Living in Car/Office/Travel

I’m contemplating letting my lease expire and living in my car and hotel when traveling. I’m in the office three to four days a week until 7-8pm. The office is in the burbs so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking. I could find a quiet street, lay down backseats in my suv, and crash for the night. The office is also near a lifetime fitness (company gives us free membership), so I could workout and shower here in the mornings.

The remaining two to three days require me to travel and stay over night. This one’s a no brainer, as the hotel is covered by the company.

What are your thoughts? I figure I could save $40-50k a year and invest this money instead of blowing it away on rent. Also, I drive 30-45 minutes into the office, so would save on gas sleeping near office in my car.


I spent a fair amount of nights in vans, cars, trucks, ...

- sleeping in a car isn't suitable if there was no proper conversion. You are young now, but after a while your back and other joints will have a problem with regularly sleeping in a car. what might work for the odd night or two isn't ideal for a longer term plan.
- there will be people around your car at night you have never encountered before. the weirdest creatures come out at night to look at your vehicle and they may even track your moves to know when you are at which parking space. If they realize that someone is sleeping at the same space/same car, they may try to rob you. Do not do this without a gun and a plan.
- you can't sleep in a vehicle in certain regions/cities/.. ; check the local law

The rest of your plan sounds good - maybe go to a decent motel for the odd nights without sleeping in your car?


I appreciate the feedback and did not think about the personal safety aspect. Tho the suburb I work in has very little to no crime. It’s 45-60 minutes away from a major metro, so I’m not too worried about being robbed or encountering drifters. My main concern is if someone from my office would eventually figure out what I’m doing. I don’t want to be shunned by my colleagues or boss.


What do you plan to do at night after work? Where will you go to the bathroom? Are you ok eating out for every meal vs. cooking? 

Maybe all the downsides of this (incl. poor sleep) are worth the money for you but seems like a poorly thought out idea to save a little bit of money. Realistically the monetary gains from this career come from longevity so limiting stress outside of work would seem more prudent than possibly burning out due to this lifestyle. That said some guys are just built different so maybe you could handle this for long periods of time.


I plan to really dial in at work (most leave office by 7pm, I’ll stay until 8pm every night), hit the gym after work (8 to 9pm), shower, and eat my meals either at the office or in my car. I’m signed up for a meal prep service and already keep meals at the office for the week in my mini fridge next to my desk. No one goes to the office after 9pm so I don’t think I’ll get caught eating dinner late.

I’ve been sleeping on a blowup mattress in my rental nearly 23 years now. I don’t think the car will affect me too much. I have a thin memory foam mattress to put down in the backseat and trunk area of my suv.

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Ok well this actually changes everything. It's one thing to be young and incredibly frugal while scraping together some savings. People would still think that's  weird.

It's a completely different story to be 46 living in your car, even if the goal is the same. You're risking your entire reputation and career. I'm sure there are some trespassing laws you're chancing, cops are not going to be as lenient to someone your age vs. a young and dumb kid.


This might be understandable for someone making $30k trying to make ends meet... makes absolutely zero sense for someone making well into the six figures.

Agree with the other commentator that this will only be seen negatively. People in my group would seriously think there were some mental health issues going on if you did this.

Also, in many/most suburbs sleeping in a car is illegal, especially nice ones like yours seems to be. I'd conservatively assume a police officer would wake you up at least a few times a week - residents might not notice you sleeping on their street one night, but you will get the cops called (or the cops will just come up to you on their own) unless you're rotating streets and hardly ever repeating locations. Even if it's not illegal, police may just do a welfare check to see what you're up to.

Why not just get a super-cheap apartment with like 3 roommates if you're not home and don't care about your living situation? $50k/year savings imply you are living in a $4000 apartment... if you are willing to be this frugal, might as well find somewhere you can pay ~$1000-1500 for rent. Even in NYC this can be done if you know where to look.


I appreciate the thoughtful response. I am nervous colleagues may think I’m insane…but that’s for them to decide.

I’m here at the office tonight finishing dinner. I’m going to do a test run and see how sleeping in the car goes.

I will report back tomorrow. Thanks guys.


Honestly, after reading your post and responses I personally think you are insane. Not trying to be rude I just think this is a terribly thought out plan

Is there no going from your $4k apartment to a much cheaper shared place...? You could easily cut costs by $30k without becoming a literal homeless person.


1. How are you planning to stay warm during the winter? Running heating all night in the car will probably be almost as costly as rent?

2. How do you plan to piss and shit? Are you going to park your car next to 24/7 fitness center and just run there every hour or two? That feels inconvenient and embarrassing - imagine checking in with the staff, then taking a piss and coming out, then checking in again in 30 min. All that in the middle of the night.

3. Where exactly are you planning to park to sleep? Just in the middle of the street? Is it legal? I feel like police will ask you to drive home once they spot you and then will detain you for homelessness/loitering.

4. Don't you want to fuck sometimes?

5. How are you planning to keep all your stuff accessible, be able to get dressed properly, store your clothes in good condition so your shirts and suits are not wrinkly, etc.?

