Hacking College, Real Estate, and FU Money | Craig Curelop from Bigger Pockets

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In today’s episode, Cody and Justin bring you a true the king of efficiency. A real estate junkie, Craig works over at Bigger Pockets and currently lives in Denver. From getting paid to go to college to renting out his car, Craig finds ways to squeeze money out of every aspect of life. Then you can add on the fact that he’s in his mid 20’s and you have a really inspiring story.

Craig may not head up a popular blog or podcast but I can promise you, he has some amazing insight. In this episode, you’ll get to hear his entry into real estate including some extreme house hacking. Oh, and did I mention he spends ~$500 per month on everything? It really highlights how removing auto and home expenses leaves you with an extremely tiny budget

Episode Summary

  • Started hustling in elementary school by selling his lunch to other kids
  • Chose his college based on an internship program that let him graduate w/ a $20k nest-egg
  • Gets a wake-up call when his boss interrupts his weekend at Big Sur
  • 2 years after graduating he buys his first property, a duplex in Denver
  • His first property was  $380k and 1.5 miles from his work
  • He put down a down-payment of $17k
  • The duplex was cash-flowing $800 per month and he lived there rent free
  • He lived in a tiny section of one floor while Air BnB’ing out the rest
  • With a place so close to work, he was able to also rent out his car on Turo
  • On Turo, he was pocketing ~$30 per day…until a renter totaled the car
  • Turo handled the insurance without a hitch
  • One year after buying the duplex he buys his second property
  • In the new property, he rents the rooms out individually while still living rent free
  • With no rent and no car expense he’s able to spend $500-$600 per month
  • At 25 he is prepping himself to be set up to travel and someday start a family
  • He uses credit cards with setting up his new properties to travel hack his trips
  • Currently loves his job at Bigger Pockets
  • He actually got into real estate due to the confidence he found from  Bigger Pockets
  • He chooses his properties based on location in relation to parks and bike paths

Key Takeaways

  1. House hacking is one of the most efficient and effective ways to hit FI. If you can rent out half of a duplex (or the whole thing or if you’re on Craig’s level) you can eliminate your housing expense and actually make money to live! Housing is typically 33% of the average American budget.
  2. Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later“. Craig understands that his youth gives him an advantage and allows him to kickstart his FI journey. He can take wisdom from his elders and implement all of the strategies that they wished they had used.
  3. FU Money is one of the most powerful levers. Since Craig was able to live intentionally, amass a comfortable monthly cash flow and increase his net worth, he unlocked options in his life. He now can focus on the things he truly cares about and “peace out” from his job if he stops feeling fulfilled!

Call to Action

Examine your life, determine what is excess, and cut what’s not necessary!

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Links from the Episode

Turo (Get $25 off your first ride!)

Airbnb (Get $40 off your first stay!)

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Travel Hacking

Lifeonaire Book


Contact Craig:





Learn More About Your Hosts:

Fly to FI (Cody’s Blog)

Saving-Sherpa (Justin’s blog)

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