A man sacrificed a few years of comfort for a lifetime of financial freedom after making the choice to live in his car for eight years.
Arizona man Nicholas Bauer says he went to extreme lengths to save cash in his 20s, living in cars in order to pay off all his debt.
“When you have no rent and no bills to pay, that money just stacks,” Bauer, 32, declared in the latest episode of Big Super Living In Arizona.
In the series, which showcases America’s most affordable housing options, Bauer boasts that he saved up so much cash that he was able to buy a home outright, and is no longer dependent on a job to get by, New York Post reported.
Bauer told the program that he started living in cars in 2015 while working as an automotive engineer, making US$11.50 per hour. At the time, he says he had racked up extensive debt.
He was determined to find a “solution to the housing crisis,” so he decided to permanently “live a debt-free lifestyle by living in vehicles.”
The creative engineer parked his Dodge Dakota truck, which he had driven since high school, at his workplace parking lot and attached a camper to the back.
Bauer’s boss allowed the unconventional living conditions on company property since he was often required “to pull all-nighters” and would use the vehicle for off-roading.
Eventually, the self-proclaimed “full-time desert dweller” moved into his next vehicle, a 404 Series Unimog truck. The vehicle’s interior had a bed, wood flooring, a 40-inch flat-screen TV, and internet.
The one thing his humble abode was missing was a bathroom, forcing him to urinate into a Nalgene water bottle. When it came to more serious bathroom business, Bauer planned his toilet breaks at work since he didn’t have one at home.
The scheduled bathroom breaks were enough to convince Bauer to upgrade to another vehicle.
Bauer moved into “the dragon wagon,” a merger of two military trucks with a 1987 Fleetwood Prowler trailer on the back incorporating solar panels.
He described the vehicle as a “Frankenstein contraption.” However, just like the monster, his truck fell apart during a road trip to San Francisco. While saving money to restore the dragon wagon, he transitioned into a Chevy pick-up.
His pick-up, parked outside a Planet Fitness lot, operated like a work camper and included a fold-out bed, heater, and CCTV cameras.
However, when things got serious with Bauer’s girlfriend, who became pregnant with a baby girl, the pair knew it was time to settle down in a more permanent home.
Now, the family of three lives in a mobile home on Bauer’s two-acre “paid-off compound,” where he also stores all the cars he used to live in. He didn’t disclose how much the property cost, nor how much money he still has left in his bank account.
Although Bauer recently lost his job, he has no worries about providing for his family, especially after years of saving.
“I don’t really have to worry about anything because there’s no rent, there’s no mortgage,” Bauer shared, also adding that he was now debt free.
But the Arizona man hasn’t given up on his love of cars.
Even with a more anchored lifestyle, he still has dreams “to live in the woods with 50 trucks.”
This story originally appeared on the New York Post and reproduced with permission