living in a car

Living in a Car in California: Legal or illegal?

Sometimes due to circumstances, we all end up in situations that we never want anyone else to be in. picking yourself up from these places will teach you things that can’t be learned through a $100k college degree.

Living in a car and being homeless, you won’t understand it unless you have lived the life. As someone who has seen my friends live this lifestyle and picked themselves up from the dirt, I hope that this article will bring some hope and strength to you.

It is not illegal to live in your car. However, it can be if you have parked your car in a parking space that is not a 24hour parking lot. If you are not bothering anyone and staying inside your car in a 24hour parking lot or parking space, you will have no problem as your car is private property.

This article will walk you through everything you should know about living out of a car. You don’t need to know anything else beyond the information that is provided here. Let’s get started, shall we,

How to live in a car:

I went through some tough times in my life where I felt like I was being choked. Through those problems, I understood that, 

” if you have been broken already, you know how to survive.”

The first step in living in a car out of necessity is to have a clear mindset to survive and not give up hope. Hope is the only way you can see another sunshine. So getting that out of the way, I would want you to have three things when living out of your car: proper food, safety, and sanitation. 

Having food, safety, and sanitation right on the point will prepare you to use your time wisely to get out of the car and build wealth for your future. I am going to assume that you have $500 in your hands and start this guide. Many one-time payments will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you don’t make these past investments and cultivate a living lifestyle, you will lose money. Let’s take a look at the food situation.

car  life sleepin in a car

Managing food while living in a car:

If you ask people about getting free food or managing food, they will give you a load of advice about how to hack this and hack that. They all work for the short term. They wouldn’t last a long time at all. The best possible way to manage food and less is by actually cooking your food.

Once you start to cook food, it will develop as a hobby. If you eat out for 30 days on cheap meals, you will spend way too much money unless you cook food. Your cooking doesn’t have to be crazy recipes; this can be two toasted slices of bread and two eggs for breakfast, a torte roll for the afternoon, and a sandwich for dinner. The monthly requirement for this food lifestyle will be way less than eating out or eating one meal a day at a fast-food place.

You have to make the three one-time investments: a one-burner stove, a non-stick cooking pan, 4L car fridge. The above-said items will be about $150 in total. You will have the only monthly bill in the food department: groceries and a 12 pack butane cartridge, which will be below $100 a month. Does it sound impossible? Well, it’s possible.

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Manging safety while living in a car:

Window covers are the first thing that you need while you are living out of your car. If you don’t have a dark window cover, it will feel like you are stuck in someplace. In the end, it will disturb your sleep.

Robberies occur everywhere; the best way to protect yourself is to be constantly aware of where you are and have a sense of how to protect yourself in those situations.

 The following products are just one-time investments that might serve you for a long time. So please don’t be ignorant, thinking what’s the worst that can happen—these three products total to about $50.

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Cleaning yourself while living in a car:

If you don’t clean and take care of yourself, you won’t be able to find any jobs, and your motivation to work or improve your life will go down with time. You don’t want that do you. The best way to clean up and have good hygiene is to invest in a gym membership. It will help you take care of your body and give you access to showers. As I said before, this is about developing a lifestyle for the next 3 to 4 years so that you can save up enough money to live or even buy a condo. Sounds not possible right? But it is possible.

Do not sleep after 5 am, get out of your car, brush your teeth and go to the gym. Work out, take a shower, and head on to work. If you don’t do this, the possibility of you changing your living situation is very slim. My recommendation would be planet fitness.

Invest the money that you make while you are living through a car as well. Invest in good mutual funds using M1 finance so that you can retire adequately.

One of the essential things that you should have is an inverter; your car is a generator. Solar is a waste of money unless you are planning to live in a desert.

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Things to do when living in your car:

  • Before you move into your car, order everything that you need while you have a place to live.
  • You have to update all your mailing addresses in your bank statements, insurances as you don’t have a place to live. The best way to do this is to get a P.O box.
  • Check all of your credit and debit cards before moving into your car, as you can replace them before they expire as you still have an address.
  • Do all your maintenance for your car before moving in. taking care of your vehicle before moving in will save you many headaches because of car breakdown. 
  • Learn to do basic mechanic things in your car like checking oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluids. You can learn these from youtube.
  • If you have a month left before moving in, live in your car one day, then move back to your apartment until you adjust to it. This will show you the things you have to change, don’t work, and make the transition a whole lot easier.
  • Save $200 as an emergency fund to stay at a motel if your car breaks down.
  • Make sure that you can sleep fully stretched, not cramped or scrunched up.
  • Tint all your windows and don’t allow light to pass through inside so that people outside don’t know that you are sleeping inside.
  • Always stock up on blankets and pillows as you will never have too many. They are a lifesaver.
  • Don’t buy things that aren’t necessary, be slow to purchase, quick to self-care.
  • Live a simple life, not your old lifestyle.

Things not to do when living in your car:

  • Would you please not buy a car to live out of it? The vehicle you have is the one you have to live in. it’s a considerable investment when trying to be frugal.
  • Please don’t spend your money on gadgets that aren’t essential; instead, invest them.
  • Don’t share your location or tag your pictures in your social media posts.
  • Never sleep in an isolated place where there is no one. It doesn’t have to too busy. always sleep places that are public and where you can get help easier
  • Never sleep in the same place over and over again. Always switch upon where you sleep.
  • When you are in stealth mode to go to sleep, don’t play loud music.
  • Would you mind not ending up in a place where it says no parking? It’s the last thing you want in your life at this point.
  • Don’t listen to people who tell you that a solar shower will work out for you. It won’t. Use the gym membership.
car life winning

Get back on your feet:

  • Be frugal as much you can.
  • Always understand that this is a temporary lifestyle you are adapting to save money for the future and have a better life.
  • Be intentional with your money.
  • If a product is not going to help you long-term, don’t buy it.


I hope that this article has brought you some light about living in your car. Things will get better if you work every waking hour to get rid of this situation. I wish you the best.

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