When 23-year-old Brandon moved from Massachusetts to the Bay area a few months ago to become a software engineer for Google, he was unwilling to give in to the incredibly high cost of living in San Francisco.
Instead of renting an overpriced studio apartment, Brandon decided to rent a 127-square-foot truck and live in Google’s parking lot.
It all started when he spent a summer in the Bay Area during his internship at Google. He rented the cheapest possible housing unit Google offered: a two bedroom apartment, which housed four people, for roughly 65 dollars a night (that’s roughly $2,000 a month).
"I realized I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in — and I was almost never home," he says. "It's really hard to justify throwing that kind of money away. You're essentially burning it — you're not putting equity in anything and you're not building it up for a future — and that was really hard for me to reconcile."
After his internship ended, he immediately began to formulate a plan.
One school year later, Brandon bought a 16-foot 2006 Ford with roughly 127,000 miles on it for just $10,000. According to his calculations, he would break even on the truck on October 21.
The only fixed-cost he has is the insurance on his truck — $121 a month — since he doesn’t have to pay for electricity, and he has everything else he needs for free on the Google campus.
"I don't actually own anything that needs to be plugged in," he explains on his blog. "The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, and I have a motion-sensitive battery-powered lamp I use at night. I have a small battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cell phone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work."
He added that the small space, while sparse, is all he needs: "The main things that I have are a bed, a dresser, and I built a coat rack to hang up my clothes. Besides that, and a few stuffed animals, there's pretty much nothing in there."
Brandon says that he’s been able to save an incredible amount of money — almost 90 percent of his income.
Even better, he says he’s been able to pay off $16,449 of his $22,434 student loan in just four months!
"As a conservative estimate (and taking bonuses into consideration), I expect to have them paid off within the next six months, saving thousands of dollars over the standard 10-year, or even 20-year plans," he says.
He has only had one run-in with Google security when he accidentally arrived at his truck late one night. After showing them him Google ID badge, security officers simply commented on his “sweet setup,” apologized for waking him up, then left him alone.
Google has not responded for a comment.
His truck lifestyle gives him more than just financial freedom; he insists that it helps force him into the world, which he hopes will translate to him traveling the world someday.
"If I do plan on traveling the world, I'll need to be comfortable with unconventional living situations, and this is certainly a good place to start," he writes. "Plus, there is never going to be a better time in my life for me to try this. I'm young, flexible, and I don't have to worry about this decision affecting anyone else in my life."
He also adds that he doesn’t know how long he will continue to live in his truck, but he doesn’t have any reason to stop any time soon: “It's been five months so far, and I don't see it stopping soon for any reason.”
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