And these are questions just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many more complications. Overall, I'd say it's 100% not a viable idea. But please let me know your solutions to questions above, I'd be curious to know. Overall though, there are people out there spending $3,5,7k on rent while making what you're making. Being frugal is great, but becoming homeless while working in PE is another level. It's not frugal anymore, it's insane. I'd say renting a crappy studio without amenities in a cheap neighborhood would be the best move for someone who wants to save money, which is what I did in my first couple of years in consulting. But living in a car is a no-no.

  1. -30 degree Fahrenheit sleeping bag
  1. I don’t know many people who wake up in the middle of the night to shit. I know I never have. I’ll keep water bottles in my car in case I have to take an emergency piss. I plan to go to the gym first thing in the morning to go the bathroom, workout, shower, and get ready for the day.
  1. I’m still scouting out areas, but found some potential locations away from highly trafficked roads.
  1. I already do this now, but I take women to a hotel. It makes the night feel more upscale and I don’t have to clean the sheets in the morning.
  1. I already have a locker at my gym (the company covers a free membership to include a locker). I’ve done a test run and can fit 2 suits, 6 shirts, 3 pants, and 2 pairs of dress shoes in the locker. I’ll keep the rest of my casual clothes in vacuum sealed bags in my car.

Juice is worth the squeeze after last night’s test run.


3. if you sleep in a place where people live, they'll call police. did you check that it's legal to sleep in a car? I think all land belongs to somebody, so you can't just park and sleep somewhere.

4. do you feel comfortable taking women out and paying for them? then paying for hotels? taking a girl on a dinner date costs $100. a big portion of girls will not sleep with you on a first date or at all. this proportion will grow when you tell them that you don't wanna show them your place, cause they'll get suspicious about you having a girlfriend/wife living with you or some other secrets. you also won't be able to show them your car. so you'll be burning a lot of money and not getting sex, and if somebody agrees, hotels cost $200 per night. overall, you'll be spending more money on this than rent and the sex life will be very poor. better rent a cheap 1 bedroom and find a girlfriend.

5. that's one spacious locker. are you sure nobody will break into it? at my gym, lockers get broken into and people steal stuff. also, how will you feel about people at the gym staring at your suits in your gym locker?


Hey guys. Checking in after last night. For the most part everything went well.

I finished dinner at the office around 10pm and headed to my car in the parking lot. I found a one way alley behind a retail center and backed my car in.

For those wondering how I will stay warm in the winter, I have a sub zero sleeping bag that can keep me warm down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

I will need to stop by my rental after work today to pick up more clothes, but I am going to finish the week out living in my car.


Van-life is surprisingly common in tech and tech-adjacent fields… not so much that it’s “normal”, but I was at a party out west not long ago and met no joke 5 different people living in vans (as far as I know they didn’t know each other, this was just a decision they each reached independently)

Idk your firm, but this would be viewed super negatively at any job I’ve ever had. Up to you if that matters

Living in a regular car seems insane tho, showering in gyms is one thing, but I’d at least make sure you have an actual bed to sleep in


Why are you having such extreme money issues if you work in banking? I think tackling what causing your financial hardship is more important. Addictions? Reckless spending? What’s the cause of why you need to live in your car to jack your savings?

As for your plan, it’s feasible, but you only live once. Do you really want to spend a significant amount of time living in your car? Besides the obvious safety and health issues that could crop up, you’re basically torpedoing any sex life for awhile.

And finance requires long hours, so you need comfortable sleep. An SUV is not that comfortable man. I have a large Range Rover and slept in it one night when I was driving back from a party and felt too tired. It wasn’t comfortable at all. You need like an rv or an Escalade to fit a proper bed.


I have no addictions or toxic spending habits. I’m just trying to maximize how much I can save to invest. My personal savings rate is close to 80% right now. I could get this up to 85% or so by cutting my rental expense.

Also, I’m not very tall (5 foot 5 1/2) so no need for a bed. I folded the back seats down to combine with the trunk area and I fit perfectly.


You’re the chief investment officer at a private equity company and you want to “maximize” your savings by living in a van down by the river?

You got issues dude. You mention you are only 5 foot, so maybe you have some issues stemming from that.

Try out living in your car, but I think you’re money would be better spent on a cheap apartment and a therapist. Given you have no kids or wife, why do you need cut corners in life to save even more? How much is your current net worth?


This sounds insane and I wouldn't ever recommend somebody I know do this, but given you're some anonymous person on the internet who seems hell bent on going down this path regardless of what anyone else is saying, I'm all for it. I just can't imagine the reputational risk of doing this - do you not have friends? Also curious how old are you / what's your title?

This gives me mega crazy UC Berekely student commuting every day to class from LA by plane vibes lol.


Thanks for asking m8.

This is the greatest part of the entire arrangement. I plan to travel to new places and see new things. I’ve been tied to my rental for so many years that I have only really explored my current city (other than vacations and family gatherings a couple times a year). Living in my car/office will allow me to not be anchored down to one location, but rather explore the world.


I did this for awhile and saved a fair bit but it absolutely killed me.

