The Phaserl


Surviving Poverty Part 1: How to Live in a Van

from Ready Nutrition:

There’s been a few news stories floating around over the past few weeks that have a common theme. In San Francisco, a city with some of the highest rental costs in the nation, it seems that more and more people have been choosing to live in their vehicles. That may not sound very surprising, but what is odd is that these stories don’t involve struggling low-income workers.

Instead, these people are fairly well paid tech employees. The one that’s really been making the rounds on the internet, involves a Google employee who bought a box truck and sleeps in his company’s parking lot. It’s not that he couldn’t afford to rent an apartment per say, it’s that he couldn’t stand the thought of paying so much money for a place to sleep. If he decided to rent, he’d probably be close to breaking even.

You know there’s something very wrong in this country, when an employee for one of the most profitable companies in world would rather live in a truck than pay rent. It suggests that in some parts of America, you don’t have to be poor to be homeless. Just imagine what it’s like for the folks who really are poor, of which there are many.

On any given night in America, there are over a half a million people living on the streets or in their vehicles. As you can imagine, that’s not a good place to be in your life, but it happens. If you think that this is something that might happen to you one day in the near future (and who are kidding, it could happen to anyone these days) here’s a word of advice: Don’t wait until the last-minute, hoping for that next job interview to come through as you burn through your savings. If homelessness is a real possibility in your life, it’s something that you should be preparing for, not waiting for.

The more money you have at your disposal when you decide to leave your home, the easier your life is going to be without a house. If you have no money, you’ll be living on the streets with little more than the clothes on your back. It’s better to put your savings towards a van or a truck that you can live in. Unlike living on the streets, you can actually maintain a fairly decent standard of living with very little money. Here’s a few basics that you need to know to get started.

Choosing a Vehicle

The box truck chosen by that Google employee isn’t necessarily the best vehicle for the job, nor is it the most affordable. It is roomy, but it isn’t very discreet. Our society is incredibly fearful of homeless people, and depending on where you live it may be illegal to sleep in your car (check your local municipal codes. There may be a neighboring town that allows it). You want something that flies under the radar.

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12 comments to Surviving Poverty Part 1: How to Live in a Van

  • Craig escaped from Detroit

    Some pretty decent advice.

    A discrete van that won’t attract attention. Don’t put all kinds of stuff on the outside if you intend on sleeping on side streets.

    There are smart phone “camping” apps that help you find stores that allow overnight parking (many Walmarts welcome a bit of camping if kept LOW KEY).

    Roof top carriers are LESS prone to theivery. Receive hitch back shelves and storage totes with proper straps, etc, can carry stuff that’s not too heavy. Chain up all bikes, propane tanks, and other stuff.

    Deep Cycle batteries, YES. AGM’s are double the price of golf cart batteries. (but the golf cart batteries will “outgas”.) Google it.

    For those extra batteries, a battery charging ISOLATOR is SUPER important (it makes your alternator separately charge the car battery and then the camping batteries and won’t allow the camping appliances to run down the starter battery. These are not expensive.

    I also recommend a couple of solar panels, whatever your roof has room for (and charging controller). If you can hook up about 400 watts of solar panels, in summer, they will give you about 4-5 hours of 20A into your batteries per DAY.

    That translates into about 1.6kw-hrs to 2.0kw-hrs of “raw” power, but after LINE losses, conversion losses for inverters/transformers, etc, you end up with about 60% of that number, about 1 to 1.2Kw-hrs of power. An electric blanket takes about 50-100 watts.

    Start looking at your appliance and electronic toys, see and learn what those voltage, wattage and amperage numbers really mean for your camping power needs.

    In winter, probably cut that number in half.

    Toilets? Kitty litter (clumping type) is great for a few days (but PEE in a bottle to save litter for more important stuff.)

    A 5 gallon plastic bucket, with one of those FOAM RUBBER swimming Pool NOODLES makes a really comfortable SEAT. (Line your bucket with a HD trash bag, some kitty litter in the bottom,, add more litter as needed.) You can remove the noodle and put the lid back on (secure your bucket for travel or it will end up dumping your dumps on the floor.)

    A couple of old fashion (Amish style) hurricane lanterns (Kerosene) needs NO electricity, gives off 1,400 BTU’s of heat (the ones with the 7/8″ wick). 12 candle power. D-Lite model and Air Pilot model, 1qt tank, 24 hrs of burn time.

    Good luck. Happy survival camping.

    • Craig escaped from Detroit

      It will probably be a GOOD idea, to put some booster shocks/springs on your camping van.

      I recommend NOT to use “air shocks or bags” as they eventually dry rot, and leak air pressure sooner or later, or an air line pops off, etc.

      Mechanical springs (coil over shocks) will never let you down.

      As you pack more vital things in your vehicle, you don’t want to be dragging too low and mess up something.

      Carry some spare parts (and tools), and other useful stuff such as “stop leak” for the radiator, tire pump, tire plugs, fix a flat, oil, tranny fluid, belts, hoses, and anything else you can afford or have room for it.

      I want people to survive the crisis. Be well, be careful, be clever, patient, healthy, etc., and hopefully you will never have to be deadly. But be ready for that too, just in case.

  • Howard Roark

    And if all else fails, just loot your elderly neighbor that doesn’t have a clue, eh “Craig”, like you’ve planned?

    Give the readers here context or I will.

    • Craig escaped from Detroit

      Dear Howard,
      I think you are talking about my LONG time best buddy (known each other for about 30 years), and so what business between 2 friends have to do with your angry self?

