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Don't Pay Rent ! The best money saving strategy available to millions of us.  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 7600
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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One day per month. That's how much work I have to do to keep a roof over my head, in one of Canada's most expensive cities. Soon, this cost will go down, since I'm moving to a small house on wheels.
.........
This thread isn't directed towards those who already have a nice piece of land to live on. Naturally, most of those people will live on that land. I'm rather rare in that I have a nice piece of land, but I spend most of my time working in the city, where rent gobbles up a large percentage of income for many people, who never seem to get ahead. Young people, who have not yet reproduced, are the best candidates for this lifestyle. It is particularly well suited to young men, since they don't have the same security concerns that young women might have. Empty nesters are also good candidates for this. Particularly those who have arrived at middle age without resources.
.........
In the past decade, the most I have paid to live inside a building, is the equivalent of 1 day's earnings. I have also done many stretches where I spent nothing, and simply lived in vehicles at job sites. This isn't practical for large families , but totally doable for any young man in the Building Trades and in many other occupations. I live in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. I am sure this could work in most parts of North America and the world.
.......
Most of us have heard the saying, "If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall." For many people in Canada, the cost of housing is the beginning of their downfall. This is something I've known since childhood.
......
The decision to not pay rent, is mostly about eliminating mental barriers. Many people will convince themselves that it's not practical, without ever stopping to try and work it out. It's simply a matter of eliminating extra junk from your life, buying a suitable vehicle , and moving in. Most intelligent people will be able to figure out things like showers, free camping spots and toilets.
.....
I had two young men working for me. They were Kyle and Martin. Kyle paid $800 per month to rent a shabby apartment, during the entire time I knew him. This represented a huge chunk of his income. Martin seized the opportunity to pitch his tent at my jobs, and pay nothing for rent. He had a huge amount of disposable income. He was able to get ahead of the game financially. Kyle was on a treadmill that left him broke at the end of each month.
........
Let's start off with a roll call. If you are one of the many who have lived rent-free, tell us a little about it. Anybody can live rent-free in a cardboard box near the mission. I'd rather hear about those who held a proper job, and have been homeless or somewhat homeless by choice , while saving a large portion of their income. The idea is to live relatively comfortably without the expense.
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This trailer will soon be my home away from the farm.
 
Posts: 48
Location: thunder bay ontario canada
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Hi Dale. Loved your insightful post. I'm in northern ontario living on 73 acres that I acquired by cashing in my city business. Living happily and totally off the grid with only a property tax bill to contend with. Most may not have the opportunity to have enough cash to purchase a property with existing home on it, and in this event I would recommend sharing or privately purchasing a piece of land, placing a temporary trailer to accommodate, while building a cabin. This will allow one the opportunity to save up for their ultimate dream situation. Ecovillage situations are also cropping up, simply out of necessity.
 
gardener
Posts: 2790
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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My uncle-in-law spent 20 years with the army.  Came out and lived with his parents until they passed (he was then in his upper 50's).  Then he met a lady on Match and moved in with her where he's paying "rent" to her but I'm guessing it's more of a shared mortgage and bills arrangement.  So he got by for quite a while without rent.
 
master pollinator
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I built and lived in a tiny house 23 years before it was even a fashionable. In fact I was even scoffed at because I built a 24 x 24 foot square garage and lived out of that starting out in 1994. Since we had a gravel pit and forest, I used my own lumber coming off  our sawmills, and made my own concrete to build it, so I have always owned my own home.

The people that scoffed at me? They got McMansions and mortgages to match. But as they paid in interest, and their shiny new houses lost their luster from age, and their friends built newer houses that had the latest and greatest making their homes looked rather dated, they had to take out home equity loans to pay for upgrades and credit card debt. Now they are really in debt, but me...debt free and just plugging along on my house. I admit it has taken 23 years to get to where I am now, but through steady building, moving buildings and connecting them to my house; my house is nearly 3000 square feet.

It really is the tale of two ways to build: you can take the quick road and pay for it the rest of your life, or take the harder, slower road and build as you can afford it and reap the benefits for the rest of your life.

For what it is worth; being debt-free; I was able to retire last year at age 42.

I am no better or worse than anyone else; I just made some financial decisions that were better long term investments.
 
pollinator
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Not so easy if you are a couple or a family , so my solution is to work for the LL . I pay a little rent less than 400$ a month for a detached house huge amount of land gardens orchard  etc etc  LL is happy I am happy department of making folks sad in the dark at 56 am a bit long in the tooth for squatting as I used to in London.

David
 
gardener
Posts: 3858
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I haven't paid for housing for about 17 years. I made a decision back then that freedom was more important to me than security... If I minimize expenses to the bare minimum, then I don't have to earn as much. I don't have to plant, weed, harvest, and sell as many crops.

I lived in an intentional community for a year. Then lived in a monastery for a few years. Then I raised a woman's children for her in exchange for a place to sleep. Now I'm caretaking my parents. When they are gone, I expect to move into a vehicle and become more nomadic. I giggle at the thought... Me becoming more nomadic? What a hoot!

 
pollinator
Posts: 464
Location: SF Bay Area
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This kind of thing has never been an option for me, as I have never been a childless adult. And, at least around here, living in a car or some other alternative housing is a sure way to have the government take your kids.

But, my best friend was a long haul trucker for a number of years, and lived in her semi. Her biggest complaint was food. Truck stops have places to shower, and do laundry, and to eat. But, eating out is never quite the same, as doing it yourself.

I don't much like eating out anymore, or eating other people's food. My kids are having issues with this as well, they found college food unbearable.

I tend to have the house where everyone else stays. As soon as my youngest comes home for the summer, we will be back up to 7 in the house.
 
pollinator
Posts: 263
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 5b
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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When my wife and I moved back to Montana after living 2 years in Vancouver BC, I got a job as a full time librarian--something I am still doing--and were luck enough to build a small cob house on my parents property. We have lived rent free for 2 years now and it is awesome. We don't have a fridge or an oven, but totally worth it as my parents "rent" is a bag of coffee once a week and picking up dog crap.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have sold and given building materials to several people who are doing the small house thing. Some build them so large that they can't really be mobile very often.
........
A couple of months ago, the house on the small trailer plan was hatched. I gave notice and prepared to move out of my incredibly cheap room. Then, my truck blew a rod and is in need of extensive repair. I'm still deciding whether or not it is worth fixing. Luckily, I have my Toyota Tercel. Believe it or not, it has the most comfortable seat for sleeping of any car I have ever tried. It lays down almost flat. I park on a slight upwards incline and it's perfect. So, for a short time , the car will be home. This is a bit of a pain when I'm doing tree and hedge work. In one way it's good, because it forces me to find someone else to do the hauling. This means that I only do the cutting, which pays $50 an hour. I'm not busy all the time, and that's okay. Better to get paid well for short stints. When I'm doing demolition or preparing buildings to be moved, buildings that contain washroom facilities and bedrooms are mine for the duration of the project. It's summertime, and I'm certainly not worried about my minor predicament. I've had a really good run financially lately, and could move into a building or buy a different truck, at any time. It's quite liberating. If I end up unemployed for a short time, I can head up to the farm or to anywhere else of my choosing.
.......
 No one suspects that a Toyota Tercel is being slept in, so I doubt that I will have issues with the police or any of the local suits. On the few occasions when this has come up, I've lied to the person who's giving me grief, and moved on.
.......
A white or light-colored vehicle is almost always preferable to a dark one. In the winter, when the sun is low in the sky or it's raining, a dark-colored vehicle will not absorb any useful amount of heat from the paint on the outside. A dark vehicle will always be more prone to overheating in the summer. My car and my last van were both dark colored. The original purchasers choice, not mine.

