11 people who have gone to unbelievable lengths to save money

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Bad Money Habits and How to Break Them

From making 713-mile commutes overseas to secretly living out of vans, people do crazy things to save money.

We aren't recommending you do the same (there are plenty of other, less extreme, tactics to save money) ... unless you're ready for a lifestyle change of the biggest kind.

Read on to see some of the more creative ways people all over the world have found to live on the cheap.

A Google employee lives in a truck in the company parking lot and saves 90% of his income

Google employee Brandon (who asked to withhold his last name) lives in a 128-square-foot truck in the company parking lot. The 23-year-old software engineer's one recurring cost is truck insurance for $121 a month — and he's saving 90% of his income by avoiding an overpriced San Francisco apartment.

He's used the savings to pay down student loans, get a head start on investing, and set aside money for his goal of traveling the world in a few years.

You can follow the live-updating "savings clock" he created on his blog to see exactly how much he's saving.

Read more about Brandon.

One couple took on a fixer-upper home with the mind-boggling price tag of just $13,000

Paying off a mortgage can be a long and stressful process, so Justin Craig, 35, and Alia Polsgrove, 33, decided to forgo it altogether by purchasing a 103-year-old fixer-upper in cash and renovating it.

They're doing most of the renovations to the Detroit home themselves, which is saving them about $66,000, and they expect the finished product to cost a total of $120,000.

In a couple of years, they could be sitting on a nice profit margin — currently, homes on their block are listed around $215,000, and Craig predicts they'll start selling for $300,000 in another three years.

Read more about Justin and Alia.

A Los Angeles man spent 500 days secretly living in his office and saved over $20,000

In the summer of 2012, "Terry K." (the pseudonym of the writer who tells his story on Salon) rented out his Venice Beach, California apartment and moved into his office.

He used his cubicle as a bedroom for over a year, which saved him more than $20,000 and freed up the time and money to travel and pursue his interests. Today he lives in a slightly more traditional setting: a tiny home attached to his truck.

Read more about Terry K.

Mr. Money Mustache retired at age 30 by saving two-thirds of his take-home pay

After a mere 10 years of working as software engineers, Peter Adeney (better known as "Mr. Money Mustache") and his wife Simi had enough money to retire comfortably and debt-free.

That was in 2005, right before Mr. Money Mustache's 31st birthday.

The couple did it by "simply by living a lifestyle about 50% less expensive than most of our peers and investing the surplus in very boring, conservative Vanguard index funds and a rental house or two," he explained on Farnoosh Torabi's podcast.

Today, Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache and their son live comfortably on about $25,000 a year in Longmont, Colorado — and it's doable, he assures.

Read more about Mr. Money Mustache.

A Tesla engineer saved $10,000 by living out of a van for 5 months

Jason Roesslein, 24, lived in his "studio on wheels" — a 2006 Dodge Sprinter van — from October 2014 through March 2015, using Tesla and his gym to shower and eat most of his meals.

After five months of van life, he reverted back to a more traditional lifestyle with nearly $10,000 in extra savings, some of which he diverted toward paying off his student loans in full.

Read more about Jason.

A college student traded expensive dorms for a 145-square-foot tiny home he built himself

Joel Weber took one look at the cost of residence halls at the University of Texas at Austin (about $1,135 per month) and knew dorm life wasn't for him.

To save on student housing, the design major spent a year constructing a tiny house in a friend's backyard for less than $15,000. He had to empty his savings and emergency fund to make it happen — which he admits was a risk — but he now pays nothing in rent and plans to graduate debt-free.

Read more about Joel.

RELATED: Cities with the most tiny homes

13 PHOTOS
10 cities with the most tiny homes
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11 people who have gone to unbelievable lengths to save money

10. (Tie) Dallas, Texas: 14 Tiny Houses for Sale

Not everything is bigger in Texas. In fact, tiny homes are catching on throughout the state. Dallas has the 10th highest number in the nation of tiny homes listed for sale — tied with Irving, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn.

Like in many large cities, housing costs are high in Dallas. The city has experienced one of the steepest surges in rental prices in the nation, according to the Zumper National Rent Report for August 2015. Low-price tiny homes might be offering an alternative to high-rent apartments and high-priced homes.

