I’ve been traveling over the last few months, interviewing foreclosure victims and helping people save their home from foreclosure. In order to save money, I’ve been staying with friends or relatives when possible, or sleeping in the back of my truck. I have a nationwide gym membership and I always go work out in the morning, so it’s easy to shower and get ready at the gym. As you may have guessed, our business is about as close to a non-profit as it gets, because most of our services are free. Essentially being a non profit, we do don’t have large expense accounts for hotels or corporate housing. And let’s face it, sometimes the back of a truck or van is more appealing then a cheap motel.
Since I started traveling, I’ve met several families who live out of their car, van, truck, or RV, because they’ve lost their home to foreclosure. Sometimes I feel like I can relate to their situation, but then I realize that it’s not even close to the same. At the end of the day, I still have a home, even if I never get to go there. For these unfortunate families, their vehicle has become their home; they’ve lost their house and any of their physical belonging that didn’t fit in the truck of their car. As much as I may feel their pain of living on the road, or in a car, I can never truly understand what they’re going through.
Here are a few major downsides of living in a car:
In most states, it’s illegal and you can be arrested or ticketed for living in your car – When I sleep in my truck, I usually park at a road side rest area, truck stop, or other area where sleeping in the care is 100% legal. Another good option is an inexpensive campground or a Wal-Mart parking lot. In general, Wal-Mart allows RV’s to camp in their parking lots, however, you should always get permission from the manager. California and a few other states to not allow this, so Wal-Mart is not always an option.
The cost of gas can be overwhelming – When living in your car, you will have a tendency to drive more than you normally would. This can quickly deplete your daily budget with gas prices getting higher every day. It’s better to park your car in a centralized area, where you can walk to any amenities and services you may need throughout the day.
You’ll never get a good night of sleep again – Unless you are very lucky, your nightly sleep will be interrupted several times a night. Whether it’s a police officer, noisy neighbor, loud traffic, emergency vehicles, or car thief, you can count on being woken up several times throughout the night. Finding a quiet and secure place to park at night is nearly impossible these days, this is why hotels now cost $100 a night and campgrounds cost up to $40 per night. I asked several people where the best place to park was, and the responses ranged from used car lots, hotel parking lots, beaches, hospitals, and even casinos.
No matter what your situation is, living in a car is never a good option. I am able to do it occasionally, because I am constantly on the move. I don’t stay anywhere long enough to bother anyone or attract attention. But rest assured, if you park your car at a road site rest for longer than a day or so, you’ll eventually be asked to leave. Living out of your car or on the road is an acquired skill. You’ll have to dodge the local authorities, avoid unwanted attention from your new “neighbors”, and find a place to shower on a daily basis. This can be very tiresome and frustrating, but for many, this is the only way they can live while recovering from foreclosure.
If you are facing foreclosure and you’re thinking about letting your house go and living in your vehicle, please consider other options. There are many other options available and if you think living in your car may be a good option, then just try it for a few days first. After just one day of living in your car, you’ll have a new level of motivation to keep your home and stop foreclosure.