Vehicles do absorb useful heat through the windows, even in the winter, if the sun is available. I have never heated any of my vehicles, and I have never come close to getting too cold. It's all about preparation. I do plan to heat the trailer sometimes.

Check out the photo of my $600 Toyota, bought from the original owner in extremely good condition. An absolute steal. The second photo shows my black shower bag that usually resides in the back window, but can also be placed on the roof for very fast heating.
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Stacy Witscher
pollinator
Posts: 464
Location: SF Bay Area
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Dale, does is not get too cold where you are because of marine influence, because when my friend was doing long haul from Texas to Canada, through North Dakota, if her truck died she would have froze to death.

I've been to Victoria,  a long, long time ago, but in the summer, so I'm unfamiliar with your winter weather.

I'm not a traveler, was as a child, but not now. So, my experiences can be quite limited.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 7600
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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We seldom get more than 10 degrees below freezing. This is not a problem for any qualified camper, particularly if they are in a vehicle, and not exposed to the extremes of wind rain and snow. It would be much more difficult in a tent. I once had a job helping to decommission a big Cold War underground facility. I had to park my van across the open doorway, to keep copper thieves out. It got cold and we received a foot of snow. I was perfectly warm, under the blankets of my frigid vehicle. When it's that cold, it's important to get dressed and get moving quickly in the morning. When going to bed, I would often hop in with my clothes on and strip down when the bed heats up. This would probably happen faster for a couple.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I think vehicle camping is the exception rather than the norm for those who decide against paying rent. Many make arrangements with employers or friends for some sort of exchange.

My plan for the trailer is rather unique. I like to hide in plain sight. I will make it look like a landscapers trailer, complete with some rakes and shovels attached to the exterior. I also don't look the part of someone who is living like this. If I'm not working, I pop out wearing my Sunday best. I cut my hair and don't have a beard. Cigarettes and alcohol are not part of my life. In this way, I am able to blend into the best neighborhoods.

When I'm working at a job where I have use of a building , I will park in the driveway or on the lawn, as I have always done.
.......
People are often concerned with what other people might think of their actions. I'm quite fond of this quote that I found on the internet .

"What other people think of you, is none of your business."
 
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Dale,
I am in the same situation.

I have spent most of the last decade living in vans and truck campers. I choose to live in these vehicles. I don’t do this because I am homeless or poor. I do this because I have always felt rent is a scam. When I rent, I am only paying for a kitchen, a shower, and a place to sleep. My van offers the place to sleep. My van/work act as a kitchen and the gym is a place to shower.

I spent most of my 20's living in a van and traveling around the country. At age 27 I decided to buckle down and get a real job. I am now 31 and recently cashed purchased my 2 acre property. I would like to retire on this property by 40 years old, at the latest.  Right now make $75k a year and live off  $1000 per month. Most of that money goes to food. Once I get my garden started my food bill will drop significantly and I think I will live off $600-800 per month.

My retirement plan is to buy rental properties. As much as I think rent is a scam, people will pay for housing, so I am going to capitalize on it.

I always try to tell people there are other ways to live but they always have excuses.

The biggest budget items that I have cut out living this way.
Rent: $400-$800 per month. saved by living in a vehicle and soon to be a yurt
Cell phone: $75-100 per month. free service plans exist. Right now I use Freedom Pop which is a free service in the US. It's not great but it works.
Internet: I don't know what people pay for internet, I use free sources.
Food: *Hopefully* I can save 200-400 per month on food once I get my garden up and running. I would like to not have to buy food at all but that is a few years away. The disadvantage of mobile life is you are reliant on the food systems.
Credit cards and other debits: $100-$300 per month. I live debt free and make cash purchases.

I save up to $1500 per month just by cutting out the major expenses most people don't think they can cut. This savings equates to $18,000 per year or $25000 per year before taxes. A majority of Americans can give themselves a 50% raise just by leaving a non traditional life style(I don't know what life cost in other countries, so I can only speak for US cost)

Also, if anyone is interested in living in a vehicle to save rent.  www.CheapRvLiving.com is a great site. It is built and occupied by friendly people living in vehicles.
 
Posts: 161
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Cool topic, thanks for bringing it up.

My story is an evolution on the idea of living rent free, although I totally confess I've always had my own home during my period of homelessness.  

Back in 2006, I moved away from the bay area in CA, and bought my first house in the Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Placerville, CA.  A beautiful area, but not a ton of work, especially in the trade I was in.
I bought a camper shell (a small basic shell) for my 1989 2wd toyota pickup (the small pickup with a six foot bed), and went back to work for the company I'd been working for for the previous ten years.  I was a contractor, and the tiny company I worked for had an account with Applied Materials in Santa Clara, CA, aka Silicon Valley.  This company made the machines that made the silicon wafers for Intel.....a huge fortune 500 company with ten to twenty large buildings in the area at any given time, and thousands of employees locally.  They had gyms, and shower facilities for the employees........and because I had a card reader with "facilities access" due to my job, I was able to access any area of any building 24/7.

My typical week consisted of driving down Monday morning at 2am, getting to work a little after 7am, and then around 4pm hitting the gym, taking my dog out to play for a couple of hours (Oh yeah, I kept a cattle dog mix with me the entire time.  There were parking garages that kept the dog out of the sun while she was in the car, and with rare exception let her out every lunch to go for a short walk and stretch) then I'd normally eat fast food for dinner.  I just had a sleeping bag and the most minimal of supplies in the truck with us.  Most of the time I'd find an apartment complex to park in front of for the night, never spending the night in the same place twice, but going back to the same places after a while.  I didn't want to park in the corporation's parking lots since they were patrolled by security guards very thoroughly.  On Friday I'd drive back to my house in the Sierras and refresh my batteries at home.  Then repeat the routine.  I did this for two years.  Not ideal, but it was such a simple life, and so practical.  I was able to make a decent wage, and put everything I made towards my mortgage, not to mention making a large sum of money investing in the stock market.  Going back home was like a mini vacation every week.

