Living in your car to save money may sound absurd, but it’s an incredible financial strategy that could save you money.
The average cost of monthly rent in the U.S is about $1,242 as of January 2020. So living in your car saves you a thousand bucks, which you can save up for a down payment for your own home or business.
Not to worry, you won’t be the only one living in your cars to save money; in fact, according to a CBS report, there’s been a 46% increase in the number of people living in cars and campers, due to increases in rent costs.
For some, living in a car is a makeshift arrangement while looking for where to live. For others, it’s a means to escape price gouging and live an inexpensive life.
Living in your car, for whatever reason, might be a great idea, but it comes with its own set of problems. In this article, I’ll walk you through all you should know about living in your car.
The Case For Living In Your Car to Save Money?
Here are some reasons people are abandoning houses to sleep in their cars.
A Way To Escape the Massive Rent Bill.
Avoiding a thousand dollars in rent every month is one of the principal motivations for living in your car to save money. From 2019 to 2020, the average rent climbed in most states, with a one-bedroom apartment costing an average of about $1,000 per month. Living in your car eliminates that cost, as well as all of the fees associated with owning a home including utilities, home decor, and maintenance.
Most People Spend Very Little Time In Their Houses.
If you are always out of town for work or live an active or social lifestyle, chances are you don’t spend much time at home outside of work hours. That could be a good reason to consider living in your car. If your home is just the place you sleep, your vehicle can be a good substitute.
Exploring The World Around You.
If have a goal to explore the world, living in your car to save money would be a good way to achieve that. This arrangement provides complete independence and maneuverability, allowing you to live in any location. You won’t worry about rushing home; you can just park somewhere and sleep.
Pros and Cons of living in your car
Below are the upsides and downsides of living in your car to save money.
- You can save as much as $1000 monthly.
- It’s a terrific way to explore the world.
- You get to avoid mortgage and rental agreements.
- It prompts a more adventurous lifestyle.
- It is less safe
- It is less hygienic
- It can be tight and uncomfortable
- There’s limited storage space
- Depending on the season and the place you live, the car can become too hot or cold.
Preparing To Live In Your Car
Now that you’re aware of the argument for living in your car to save money, do you think you’re up for it?
It’s essential to note that this arrangement is best suited for single individuals. It’s not suitable for large families with kids or even couples; except it’s a temporary fix.
Here are the steps to take in preparation for living in your car.
Get Rid Of What You Don’t Need And Store What You Need.
You’ll need to downsize or find a storage space for the majority of your possessions.
You must get rid of anything that you won’t need whilst living in your car. This will include your mattress, furniture, big television, etc. Inquire from friends if they can help you store these items. If that fails, then consider renting a storage cabinet to keep all those stuff. Alternatively, you can sell these items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and others. Consider getting a lockbox at the local bank to store your important documents and valuable items.
Implement Your Daily Routine Into Car Life.
Living in your car to save money is not too different than living in a house. The secret to it, however, is to implement a routine that integrates all your activities.
Write down your regular schedule, both at work and at home, and consider how it will convert to living from your car. Write out your current routine and map out how it can fit in an automobile home. How would you get ready for work? How would you do your laundry? How can you maintain the same social life?
Get the Things You’ll Need
If you’re going to live from your car, you’ll need a few essential items.
- Sleeping Items: You’ll need a pillow and a mattress, depending on the size of your car. There are mattresses designed specifically for various types of cars. Here are some of the best picks.
- Blanket: the weather can get very cold when you’re sleeping in your car; so you need a blanket to cover yourself. You can make a pick amongst these.
- Power Inverter: You’ll also need a backup battery. This is essential even when traveling, not to mention when your car is your source of shelter. The outlet will enable you to charge or use items that don’t have a car charger adaptor like your camera, Laptop, etc.
- Meals: Living in your car to save money doesn’t mean you can’t have home-cooked meals. With a camping stove or gas, and some utensils (which can fit right into your car boot), you can whip up some simple home-cooked meals to further save money. You can get various go-to foods like oatmeal, applesauce, and other canned/ fast food. Remember that you won’t have access to the refrigerator, so you may need to go to the supermarket every day to get fresh food.
- Lightning: You’ll also need a flashlight to help you see in the dark. The flashlight you choose should be durable and bright, so you can see from afar. Here are our best picks.
Where Would You Shower?
It’s critical to maintain decent personal hygiene. You have to bathe and use the toilet from time to time; so you must plan towards that. One of the options available to you is to register at a nearby gym, so you can use their restroom. Gym memberships cost about $20 monthly.
You can also bathe at a local recreational center, or you can go to any public restroom in your city.
How Would You Receive Mail?
You’ll still need to receive your mails even when living in your car to save money. There are various options available for this. One is to set up a mailbox in your current home and check it daily while living from your car.
Another option is to set up a post office box so that you can pick up your mail whenever you can. Thirdly you can ask to use a friend’s address for your mails, so they can help you get your mail, and you can pick it up.
Can You Legally Sleep in Your Car?
Before you decide to sleep in your car, it’s important to look at the legality of it. In some states, it’s illegal to sleep in a vehicle on a property you don’t own. Some states also have laws against sleeping in city land, neighborhood streets, close to schools, and other public places.
There’s also the suspicion of being seen inside a car in the dark. Even if you aren’t doing anything wrong, some cops may become suspicious and start asking questions.
Where Can You Sleep?
Your own property: If you own a property or your friend or family has one, you sleep in the driveway or garden LEGALLY.
Campsites: although campsites will cost you some money, they are relatively safer. You’ll get a dedicated plot to set up a tenth or park ( depending on their rules).
Highway Rest Zone: These are particularly designed for truckers to sleep in, therefore it’s perfectly legal to park there. These zones usually have facilities where you can refresh up.
Aides getting the basics listed below, it’s essential to know the law, understand your rights, and don’t be scared to join any online communities that can assist you in adjusting to your new lifestyle. If you’re settling in for the long haul or simply stopping for a few days, get to know the local business owners and people; the larger the community you develop, the more alternatives you’ll have.