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How to Become Debt Free by Living in your Truck

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Can you imagine living in your truck, van, or car just so you can pay off your debt?

That’s what this 27 year old student, Andy, decided to do so he can pay off his $11,000 credit card.

Thank you, Steven, for sharing this video clip on Facebook.

Andy decided to leave his $800 per month apartment and turn the bed of his pick up truck into a bedroom.

Why? Well, I think this may help sum it up for you:

  • He’s a full time college student
  • Working part-time

His credit card balance every month was going untouched. In other words, he wasn’t getting ahead at all.

So Andy did what he had to do: take matters into his own hands. He..

  • Put all of his stuff in storage
  • And began sleeping in his truck

How to Become Debt Free by Living in a Truck
Photo Credit MoneyTrackTv via YouTube

He was immediately able to begin putting all of that money that was going into rent ($800/mo) into paying off his credit card debt.

How did he remain sane? He joined a rock climbing gym and that’s where he showers.

Besides that he eats simple foods and uses the College campus to study and use the Internet during the day.

What kind of sacrifices would you, or are currently undertaking, in order to get ahead for your future?

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Beth
    January 11, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Way to go, Andy! I’ve lived in tents in the woods at various times to save on rent, even with my pet birds and dog. You gotta do what you gotta do.

    • January 16, 2012, 6:06 am

      Thanks for sharing, Beth!

    • Lottie
      July 21, 2013, 5:29 pm

      Hi Andy….well what a relief to find that I am not crazy. Five days to go before I start bivying out to save on rent and pay back £4000 in debt (£….yes, I live in southern England). I reckon I can do it by xmas. I am applying to go to UAF in the fall of 2014 so want to get money saved.
      I currently work on a southern English university campus (I graduated in Jan but still have my student job (fulltime). I will shower on campus, cook in the religious centre and at work, use the library. This is more than a financial decision though. I have had issues with houses, etc for most of my life…….thank goodness for Jay Shafer……a tiny home or cabin is what I will build eventually in Alaska as I intend to settle there. I have already being dejunking my life for a number of years and at the moment am going through my stuff again before putting it into storage on campus. I have even downsized my computer from a 15.6 inch to an 11.6 inch…….transferring stuff over as I write.
      Some people think I am crazy for doing this and others are wowing. Either way, I will be in the enviable position of debt-free-ness by the end of the year. Who’s gonna argue with that?!
      I am hoping to take to this tenting out like a duck to water so I can carry on beyond the end of my debt and put as much money aside as possible…..but we’ll see. I am thinking of doing a blog….I’ll link you in if I do.
      Anyway, enough said…..well done, nice one, way to go, etc. I wish you all the luck in the future.

      • Lottie
        November 2, 2013, 7:49 pm

        Hi Andy,
        Since my last post to you, I have been living (sleeping) outside for three months now. It is the beginning of November and the weather is turning rapidly now. I have bought a RAB winter sleeping bag and am set for the winter.
        I have paid off £3000 of my debt so far and am taking a payment-holiday this week……need a haircut/new sleep mat/etc!
        I thought about going back into accommodation very briefly about three weeks ago but as I looked through the ads online, my heart sank. Not because of prices, etc…but because something is missing when I live in buildings. I am more centred and independent when I live outdoors.
        Anyway, having bought a few extras to get me set up for the venture, my debt went up a bit so now my pay off date is more likely to be the middle of January. Not long now. I have been house-sitting for friends (and their cats) so do enjoy a matress to sleep on every now and then. Always glad to get back to my little corner in my field though. It is becoming a way of life and has presented oppotunities for growth that I think were missing when I lived indoors.
        Anyway. hope you are doing fine.

  • jim sadler
    January 14, 2012, 9:59 am

    It can be done as poor people do it quite frequently. For a college guy he just needs enough girl friends and he will have a place to stay every night.
    Here the big trick is to find a shade tree in a low lying area that tends to have a breeze or you may bake like a loaf of bread in a vehicle.
    Some guys build a crude house on the back of their trucks and excuse it as a fishing cabin. It does make the truck heavy and runs up gas bills if you actually drive the truck around as a daily runner. Wall Mart 24 hour stores are one way to hide in plain sight. Just move the truck across the lot so that patrols don’t perceive you as living in a parking space at least once a day. Hope Depot also has a lot of guests in its parking areas as do bars and 24 hr. dinners.

    • January 16, 2012, 6:07 am

      Thanks for the ideas, Jim!

  • Trish
    January 14, 2012, 11:06 am

    Great, and admirable–if you’re 27 and live in California. And how much does storage cost? Here in eastern Ontario, for seven months of the year it’s not practical to live in a truck or unheated trailer. (It’s -20ºC out there right now.) Storage for even a minimum of stuff runs from $100-$150/month. And as a retiree, I wouldn’t want to go without hot food. I’d use my backpacking stove (as I do when the power is out, or I’m camping). Sleeping in parking lots night after night? No way! But in the summer, residential streets should be OK. Libraries have free internet.
    I would love to see some of these ideas put to use in an intemperate climte!

    • January 16, 2012, 6:07 am

      Thanks, Trish. I agree- it’d be way more of a challenge in cool weather.

    • billy
      January 14, 2013, 12:56 pm

      check out curtis. “more heat i say, more heat” stealth van dweller. billy

  • Patricia
    January 14, 2012, 2:41 pm

    I admire the guy for taking the bull by the horns and doing what he needed to do to pay that debt. It’s good to do it whilst at college because campus life lends itself to hanging out in a warm dry place with internet for free.

    • January 16, 2012, 6:08 am

      Agreed! His current situation/lifestyle makes it easier than normal.. allows him to keep busy.

  • John
    January 17, 2012, 9:47 am

    Ok, this is not a tiny house, it is living in the back of a truck. Most people do this due to job loss, to avoid living on the street, not a life style choice!

  • Nick
    May 24, 2012, 4:36 pm

    Inspiring, and doing that as I speak in Santa Monica, and Los Angeles (overnight parking) The laws in place here prevent it legally so you are always careful, but at this time I am in a van which I sold my buddy who is arriving soon. Since I just paid off my truck, a compact bed-sized challenge, I am working on a 55 square feet tiny house to place on the bed. And why? I live, work, and go to school in Santa Monica, CA! Why commute when I love the West Side? Also, I did stay in a van and my truck in between financial aid payment times and am graduating with honors from Santa Monica College with admission to the Fall in UCLA (um…expensive) so now my tiny house and car legacy lives on! Godspeed and palm trees! Here’s to debt free with a PhD!!

    • May 24, 2012, 4:39 pm

      Nick, that’s amazing. Stories like this I love. Thanks so much for sharing. Debt free with a PhD, yes!! It all pays off 🙂

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