I was able to pay the house off in 2008, and made a $50,000 profit on it when I sold it the same year. I moved to Utah in 2009 and was able to pay cash for a nice, newer (2001) home 1400 sq.ft., with a little over 1/3 of an acre lot.  
Let me say, I probably don't think like most, and don't behave like most.  I'm ruled by logic, and it gives me as many problems socially, as it helps in other areas.  That being said, I don't really get people, so I don't feel I need to be around them.  I am a total loner, so that allows me to get away with this type of lifestyle.  It's probable I have some type of mild autism.....but that's just a silly self diagnosis.
That being said, I don't see why I'm not seeing more people doing what I've just started to do.  There's no reason a small family couldn't do the same thing.

I'm sitting in my house one day, and I'm bugged by the fact that I just use it to sleep in, shower in, and cook in.  It's a three bedroom.......and two of the rooms are used for storage of things I don't use and don't need.  It's got two bathrooms, and obviously I'm not using one of them.  I'm using a swamp cooler for cooling which is cheap (my summer electricity bill was never more than $65, and it's over a 100 degrees for three months of the year here).  It's just a big waste for a person like me.
So I thought why not rent it out, and boondock in my backyard in a small camper or rv.  Rent here for this size house is $1,000 a month.  I could live on $600, but more is always better/easier.
I subdivided the lot into two separate zones using a nice steel fence.  I've been building the soil on my side of the lot for the last three years, and it's really showing with the garden I have growing this year.  I've planted about thirty fruit and nut trees on my portion in the last few years.  I bought an old class c rv for $2,000 last year, and moved into it two months ago.  It's all I need.
I currently have a renter (a person I met at work that I'm giving an incredibly good deal to currently).  He's living here rent free the first two months, and then $600 a month until the end of the year.  I did this to help him out, and also because I'm working the kinks out as far as the living arrangements go.  I still need to run some water and power lines to the rv, and this will involve a lot of work in the house, and in his portion of the lot.  Also, it's just a verbal agreement, either of us are free to back out at anytime.  He will also be paying the entire electricity bill which I will be using.   I've also retained the attached two car garage for my own use.

I'm in the middle of a growing city (there is a medical college being built two blocks up the street from me, one of only two in the state, and it will be opening this summer), and it's becoming more desirable each year from what I've seen from its growth.  There is a shortage of rentals in the area already.

Anyway,  I haven't seen many people do this with their own property.  Yes, I've seen the tiny house people living on other people's lots, but not people living tiny on their own lot and renting out their main house.
It seems like it would make a lot of sense for a young couple so that they would have an easier time affording their monthly mortgage.  It's not a glamorous way to live by any means, but it's surely practical/logical.  There are some incredibly nice, cheap, spacious rv's out there (especially if they're not running well) that could be permanently parked on a lot.................

That's all.


 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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There are many people who choose to live small in their own home, just by moving to a portion of it and renting out the Lion's Share. I know a young couple who live in their basement apartment, while renting out a big house for $2,000 a month. They are the exception of course. Many more young couples will pay rent on that basement apartment owned by someone else. I also know an older lady who lives pretty much in one room of her large house. She rents out one apartment and she provides room and board to several people.

I built a small cabin for my friend John. It is only 25 feet from the house, where shower and toilet are located. His total cost was $9,000. He rents out rooms to foreign students who attend the University. It took three years of renting out one extra room, to pay for his cabin. He has much more privacy now, and his little house is costing nothing.
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S Tenorman
Posts: 161
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Okay, so obviously I don't get out that much..... :-/

I just don't like the idea of living with someone else in the same house, or for that matter, sharing the same lot with no defined boundaries.  I don't want to hear footsteps overhead, or have to worry about how loud I'm playing my music.

That's a nice looking cabin, and it looks like you're quite the carpenter.  Here's the problem I have with it.
It's permanent to a certain degree (at least it looks like it is).  
Where I live, what I'm doing is technically illegal.  I don't think you can have two separate residences on the same lot.  My neighbors are cool, so I don't see it being a problem for me......but if it is, worst case scenario is I sell the MOVEABLE rv, and figure out how I'll morally evict the tenants out of the home so I can move back in.  I could always boondock out in the nearby desert for a time while that was being worked out.

After searching my local craigslist for less than a minute (literally), I just found this for just under $10,000 (in my experience with cl, people are willing to negotiate, and I'd bet it could be had for $9,000.)  https://stgeorge.craigslist.org/rvs/6169183519.html
I don't know what all is in the cabin, but I'm guessing it's not as nice as this (although I'm certain your cabin is a better built, longer lasting asset)........
If a couple doesn't have the skills to build themselves a cabin (or the time for that matter), they could purchase an rv and be in it in a day's time.
Also, when they decide they're sick of living in their small rv, they could always sell it for whatever they could get, and move back into their main home, alone, and not have a permanent structure stuck on their lot.

Of course I'm more city oriented when I speak, and in a more country setting a nice cabin on the same lot is probably more of an asset in the long run.

Like I said, I don't see a lot of people doing this, it just seems like there'd be more examples.  Like I said again, I don't get out much.  lol.

I hope I'm not coming across as rude or anything, because I'm not trying to be.  I'm just sharing my story.  

I actually think what might have actually inspired me to live in such a manner is the foreigners I used to work with back in the bay area.  They were Albanian, (muslim) and were really smart about buying real estate in the area.  They'd buy a house, rent it out, and then find a job on the side managing an apartment complex.  They'd get a free room at the apartment in exchange for maintaining the daily needs of the complex, and dealing with the renters.
All the while having their home's mortgage paid for by the renter.  I saw first hand people come to this country with nothing, make less money than me, and be able to buy a house in the most expensive housing area in the nation.  Some of them had multiple homes after the thirteen or so years I worked for them.
Smart people, and I'm thankful to have met with and worked with them.  
 
Dale Hodgins
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My tenant, Randy has lived at my place for 5  1/2 years, without paying rent. He makes himself useful by maintaining the road and other things with his excavator, and he acts as a watchdog. I tried several other people who failed at the simple task of keeping the place clean and reporting to me once in a while.

There are thousands of properties just on this island, that might benefit from having a part-time caretaker. I found one couple on this site , who were supposed to do 2 hours of work per month , in exchange for living in my cabin. They couldn't find that kind of time, and I had to kick them out.

The caretaker thing is probably the most available and workable situation for most people. Particularly if there are children , a fixed address can be desirable.
.......
Most of us don't get paid to sleep. I know a fellow named Carol who does get paid to sleep, in his van, at job sites where materials might be stolen. His dog barks at the slightest provocation. When he wakes up in the morning, he's already at work.
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Excavator hugelkultur
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Randy put logs right where I want them
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He excavated this pond
 
Posts: 669
Location: Porter, Indiana
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On the landlording website BiggerPockets, the typical strategy for living for free is to buy a duplex or triplex, and have the rent from the other (or other two) units cover the whole principal, interest, taxes, maintenance, and insurance on the complex.
 
