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Google The Almighty Buck

The Google Employee Who Opted For a Truck Over Bay Area Rents (dice.com) 492

Nerval's Lobster writes: A little over a year ago, Google employees on a Quora thread announced they'd discovered an interesting way to live in the ultra-expensive Bay Area: Rather than pay for conventional housing, they resided in trucks and RVs parked near (or on) the company's campus, and took advantage of corporate perks—including free food, gym facilities, and dry cleaning—to get by on a day-by-day basis. Now one Googler, Brandon S., has taken to his blog to describe how he engaged in a little off-grid living within sight of Google's high-tech headquarters. First he spent $10,000 of his Google signing bonus on a 2006 Ford truck with 128 square feet of room in the back, which he filled with a bed, dresser, and coat rack. Google pays for his phone, and he uses the company's gym and cafeterias to eat and shower. For those Bay Area tech pros who think Brandon's lifestyle sounds appealing, his list of drawbacks includes "social suicide," the inconvenience of not having a bathroom or fridge in close proximity, stress, insect infestations, and the upfront costs of purchasing a large-enough vehicle. On the other hand, he's also using the cash savings to rapidly pay down his student loans.
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The Google Employee Who Opted For a Truck Over Bay Area Rents

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  • alternately: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:09PM (#50766469) Homepage Journal
    or, you know, google could pay a living wage.
    Time to unionize, boys!
    • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:24PM (#50766613)

      Google pays what's considered well more than a living wage in most parts of the country. However San Francisco real estate costs some 18 times what you'll find in most parts of the country. This isn't because somebody decided that one day, rather collectively a lot of people decided that they just wanted to live there, but San Franciscans are about twice as smug as New Yorkers, so they don't let anybody build up, making the housing availability permanently low, making housing costs more than what NY costs.

      The median price for a home there is $1.35 million, and the houses you get at that price are crap compared to what you'll get elsewhere for about $200,000.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:39PM (#50766739)

        My wife's cousin got a house in Palo Alto near Stanford. 3 bedrooms, 900 sq ft. Over $1,000,000.

        He joked, "I always wanted to live in a million dollar home. I just thought it would be better than this."

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        Google pays what's considered well more than a living wage in most parts of the country. However San Francisco real estate costs some 18 times what you'll find in most parts of the country. This isn't because somebody decided that one day, rather collectively a lot of people decided that they just wanted to live there, but San Franciscans are about twice as smug as New Yorkers, so they don't let anybody build up, making the housing availability permanently low, making housing costs more than what NY costs.

        The median price for a home there is $1.35 million, and the houses you get at that price are crap compared to what you'll get elsewhere for about $200,000.

        18 times? The example you quoted is only 6.75X. The difference in rents is a bit higher [zumper.com], but even that is closer to 7X ($3460 for a one bedroom in SF versus $480 in Wichita).

        It's hard to make a direct comparison between NYC and SF because of the large difference in scale -- SF is just a bit bigger than Manhattan, but when most people think of NYC, they include the 5 boroughs that cover a much larger area, you'd need to include SF suburbs to make a more meaningful comparison. If you look at rents in the most

      • Re:alternately: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thejuggler ( 610249 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:41PM (#50766761) Homepage Journal
        Absolutely correct! Several cities/urban centers around the county have artificially inflated housing prices because they are restricting new housing developments. This is part of the tenets of preventing "Urban Sprawl". Maybe Google could add Google Condos/Flats/Apartments to their campus? Hmm, well that would require Government approval too.
        • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:57PM (#50766929)

          Maybe Google could add Google Condos/Flats/Apartments to their campus? Hmm, well that would require Government approval too.

          They tried. The city council shot them down. Facebook also tried to do this, and were also shot down.

      • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:43PM (#50766791) Homepage
        It's less smugness and more earthquake protection. Building anything taller than 2 floors in San Francisco is a regulatory nightmare AND a civil engineering nightmare, because it has to be able to withstand the last big quake as we're all waiting for the next one. I live 30 miles north, enjoy a very safe neighborhood (I don't even lock my door - a lot of my neighbors don't, which is why one evening I found an old guy in my kitchen primly inform me that I was out of orange juice before he realized he got to the wrong home) and show up in person once a week.
      • Living wage includes "living within reasonable travel distance of the employer." And living expenses such as utilities, food, etc, within reasonable travel distance.

