Your rent or mortgage is probably the biggest expense that you have to pay each month. If you could find a way to completely eliminate that payment then you would end up saving a lot of money each year. But unless you are planning on moving back in with Mom and Dad, how are you going to get away with not paying any rent and still having a place to live? You would be surprised. There are actually quite a few options available for free rent or for offsetting the cost of your rent or mortgage. This article looks at 10 ways to get away with paying little-to-nothing for your housing.
- Work for your room instead of paying for it. One of the most popular ways of getting housing without having to pay for it is to make your payment in time instead of money. A common example is to work as the apartment manager for a building in which case you typically get your room for free. Another option is to work as a live-in nanny or housekeeper. People who want to take extended vacations to foreign destinations without having to pay for their rent will choose to volunteer their time with a local organization in exchange for a room. All of these are great ways to get a room and give something back to the owners of the room without spending any money.
- Become a professional housesitter. This is a variation on the idea of working for your room. Ideally you will work as a long-term housesitter for people who will be away from home for several months at a time. You can rent a storage unit for your own stuff and then stay in their homes at no charge. Some people successfully avoid ever paying rent by housesitting for years at a time.
- Get a part-time roommate. If you have the obligation or option of being away from home a few days per week then you can choose to get a part-time roommate for the days when you are not there. For example, let’s say that you commute for work and are out of town three days per week. You could get a roommate to stay in your place during those three days, paying half or more of the rent and yet never being around at the same time that you are. You still have the exact same experience of living in your place but the cost is considerably lower. This is also good for people who stay a boyfriend or girlfriend’s house several days out of the week. Turn that into a set schedule and rent out your place on the nights that you are at your sweetheart’s.
- Rent out your extra room to travelers. If you have an extra room that can be turned into a guest room then by all means do it. You can host travelers in your home for various periods of time ranging from a single night to a few months. The price to rent a room is a lot higher than the daily cost of living somewhere. What does this mean? It means that if you are proactive about renting out your room to travelers then the income that you generate from them can completely cover the cost of your rent or mortgage. It can even turn a profit if you’re lucky!
- Rent out your extra space to locals. If you don’t want to host travelers but you do have extra space then you can rent it out to significantly reduce the cost of your rent or mortgage. The obvious example here is to get a roommate for your extra room. However, think outside of the box. Do you have a home office that never gets used? A home worker in your area who wants to start working in an office without paying commercial prices might be interested in renting that space from you during the day. Do you have extra storage space? You can rent that out as well. In urban areas, you can rent out extra parking spaces that you might have. Rent out all of the extra space that you have and you may find that you no longer have to pay rent out of your own pocket.
- Buy a very inexpensive home. There are some very inexpensive homes on the market today. Some of them are so inexpensive that you might have enough money in savings to purchase them outright. It may mean relocating to a new area but owning your home outright does mean that you won’t have to pay rent or mortgage as long as you stay in the home. Moving might be a fair trade-off for that.
- Stay in an illegal rental. Some urban areas are filled with sketchy landlords who try to rent out spaces that aren’t zoned for rentals. If you come across a place like this, you might be able to move in and set up house and then legally refuse to pay rent. This obviously isn’t a good course of action for many people since it involves tangles with the landlord and usually means living in a dodgy place. However, it’s been successfully done by people in the past as a way to not pay rent.
- Move in to a co-op or commune. There are groups of people who choose to live and work together in spaces that are low-rent or rent-free. Everyone contributes something to the household or the business that is operated by the household. For example, a bike commune might operate a bike shop in the garage where they live and you would put in some time at the bike shop as part of your agreement to stay in the commune. This is similar to working for your rent but involves a more community-oriented mindset.
- Become a permanent traveler. You don’t have to pay rent if you aways travel. In fact, there are many rent-free travel options out there for people who are willing to be flexible and creative in their approach to living. If you’re a natural wanderer then this is a great way to not pay rent.
Not all of these options are right for everyone. Families, especially those with young children, might not feel safe with some of these choices. However, they should get you thinking about ways that you can reduce or offset the cost of your own housing regardless of your situation.