The title alone should tell you why we’re moving out of a $3,200-a-month apartment. That is—pardon my language—a sh*t-ton of money going out the window every month—for a place we can never call our own. Never!
And unless we want to spend half a million dollars on a 500-square-foot apartment (as if we have that kinda dough anyway), owning property in Silicon Valley is out of the question.
But the side-by-side pictures above might make you question our decision. Hell, it makes ME question our decision. Look at those stainless steel appliances! The ultra-quiet dishwasher! The backsplash and fixtures that scream, “Welcome home, you modern bastard!”
You might be asking yourself, “Why did you all move into such an expensive place to begin with?”
Great question! We asked ourselves that after about six months.
We relocated to the Bay Area last year after I landed a great job in the ed-tech industry. I was making significantly more than my last job, and so I naively said to Pier we should “treat ourselves” and not make any compromises on our new place. We wanted a washer/dryer, dishwasher, hardwood floors, maybe a pool.
We found it all and more in a brand new luxury complex filled with salespeople that made us feel like we belonged there. We were offered snacks and bottled waters before being whisked away to the amenities deck, where the gym and heated saltwater pool awaited us. We were shown plush cabanas and common areas with big-screen TVs, where we pictured ourselves sipping white wine spritzers with our yuppie neighbors who would talk to us about their Napa getaways and how to manage scope creep.
Yep, this was the place for us!
Six months later, we were past the honeymoon stage. We had barely used the pool. Neighbors kept to themselves for the most part, so the common areas were like a ghost town. And the novelty of having an ultra-sleek apartment was overshadowed by the dread we felt every time the first of the month rolled around. Our bank accounts were like a rollercoaster ride: paydays gave us a healthy boost and a top-of-the-world sense of exhilaration—but that was quickly shattered by a plummeting, screaming fall as we watched our money vanish in the blink of an eye.
It wasn’t long before we realized that having any sort of cushion or savings was next to impossible. We had zero debt, fortunately, but our cost of living wasn’t sustainable. How could we plan for the future when we couldn’t save for it?
Obviously, it was time to stop “treating ourselves” to material things and start focusing on the intangibles that made us happy: time, creativity, and a stronger sense of ease.
So we did something drastic: we bought a truck camper off Craigslist.
And while I make it seem like a super spontaneous decision, it wasn’t. For several years, we’d been curious about minimalist living in a small space, and the universe seemed to be aligning in a way that made NOW feel like the right time.
Now here we are, facing the reality that in 80 days, we’ll be saying goodbye to the amenities that have brought us such comfort and convenience. But I also have to remind myself that they’re amenities we’ve poured thousands of dollars into—just to use, not to keep. We OWN our truck camper. It’s officially OURS! There’s a sense of pride in owning property, even if it is nearly 20 years old and on wheels.
We’ll be the first to admit, we’re nervous about marching into the unknown. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing, and we won’t know what the hell we’re doing until we’re doing it. We’ll be forced to learn and step outside our comfort zone, which will inevitably result in frustration, tears, and questioning why we did this in the first place.
But it’s an adventure, a new chapter, and—let’s face it—a practical way to save money and say “eff you” to the cost of renting in the Bay. It may blow up in our face (hopefully not literally). But either way, life lessons will be learned—and I’d say you can’t put a price on those.