Dale Hodgins
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My dad used that simple concept to accumulate about 25 rental units by the time he was 70. Not bad for a carpenter who raised 10 kids. My dad used to Marvel at the number of relatively broke old people that he would encounter. He'd say "how could  these people have lived through the sixties and seventies and not made money?"

That scenario is not really doable in the expensive real estate market where I live. Prices have grown far beyond the ability to raise that much through rents. 50 miles from Victoria, it works sometimes. On British Columbia's mainland, it works once you get about 100 miles from Vancouver. Of course there will always be exceptions.
 
Dale Hodgins
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For the past several days I've been living in my new Oceanfront home that is worth somewhere in the 5 million range. They want a 10 million-dollar one. It's being demolished. I have all the comforts of home. They even left me as super comfortable couch to sleep on. The electricity is still on and I have a stove, washer and dryer and a microwave.

My only complaint is at the seagulls and otters get up really early. At about 5 a.m. the otters that sleep in front of the window, near the big rock, sometimes start wrestling.

I wake up at work, turn on my radio and look for valuable pieces to tear off of this house. I've already delivered some giant glazed pots to a friend. I've got at least a year's worth of cleaning supplies and paper towels from this place.

Quick tip. If you're going to live in a junk heap, make sure it's a good junk heap. There's better stuff in those ones. Other people will buy it.

This car living isn't so uncomfortable after all.
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This house comes with a built-in way to make money
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Posts: 18
Location: NE Iowa
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chicken forest garden hunting
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Dale Hodgins wrote:My tenant, Randy has lived at my place for 5  1/2 years, without paying rent. He makes himself useful by maintaining the road and other things with his excavator, and he acts as a watchdog. I tried several other people who failed at the simple task of keeping the place clean and reporting to me once in a while.

There are thousands of properties just on this island, that might benefit from having a part-time caretaker. I found one couple on this site , who were supposed to do 2 hours of work per month , in exchange for living in my cabin. They couldn't find that kind of time, and I had to kick them out.

The caretaker thing is probably the most available and workable situation for most people. Particularly if there are children , a fixed address can be desirable.
.......
Most of us don't get paid to sleep. I know a fellow named Carol who does get paid to sleep, in his van, at job sites where materials might be stolen. His dog barks at the slightest provocation. When he wakes up in the morning, he's already at work.




I can't believe people are so utterly lazy that they can't chip in a couple hours of work each month. In exchange for rent. It boggles my mind.
I usually listen to Paul's podcast JUST to hear about the crap and beggars he has to put up with. It seems like he attracts them.
I just listened to #373, "Epic Shit", where he describes examples of this, and in contrast, the hard work he put into his early career to get where he is now. I highly recommend it, if you haven't heard it. Very inspiring.

I don't know why, but the purple-breathers fascinate me like a train wreck. I'm always rubber necking the carnage.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I love the pictures, and the loader. That's a great relationship.

 
Dale Hodgins
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The most important thing to remember, if you get a sweet deal going is, don't screw it up.

The view from my deck.
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Posts: 53
Location: Cumming, GA
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forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Ok, so perhaps this is not free, but depending on how you work it out, it could be. The idea I have had for years and now older with adult children, I still feel like it could work. Now, my sister is working where she is basically paid to sleep sometimes, so better than free. Here is the idea, as the nation ages, there are many people that need attention or some "care". Now, not talking about true medical care, but help with basic tasks, maybe family is not able to help or too far away or the person is well off and just needs help with preparing food, light house work, maybe driving back and forth to doctor appointments. Here is the bottom line, my sister works as a care giver for 12 hours at a time and paid. Sometimes the shift is at night and she sleeps, getting paid. That is one thought, that maybe can be extended into taking a room over in a house for someone you are caring for. The other idea that I have had for years is just that. Perhaps an older retired couple or single person needs help with light house work, cooking, cleaning, transportation to church or meetings or doctor appointments. You can provide that for the payment of staying on site for free. Now, you still need to make money to purchase things, so not sure that would work for a family, but it could depending on the arrangement. Perhaps the person has a vacation home and the security fees are high or problems with break ins. Well, you live there when they are out of town and keep in real clean. They give you a few days notice and you find alternative space while they visit their vacation home for a weekend or week, etc. Maybe you work in a condo complex watching multiple homes and staying in different ones making a small amount from each one. That may work for a family, rather like a house sitting permanent location or a caretaker for a condo complex. If you can do minor repairs and contract out the major ones, even better. The bottom line is flexibility and adaptability. If you have home improvement skills, gardening skills and social skills, I believe it would not take long to find someone willing to let you stay in a location for rent free or nearly rent free in exchange for work/ services/ guard duty, etc. Obviously it would get more complicated for a family. I have even seen a situation where someone live on a storage lot for home items storage, rent a closet type idea and provided night security and daytime assistance for those that needed into their storage units. This can even apply to boats at a dock. If someone has a house boat and uses it every other weekend in season, but the rest of the time is was sitting vacant and liable to damage or theft, then you could house sit a house boat, or boats while owners paid you to live there. Again, just ideas for you to pursue, but I firmly believe it is doable, just takes some research. Obviously if you have a spotty record with the law, these may not work out for you. I would highly recommend some character witnesses and recommendations to help settle anyone's fears. Hope that helps someone looking.

Richard
 
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Location: northern northern california
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well i havent paid rent, except in a work exchange, since my early twenties. I have done a ton of different work exchange situations, many of them difficult and drama filled unfortunately, but more than a few that worked worked out quite well.

in my early 20s i decided i wanted a step van, or short bus to live in, and thats when i first learned to drive, just so i could move into a van =)
and yeah..it is a good option, but after a long long time of doing it, it definitely gets old eventually. there can be a heavy sort of emptiness...in this...like you feel like...ah idk its hard to explain.

for about 10 years i lived out of a van, going from place to place, which was conducive to making a living with my art, travelling to events and good selling areas...then going back out to the forest or the ocean areas where it was easier to find good place to van camp.

and along the way would move into a communal situation, or work trades, for a year or 2 here and there...

i had it pretty down by the end of that period. i had a whole network of spots i could stop in for a few days to a week...all the way up and down the west coast. i had a lot of good spots in washington, the marinas were pretty good, and found little hideaway spots in the forest in different towns between washington and northern california, out in the mountains or on the coast. i had some great spots in astoria oregon, outside of eugene, along the southern oregon coats, and especially loved to make it back to the forest in the mountains of northern california, where it was quite easy, and LEGAL to live out of a van. i know that towards the end of that period it became harder and harder to find good spots, because the police started being very agressive with this form of free living...posting signs all along the beaches and such...all the good easy nice spots...starting posting signs and agressively patrollling at night for people sleeping in vehicles.

towards the end of that period i really burnt out on it though, then again to be true i do miss some of the adventures i had...in having those experiences.

i agree with the poster above who says one of the drawbacks is in preparing meals, and having a bad diet. that kind of lifestyle definitely doesnt help in eating the best diet. for me an issue is that i love to grow things...and thats pretty impossible when your so all over the place...i have grown and left so many beautiful gardens.

and so moved on to work trades, trading my skill set particularly in  growing food and landscaping for a more stable place to glamp out...to even a few situations that were quite comfortable and not just small off grid shacks etc...

