all 39 comments

[–]LoneWolfingIt 79 points80 points  (2 children)

I lived for 3 weeks in my car. Not because I wanted to, but because I had nowhere else to go. Got by on a sandwich a day. When I finally got a housing situation under my belt, a friend offered to buy me groceries and gas to get to a job interview. Cried that night.

Fast forward to a tick over 2 years. I now live very comfortably and am an important member of my company. I get to pursue my interests and I don't have to worry about becoming homeless again.

All that said, reading your story made me immensely proud of you. I wish you the best of luck on your journey to becoming a true nomad.

[–]genericusername098 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Congratulations on all your success, friend!

[–]LoneWolfingIt 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thank you for the kind words!

[–]hurtlingtooblivion 55 points56 points  (5 children)

Something to consider when living a nomadic lifestyle is personal hygiene.

I can't stress enough the importance of good hygiene in furthering your career, goals, love life, whatever.

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 22 points23 points  (4 children)

Aside from using my local gym for my showers, brushing teeth, etc., is there anything that I might be forgetting about?

[–]NorthernMountain 31 points32 points  (0 children)

Yes: Make sure to wear deodorant everyday and keep your clothes (including jackets) clean. I've worked with a number of homeless and non-homeless individuals with poor hygiene who claim they shower everyday. If that's true, they're neglecting a lot of others things. Very hard to work with someone who smells (I'm the one providing the service, for reference; they're not coworkers).

[–]OfficialHermanCain 23 points24 points  (0 children)

Only partially related but don't neglect your healthcare.

[–]zeus-indy 6 points7 points  (0 children)

There are excellent YouTube channels devoted to stealth urban van life.

[–]DumE9876 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Regularly doing laundry. If you shower regularly but don’t clean your clothes then you might as well have not showered.

[–]Aykay24 25 points26 points  (1 child)

Have you checked out r/vandwellers ? They might be able to help a lot with your transition to an alternative lifestyle. No debt is a great start, but you'll have to build up the funds to afford a vehicle/maintenance/gas/food and whatever else supplies + an emergency fund for those unplanned expenses.

Good luck!

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Ooooh, had no idea that subreddit existed. Thanks!

[–]gregaustex 7 points8 points  (4 children)

Is your dream consistent with your current reality? Don't allow a romantic vision to sabotage your standard of living.

Van to me makes sense if you're going to wander. If your new job means you have to stay in one area, how much sense does it really make? I assume you will need to spend some money to have a place to park it and sleep. It has to be insured. Then some additional money for a gym membership. Gas, maintenance, the van itself and properly outfitting it...

Depending where you live, sounds like you could afford an apartment. A cheap 400 sf studio apartment with a bathroom could be an enormous quality of life improvement over living in a van.

Just thoughts. I don't know if your job allows travel, the costs where you live, whether there are good public transportation options or if your work is bike-able etc. I applaud your minimalist lifestyle goals. Minimal could include a basic place to live.

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 2 points3 points  (3 children)

After researching for a couple weeks on the topic of studio apartments, the cheapest I can find in my area is $700. That doesn't include utilities, trash, and internet. Realistically, it should come out to $850 or so a month to rent my own place. Then I'd still need transport to and from work. I think if I budget it right, the van and other expenses would pay for itself quite quickly.

[–]j_natron 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Have you looked into getting a room in a house? That’s often way way cheaper than a studio apartment. Of course, you do have to deal with roommates that way.

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I've thought about it, but the reality is I wouldn't be happy if I did that. Sure, I'd be saving money, but I've always been happier living alone. I feel constrained having to live with others. And hey, if van life doesn't work out for me, $700 a month honestly isn't too awful. Many people have made it work with shittier paychecks.

[–]j_natron 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fair enough, gotta pay attention to your mental health and happiness too!

[–]Shrewski 13 points14 points  (3 children)

Make a budget. Stick to that budget. Start saving as much money as possible so that you have options when obstacles get in your way. Having no debt is a great start.

Living an alternative lifestyle is possible with a comfy van and a relatively cheap membership at a 24-hr gym with showers. (Also a good opportunity to stay in shape since you’ll be stopping by the gym frequently to shower, etc.)

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 10 points11 points  (2 children)

In anticipation, I got myself a gym membership at my local 24 hour gym. I couldn't live without a shower!

[–]partyinplatypus 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Make sure you use it for working out too ;)

[–]minimalist-gamer 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I understand that you want to live a nomadic lifestyle, but speaking strictly from a long term perspective, I would urge you to consider renting a cheap no-frills apartment.

I was somewhat of a nomad at one point, but having a home base has a lot of advantages. A clean (relatively) place to take care of your morning ablutions is worth it, IMO.

That said, if you hell bent on living a nomadic lifestyle, there are plenty of videos on Youtube which will provide you a lot of information.

[–]TheSingulatarian 4 points5 points  (9 children)

Make investments in yourself to start. In your spare time learn a marketable job skill like plumber or electrician so you can receive a better rate of pay. Once you have some extra income beyond what you need for basic food, clothing, shelter, buy assets like stocks and bonds that pay you for owning them. That is how you will increase your wealth and financial security. Stick with mutual funds from the Vanguard Group like Total Stock Market Index.

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 5 points6 points  (8 children)

I'm actually going to a local college soon to learn machining to build and repair firearms. Should be done in about 1.5 years if all goes according to plan.

I'm going to research this whole mutual funds thing. I've heard those words tossed around before but I don't really know what they are.

[–]swan797 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Honestly, you don't need to worry about mutual funds yet. You have so little money that you don't need to be investing yet, you need to have cash available for day-day expenses.

Not trying to be rude, but prioritize your time on other things that are more timely.

[–]gregaustex 2 points3 points  (0 children)

  1. Get to where you are earning more than you spend. You seem on track - minimalist lifestyle and job.
  2. Accumulate an emergency CASH reserve (bank account, not investments) of 3-6 months living expenses
  3. If you have any debt, pay it off
  4. Start investing your savings

Don't jump to 4, work through things in this order.

[–]lateef87 -1 points0 points  (2 children)

stop! learn a trade learn plumbing or electrical or pipe fitting some trade.

[–]YetAnotherShaco[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Already said that I'm enrolled in a machining class at my local CC haha

[–]lateef87 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Which is why i said stop. Machining is not going to be a secure income, nor secure job prospect imo.

[–]myorm 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Go look up elementvanlife on youtube. He travels in a honda element, and on his q&a videos he usually discusses how much he spends per month on expenses

[–]YesterdaysFinest 0 points1 point  (4 children)

[–]Billysmith007 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They are really some interesting tiny homes on wheels fact they have a show about it . Sounds like that may be a start for you see if you like it .


[–]Contact40 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you are completely new to personal finance, you may want to look into Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. It’s a very good and easy to follow way to gain some financial independence for your self.

Good luck!!

[–]ProudVirgin101 -1 points0 points  (0 children)


I don’t have advice to share, but I just want to say I am very proud and happy for you for what you have accomplished!