        Reasonable travel distance depends on the location and what people are willing to put up with, of course. My guess is the suburbs out there sprawl quite a bit.

        You can't say "well this is a living wage in the midwest, so we should pay that here in the city." If Google wants to pay the living wage for Dumbfuckistan, USA; then they need to move th

    • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:24PM (#50766617) Homepage

      I think it's time for companies (and tech companies especially) to start to encourage more remote workers. The only reason this is a problem is because it's a requirement for the employees to live in the Bay area, where housing prices are out of control. If they could live in Kansas, North Dakota, or Detroit, than they wouldn't have any problems with getting a nice place for a reasonable amount of money.

      • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by plopez ( 54068 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:40PM (#50766747) Journal

        Cleveland, Pittsburg, Detroit, and Upstate NY are all good locations with easy access to urban centers such as Chicago, Boston, and NYC; and a host of good tech schools to recruit from such as MIT, Rochester, Rensselaer, and CMU. I've investigated moving east and have found some cities who are tech friendly, no longer are smokestack cities, have amenities and social life, no droughts, no earthquakes, no wildfires, and a cost of housing 50% less than where I currently live. And salaries are basically the same as I am currently making. I am really considering it. I would have no qualms moving if a decent job offer came along.

        • Re:alternately: (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @02:08PM (#50767049)

          Cleveland, Pittsburg, Detroit, and Upstate NY are all good locations

          Bangalore, Mumbai, and Manila are also nice locations. Once you go remote, why stop at the border?

        • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

          I live about 25 minutes from Binghamton.

          Positives:
          $510/mo for 2-bedroom riverfront apartment in an extremely low-crime area in a beautiful town (Owego)
          Binghamton actually has a pretty good social scene - my only problem is that I'm living a little too far away. I'm planning on moving closer, costs of living won't go up that much to live much closer to downtown than I do now.
          I like the outdoors, and there are lots of amazing state parks and even town parks with great hiking trails readily available.

          Negative

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If they could live in ... Detroit, than they wouldn't have any problems with getting a nice place for a reasonable amount of money.

        A little over a year ago, Google employees on a Quora thread announced they'd discovered an interesting way to live in the ultra-dangerous Detroit Metro: Rather than pay for conventional housing, they resided in Detroit. Now one Googler, David X., has taken to his blog to describe how he engaged in a little off-grid living within sight of Google's high-tech headquarters. First h

      • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dristoph ( 1207920 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:46PM (#50766825)

        This. I migrated from Wichita to the Bay Area in 2008 and lived there until last summer when I moved back. I had already been an independent contractor for 3 years before the move, so finding work was only slightly more difficult after the move. The advantages are clear:

        1. For less than half the monthly price of my rent controlled 1-bedroom apartment in SF, I now own a 3-bedroom house with a yard and everything.
        2. There aren't really any jobs in Wichita for me, so all my work is remote. I hate commuting. While in SF, I could sometimes find gigs which allowed some remote work, but most expected you to commute to the office if you were in the area.
        3. The lower cost of living means I can be more selective about what work I take on. I have more free time to spend with my girlfriend and on hobbies, not to mention the space. I've taken up woodworking since I moved back, and it's easily one of the most pleasurable activities I've ever taken up.

        I miss SF sometimes, but the trade-offs are quite clear. And now that I'm not throwing away so much of my earnings on living expenses, I can afford to visit SF if I want, not to mention other possible destinations.

        One last thing: a good friend of mine back in SF, also in the tech industry, recently purchased a school bus which he will be living in, rather than finding a new apartment. In part I think it's kind of cool in a radical, fuck the norm sort of way. But on the other hand, it really shows the heights of ever escalating absurdity the Bay Area has reached in terms of housing.

        • Except that you have to essentially be a contractor. You have to be a sales person, selling yourself constantly to get new work, and not everyone can do that. If you need equipment that is doubly hard as you'll have to travel a lot to get into the labs. Working as a team is difficult that way, there's no one in the next cubicle to talk about an issue with, and talking on the phone is clumsy and ineffective.

      • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @02:10PM (#50767069)

        I think it's time for companies (and tech companies especially) to start to encourage more remote workers.

        Companies with stacked ranking don't do "remote".

        This is because stacked ranking is basically a high school popularity contest which pits employees against each other to stay above the bottom part of the bell curve so that they don't end up on a PIP ("Performance Improvement Program") or just plain fired/asked to lead/offered severance.

        When Marissa Mayer came into Yahoo from Google, she instituted stacked ranking. It's the main reason she disallowed remote workers, since they were going to be the lowest ranked anyway, and if you are going to be ranked low, you might as well pack your bags before it's an issue.

        So... between a remote worker, who you hardly ever have any personal interactions with, and a local worker who you eat lunch with daily, and consider a good work friend/buddy... who are you going to shove under the bus?

        Exactly.

        So remote workers are strongly discouraged at most companies that originated in the Amazon/Google/Facebook cultures, or hired HR or management out of those cultures, which is to say "Company X is successful; let's act just like company X, and we will be successful, too".

        • Just got laid off from a place like that. For the last several years, the mantra had been "We want to be just like Zynga!" nevermind how THAT company was rotting from the inside out. And then management decided to adopt Google's OKR process. A key problem is that management talked big about doing these things but rarely ever actually does them, so you end up with some teams and groups doing OKRs and others who have none, for years. So when the annual reviews come around, you cannot say you have met a

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Google and other high tech companies around there pay quite good wages, which is why housing prices in that area are so high. Raising the wage further would only push housing prices higher. That's how economies work.
      • That is how *traditional* economies work.

        If you made the simple change of promoting a distributed work force and have everyone collaborate via 3d environment then you wouldn't have to concentrate people in arbitrary locations.

        Just incorporate in the most friendly tax state and let your workers be anywhere they want to be.

        • That is how *traditional* economies work. If you made the simple change of promoting a distributed work force ...

          ... you wouldn't have changed how the economy works, you'd have spread the demand over a larger area. That's ALSO how a traditional economy works.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Google and other high tech companies around there pay quite good wages, which is why housing prices in that area are so high. Raising the wage further would only push housing prices higher. That's how economies work.

        Well said. Google (and the rest of the big 5) pay just under $100k for kids right out of college - about double the US median wage for a first job!

        Housing will always seek a price that's a multiple of the average family income in the region. There are plenty on 2-tech-earner families in Silly Valley, with a family income north of $200k, so a $880k price on an unimpressive house is what you'd expect.

        I just rented an apartment with a commute I could tolerate. It was only $1800 for a large 2-bedroom, includ

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        It's not that simple. Sure tech has an impact but there is also the contingent of people with money who live there for lifestyle and prestige e.g. "We spend our holidays in our little place by the Bay".

        Economics 101 only explains a few simple things.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Being a normal foreigner, I find it disturbing as you Americans think it's normal to pay 500,000, 800,000, a million for homes that cost 100,000 to be built just because the greedy owner thinks he can charge a million. In a more normal country, this is called extortion. Google to this point have so much money that he could build their own city where he wanted and let these bastards rot waiting for a sucker to pay the price they want.
        • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @04:12PM (#50768107)

          Something is worth what someone is willing to pay.

        • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @04:46PM (#50768413)

          Housing prices are higher than "the cost to build" in major metropolitan areas all over the world (London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, etc., etc.).

          Your definition of 'normal' is abnormal.

        • Re:alternately: (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @04:47PM (#50768419) Homepage

          ... just because the greedy owner thinks he can charge a million. In a more normal country, this is called extortion.

          First, that isn't what extortion means:

          ex-tor-tion
          noun
          the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

          No one is using force or threats here. If you don't want to pay that much, fine—someone else will; that's why the price is so high.

          Second, that "greedy" owner is only doing what any owner of any kind of property has every right to do: choose to sell, or not, on his or her own terms. If the owner doesn't want to sell, the owner doesn't have to sell. Taking the property without the owner's permission, or threatening the owner with fines or other loss of property or liberty for refusing to sell (or equivalently, for asking for "too high" a price) would be extortion.

