11 people who have gone to unbelievable lengths to save money
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
RELATED: Cities with the most tiny homes
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.
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.
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.
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.
RELATED: Rent in 10 major U.S. cities
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.
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