U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Happy Easter!
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Frugal Living
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-30-2014, 11:33 AM
 
317 posts, read 553,538 times
Reputation: 380

Advertisements

I think the ONE thing you should have had was at the very least a van. I went across the country from the East coast to the West and back exploring along the way. I was gone a couple of months and slept in the van. This was in the mid 1980's I've always thought this was very possible to do full time with not a lot of money.

Another time around 2001 I was offered a job in Boston and couldn't find an affordable place so I went the 250 miles back home and drove my 28 foot RV (class C) down and put it on my mothers property and plugged into her electric which I paid for. I had the ability to work as much OT as I wanted so I did take advantage of that working from 7:30 am to usually 10:00 PM
I showered at work every couple of days. I made $80,000 that year.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-30-2014, 02:43 PM
 
Location: 10110001010110100
6,304 posts, read 10,435,089 times
Reputation: 5458
Thanks for sharing your story, your true life experiences. You should have just asked me beforehand and I would have saved you the trouble (getting flashbacks from my early 20s)!

Oh well, if you gonna fail miserably at something, it better be something like being homeless, right?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-14-2014, 07:17 PM
 
12,430 posts, read 9,407,822 times
Reputation: 8935
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garethe View Post
Hello. As promised I wanted to give everybody an update on my decision last fall to try and live without a dwelling. I don't know where the original thread went, and I don't know how to link it, feel free to search for it if you're new to the forum or need a refresher. As some of you might remember I had made the conscious choice to become homeless for an indeterminate period of time in an attempt to cut expenses, save money, and embrace minimalism. And I'm man enough to admit that it was not possible, at least not under the circumstances I was facing. Some of the issues were predicted by members of the forum, but there were other problems as well. Here are the highlights:

1. Weather: while Seattle normally has a mild winter climate (mild in the sense that it does not often go below freezing overnight), November/December were unusually dry and it was very cold without the perpetual cloud cover. This made outdoor sleeping of any kind impossible and dangerous. I was forced to spend many nights lodging with friends, family, and cheap (somewhat sketchy) motels. Even the most expensive housing is not going to cost more than $40-50 per day averaged out, so this alone spelled failure.

2. Clothing: in order to interview and search for work I needed to look good and this was impossible because for starters it looks plain silly to arrive at an employment office with a backpack and several layers of clothes. It "screamed" homeless. Now in one or two cases the recruiters knew me from past relationships, but more than once I cancelled an interview because I knew ahead of time I would not be able to arrive wearing the proper clothes. I had initially thought I could pull it off by stashing clothing at a relatives house or even the dry cleaners and just rotate the outfits. But funds ran out much quicker than planned and the relative was several hours away by ferry, too many added variables made the plan unfeasible and complicated.

3. Food: a pretty vital necessity. At first I thought I could take advantage of the many meal programs that can be found throughout the city. But much to my surprise, they are only accessible if you do not have a job because all 3 meals are served between roughly 7am and 6pm, the long commutes made it impossible because the dinner places for instance start at 5 and close up promptly at 6. In other words, you have a choice, work and starve or eat and stay broke. No wonder homelessness is so chronic.

4. To be or not to be: everybody has to "be" somewhere. No matter who we are, at any point in time throughout the day, we have someplace we need to be. But without a dwelling there is nowhere to go and most cities/jurisdictions have made it illegal to inhabit public space like sidewalks. Not that I would have done that, but there weren't too many allowable options, the library maybe. Even shelters often kick everybody out during the daytime hours or vice versa if it's a day center. But more importantly was what it did to my psyche no matter how much I tried to deny it. Walking around with nowhere to go was very depressing and lonely, in a clinical type way, not good at a time when I had to be thinking clearly.

5. Money: Everything in life requires start up costs and I clearly did not have enough of it to take on something so radical. Despite my minimalism, I found that I was a lot more dependent on "stuff" than I first thought. And the day I had to pawn my tablet was not something I was happy about or proud to be doing. And it still saddens me.

My life was going downhill, and fast. I knew that I had to put the brakes on this whole plan, which might have been possible to pull off had I started with a lot more money out of the gate, but then if I had that kind of money the whole effort would not have been necessary to begin with. Fortunately, the story ends happily. I moved in with my Mom while I looked for work, she has given me free room/board until I'm on my feet again. I just accepted a job offer yesterday and start Monday. I paid off some bills with money I earned from a brief job I had in December. And I made arrangements with creditors on others. A sympathetic friend loaned me money for living expenses until I get my first paycheck.