    • How would a union help Google workers in the Bay area? If they tried a collective bargaining approach with Google, you can bet the company would just start to staff up facilities in "right to work" states where the cost of living is lower and they can pay less. Then all the guys living in pickup trucks would simply drive their little hovels to where ever and clear even more cash per month.

      Ok, Perhaps not, but the subject of the article behind this makes it clear that he was able to save 90% of his pay, pa

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dzimas ( 547818 )

      Google pays their technical staff extremely well. The problem is that Bay Area housing prices are astronomical, and it's pretty hard to get ahead when you're paying out several thousand dollars of after-tax money every month just to rent a room in a shared house.

      I suspect that this guy will only be able to live this way for a year or so - either Google will step in and ask him to move his truck (especially if others get similar ideas) or he'll grow tired of his spartan living arrangements once he's paid off

      • ... where everyone is a "consultant" (temp) and company provides a trailer park and hookups for employees' winnebagos. when your project wraps, you drive it to your next "job."

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        So what they pay them is the local equivalent of minimum wage. Factor in cost of housing and commuting, as well as CA taxes, and they would probably be better off in the mid-west.

    • Google pays a living wage in just about every location outside of the Bay area...
    • Re:alternately: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @02:16PM (#50767141)

      or, you know, google could pay a living wage.

      If I were Google (or any other tech company), I would be more inclined to relocate to a city where my employees didn't have to live to live in their cars because the Smugville hippies and greedy homeowners have decided it would be a good idea to basically prohibit all new housing construction.

      Seriously, do you really NEED to be in SF that badly? Is it really that ESSENTIAL? If you need to kiss-ass in Silicon Valley that badly just to keep up your tech cred, just locate an Office of Bunghole-Tonguing branch office there and locate your main campus somewhere with available affordable housing.

  • by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:12PM (#50766485)
    "... He uses the company's gym and cafeterias to eat and shower."

    Hopefully not in that order.
    • Is there a particular order which is correct?

      In any case, you could just think of the order as cyclical with no beginning and no end. Then it is whatever order you want to see it in.

      This reminds me of an Adam Corolla bit from the "Man Show" a long time ago... Why do they call it "Stop and go traffic? Shouldn't it be called go and stop traffic?"

      • Is there a particular order which is correct?

        Yes. Since eating in a cafeteria (or any restaurant) is done in the midst of other people, and showering is done in a locker room which has it's own, shall we say, ambiance, the correct order is "shower then eat". That way you wash off the "ambiance" of living in a truck before sitting down next to other people to eat.

        You can call it "cyclical", but the time in between "shower" and "eat" does make a difference.

    • Boy, it's going to be awesome for him if the company gym makes a new rule limiting the way he's using it.

      Forget company store, this dude is placing himself at the mercy of the company _toilet_. And yet some people will consider him the way of the future, and he might spawn a new kind of race to the bottom. After all, the other Google employees can't buy a house after three years, so logically they need to all be doing this, right?

    • Shades of Kramer. [youtube.com]
  • It would at least be respectably configured for living in (bathroom, sink, heat/ac, fridge, etc). Solar on the roof would keep the batteries up with minimal need for generator run time.

    If you wanted to go minimalist, you could probably get a pickup camper.

    • by Chalex ( 71702 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:23PM (#50766597) Homepage

      Most of the towns in the South Bay have ordinances with prohibitions against motorhomes. You can't live in them, you can't park them on their streets or in driveways. And they certainly don't allow businesses to allow motorhomes to live in their parking lots. So it all has to be on the downlow, it has to look like a regular van and no one has to notice you.

    • It would at least be respectably configured for living in (bathroom, sink, heat/ac, fridge, etc). Solar on the roof would keep the batteries up with minimal need for generator run time.

      If you wanted to go minimalist, you could probably get a pickup camper.

      Yeah for a "fun project" I suspect he could plan ahead a little better. Not only could he have purchased a decent used MH for about $20k but you could actually get financing for a new one with all the perks. Also consider that rather than buying a truck outright, he could have just leased it for 36 months.

