Google Engineer Saves 90% of His Salary by Living Out of a Truck in the Company’s Parking Lot

In a bid to save money, Google employee Brandon S. has made the company’s vast parking lot his home. The 23-year-old software engineer lives out of a box truck parked near the search engine giant’s campus in Mountain View, California.

Brandon started work at Google as a summer intern in 2014 – he rented a two-bedroom apartment with three roommates at the time. It cost him about $65 a night, or roughly $2,000 a month, to live there. “I realised I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in – and I was almost never home,” he told Business Insider.

So when he signed on as a full-time employee, he decided to opt out of spending on sky-high rents in the Bay Area. Inspired by the story of software programmer Ben Discoe, who lived for 13 months out of a conversion van in the Google parking lot, he bought a $10,000 used Ford E350 and started living in it. It’s now less of a home and more like a place to sleep and store his stuff – he showers, bathes, charges his gadgets, and eats all his meals in the Google buildings. All he spends is $121 a month on insurance for the truck.


Photo: Brandon S/Thoughts from Inside the Box

Brandon spends most nights out with friends or working on personal projects after work, so he gets back to the truck rather late. “I do have a 24-hour key card access to any building on the campus that I work at,” he said. “I try not to eat or drink anything after about 7.30 pm and I wash up and go to the bathroom right before I head out to the truck at night. The whole point of this experience is that a bed was the only part of a house that I needed, so if I was in here all of the time, I’d be doing it wrong.”

“I don’t actually own anything that needs to be plugged in,” he wrote on his blog, where he documents his experience of living on a truck. “The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, and I have a motion-sensitive, battery-powered lamp I use at night. I have a small battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cell phone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work. The main things I have are a bed, a dresser, and I built a coat rack to hang up my clothes. Besides that, and a few stuffed animals, there’s pretty much nothing in there.” The only challenge he’s faced with the truck so far is rodents, so he has a strict ‘no-food’ rule to keep pests away.


Photo: Brandon S/Thoughts from Inside the Box

As per Brandon’s calculations, he broke even on his spending and saving last week. So as opposed to paying about $2,000 on rent, he’s added $325 to his savings since last Friday and the figure is increasing by the hour. He expects to pay off his student loans within the next six months. His frugality and ability to creatively use the resources available to him have been praised extensively, especially in a city where affordable housing is almost non-existent.

But many have pointed out that Brandon is privileged to have access to so many facilities at one of the world’s most profitable companies. Not many people in the Bay Area can get such services for free, and some of them have had to turn to different solutions like living out of boats and shipping containers to save money. The rest are left homeless. And Brandon agrees that his situation is unique, and has received a lot more attention that he expected. “Real homelessness is a systemic issue that doesn’t get exposure because it’s a decidedly uncomfortable topic,” he wrote on his blog. “People barely scraping by working minimum wage jobs and living out of their cars isn’t a news story, or particularly glamorous.”


Photo: Brandon S/Thoughts from Inside the Box

So Brandon is using his time in the limelight to encourage people to get involved with fighting homelessness. “I felt it reasonable to dedicate a little section (of the blog) to addressing something far larger than the myopia surrounding my situation,” he said.

“I’ve been continually surprised at how receptive people are to the whole concept of living in a car,” he added. “The way I pursue, and find happiness, is by going to sleep a better person than I was when I woke up.”


Photo: Business Insider

“I’m young, I’m flexible, and I don’t have to worry about this decision affecting anyone else in my life,” Brandon concluded.

Sources: Thoughts from Inside the Box, Business Insider

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