well get a cheap apartment, because RV parks charge enough that $(small apartment rent in city X) is how much you'll be paying just to park your RV in their crappy trailer park for a month.

You used to be able to park in Walmart parking lots free for a few nights in a row in your RV without being hassled, I'm not sure if they still do that. If you do and there's enough Walmart's nearby, I guess you could do some sort of rotation, but you'll still have to stop at RV parks once every week or two to dump your tanks and take on fresh water.

The ideal RV use case is if you have a good friends / family network where you can park your RV at their house for a week at a time that you can rotate around in. Throw in some campsites and national and state parks you visit regularly and there's a real nice lifestyle!

So if you have the choice and the urge for mobile living, RV is definitely the best option you've listed, and how good it is is highly dependent on what your employment and geographical needs are. If you need to be near a large city most of the year for work, parking will be your biggest headache (but on the plus side, you don't need to worry about spending a lot on gas). But if you can get your parking sorted, either via rotation or paying somebody a nominal rent to park on their land / driveway, the RV kicks the crap out of living in a van, car, or tent.


Hotel / consulting living: If you're savvy with credit cards and points, if you have an expense account at least part of the time, or some combination of these things, you can live cheaper than prevailing market rent in hotels. I've done it, and know others currently doing it, so know it's possible. It requires a lot of time shopping for deals, paying attention to points, getting the right credit cards and sign-up bonuses, and ideally your work paying for at least part of your hotel stays, but you can actually live inside in real rooms cheaply if you've got these things in the right mix.

Hotel living has the same downsides of all the other modes - you've got to travel light and not own much, you've got to get your mail forwarded or sent to family, you've got to change locations frequently, but in terms of amenities a hotel beats an RV because you never have to empty dump tanks, you never have to repair stuff, and there's no worries about gas or parking. Hotel living is a solid 8 out of 10.

But wait, there's an option for cheap living you haven't considered!

Living overseas: Living in a low cost of living country with first-world level income (even if only retirement or Social Security income) is the ultimate cheap living option.

In SE Asia, you can live in a nice house right on the beach, have a cook, maid, and driver, and eat top-shelf fresh seafood for every meal and your expenses will still be under $2k a month. Want to cut your expenses lower than that? Just take off some of those amenities, you can live on hundreds a month if you cut things to the bone, and there's millions of folks who do live on hundreds a month (or less) over there. SE Asia isn't the only option either - I know people do this in Central America, India, and a number of other low cost of living countries.

Obviously this option requires passive income, retirement income, or a job you can work remotely, so again, highly dependent on your employment and geographical needs. But this is a 9 or 10 out of 10 "cheap living" option if you can swing it - barely any compromises, and living well while being kind to your bank balance, so I thought I'd put it out there as a potential option to consider.
  #37  
Old 05-18-2019, 07:38 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
For those of us old enough to remember: "Me and You and a Dog named Boo!".
If you're of that generation you probably also remember Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. A little road trip, a little camping, a lot of living off the land and the kindness of strangers.
  #38  
Old 05-19-2019, 06:51 AM
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I know some Loopers.

These are people who sold off everything, moved onto a rather decent-sized boat, and live the floating tiny home life. They perpetually travel The Great Loop.

The great thing about The Great Loop is that people who commit to it as a way of life or just a temporary journey are supported by decades of resources that are committed to it; it's a journey; it's been done (so there's a 'book' on how to do it), and there is community of support.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Loop

But it's not cheap. But then there are others who have moved onto boats that are old, float well, but don't sail. Generally, I don't hear good things about this.

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