He’s keeping his identity and last name private. Guessing Google don’t know he lives round the back entrance?
23-year-old Brandon has decided not to do what most recent graduates usually do; which is renting a flat-share, buying IKEA furniture, diverging any conversation about money because debt load is deeper than a black hole. Instead, the software engineer hauled a bed, a coat rack and some stuffed animals into a $10,000 16ft truck and called it home, sweet home.
Renting in San Francisco can be extortionate, probably not for a software engineer but no one can justify $2000 a month to share a bedroom with a stranger.
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.
The space costs $121 a month in truck insurance, and it’s the only monthly cost Brandon has. “I don’t actually own anything that needs to be plugged in,” he explains on his blog From Inside The Box.
The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, 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.
Brandon eats at work, three meals a day, and showers in the corporate gym. Literally two of the biggest expenses for most people he writes off instantly at Google. Also he doesn’t have to pay for transport to and from work, he just jumps out the back and walks across the car park.
Brandon has already paid off around $7,000 of his student debt in four months by living in the back of the van and puts any leftover income into investments. He also estimates he’ll pay off the rest in the next six months meaning he’ll be out of debt in under a year. Most graduates sit in the corner of their rot smelling bathrooms and weep about not being able to afford a split billed dishwasher even at 28 years of age. Because landlords suck and never pay for broken appliances. Brandon’s dancing in his van.
So this isn’t really going to work for everyone. Parking a van outside the back of Greggs and asking them to supply you three meals, a place to wash and charging outlets in return for your paid work probably won’t go down well. But if you land a job at Google and don’t feel burning your pay cheques on a windowless flatshare then maybe you’ll consider buying a 2006 Ford truck.