Urbandumpsterdiver's Blog

April 12, 2011

Living Homeless

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 12:25 am

Some tips I’ve found that will help my fellow brothers and sisters who may be homeless and living out of their vehicles.

1. Get a Costco membership. $50 a year. Gas is cheaper and the food court is cheap. I can buy a hotdog/soda combo for $1.50. Add to that a slice of pizza when you’re really hungry and lunch is $4, including tax in most locales. You can also get a chef salad if you want to eat healthy. Grazing at Costco with the food samplers is another way to supplement your meals.

2. State parks. Most are very well kept, clean and heavily patrolled. I think most law enforcement agencies know many Americans are homeless and that they’re sleeping in state parks during the day. I was amazed at how clean some of the ones were that we stopped by. You can take a shower and take a cat nap in your car, van or motor home.

3. 24 hour gyms like Family Fitness. You can purchase a 2 year membership at Costco for $299. You can use that gym membership to workout and shower. Something you can’t get if you’re living in your van or truck. Even on your days off from working out, you can go into family fitness, shower and clean up. Maybe even relax and sit in the jacuzzi.

4. Those who are living in their vans should try and work graveyard or night shift. That way if they need to sleep during the day at a local Wal-Mart, state park or back alley of a strip mall (many of which now are unoccupied) you’re a lot safer, especially if you’re traveling alone.

5. AAA membership is a must. AAA follows you, not the car. That way if you have a flat tire, run out of gas or need a locksmith, you’re covered.

6. Movie theatres. Buy a ticket at your local discount movie theatre for a couple of movies. Don’t theatre hop and break the law, pay your way. Especially in the summer where it’s hot during the day and you need to cool off.

7. Take out food. Many times a restaurant will have specials that will still be the same low price (even with coupons) for takeout. This way you avoid having to leave a tip (which many of us can’t afford now) and eat either at the park, beach or state park.

8. Carry a survival box. Flare gun, compass, inflateable tire pump, umbrellas, fishing net, fix a flat, wet wipes, first-aid kit, funnel for putting into vehicle fluids.

Many law enforcement treat homelessness as if it were a disease but more and more Americans are being forced out of their homes or apartments. You must protect yourself.

The last few years I’ve been dumpster diving, travelling across the nation has given me a new perspective on life. What is important and what is not.

What IS important, family, friends, love, good health and community.

What is NOT important? Buying more stuff and accumulating more debt. We’ve been working more hours to buy more stuff and accumulate more debt, for what? To pay into the system. What has the system done for you lately?


  1. Sent to me by a dear survivalist friend in the West.

    1) Truck stops have $5 showers. It’s also a relatively safe place to sleep when you avoid the “lot lizards” (hookers and whores of BOTH genders). Solars showers are $14 once and shower free for the rest of the year. Any church, fire department or cop shop will give you 5 gallons of water.

    2) One can stay at any national park for 14 days, move to another “Ranger District” which is generally no more than 25 miles for another 14 and then back to the first one.

    3) Many churches operate thrift stores and will feed, shower and wash your clothes for some volunteer time.

    4) A 5 gallon propane tank runs about $30. Filling it takes about $15. I can cook 3 meals a day for 2 months on a cook stove ($15 at Alco, Walmarket, etc).

    5) A Little Buddy heater running off a 5 gal propane tank will heat a car, van or my Suburban for almost a month.

    6) Most libraries have computers one can use for free. http://www.freecampgrounds.com shows many places all over the USA to camp for free.

    7) Folks should carry a large aerosol can of Pepper Spray for self-defense. It will stop a bear, dog, mountain lion and two-legged pests. (and you if you aren’t upwind)

    8) Gold panning is a relaxing activity. Plus, gold can be found in nearly every river in the USA. At $1400 per ounce, one gram – about $60 – and is about 20 flakes the size of this…*. If one cannot afford a pan, use an aluminum pie tin with the bottom painted or Sharpie(d) black. (gold and silver is legal tender in Utah)

    9) Walk often for health reasons. Mental, emotional stress are relieved by walking.

    10) I have 5,000 watt continuous power solar generators for about $3600.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — April 12, 2011 @ 8:26 am

  2. There ya go man, good info. If I can also help you or someone you know in any way, just let me know. It costs you nothing to send me an email. I’m showing a different side of homelessness while living in my car in Los Angeles. http://doingithomeless.com/today-marks-6-months-being-homeless. Let me know if you’re ok with me adding your blog to mine, thanks.

    Comment by Mooch — April 28, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  3. Mooch – I will! Thank you for coming to my blog. Please add me to your blog roll.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — May 1, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  4. Where did the neighbors go? Good question. When I lived in CA an entire section of Riverside had tons of foreclosed homes. The people simply vanished. Very creepy.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — July 23, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  5. The McDonald,s in Richfield, WI is “Homeless Friendly”. My homless buddy has been sleeping there every night for over a year with no problem. He sets up his TV and antenna in the booth every day at about 3pm. He brings in blanket when required and stays until 7am or so, no problem. Now another guy stays over night a couple of time a week to with no problem. Just wanted to pass this on for anyone looking for a long term place or just passing thru for a couple od days

    Comment by Bill — June 25, 2015 @ 10:18 pm

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