 
Dale Hodgins
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I was living in a comfortable place, renting from a former girlfriend. We have been broken up for a long time and I thought everything was fine, until I found a new girlfriend half her age. I came back from my 2 month vacation,  that included the new girlfriend, to find that the small amount of stuff stored at her place, had been moved to my friend's house. So, I am back in the vehicle a little earlier than expected. :-)

I quickly accepted my lot and made the vehicle sleepable. I then called Jim, a guy from a house moving company that I regularly do work for. Turns out he has several nice houses for me to prepare. We looked at a really nice one yesterday. I stayed later to look some more. Then I washed some laundry in the sink, had a hot shower and shaved, while a couple of my batteries  charged.

It can be really shity to find out that you are homeless. I didn't skip a beat. I'm going to be very busy for the next couple months, preparing these houses, so I wouldn't have had much time to go back to an apartment that was paid for. Instead, I will wake up at work every day. I still get out sometimes. I go to the store, or to the beach or to visit friends. I sometimes entertain friends at these houses those who don't care much for furniture.

Check out these pictures. Not bad for a guy who just got booted out on his ass. :-)
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Not Really going to hang out in this living room.
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It is a pretty nice neighborhood
 
Dale Hodgins
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Tonight will be my last night in that house. I will do one night in the car, which is actually super comfortable because the seat goes right back, and then I will live in the little town of Sidney. I haven't seen that house yet, but they're almost always nice.

The other day my girlfriend, who lives in Kenya was absolutely insistent that I need to rent a place. I explained that I was quite comfortable and have everything I need. And I really don't like spending money foolishly. She's afraid someone might slit my throat. That's a real possibility for someone sleeping outside where she lives.

The pressure continued. Twice, she told me she was not going to buy a bone-building drug that I had paid for, for her femur, that was broken in a car accident. Then she said she wasn't going to get the dental work done, because I obviously need that money so that I can rent a place. These are actual needs, that she can't afford and I can easily pay for. It seems to be quite universal, that people will assume you are in some sort of trouble financially, or mentally, if you choose to not spend money on rent. I had to go over the numbers with her, and explain that my buying those things for her only took a few hours pay and were definitely not the reason that I was not renting a place to live. "Then why don't you rent a place." She looks nothing like my mother, but there are definitely similarities.

Embarrassment is a big thing in Kenya. She didn't want relatives to find out about it, because they would think she was dating someone who is broke. That's right, a broke person who just flew Halfway Around the World. Her uncle totally understood, when I explained the work situation. I told him about the pressure coming from his niece. He said she's always been very concerned about the well-being  of others, and doesn't ask much for herself. I guess that's a good thing. I've known a few women who will bleed you dry.

Within my family, it's also the women who would like to see me give up the way I'm living. My sister asks about cold weather. My niece is concerned that I'm in dire financial straits. My daughters find it embarrassing. They find lots of things embarrassing. So, I told them that as soon as I'm able to bring my girlfriend from Kenya, I will stop living this way. They would also find that embarrassing. She's half my age. I think Ricky Nelson wrote a song about my situation. I certainly can't please everybody. I don't know that I ever really gave it much of a try. :-)
 
Dale Hodgins
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This house doesn't have electricity, so the water heater doesn't work. But, my electric kettle heats water just fine, when a cord is run from the neighbors. I filled it numerous times and then dumped it into the white garbage can. Once I had that much hot water, the tub was used just like in any other house. Whenever I'm using the tub, there's another kettle of water heating.

This also heat the bathroom, since the water is always losing some heat. This is the only time any room I'm living in, gets heated.

Later on, I cooked soup in the same kettle. I got a little carried away and filled it, so it was last night's supper and I have reheated it for breakfast this morning.
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gardener
Posts: 2320
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I lived in my camper van in Vancouver Canada for 3 years.  This not only afforded me a place to rent in an extreme rental market, but it also allowed me to save a massive amount of money toward the down payment on my property (which is now almost paid for).  Since the space was quite small, I mostly used it as a bedroom/breakfast space, but I could have done a lot more in it.

Living this way might not be for everyone, but it is surprising how adaptable a person can be, and it forces ingenuity or thinking outside the box which has surprising advantages.  

Since I was working in Group Homes, and was on relief worker lists at many houses, I would bicycle to and from work, so I was always leaving the van anyway.  Vancouver is full of cheap groceries, if you know how to look for them, and I know how to make a mean sandwich, or wrap.  I have traveled extensively by bicycle, and going on extended camping trips so I am familiar with eating light and on the move.  If I feel like eating out, then it's not a huge expense since I am living so cheap already.  The amount of money I spent on food was a fraction of what most people did, and I wasn't paying rent.  

For the first year I would primarily park near a recreation center, or right by a group home where I had been booked into work.  The morning crap could happen at work, or I would stop at the rec center for a dump on the way to start my day.  Only once in three years I had to take an emergency dump on a newspaper in the van.  I wrapped it up in more newspaper, double bagged it, and put it in the trash.  Not ideal or hygienic, and nothing to be super proud about, but it was one time in 3 years and in comparison to all the gross crap that people put in the trash, I don't feel too badly about it.  

For the second two years, I parked, respectively, in front of a friends place (in exchange for looking after her three kids on occasion), and in the alleyway driveway behind another friend's place, which was also a group home-ish situation (which I did in exchange for both being present for the dude in the basement who needed very occasional support, or doing childcare for their toddler so that mom could go to a yoga class.  I had electricity at those two locations, and so was able to have light, and to power a little heater.  In order to not burn too much heating electricity, I hung wool blankets from curtain rods in the ceiling, dividing the space, so that I was only heating half of the bed area, and only for hang out time (not sleeping), if I wasn't hanging out in the rec centers.  I turned this nook into a cozy little nest with several books, a small reading  lamp and lots of pillows.  It also had natural light and operable windows for cross ventilation, and an operable skylight to get rid of moisture and to add light.  I had several wool blankets on the bed and two down sleeping bags at my disposal.  I never heated at night for sleeping, even when it got to 10 below freezing.  I learned from bike touring, that as long as my feet were warm going into the sleeping bag, then I was going to sleep well and warm, so if I was a little cold, I went for a 20 minute or half hour walk, and then quickly got into bed.      