Related: Best (and Worst) States to Buy a Home This Spring

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

10 (Tie) Irving, Texas: 14 Tiny Houses for Sale

This suburb has as many tiny homes listed for sale as its bigger neighbor, Dallas. High housing costs could be among the reasons.

According to Zillow, monthly rent in Irving is $1,429 — $132 higher than in Dallas. And the median sale price for homes is $175,598.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

10. (Tie) Nashville, Tenn.: 14 Tiny Houses for Sale

Nashville is one the many cities where the tiny house movement is growing. In fact, a micro-home community for the homeless was recently created in Nashville, reports USA Today.

However, there are some restrictions on small homes in the city. Zoning laws allow for accessory dwelling units — small structures built on property with a primary structure — according to MusicCityTinyHouse.com. But houses on wheels can only be in areas that allow RV camping.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

9. Aurora, Colo.: 18 Tiny Houses for Sale

Housing costs in this city in the Denver metropolitan area aren't as high as in Aurora's bigger neighbor. But there are several tiny home contractors in the area, which might explain why so many tiny homes are listed for sale in Aurora.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

8. San Antonio, Texas: 21 Tiny Houses for Sale

One of the big builders of tiny homes, Tiny Texas Houses, is located about 60 miles from San Antonio — which might explain why the city has many tiny homes listed for sale.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

7. Memphis, Tenn.: 24 Tiny Houses for Sale

Small home construction company Tennessee Tiny Homes — and sister company, Tiny Happy Homes — are located just outside Memphis, which might explain the high number of small house listings in the Memphis area. In fact, one of Tennessee Tiny Homes' houses has been featured on the FYI TV series, "Tiny House Nation."

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

6. Denver: 25 Tiny Houses for Sale

Tiny homes were actually the big attraction at the recent Denver Home Show, a testament to the growing popularity of these small structures in the Mile-High City. "Tiny House Nation" has even filmed episodes in Denver, according to The Denver Post.

However, zoning laws in Denver — like in many other cities — don't favor tiny homes. But, city officials have said recently that they're open to discussing rules regarding tiny houses, reports The Denver Post.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

5. San Francisco: 26 Tiny Houses for Sale

It's well known that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in. The median home sales price is nearly $1 million, according to Zillow. With a lack of affordable housing, there is a demand for inexpensive tiny homes.

However, prospective tiny house homeowners should do their research first; San Francisco's zoning codes make it difficult to have a tiny home legally.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

4. Oakland, Calif.: 31 Tiny Houses for Sale

Housing costs also are high in San Francisco's neighbor to the East, Oakland, which recently saw rent prices surge 20 percent, according to the Zumper National Rent Report. As a result, it seems that tiny homes are growing in popularity as an affordable alternative.

But, zoning laws make it difficult to find a place to park or build a tiny home legally, too. Despite the obstacles, tiny house enthusiasts abound in Oakland. The East Bay Tiny House Enthusiasts group has more than 1,000 members.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

3. Austin, Texas: 50 Tiny Houses for Sales

Austin residents who are renting might want to consider becoming first-time homeowners — tiny house homeowners, that is. Austin was the second fastest-growing rental market in the U.S., with rental prices jumping 17 percent, according to the Zumper National Rent August 2015 Report. As a result, there's been a push in the city for more affordable housing.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

​2. Seattle: 64 Tiny Houses for Sale

The growth in tiny homes might be fueled by the high cost of housing in Seattle, which has the 10th highest median rent for one-bedroom apartments in the nation, according to Zumper, and a median home sale price of $515,561, according to Zillow.

Seattle created a village of tiny homes and opened it in early 2016 for those least able to afford the city's high housing costs: the homeless, reports local news station KIRO 7.

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

1. Portland, Ore.: 87 Tiny Houses for Sale

Portland is considered to be a hotbed of tiny homes (it's also the best U.S. city for saving money). There are likely many reasons why the tiny house movement has caught on here.

For starters, the median rent is among the top 20 highest in the nation, according to the Zumper National Rent Report. And the median sale price of homes in Portland is $332,600, according to Zillow.

Portland's zoning rules are also friendlier to tiny homes compared to other areas. There also are plenty of resources for tiny home enthusiasts — including lecture series and workshops — and the Build Small, Live Large small house summit was held in Portland in 2015.

