Finances & Money Frugality

Earn a Six-Figure Salary? Then Live in a Shed!

Here’s a brief article about a maintenance man in New York who lived in the back of a shed…but earned a $100,000 salary.

I don’t say I blame him, but the odd thing was at the end of the story:

The worker is being charged $2,500 for the time he lived there. Now he’s living with his wife at a home in Pearl River, about 3 miles away.

So he already had a home where his wife lived? That doesn’t sound like mooching then. It sounds more like convenience to be closer to work.

When I worked in York, PA, and we still hadn’t decided whether to move from DC to PA yet, I traveled up on Monday mornings, stayed in a rented room ($350 per month I think), and drove back home on Fridays. It was tough because we just bought our first house and that left Stacie to maintain it AND the pool during the week.

Not knowing that I would leave the company and go back to DC (Rockville, MD really) after only 5 months on the job, I was very close to selling my car for a van or truck and sleeping in it during the week. I had the plan to join Gold’s Gym and shower there, and use the internet at work or the library. It would all be much cheaper than renting a room, but the legality and safety of it made me (and Stacie) second-guess the plan. Actually, it was Stacie calling me a fool for the idea.

Nevertheless, I left the company (which I regretted at the time and still do because they were great people in a great area), but there was too much turmoil and decision after they got acquired by a larger company. I went for the sure-thing: a job close to home that paid more, but I haven’t been as happy since leaving.

Maybe one day I’ll go back, but I won’t think about sleeping in the back of a van down by the river this time.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Living in a van isn’t that crazy but it’s hardly a long term solution, while I’ve never slept in a van… it strikes me as less comfortable than an apartment. Who knows how that would’ve affected you long term…

  • Funny story. But when are we going to get past this nonsense about a “six-figure salary”. How big of a deal is that nowadays?? Most people I know including myself were making six-figures or close to it the first year out of college. And now several years later everyone does, even people in back-office/administrative jobs. Our receptionist makes over $100k. It’s not a big deal anymore. Even in middle-America a very average family with two people working is easily pulling in $100k. A nurse married to a cop are making over $100k. Its not a lot of money at all. Here in Manhattan I think if your household income was $100k it wouldn’t even be close to enough to qualify as MIDDLE-CLASS. And the typical household here is much younger than the typical household nationally.

    Anyway, away from that rant and related to the post. I’ve always wondered why people who don’t have any savings just don’t go blitzkrieg for a while and spend next to nothing. If you’re renting wait until your lease is up and then move into the cheapest crappiest apartment you can find, live on rice and beans, take the bus or your bike or sell your car and get a super cheap beater, and so on. Even on a crappy income you’ll be able to save some decent money by doing this.

  • @JD, I can give you a list of hundreds of people I know who don’t make six figures, or even close to it. Both of our sets of parents combined MIGHT make 6 figures.

    To your last comment about living cheaply, read the book “Million Bucks by 30” by Alan Corey. He did it and he’s a millionaire now. Really good, funny reading too.

Leave a Comment