A pass to all the recreation centers in the city was SUPER cheap, especially when you treat it as your living room, as I did.   I had libraries at my disposal, weight rooms, pools, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs with lounge chairs around them.  Yeah!!!

On top of this, I like being outside, and Vancouver is full of forest/mountain and ocean opportunities.  I paid a small fee for a club membership where I had year round access to a sea kayak.   I would regularly bike to the north shore to go hiking to mountain peaks, and in winter I would ride my bike over to Seymour Mountain, take the shuttle up and snowshoe all day.  Sometimes I would drive the van up to the ski hill and stay the night up there (after letting the attendants know I was staying there, and not lost in the backcountry), and so would have extended stays on the mountain, in pretty lux accommodations.
 
Dale Hodgins
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You sure kept busy. I used rec centers a little bit, mostly because it was a good place to meet women. Whenever I would go, there were lots of other single guys who lived alone. Most of them had an apartment, but they weren't at that apartment because there was nobody else there. I found that some rec centers had a cross-section of the population as their clientele, while others seemed to be hosting a loser's convention. Several times, I found that I was the only gainfully employed guy in there. I think it was a time of day thing. I often showed up at 10 p.m.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Posts: 2320
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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You sure kept busy.  

 I kind of had to.  Despite living in the city for a good chunk of my life, I don't really like the urban experience much. I sort of drove myself nuts there in the 90's. There are aspects of it I do like, and Vancouver is particularly nice compared to some because it has so many parks, beaches, wilderness access, ocean access... etc.  I would much rather be up in the Rockies, or in some small coastal town or island, but I sort of fell into a job, and I could work as many hours on call as I wanted, take time off when I wanted, have long vacation times... etc.  Anyway, since I was down there, I needed to keep myself occupied so I didn't go nuts again, and I like to be active and outdoors.  There is a lot a guy can do for free, or close to it, if he has a mind to it... and in the city it is real real easy to spend a shit ton of money and have not much to show for it in the end.  I was there to save money, and still be in shape so that when I got my land I would hit the ground running.
 
Dale Hodgins
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My cordless tools have made my transient lifestyle much more convenient. I'm using my Milwaukee cordless light on the lowest setting, in this picture. It's bright enough that you could work. At full blast it puts out 1500 lumens and is good for about four and a half hours.

I just moved into this house an hour ago. The former occupants moved out a few days ago and it was left with just a little bit of pet hair and other dirt. The first thing I always do is use my cordless blower to completely clean my new living space. I do it making use of the prevailing wind and make the space cleaner than it has ever been before, by blowing down every shelf, the ceiling and every crevice. Even when living in a proper apartment, I developed this style of cleaning, because it is so much cleaner than using a broom and vacuum.

Electricity in this house was shut off before I arrived, so I immediately set up my solar water heater, when I looked at the job yesterday. That amounted to filling four 2 liter pop bottles with water and laying them flat on the dry grass on the southwest side of the building. After tearing down a chimney today, I was ready for a hot shower.

The lack of electricity could affect productivity at work for some people. I have invested in quality stuff that negates the need to plug anything in. I will cut a wing off of this building, using a cordless Milwaukee circular saw and Sawzall.

When I first arrived, I took all of my dirty laundry and washed it by hand in the laundry tub. I then hung it on the bushes outside.

I arrived to look at the job during the day, and saw that there was still a refrigerator, a stove and a washing machine, so it was a little bit of a letdown, to see that the power was off.

Refrigeration. I don't accumulate large amounts of meat and other things that need refrigerating. I have a soft shell collapsible cooler, the kind of people load up with beer to take to the beach. I found mine on the beach. Whenever I'm at Starbucks coffee shop near closing time, I ask the girls to fill me up with ice. They have to throw it all away at the end of the day. I bought a rotisserie chicken 4 days ago, and it's been on Ice the full time.

Cold Water Refrigeration
Just about everywhere in Canada has quite cold water coming out of the ground, even in the summer. When I don't have ice, or I don't need really cool temperatures, I often fill a sink, with cold water. Food that is to be kept cold is placed in stainless steel cookware or in glass canning jars. I have two jars of berries in a cold water bath right now.

Wet towel Refrigeration
Sometimes I don't need to keep things really cold, but I do need to keep them from cooking in the car. Things like bananas and other fresh food. I often pile them all together on the car seat or in some other spot, and cover them with a wet bath towel. Sometimes it is doubled up. This keeps the food considerably colder than it would be otherwise. If I'm transporting my flexible cooler, in the car, I usually cover it with a wet towel. The weight of the towel keeps the cooler as small as possible, and the evaporative cooling from the towel means that I'm not fighting the warmer temperature inside the car. One cup of Starbucks ice, usually does me for 24 hours.
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Dale Hodgins
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This house was left with a large amount of cat hair. It was pretty clean otherwise. The old owner had arranged for a cleaning company that he was to pay $200. The cleaning they were going to do, would have been largely pointless, since I'm taking down the chimney and doing other things that make dust. I suggested that he cancel them and pay me $100.

I opened everything up and there was a good wind coming from the ocean. The cordless blower was used to great effect. I will never embarrass myself again using a broom  and vacuum cleaner . I made some cat hair balls the size of a billiard ball, but not as heavy. That and all dust, blew out the windows and doors, and against the leeward wall. I will blow it again when I'm done living here and all work is done. Then I will spend one hour cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and collect my $100. I would have done at least half of this work, even if I wasn't paid, since I like to live somewhere clean.

I'm living at a job site, but I'm in much cleaner conditions than most people who are living in a house cleaned in the standard way.

My water heater works really well this time of year. This picture is from the last job where there was no electricity. The power won't be cut off here, until at least a week from now, and then it will be swung over to a temporary pole. At that point the water heater will no longer work, and I will switch to my electric kettle and solar.
...........
I had a 6-day break between houses, about 10 days ago. This left me living in the car for a short stint. But, it wasn't too bad. The house moving company didn't need me, but there's an electrician who did. He needed to install Light Tracking into the concrete ceiling of a shopping mall. I charged him $50 an hour for this horrible task. Of approximately 20 people working there, I was the only one who wore an asbestos mask to protect my lungs from all the concrete dust and other airborne stuff. He complained bitterly about the $50 an hour, and told me about an electrician and a plumber that he pays $35 an hour. When I asked how good they would be at this job, he said they would take forever, because it's soawkward and the two guys that he had tried already, both hit expensive things with the scissor lift. Case closed☺

The shopping mall pretty much became my home during that period, although I didn't sleep there. I slept on an industrial Street about 2 blocks away. I prefer streets that are commercial, because then you don't have residential traffic. After about 6 p.m., this little industrial park is pretty much deserted. The Starbucks there opens at 4:30 a.m., which is handy.

