Five Ways to Live Rent Free
- July 31, 2018
- by Emily
These strategies don’t fit into the mainstream idea of what you “should” be doing as an adult. But if you really want to live rent free, here are a few ideas.
Especially if you live in an urban area, you probably realize that rent has been gobbling up an increasingly large portion of your income. In fact, rents have been going up faster than any other expense, including medical care. Across the country, it’s not uncommon for people to spend 30% to 50% of their monthly income on rent. Those sobering statistics make it unsurprising that many people are looking for ways to reduce—or entirely eliminate—their rent or mortgage expenses.
Live with Your Parents (or another Relative)
I’m partial to this idea, given that my daughter and I live with my dad at the moment. For many people, this is the easiest way to live free—and the benefits to living with your parents aren’t just financial. Chances are, your parents are getting older and could use some help with chores or just remembering to have lunch every day. Living with your parents allows you to build a relationship with them as adults, and, if you have kids, gives grandparents and grandkids and unparalleled amount of bonding time that is good for everyone.
Be a Caretaker / House Sitter
Another strategy I’ve personally used in the past: Caretake or house sit for someone. If you’re looking for something long-term, you’ll want to look into a caretaking situation, which is most common when a wealthy person has a vacation home they visit occasionally and they need the property cared for. For short-term trips, petsitting is a good option. The first time I visited New York City, I stayed less than a block from Central Park for free, in exchange for taking care of an elderly dog for three weeks.
House Hack - Rent out Spare Rooms
If you have the money to buy a house but don’t relish the idea of paying your mortgage every month… you can house hack. This means buying a house with several bedrooms and getting roommates. You might not be able to cover your entire mortgage payment (and remember you’ll need to pay taxes on the money your roommates pay you), but it can dramatically reduce the percentage of your regular income that goes towards your mortgage payment. The great thing about this strategy is that you’re building your wealth while living free.
Be an Apartment Building Manager
Would you rather have your privacy? You could also manage an apartment building—a job that often includes free rent. The responsibilities vary dramatically by building—and sometimes amount to a full-time job—but at the right place you could keep your usual job as long as you’re free to schedule maintenance work and handle calls from tenants. Often times the wage you get from this kind of job is proportionally reduced by the house being throw in.
Want total freedom, without having to manage tenants of any kind or share your space? You could always live in a van. Sure, this requires some creativity in terms of bathing and cooking, but there’s a reason #vanlife is so popular: Once you have your vehicle, it’s totally rent free, doesn’t require living with your parents or dealing with midnight plumbing issues. Of course, that’s because you won’t have indoor plumbing…. Just make sure you don't end up like this guy.
What would your budget look like if there wasn’t a line item for housing? Our budget tracker can give you an idea of how much freedom that could put into your budget—and our income/spending simulator can let you see how your net worth would grow if you could invest your money instead of spending it on rent.