  • Cautionary tale (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:15PM (#50766517) Journal
    Don't Be This Guy! is the takeaway. He isn't living, he's merely existing, and worse, he's existing only to do his corporate masters' bidding.
    • Re:Cautionary tale (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twotacocombo ( 1529393 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:28PM (#50766641)
      He's living with the conscious decision of enduring mild, planned hardship now with the goal of greatly improving his situation in life later. He is taking advantage of the environment and resources available to him to meet his needs, instead of blindly blowing the majority of his income on what others feel should be an acceptable quality of life for him. Why would you consider forward thinking and aggressive budgeting a 'cautionary tale'? He's got a plan and motivation, which a lot more than I can say about most of the people I work with.
      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        I would consider this a cautionary tale because the lesson learned by corporations will be that workers are willing to live out of a truck in the parking lot, it follows that paying more to support higher standard of living is unnecessary. They will gladly rent you a truck and garnish part of your wage to pay for it.
    • Don't Be This Guy! is the takeaway. He isn't living, he's merely existing, and worse, he's existing only to do his corporate masters' bidding.

      This can also be ascribed to Uber drivers, Amazon packers, the entirety of the fast (and even slow) food industry...

  • for $10K, he could have bought a 20 year old motorhome and had a bathroom + kitchen... and windows. Sure, his operating expenses may have been higher due to maintenance, but it seems that it'd still be worth it for the comfort and convenience.

    At the very least, he ought to glue up some rigid foam insulation to make the truck more comfortable - the truck must feel like an oven after a warm sunny day, even if he doesn't go to bed until after dark.

    I'd be worried about emergency egress from the truck, if a fuel

    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      Plus pay $400 per month to park the motorhome in Sacramento and another $1,000 per month to public transportation into work.
  • I think OP may be used to renting, where these things are taken care of for you. Buf just FYI, that's hardly unique. Having ants sounds a lot like like my house.

  • Math (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:18PM (#50766553)

    >> 90% of my after-tax income, and throwing that in student loans...$22,434 worth of student loans, and has paid it down to $16,449...four months

    That's only $1,500 paid down on student loans per month. If that's 90% of his after-tax income (even in California), he's making maybe $22K/year, and spending just $150 month on other stuff.

  • ...A box truck is it's own special kind of sad. You can get a serviceable RV for under the $10,000 he spent.

    • by Nite_Hawk ( 1304 )

      I suspect he wanted to avoid the "I'm living in the parking lot!" message an RV would broadcast after it's been there for a week.

    • ...A box truck is it's own special kind of sad. You can get a serviceable RV for under the $10,000 he spent.

      I agree that a box truck was an interesting choice, but if all he's doing is sleeping in it and has acceptable facilities nearby, it's not exactly a "van down by the river" situation. I browse the sale listings for RVs from time to time, and any RV in the 10k range usually looks like somebody died in it and may or may not still be an occupant. A corporate parking lot isn't exactly an idea location for an RV either, with no (legal?) water or power hookups, sewage disposal, or source for gasoline. Just more c

  • In the early days an employee lived in an RV in the parking lot. [bloomberg.com] His RV was nicknamed the "Weaverplex". It wasn't really secret either.
  • So, if you can use a "Maxi-van," how about parking a trailer on the spot instead? A 24x8' trailer would give >160sqft of living space and could be double-decked. That's enough room for a composting toilet, and a solar powered mini-fridge.

  • by CQDX ( 2720013 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:21PM (#50766587)

    Isn't sleeping under your desk while your code is compiling allowed or even encouraged at Google?

    • Isn't sleeping under your desk while your code is compiling allowed or even encouraged at Google?

      Sure it's allowed, though the sleep pods would be a better place, and if you did it very much your co-workers would wonder why you're not getting enough sleep at home. If it's because you're not going home at a reasonable hour, your manager will probably talk to you about the importance of work/life balance (not because you're sleeping at work, but because you're not going home; time away from work is important).

      There have been some issues with employees trying to live on campus, though, especially with i

      • Then he should go work for Amazon, and his manager can talk to him about how his work/life balance could use some more hours at work.

        Not because he's leaving, but because there are times he's asleep under his desk while his computer is NOT compiling...

  • The place where I work has a river running thru it. And there is a parking lot near the river. How sweet it would be to live in a van down by the river. I wonder if Google has a river on their campus?

  • If Google employees can't afford rent, how can teachers, nurses, and janitors?

