Last year we bought a house. It was a super exciting purchase but we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. Owning a home means you need to handle all your maintenance and repairs, pay for taxes, and cover every utility bill.
There were definitely some hidden expenses that came up. For example, not only did we have to maintain our home, but we had to do something about the dozen trees that were growing too fast around the house. We realized we received 2 water bills instead of the single bill we received when we rented an apartment.
Overall, homeownership is definitely more expensive than renting was for us. However, we moved for more space and more freedom to do what we wanted with that space.
I realize that everyone’s dream isn’t home ownership and some people may be looking to actually avoid it in order to save money and have less financial stress.
Last year I started watching a show on Netflix called How to Live Mortgage Free and this inspired me to gather housing alternative ideas. Here are 10 cheap housing alternatives to consider if you are looking to lower your housing costs.
If you like to travel, you may enjoy living in an RV. Lots of people all over the country live in RVs – even families! I secretly always wanted to try this but felt like my family and I would need to get used to not having as much space…I like my space!
Still, this can be an exciting and cheap way to live for the right person. You’ll have most things you would have access to in a home like a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. You can park at RV parks and camps which may charge a small fee. Some parks will cost more than others but you can also get discounts on longer stays or for locations in certain areas.
If you want to learn more about the cost breakdown associated with living in an RV, check out this post from one of my favorite RV blogger sites. Health and Alyssa traveled to 48 different states in 2014 and only just under $20,000 RVing that year.
2. Manufactured House
A manufactured home is a common housing alternative because it’s relatively cheaper than buying a traditional house. Manufactured homes come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common in s mobile home or trailer.
These homes can be a great cheap housing alternative because they are roomy which is perfect for bigger families.
You can also purchase a manufactured home for $10,000 to $15,000 on the low end, but closer to $40,000 to $60,000 for something upscale.
3. Unfinished Space
One of my favorite movies to watch with my sisters growing up was Princess Diaries. The main character, Mia, lived in San Francisco which is a pretty expensive city. I found it interesting that she and her mom lived in a remodeled fire station.
Now, a space that big may cost more to fix up than it’s worth, but you can definitely consider fixing up an unfinished home or commercial space to save money on housing.
You can look for a home or space in your area that is selling for around $10,000 – $20,000. That will give you a reasonable budget to be able to fix it up to your liking.
4. Become a Live-In Caretaker
My mom is a caretaker and one summer, she actually got to live with her patient with my younger brother to provide care. This is an option you can try if you have a nursing background or some caretaker experience.
You may even be able to find leads on Care.com. The great thing is that live-in caregivers tend to receive free room and board and meals in exchange for their help.
If you wanted to make extra money to cover other expenses, you could always pick up some online side hustles or see if you could handle another part-time client.
5. Rent Someone’s Guest House
So I got this idea from another movie, well it’s actually a show that used to air called Switched at Birth. In it, a mother and daughter rented out a family’s guest house after finding out their daughter has been switched at birth with the family’s daughter.
Intriguing television show concept, but my point is that some people may have guest houses you can rent out for a cheaper rate than market rent. You can have your own private space and still not have to spend as much money as the owner of the main home. Search on Craigslist or sites like RadPad to find options that might suit your needs.
6. House Boat
If you live near the water or could consider living near the water, try out a house boat. Some house boats are pretty expensive, but you can rent one or buy one used.
Boat Trader is a great site to use to check out if you’re interested in pricing out house boats. This particular house boat is on sale for $7,950 and rents for only $50 per week.
7. Live-in Airbnb Property Manager
Renting on Airbnb has been successful for a lot of people. Some Airbnb hosts like to travel and prefer not to tend to their property often and handle the turnover process.
There is where you can come in handy. As a live-in Airbnb property manager, you could live in one area of the property for a discounted price in exchange for managing the guests and other accommodations.
8. Purchase a Duplex or Triple
Puchasing a duplex or triplex is one of the best ways to lower your housing costs and still maintain your own personal living space. It’s also an ideal option for someone who’s interested in traditional housing but just doesn’t want to foot the bill for it.
You’d be surprised at some of the deals you can get on a multi-family property. The best part is that you can rent out the other unit and use the rental income to pay down the mortgage.
9. Bus Home
Living in a converted bus is a cheap housing alternative that is more common than you’d think. Several people are choosing this option allowing them to travel and don’t mind parking at state parks over time.
When you bought a converted house or did the conversion work yourself, you’d still need to develop a budget to determine how much you’d be spending and if you’d save significantly as opposed to traditional housing. Discovering Us Bus is a great blog to help you understand bus living and all that it entails. The family that runs the blog has been living on a bus for more than two years.
10. Tiny House
Tiny houses are not for everyone and do cause you to become more of a minimalist (which isn’t always a bad thing). You can either buy a tiny house or build one.
To be honest, you’ll probably save much more money if you build your tiny house vs. buying it. New tiny houses can sell for $50,000 to $60,000 on average. Still, this is less money than it would require to buy a livable house in most areas.
What’s your favorite cheap housing alternative? How are you keeping your current living expenses and housing costs controlled?
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