To him, living in a truck makes perfect sense.
“I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in — and I was almost never home,” says Brandon, who doesn’t reveal his last name. “It’s really hard to justify throwing that kind of money away. You’re essentially burning it — you’re not putting equity in anything and you’re not building it up for a future — and that was really hard for me to reconcile.”
He had learned while interning for Google that the lowest-priced corporate housing would be a two-bedroom place he’d have to share with three roommates – and that it would cost him about $2,000 a month. So when he knew he’d be returning to San Francisco to work there full time, he started looking for cheaper alternatives.
That’s when the idea started taking shape. He took $10,000 from his signing bonus and bought a 16-ft. 2006 Ford truck with 157,000 miles on the odometer.
The 128 square feet of space inside is sparse and minimal, he says: “The main things that I have are a bed, a dresser, and I built a coat rack to hang up my clothes. Besides that, and a few stuffed animals, there’s pretty much nothing in there.”
On his website, frominsidethebox.com, he discusses how he showers, where he eats, how he uses the bathroom at night, and how much money he’s saving.
He parks in the Google lot, so his commute to work is just a few seconds versus a few hours sitting in San Francisco traffic.
There’s no electricity, but that’s not a problem. “I don’t actually own anything that needs to be plugged in,” he wrote in his blog. “I have a small battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cellphone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work.”
Brandon’s goal is to pay off his $22,000 in student loans over the next six months, then seriously save for his future. “I’m going for a target of saving about 90% of my after-tax income, and throwing that in student loans and investments,” he says.
The only cost for his living arrangement is truck insurance ($121 per month), and Google handles his phone bill.
Brandon says the situation is good preparation for his next adventure: world travel. “If I do plan on traveling the world, I’ll need to be comfortable with unconventional living situations,” he noted in a blog post. “Plus, there is never going to be a better time in my life for me to try this. I’m young, flexible, and I don’t have to worry about this decision affecting anyone else in my life.”
How long will he live in the box? At least for the foreseeable future.
“It’s been five months so far, and I don’t see it stopping soon for any reason,” he says.