  • Why not invest and build apartment buildings. That is most likely cheaper than a flipping truck.
    And with little help from Google that house might be close to the workplace. For Google it might be clever to build such house themselves and rent and sell it to their employees. At least it would require less space than everyone having a truck consuming the parking space.

    • How about a hammock underneath every desk?

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      I'm sure they would, but SF won't let them. SF has brought this on themselves by refusing to allow sufficient development.

      SF dwellers wanted to keep the quaint neighborhoods and everything, but there's a reason that those neighborhoods were bulldozed in other urban areas. They keep the maximum population density very low. That keeps prices extremely high.

      I have sympathy for not wanting to live in a crowded, overbuilt urban area, but without development, even things like rent control would just force ever

      • I'm sure they would, but SF won't let them. SF has brought this on themselves by refusing to allow sufficient development.

        SF dwellers wanted to keep the quaint neighborhoods and everything, but there's a reason that those neighborhoods were bulldozed in other urban areas. They keep the maximum population density very low. That keeps prices extremely high.

        I have sympathy for not wanting to live in a crowded, overbuilt urban area, but without development, even things like rent control would just force everyone to move out to the suburbs, where those house prices would skyrocket instead, and everyone would have to commute somehow.

        You do realize that Google's main campus is a solid 30 miles south of San Francisco, right?

  • "For those Bay Area tech pros who think Brandon's lifestyle sounds appealing"

    Not even a little.

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      When I was younger, I could have probably handled it for maybe a year. It would be important, though, to ensure that there was a set time limit on how long I did something like that so that I wouldn't completely trash my life. Social suicide doesn't even begin to cover it. The chance of landing a girlfriend in that situation would be close to nil and the stress would be off the charts.

      At least at Google, you'll have enough work so that you don't have to use your "residence" as much as other people do.

  • The Who described this method in 1971, in the song "Goin' mobile", although this patent filing may have a fancier description of getting the police and tax man to miss you.

  • Sounds some like the rental RVs.
    The rental companies (for example cruiseamerica ) sell them off after a couple of years (and and few 100.000 miles).
    They cost more (around 25.000$), but come complete with furniture and bathroom and are probably still a lot cheaper than an appartment in the long run

  • Makes me wonder, how long until the bay is full of house boats?
    • A houseboat berth in Sausalito will cost you $5k in rent just for the berth. Then you have to lease or buy a houseboat on top of it...
  • I make $50,000 per year doing I.T. support work in Palo Alto, rent a studio apartment near downtown San Jose for $1,400 per month, and take the express bus to work. Been doing that for 10 years now. Lot more comfortable than a truck camper and bumming food from work.
  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @01:46PM (#50766829) Journal

    I've consider the RV as my work has the same amenities as well as a large shopping center across the street. But my old lady said "no". It's also impracticable if you happen to play the Hammond Organ for fun.

  • by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @02:05PM (#50767011) Homepage

    ... and I'll never understand the lure of Silicon Valley. I live a couple of miles outside Nashville in the country, in a very nice house I managed to pay off in 10 years. I make a decent living doing high-end computer work (academic HPC) which is pretty fun. Ambitious but realistic 40-hour week schedules, with co-workers as smart as any I've met at the Supercomputing conferences. I can eat out, go to the gym, go on a date, or just go home and watch a movie with my cat in my lap any time I want. I'll probably be able to retire in my 50's should I choose to do so.

    Why, other than the hope of becoming an overnight millionaire, do people choose to work in Silicon Valley, with the insane hours, cost-of-living, commutes from hell, and a lack of any social life? Because if money is all they wanted, they can buy Powerball tickets in most states.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @02:18PM (#50767167)

    I am not from Google and not in the US but I did something similar : living in a used RV for 5 years. It's impressive how fast you are saving money this way.

    In the end I managed to buy a nice apartment downtown. Most of it paid upfront.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @02:25PM (#50767233) Homepage

    Smart that it's urban camouflage, nobody questions a big white truck parked for a long time.
    Dumb that the same money would have bought him a very nice RV that would be a lot more comfortable and would have been useable for a very long term compared to living in a box truck where someone can slap a padlock on the outside and trap you in it.

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