One of the most expensive monthly payments most people have is rent or house payments. Unless you have someone who is willing to provide free housing, you are going to lose a large portion of your income to just living. But not everybody can effectively budget a place to live and still make a net gain in income.
Take me for example. For the past few years, I was experiencing a net loss every month while renting spare bedroom at other people’s homes. I chose the cheapest option of renting bedrooms to slow down my savings loss. But, I still wasn’t pulling in any income and my decline came to be descending a little faster than I could handle.
I set my homeless threshold at about $5k or less. I chose to continue renting until I could see no other option but move into my car at the last minute. Having about $5k in my savings wads enough to convince me to move into my car. I felt like I exhausted every other option at that point thoroughly enough.
Looking back, I wish I would have moved into my car a lot sooner at $10k or even $20k in savings. I just didn’t realize how much of a decline I would experience in my savings account until it was too late. It all was very agonizing to go through and still is.
One major thing that caused me to wait until the last minute to go homeless, was the psychological effect. I was living in Northern Wisconsin at the time, and all I could think about was getting protection from the winters. I was very scared of dying in the cold zero degree weather. In fact, the first night I was forced to sleep in my car, it was -14 degrees below zero on December 24 2012. That was one of the worst nights of my life.
I learned to sew and spent a lot of time building up winter gear to wear for the cold. It only made sense to me to create the warmest gear I could think of to survive the cold. However, no gear I created could do enough I realized. That first night felt awful. I woke up with my feet feeling like ice blocks. I was sure they lost all circulation. But when I started walking they got better until I had to sleep again and they turned back into ice blocks.
I was scared of going homeless in Wisconsin and for a good reason. The winters will kill you. Somehow I survived the 2012/2013 winter, but I came out of it damaged with frost bite to my face and immersion foot around my toes. I stayed around Rice Lake, WI until the next winter approached, then left for Washington, which is more survivable in my car.
If you are going to go homeless to avoid debt, you don’t want to do it in an extreme climate like Wisconsin. Unless, you have a good travel plan to journey south for the Winter, don’t stick around Wisconsin in the winter. No one is tough enough to be outside all the time there. Also, the Cops will make you feel uncomfortable there too.
I chose not to go straight south for the winter because I don’t care for the culture of the south. The Southern areas could be too dangerous for homeless people to venture into. I lived in Shreveport, LA for almost a year and I was not too thrilled about the culture there. It may have been cheap living, but it felt less relaxed for me.
The West coast seems to make the most sense to me for living in the car to save money. Yes, the people around here hate homeless people too. But the weather is more stable at least. If more homeless people could realize that Washington offers some of the best weather for being homeless, they could really enjoy it. I can’t think of a better climate to go homeless in than the state of Washington.
Even though, I’m not in debt, I’m still approaching near zero bank saving. I have a couple hundred dollars in liquid cash and its hard to stretch. I have to think that my cash would have been long gone if I had kept renting. I couldn’t bear the thought of going into debt just to support a living expense.
Going into debt really starts a faster decline in your lifestyle. Not only do you owe money to someone, you also owe the added interest charges as well. I used to enjoy trying to make interest work in my favor for many years. There is a lot of benefit and safety in enjoying the interest advantages. Seeing the struggle on the other side of interest payments is much worse.
So far, my plan has worked to avoid debt. I see no benefit in trying to spend my way out of poverty. There is no spending money if none is there to be spent. I just have to focus my efforts on keeping fed enough on a daily basis.
In conclusion, to slow down your rate of decline, its best to go homeless. When you do go homeless, find a stable climate to do it in, like somewhere on the West coast. I chose the northern portions of the west coast because I prefer cooler weather. Your tolerance my be different and you might like more sun and warmth.
You could consider moving north and south to deal with homelessness. Just consider the travel costs in that though. You will want to be more mobile and leave the south in the summer time, in turn, you want to leave the north in the winter. Unless,you can make some real money, those choices may not be the best options.