Need to Live in Your Car?
22 Nov 2016
Need to Live in Your Car?
You don’t have to be homeless to live in a car. Thousands of travelers, students and others do it to save money. Here are some suggestions to help you out if you ever find yourself having to live in a vehicle for a bit:
Locate a safe place to park :
See if there are any businesses in the area that allow you to stay throughout the night in their parking lots. Walmart, for example, allows drivers to park overnight in their lots. It is not only legal, they may have a security team that will actually keep an eye on you. Campgrounds are another option. Most offer a shower and toilets too, some for a small fee.
Unless you have a local address you could use, consider renting a PO box. That not only gives you some safe and secure place to receive mail, it looks good if you are searching for your next career opportunity.
Find ways of creating electricity :
A cigarette lighter converter is the first option. These are good for powering 12V devices like computers and cell phones. You can also purchase converters that take the 12V from your cigarette lighter and convert it to 120VAC. Those converters will not power devices with high amperage requirements, like space heaters or cooking gear, but they will power most anything else. Note that depending on the power load, you might need to idle the vehicle while drawing power.
Note: A good buy for any vehicle dweller is a “low voltage cut out device”. Available at many RV retailers, this device protects your vehicle’s battery by cutting off the electricity once the battery voltage gets low. It leaves just enough power so you can still start up the car. These usually retail for about $25-$40. The Sales Managers at the Patrick Dealer Group local car dealerships, located in Naperville and Schaumburg IL, all say to consider getting one!
Inexpensive food options :
If you need to eat without spending a lot of money, you fortunately have plenty of options available to you. Peanut butter, tuna and other sources of protein are great staples. You could also get free food from food pantries. The biggest problem you may run into with storing food is refrigerating it. There are ice coolers that plug into 12VDC sources that do not keep items actually frozen but keep them “refrigerator cold’.
Have a Good Outlook:
Your situation is only temporary. Spend every day hitting the pavement and looking for employment. To build your funds, consider food stamps, soup kitchens and food banks. Most importantly, talk to people like social workers who will sympathize and understand, and want to help.
Safety should always be your number-one priority when living out of a car. Keep your keys near the ignition so you may drive off at a second or two’s notice. Knives used for food preparation and tire irons may be used as weapons. Pepper spray is another option. Criminals seek out those who appear vulnerable, or travel solo so be careful at all times.
Featured image by Jenn R Williams