      I would hope that you get tired of making direct attacks on other people, and focus your intelligence on giving insightful comments on the articles and also you should offer HELPFUL, uplifting advice instead of dragging your fellow humans as low as you can drag them.

      It is a small minded man who always feel the need to make negative remarks of others. Anger and hatred, vengence create more anger and trouble (like begets like), and some people end up with health problems, or they get a bit schizophrenic and end up getting arrested for harassment and get put into psyche wards for their own good.

      Where is your spiritual love, perhaps a bit of Christian good humor and gentle spirit?

      Do you prefer acting like the evil ones? Is your attitude one that Jesus would approve of? Or would satan be more comfortable with your postings?

      • Howard Roark

        “…so what business between 2 friends have to do with your angry self?”

        Only to point out your self-serving hypocrisy…you spoke quite seriously and literally, in detail, about how you’re going to steal your “friends” new pick-up, which you covet, after TSHTF because he didn’t believe your warnings.

        What? Your going to pass that off now as “sarcasm” or “I was just joking”…please, how typical.

        Christian charity and mercy are not convenient excuses to condone theft…save your ignorant, passive-aggressive “appeals”.

  • Craig escaped from Detroit

    Howard, PS, did you notice that I took your advice and stopped doing DOUBLE COMMAS in my writings?

    You brought it to my attention that it was wrong, and I agree with you, and I changed my ways.

    It is good for everybody to take HELPFUL criticism to heart and learn from it, rather than becoming angry at good advice.

    You gave me a bit of GOOD advice (your delivery was a bit cold, but it was still valid advice), so I did the RIGHT thing

    I still slip up once in a while, but you helped me to pay more attention to it. Thanks for that helpful notification.

    I hope you will take my gentle correction to heart. (it’s the Jesus way, right?)

    • Howard Roark

      What “correction”, most of your rambles involve equating The Bible to toilet paper and “poop” or self-serving platitudes?

      I stated a grammatical fact and correction as simple as a math equation and you’re welcome.

  • Gnostic

    I genuinely like both you guys. Some day we will all figure it out.

    • Howard Roark

      You’re better than that, Gnos, don’t be a sucker. “Craig” is an ex-gummint pensioner who smokes copious amounts of home grown geef.

      You tell by how many posts he makes(LOTS of time on his hands) and the rambling, long lengths of each, oooozing with self importance(a consequence of HEAVY geef consumption).

      As I’ve said many times, I play poker to eat, literally. If I’m wrong at the tables I don’t eat…I eat well, three squares a day.

      • Craig escaped from Detroit

        Dear Howard,
        It just so happens, that I never worked for the government (gummint as you call it), and I don’t smoke or drink or gamble. I’m actually quite a boring, homebody.

        The time on my hands come to me because of more than 30 years of daily hard work on factory assembly lines. It drove some people crazy enough to quit just because they could not take the hard work, the hot, greasy, smelly conditions, the mental robot boredom, one or all of those things.

        I stuck it out, but sometimes wanted to scream.

        I never heard the word “geef” until you typed it. Perhaps it’s a local word.

        I did take your advice and stopped doing double commas because it was truthful advice.

        But I don’t think Jesus wants us to make direct attacks at other people to make them feel bad about things. I think the world would be a better place if we all practiced trying to UPLIFT each other and not to needlessly bring negative emotions into the world.

        You have been making hurtful remarks and it would be nice if you stopped doing those things. We have all seen how you have really good intelligence and a very good grasp of a lot of information that we may all find helpful in the days ahead if you shared things that will help us.

        You are pretty clever and direct with your negative comments, so now, how about showing us your brilliant, helpful, uplifting comments that can help your fellow man to grow and survive the bad days ahead?

        I’m looking forward to seeing your other side.

        • Howard Roark

          You have, you used the word “poopy” half a dozen times to describe it and then told me to wipe myself with the pages of it like it was toilet paper.

          How was it that another poster described it here very recently…ah, yes…”pearls before swine…”

          “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and TURN AGAIN AND REND YOU.”

          Which you have, repeatedly…

          If you desire to receive Christ, I offer the following prayer as an example. It is not a formula, but it is a representation of what it means to trust in Christ.

          “Lord Jesus. I come to you and confess that I am a sinner, that I have lied, thought evil in my heart, and broken your law. Please forgive me of my sins. I trust in what you have done on the cross, and I receive you. I believe that you have died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead for my sins. Please cleanse me of my sin and be the Lord of my life. I trust you completely for the forgiveness of my sins and put no trust in my own efforts of righteousness. Lord Jesus, please save me as I receive you and believe what you did on the cross is the only way to be saved from the righteous judgment of God the Father.”

          If you have prayed the prayer truthfully and faithfully, then you have obeyed Christ and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15). You’ve done so because God has granted that you come to Christ (John 6:65), worked belief in you (John 6:29), and granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29).

          Now tell others about your commitment to Jesus. The Bible says, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation,” (Rom. 10:9-10).

      • Gnostic


        I play chess to eat literally, lot of suckers out there. I also work in unreported workforce, meaning I do not contract to pay taxes. Soon I will have to make a decision as that is not enough, I have no pension, no gubmit work units coming my way, nor do I want it. I don’t begrudge Craig, I am on a different path & it is less comfortable than Craig’s, who has positioned himself to be where he is, that said, I would not change with him for anything, We are all going to some where some day where we are going to be, we will know when we get there, I’ll leave it at that.

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