Another house came up after 4 days in the car. I continued to finish my job at the shopping mall, but I lived in the house which was a short distance away. I only worked 3.5 days at that house, but I lived there for 8 days. I call it security. So far, none of the owners have been bothered by it. I used to ask, now I informed them that I intend to live there. I found it when its presented as part of the deal, they don't even question it.
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Dale Hodgins
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This time of year, doing laundry and bathing are very simple. Just lay any container in the Sun. I'm still inside a nice house but I only have power at the temporary power pole. So the hot water doesn't work. The days are so long right now that I'm able to put water in the morning and do laundry by noon. Then I refill the tub and have a shower at about 8 p.m. .

A clear container like this heats up faster than colored ones I've tried. It heats up a bit faster if the dirty laundry is in there, because then more of the light is trapped within the container. I have a bright white piece of sign board that I sometimes use in the afternoon, to reflect light back toward the container. It also blocks wind.

It took these towels about 20 minutes to dry. The dark colored car gets very hot in the Sun.
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Dale Hodgins
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This is the fifth house I have stayed in since returning from Kenya and Europe. It is the best one. Just a really nice house in an upscale neighborhood, close to everything I like. There's a temporary power pole and temporary water set up for the new construction. So I'm still able to use the refrigerator and microwave and my electric kettle, and I'm still able to have hot baths, thanks to the Sun that is bright this time of year. I could heat water in the kettle, but I prefer not to. Usually, I lose the benefit of all services by the time the house is up on blocks.

This is my second last night. It's already on blocks and I'm up in the air. All stairways are gone, so I'm actually climbing up the blocking to get in. Luckily the back door still works. When I got here, after they lifted it today, I was happy to find that one of the sets of blocking was close to the door. But, I had put the fiberglass base for a shower against that door. I had to shimmy in one of the small windows, head first. But now the door is open and with a little bit of acrobatics, I can make it down safely.

The police payed me a visit a few days ago. That hasn't happened in several years. Someone reported that there was a guy walking around with a flashlight in a vacant house. I was using my cordless Milwaukee flood light. It throws 1500 lumens. A little brighter than the little pen lights favored by thieves. They came in the unlocked door and greeted me in my bed. I was surrounded by power tools, I had a radio running and the light. I named the company and he said, yeah that's what I thought, but we have to investigate.

I don't have any houses coming up. There's another one right in this neighborhood, but the people have not signed the contract. But as luck would have it, my daughter is heading to Vancouver for 4 days and needs someone to watch the little dog. Welcome to house number 6. Actually I did do a short house-sitting stint in the middle of all this, but it was during a time when I already had a house. That has happened to me so many times. Then when there's snow on the roof, it's back to the car. C'est La Vie.

My next job is the demolition of a very small and super crappy corner store, that I would never live in. But, it's right near the community garden where I pick a lot of fruit. So, I will do the car thing for a few days. It has an excellent spot to heat water for bathing, so I will leave work, clean as a whistle. I've gotten to the point where I don't care if someone watches me shower. I do it in my underpants. So I get clean and I get clean underpants. Most places have a hidden spot. I had my last shower while I chatted to a guy who is buying bricks. The bricks happened to be 3 feet from my hidden spot.

I returned to Canada on May 18th. I haven't billed the company for any of the work I've done so far, so there's a nice chunk coming. I charge $350 per day. I have kept myself going with the sale of bricks and scrap metal and other things that don't go with the house. My cost of living is ultra low, since there are no vices, and my main entertainment is the phone that I'm holding.
........
So, you'd think the girls would be happy now. I mean my two daughters and my fiance in Kenya. Living well, living frugally, and saving tons of money. But no, they are still giving me a little bit of trouble. As usual, my kids are embarrassed by the whole thing. My fiance tricked me into showing her the condition of my car. She called on video and asked if I was near the car. Then got me to use the camera to show her that there were no women's belongings in that car. Simple enough. I showed her every inch of it. A total man's car, complete with fruit peels being dried on the dash. But she already knew that. Her friend is working in Canada as a nanny, and she came to my job to collect two big suitcases full of free clothing and children's stuff. I also gave her the suitcases which she needs for a trip to the US. As a reward, she ratted me out, reporting that I was living in very squalid conditions and getting fat. I have put on quite a bit of muscle.  You really can't win.😕 I expect to get a call while I'm pet sitting for my daughter. It will be my ex-wife, commenting on the fact that I'm squatting at my daughter's place, like some sort of bum. You really can't win sometimes.😂
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Dale Hodgins
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It's lucky that I'm not a sleepwalker. All three of my entrances were very difficult for the last few days, and there's a big hole where the chimney used to be. Plenty of pitfalls for someone who's not careful.

The house is traveling tonight, so I will go there in an hour or so and give it a good cleaning with the cordless blower, and check for any remnants of my belongings.

The fridge and stove both have problems, so I'm going to build a slide, just by stacking long 2x6. They will be slid down into the junk pile behind the house. The owner of the land is responsible for cleanup of everything we leave. He saved at least $10,000 by having the house moved, instead of demolished. The young couple who are getting the house, will have a very nice place with new wiring, new plumbing and new windows. By the time it's planted on a foundation and the new room is built where the flat roof is now, they will probably have $140,000 in the whole package.

This place had excellent laundry machines. The front loader washer is the heaviest I ever moved. It took three of us to set them on the back blocking, then up to the wheels, then on to the beam at the back. I was working on my own when the job began so there was no way to get them in, when there was a set of stairs and deck on the back.

I will do one night in the car, then it's off to my dog sitting job. Time to call some of the Landscaping customers to fill the gap, until the next one comes up. And there's a small demolition as well. The Lion's Share of things that I had in the house will go into my storage.
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Dale Hodgins
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I had a little over a week between houses. That gave me a little bit of a break from work, although I did some work in the mall again. I also took advantage of a free week at a gym, also at the mall. Exercise, half naked girls and a hot shower. :-) Whenever I work somewhere like the mall, it becomes my part-time home. I eat there, shower there and work there.
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Now, I'm in another upscale house in Oak Bay. It's better than the last one. I have electricity and water. Unfortunately this one does not contain kitchen appliances, so I'm using my electric frying pan and kettle.

This place comes with quite a bit of fruit. I have peaches, apples, pears and grapes. I often get apples and blackberries. Very seldom do I get peaches and grapes. Last year, I got figs twice. A very rare and tasty treat. There's so much fruit here, that I will harvest and distribute some to my daughter and others.

The basement contains really nice front loading laundry facilities, so that's the first thing I did. I will be sure to do it again in a week, just before the power is cut.

This is about as good as it gets, when it comes to being transient in Victoria British Columbia. A good-paying job that comes with a free house and more food than I could possibly eat.

