Between sky-high rent, taxes, gas, parking and food, life gets expensive quickly—and many people have taken to saving money in any way they can. You might live with a few more roommates than you’d like and you probably know someone who drives for Uber on the side. Who knows, maybe you’ve even dumpster dived.
But would you give up your apartment completely and simply start living in your office to save on cash?
Believe it or not, that’s what one writer, who uses the pen name Terry K., did. In 2012, he was living in a studio apartment near his office and struggling to keep his head above water, according to an essay he recently wrote for Salon. He was working 60 hours a week to pay his rent, cover old hospital bills, and pay off his car and student loans, and he knew he couldn’t keep up his current lifestyle.
With debt fast-approaching, Terry decided to try an experiment: he rented out his apartment and secretly started sleeping under his office desk. In the mornings, he would awake early, before anyone arrived, and head to the gym for a workout and a shower, making sure to return only after others had started arriving at the office.
He lived like that for 500 days. He estimates he saved $20,000 on rent and other living expenses during this experiment. Wow!
Surprisingly enough, no one at work ever found out. Terry moved out of his office when he was laid off (for unrelated reasons) in 2015, but even then, he didn’t return to renting. Instead, he kitted out the back of his truck with a bed and shelving, and he hasn’t returned to regular renting since then.
It may sound crazy for the majority of us who work 9 to 5 and pay rent monthly, but Terry is actually part of a growing group of people who describe themselves as “home-free.” They’re not homeless out of necessity, but choice: they would rather save on rent and use their cash for experiences, instead.
Perhaps even more importantly, home-free individuals can cut down drastically on the number of hours they work, since their budgets no longer include rent or mortgages. As Terry wrote in his blog, the Office Hobo:
“This lifestyle has allowed me to pursue my dreams–writing, filmmaking, traveling, maintaining a healthy emotional outlook on life–while remaining a productive member of society. I vote, I pay taxes, I give my time to non-profit ventures. I socialize. I date. And I work–just not all that often anymore. What I don’t do is pay rent.”
According to his blog, Terry saved over $50,000 between 2012 and 2016 by choosing to forego a traditional home (or studio apartment, as was his case). It’s obviously not going to be the right approach for everyone, but it’s an interesting one to consider—and definitely a story worth reading. To read more about Terry’s time living in his office and truck, check out his blog, the Office Hobo.