Keep Reading: 10 Tiny Homes for Retirees

Photo credit: GOBankingRates.com/Courtesy of TinyHouseListings.com

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A San Francisco woman lives on a 136-square-foot sailboat to save on rent in the pricey Bay Area

Sarah Carter, 23, opted out of settling into an outlandishly priced San Francisco apartment and moved onto a sailboat instead.

She pays for electricity and water, as well as a small monthly docking fee, which includes internet access. Her housing costs add up to about $350 a month — not bad considering the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is about $3,500 a month.

Read more about Sarah.

A Duke grad student secretly lived in a van to escape loan debt

After graduating from the University of Buffalo in 2005, Ken Ilgunas had $32,000 of student debt. He moved to Alaska and spent two years paying back every dime by working odd jobs that provided housing and food, meaning he was able to save nearly all of his $9-an-hour salary.

When he enrolled at Duke University for graduate school, he was determined not to make the same financial mistakes, so he turned a van that he bought for $1,500 into a mini dorm room and secretly lived in a parking lot off-campus. It paid off — he graduated in May 2011 completely debt-free.

Read more about Ken.

One couple made extreme lifestyle changes to save over 70% of their income and accelerate their retirement track

About 13 years ago, Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng decided to get serious about their savings goals. They changed their lifestyle and saved more than 70% of their combined $135,000 salary — 10 years later, they were submitting their resignations.

"To get to a high savings rate, we cut spending in the areas that are typically the largest money drains: transportation (a car), housing, food, and entertainment," they write on their blog. "By using a bicycle and the bus for transportation, living in a comfortably sized apartment in a walkable neighborhood, and finding joy in home-cooked meals and nature instead of consumerism, we eliminated, or significantly reduced, our cost of living."

For the past three years, they've been enjoying 52 weeks of vacation and traveling the world, from Mexico and Guatemala to Taiwan, Belize, and all over the US.

Read more about Jeremy and Winnie.

One man makes a 713-mile commute from Spain to England to avoid egregious London rent

Like most Londoners, Sam Cookney was fed up with apartment prices in England's capital city. So the 32-year-old social media manager began to look overseas for an affordable apartment. He found one in Barcelona, Spain.

Cookney now gets on a plane in Spain and is seated at his desk in London by 9:30 a.m — and he saves money doing it, which he explains in an October 2013 blog post.

Of course, the commute comes with a time cost: The round trip takes about 5 1/2 hours. He doesn't make the commute every day — he's allowed to work from home a few times per week.

Read more about Sam.

RELATED: Rent in 10 major U.S. cities

11 PHOTOS
2016 rent in 10 major U.S. cities
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11 people who have gone to unbelievable lengths to save money

Atlanta, GA

1 bedroom: $1,312/month

2 bedroom: $1,713/month

Photo via Getty

Boston, MA

1 bedroom: $2,957/month

2 bedroom: $3,680/month

Photo via Alamy

Chicago, IL

1 bedroom: $2,310/month

2 bedroom: $3,273/month

Photo via Shutterstock

Houston, TX

1 bedroom: $1,748/month

2 bedroom: $2,427/month

Photo via Getty

Los Angeles, CA

1 bedroom: $2,756/month

2 bedroom: $3,188/month

Photo via Getty

Miami, FL

1 bedroom: $1,845/month

2 bedroom: $2,412/month

Photo via Shutterstock

Minneapolis, MN

1 bedroom: $1,473/month

2 bedroom: $1,965/month

Photo via Getty

New York, NY

1 bedroom: $3044/month

2 bedroom: $3,856/month

Photo via Getty

Philadelphia, PA

1 bedroom: $1,929/month

2 bedroom: $2,521/month

Photo via F11photo

Seattle, WA

1 bedroom: $2,046/month

2 bedroom: $2,546/month

Photo via Getty

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One couple lived in an RV in the Google parking lot for 2 years and saved 80% of their income

When Pete D'Andrea landed a job at Google, he and his wife Kara wanted to avoid paying the sky high rent in Silicon Valley, so they lived out of their small RV ... and parked it in the Google parking lot.

They had no electricity or water during their parking-lot stint. It was basically "glorified camping," Kara described on their blog, but it allowed them to save 80% of their take-home pay, despite living in the notoriously pricey Bay Area.

Today their "mini Winnie" is still alive and kicking, but now it's parked in the driveway of their home, which they bought with their sizable savings in the summer of 2013.

Read more about Pete and Kara.

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