  1. Your mental health will suffer. You will have no “private space”. No space to retreat to or close a door with absolute assurance of peace. You will always be on alert that someone is aware of your happenings or someone is approaching the vehicle. You have to rotate spots throughout the week and are always cautious if people are noticing your patterns.
  1. Your social life will suffer. I worked 80-90 hour weeks already so there wasn’t much socializing but what little I did have went away pretty much instantly. You can’t go grab a drink at a bar because if you end up drunk you risk a DUI by fact of being in your car, or risk personal safety. You certainly aren’t taking any friends for rides or brining someone home with you to your car.
  1. Your physical well-being will suffer. I camp in my car occasionally and had a nice foldable foam mattress that was extremely comfortable. But sleeping on even a nice mattress in a car for long periods does a number on you. It’s almost impossible to have the mattress flat in most model cars/SUV’s and things end up under it by fact of being in your car.

The other issue is cooking. Looking eating out is cool and all but take out is not good for you every night. I comped most of my dinners and even still there were problems. Try getting a glass of water at night or worse having to use the restroom. You body will take a real hit.

After living in my car for awhile I swung the opposite end of the spectrum and got a luxury apartment. I can’t tell you the relief I felt my first night in my own apartment that was clean, had my own shower, had my own space.

If you do live in your car I’d recommend getting a big truck/van that you can do a proper conversion in. Get a mini kitchen, proper bed, and a small closet set up at the bare minimum. A car just isn’t healthy to live out of for any significant length of time.


agree with everything but why is takeout worse than cooking? takeout is just professional chefs cooking for you. if you're ordering from good restaurants, it should be good quality. cooking by yourself, you'll either have to eat the same food all the time and then you'll be lacking different nutrients cause there's not enough diversity in your nutrition or you'll need to spend hours figuring out new recipes every week.


If this is not a troll, just get a cheap ass apartment. Your sanity is well worth the $X amount you think you will “save” by fucking up your back, trespassing tickets, and getting exposed by your colleagues for choosing to live like a delusional hippy while making (presumably) 6 figure as a grown ass 46 year old adult. Don’t see the value add. 


After reading these comments I’m honestly just surprised there’s so much disapproval of my idea. I’ve already done one night in my car and it worked out well. Best of luck to the haters and have fun blowing $30-50K of your hard earned money every year on a glorified shoebox. I’ll enjoy the same thing but with wheels for pennies on the dollar.


Thoroughly fantastic read. 46 year old Private Equity Fund CIO making ~$1M per year wants to sleep in a car (not a van or camper) in order to save $50k (5% or less of gross income) and then responds to every single question and criticism with surprisingly well thought out responses. This is easily the most absurdly out of touch, awkward, unnecessary, but somehow brilliantly refreshing and beautifully nonconforming threads I've ever read. You do you Nada loan, you do you...


In all seriousness though, what about the following:

1. Family - do you not plan to date or have a family of any kind? I'm not sure an SUV will cut it...

2. Relatives - would they not visit you at some point?

3. Social events - do you not have friends that come over to watch a game/hang out/have dinner?

4. RE - Why not buy property? You can pay cash, invest in an asset, diversify your portfolio, and avoid the evil rent that eats up a huge 5% of your paycheck.

The hilariousness of thinking that there are analysts in their 20s at this fund who don't know that their boss, who has more money than they can even conceive of, who also has an apartment, is sleeping in his car and pissing in a bottle, is top class.


Can I ask what you spend your money on if stuff like this is troubling you? Investing for what - charity, family etc?

I get if you are equally as happy doing this, but if you are swapping it just to save $50k when you are earning the money you earn, it feels a little silly personally. Also, why not grab a caravan for space / travelling?


God damn bidenomics is hitting tough. this place used to be about prestige and now we have finance professionals living like this??  you will last one week max living in your car. Perhaps the misery and inconvenience can't be truly understood until you live it for a few days. Medieval peasants lived better than this. Just get a shitty apartment instead as that would be way less miserable and you would apparently be able to tolerate a shit apartment if you are debating living in your car for fun . Do you plan to just have sex with lot lizards or what? 


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"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

I wasn’t going to check the thread again for awhile after my last post, but I’m just laying here in my car. Time definitely goes by slower and I’m really with my own thoughts which is nice. I would normally throw on some bs/mind numbing Netflix or HBO show around this same time in my rental, so this is a nice change.

Night number 2 begins.

P.s. Speaking of my rental, I think I am going to forward my mail to the office once I get out of my lease. Tho I need to figure out a smart way to do this. I wonder if I change my billing and shipping address name on all accounts to start with “ATTN” then “my name”, if this will this ensure our receptionist delivers my mail directly to my desk every time. Any thoughts?


What is the issue with just using a PO Box? Do you have some mail that cannot go to one? You have dealt with way bigger issues/risks do not let mail slow you down.

I really like the energy of this thread but just wondering do you like not like to be around people in general? Or you just prefer to be in the wilderness? Why not pay it forward by letting a relative/someone you trust stay at your fancy rental and take care of it. Then whenever the -30 blanket or so fails you have a place to enjoy comfort and recharge once in a while. At the same time its not losing 40k, since you are allowing someone else to save 30k follow me?