Most of the work I'm doing is to the basement and exterior. Eventually I have to lop off an addition that sticks out too far to be moved. But there are two doors between there and where I'm sleeping, so I will be able to maintain a clean zone. That's always important for me, to have an area that is free of demolition dirt, for sleeping. I regularly use the cordless blower to get every bit of filth out of areas adjacent to my sleeping area.
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I have the radio on, and Tom Petty is singing, You don't have to live like a refugee. I don't think I am. :-)    My family aren't so sure.
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Dale Hodgins
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I just discovered a Murphy bed in the basement. I had planned on using my relatively thin foam mattress. The only way this could get better is if it turns out there's catered meals.:-)

I forgot to mention that my solar water heater goes on the pavers, directly in front of the espalier peach. That's the hottest spot on the property.

I will demonstrate cold slab refrigeration soon. The basement slab is quite cool. Food that needs to stay cold sits there with a damp towel over it. It stays at roughly the temperature of the slab.

This house was sitting at 35 Celsius when I came in. That's about a million on the Fahrenheit scale. It is now very cool at night and I am ventilating this heavily build house with hot water heating. The thick plaster walls will take a while cooling down. I'll close the windows early in the morning.

The attic has been renovated with a bedroom up there. I have opened both skylights, and hot air is wafting in that direction.

 
Dale Hodgins
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The Murphy bed is now part of a little cabin on my brother's property, so I may very well get to sleep in it again, when I visit there.

This is the best house that I've stayed in in a long time. But All Things Must Pass. It has taken a ride on a barge to Salt Spring Island. All of my cooking supplies and mattress are packed into my storage and I am staying in the Toyota Tercel. I had the most comfortable sleep ever last night. This is the best small car for sleeping in. The seat leans back so far that it feels like I've fallen asleep in an easy chair by the television.

I still have to go back to the property, where the house was, so that I can pick the remaining pears and grapes and then grab my ladder which is hidden.

My next house is likely to be in the town of lantzville, which is just North of Nanaimo. I never know what I will find, until I get there. So I always prepare in a way that would allow me to stay in the house or the car. But almost always, I find that the house is livable, there is electricity and hot water.

I decided that I need to be in better shape, so I joined Steve Nash Fitness World the best gym on Vancouver Island. I've taken off some fat and built a bit of muscle. The plan is to be 200 lb lean which I think is a good weight for someone 5 feet 9. I'm currently sitting at 197 pounds, but need to lose at least 10 pounds of fat and replace it with muscle. I bought an annual membership which cost $450. That's about the equivalent to half a month's rent if I were to rent something in the city. So, when I'm in between houses, I have a hot shower available. It works out to about $1.25 per day. Not bad, when you consider that this is where I will shower and shave, exercise, and observe a variety of half-naked women. Seems like a bargain. :-)

I'm really going to miss this house. A beautiful neighborhood, electricity and a working toilet right until the very end and so much fruit that I was delivering to friends and relatives. I stayed in it until hours before it moved, even when it was sitting far forward on the front lawn, with the wheels installed, ready for transport. All of the work was finished a week before the barge date.

Whenever I wave goodbye to one of my houses and I return to the Toyota Tercel, it gives me an opportunity to examine my life. I can go, so I'm 54 years old and I'm going to sleep in this little car tonight. Should I rent a place? Should I change my ways? And I might ask myself this a few times, as I squeeze my tools into the trunk to do a little bit of tree work or other Landscaping between house moving and demolition projects. But then, the phone rings and it's the house moving company or someone else often referred by them, who needs a whole lot of things done to a house that is vacant. After I move my bed and cooking supplies to my new abode, and while I'm lying Neck Deep in my new jacuzzi tub, I ask myself, what was I thinking? Of course I don't need to rent a place. Because I would still be in this tub and a rented apartment would sit empty for long periods. :-)



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Dale Hodgins
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I've had two houses since the one pictured. Both had water but not heat, which is just fine for me.

Because the weather is getting colder I've started using my plug-in kettle to turn my smallest bathroom into a sauna. I just leave the lid off and let it boil. Then, when I come into the bathroom to heat water for the tub, it's nice and warm. I often eat my supper, make phone calls and surf the Internet in the fog created by my kettle.

There seems to be something wrong with me when it comes to temperature. Right now it's a bit cold and rainy outside and I'm lying in the Tercel, almost naked with only one blanket over me up to the waist, and I am toasty warm right to my fingertips. Perhaps it's because I hit the gym a few hours ago.

I slept in an unheated trailer with my brother when I went to visit him. Same thing, one blanket on me and I was toasty warm. He had about six and he complained bitterly. Just for fun I put my feet on the cold window, and told him that I was cooling them down, because my cover was too warm. He shivered and said, you're a freak.

I'm a glutton, and I don't want to be fat. My theory is that if I exercise and get my body into toast mode like this, and then I'm able to sleep in the cold while my body cranks out heat, I will burn more fat, without the unpleasantness of further exercise.. I'm not always this toasty warm. If I get wet and chilled, it can be quite unpleasant and I have to put on several blankets to get my temperature back up and I think it varies day to day according to what my activity level has been.

I was on a job 2 days ago, where one of the other workers has been living in his car. It's not a frugality thing for him, so much as being completely necessary due to habits that consume his income. He has been quite uncomfortable. I showed him how to adjust his seat and how to tuck the blanket properly around the feet that are sticking in by the brake pedal and gas. This is the spot where people fail. He's been rolling his windows right to the top, in the hope of saving heat. In the process he's made his car a dripping mess with damp blankets. So we went over the importance of nighttime ventilation and parking in the Sun during the day with the windows cracked. You must dry things out.

When I was house-sitting for my daughter I tried the couch and the bed, which people generally find comfortable. I felt much better when I moved back to my Toyota Tercel. The radio is right there, I can reach the ceiling to adjust the light while I'm lying down and I never have to get up to pee. I turn on my side, pee in a Starbucks cup and dump it out the window. Efficiency. Now that the weather has cooled, I probably won't move into most of the houses. In the summer I use them because the sun comes up too early.

I've never done a winter in a vehicle this small, so I may find that 2 months from now, this isn't so comfortable. But there's a good chance that two months from now I will be in the Philippines and the car will be parked.

And there's a good chance that I will come back from the Philippines, married. Should this happen, I will still live in the car for a while, so that I can continue to save the bulk of my income, but the moment that there are two people, a different plan will emerge and the car will be just for out of town jobs. I suppose at that point I will be domesticated. And that's fine by me.

Here's a fun tidbit. If you are thinking of dating a woman and you tell her that you've been sleeping in your car, that is quite likely to be absolute poison, and you won't get any further with that woman. But, tell 50 women that you've been sleeping in your car, and there's bound to be at least one who thinks you might be more comfortable at her place. :-) or you could take her car camping.
 
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