What lessons have I learned from all this? A lot. You have no idea. Like always having money set aside for a rainy day. Always having a need for "stuff". And always having countless expenses in life that just can't be avoided, there's no realistic way to eliminate them; not when our health/wellness are at stake.

As a reward to myself for landing a job, I'm treating myself to a newer better tablet with my first paycheck.

Post any questions and I'll be happy to answer them.
What about renting a couch in a living room from someone on airbnb? Homeless may not work, but how about 'semi-homeless'?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-14-2014, 09:33 PM
MJ7
 
6,221 posts, read 8,325,357 times
Reputation: 6492
And I thought I would try to live without Internet, after spending countless hours at Starbucks enough was enough, it was such a waste of time and energy.

Even people in 3rd world countries have homes, whether that be a hut made of sticks or a tree fort, regardless they have somewhere to lay down at night.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-15-2014, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Foothills of Northern California
442 posts, read 470,347 times
Reputation: 324
I am proud of you

Thanks for sharing your story
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-15-2014, 12:26 AM
 
47,576 posts, read 59,285,480 times
Reputation: 22194
Interesting thread. I have a relative that was "semi-homeless" while wintering in Florida which is a bit different because the weather makes it more possible. He had a car though which served as his home, he could keep his clothes and a few things in the car and sleep in it. For him it was a matter of finding places he could park to sleep, sometimes a bigger motel parking lot, sometimes a Walmart parking lot. Sometimes a rest area, sometimes a casino parking lot. He also had a tent he would use but could stash in his car when he wasn't using it.

Since he had a car, his clothing wasn't a problem. As for being somewhere, he would often be at the beach or else a casino but he didn't have a gambling problem. Indian casinos have good buffets and also good entertainment -- and big parking lots where he could crash in his car.

He said daily showers were the important consideration -- he could get them at truck stops, motels while the rooms are being cleaned, campgrounds and of course on the beaches in Florida where they have showers for people to rinse off after swimming.

I guess if you're living out of a car, you're really not homeless in the same way others might be homeless. You have your own storage space and can sleep with locked doors.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-16-2014, 09:46 AM
 
Location: northwest Illinois
2,331 posts, read 2,551,141 times
Reputation: 2423
This is maybe slightly off topic but I have to share it, since "busking" is a common way for the homeless to make money and survive. THIS kid has some serious skills! MSN Entertainment -
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2014, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, CO
521 posts, read 699,812 times
Reputation: 1141
Good job, OP, sharing your story. Took some major guts to try the "lifestyle." I kind of turned apathetic when you talked about pawning a tablet, though. If you would have "tried" being homeless the right way (in my opinion), you wouldn't have the luxury of electronics in the first place much less having stashes of supplies even a few hours from any given location you'd be in if you were actually homeless. You wouldn't have a mom to fall back on if things got too tough and you most definitely wouldn't be able to scrape together enough cash for even a sketchy motel (or it would at least take begging for change).

Sounds like you caught an 'Into the Wild' type bug and it kinda bit you back. Be grateful that you had people to fall back on because most homeless absolutely do not.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2014, 02:31 PM
 
Location: northwest Illinois
2,331 posts, read 2,551,141 times
Reputation: 2423
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiScree View Post
Good job, OP, sharing your story. Took some major guts to try the "lifestyle." I kind of turned apathetic when you talked about pawning a tablet, though. If you would have "tried" being homeless the right way (in my opinion), you wouldn't have the luxury of electronics in the first place much less having stashes of supplies even a few hours from any given location you'd be in if you were actually homeless. You wouldn't have a mom to fall back on if things got too tough and you most definitely wouldn't be able to scrape together enough cash for even a sketchy motel (or it would at least take begging for change).

Sounds like you caught an 'Into the Wild' type bug and it kinda bit you back. Be grateful that you had people to fall back on because most homeless absolutely do not.
I beg to differ with you on that statement. You might be amazed to find out how many homeless have great support back ups on hand to help them survive, much less the access they have to technology. There are some individuals out there who actually manage their own website, while homeless. Would you care to take a guess how many are military vets? Survival is second nature to them, like starting your car is to you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2014, 05:57 PM
 
25,058 posts, read 27,283,124 times
Reputation: 23257
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwest61021 View Post
I beg to differ with you on that statement. You might be amazed to find out how many homeless have great support back ups on hand to help them survive, much less the access they have to technology. There are some individuals out there who actually manage their own website, while homeless. Would you care to take a guess how many are military vets? Survival is second nature to them, like starting your car is to you.
i can vouch that there are people like this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Frugal Living
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top