Cheap Living - Save Money on Housing

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Cheap Living

Saving Money on Housing with Simple Frugal Living Ideas

 cheap living; 5k money saving mama challenge
Cheap living. So you want cheap housing.

Can't say I blame you; inexpensive shelter is the very foundation of a frugal and free life.

For most families, your monthly housing expense is by far the greatest expense you have.

And in most situations, even with simple frugal living, it is the hardest expense to reduce.

But here are some tips on reducing your renting costs, your home ownership costs, or even going rent-free.

This page is part of the $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge, a year-long goal towards saving substantial money off the expenses all of us have.

This is one of those rare weeks when one single tip (cheap housing) has the possibility of saving you at least $5,000 a year.

Are you new here? This page is part of the $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge. We'd love for you to join us!

Simply click the link for more information on how you can participate, and save some money this year.

Cheap Living: Save Money on Renting

If you are a renter, there are many cheap living options you have to reduce your housing expenses. Think outside the box, and be willing to go outside your comfort zone to save some serious dough.

Whether you have been a tenant for years or whether you are looking to rent a new apartment or house, don't be afraid to negotiate the price for cheap housing. In this difficult housing market, landlords may be willing to reduce your rent costs - or at least your deposits - in order to keep you as a simple frugal living tenant. Just be sure your rental record is spotless. Here are some great negotiation points:
  • Stress that your record shows that you pay your rent on time, in full, and do not cause problems for other tenants

  • Research the cost of other comparable units in the area (Craigslist is a good place to start), and present this research to the landlord to negotiate a better rate

  • Offer to pay several month's rent in advance for a discount

  • If you cannot negotiate a discount for cheap living, offer to work off part of your monthly rent charges. You could do lawn mowing and ground's maintenance, pool maintenance, or even handyman services. Sometimes you can even get a reduction in rent for making general repairs on your own unit. Ask.

    Also, check to see if your landlord offers a referral bonus for recommending friends as tenants. While this is usually a one-time bonus, not a reduction of rent on a monthly basis, an extra $100-500 is nothing to sneeze at.

    Consider sharing your apartment for cheap living. When I was newly married, my husband and I took in a roommate, an old college friend of his. The four of us (including our infant son) lived together in a three-bedroom apartment, sharing rent, cable, internet, and utilities. The roommate paid 1/3rd and we paid the remainder. Honestly, I really don't know how we would have made it back then if it hadn't been for our roommate. Eventually, we moved to a different state and our roommate chose to stay where he was.

    Think about taking in a roommate, perhaps a close friend or family member. Perhaps even a single mom with one child would help you with your simple frugal living goals. Even saving a few hundred dollars each month can go a long way towards cheap living.

    Cheap Living: Save Money on Home Ownership

    Homeowners have different options when it comes to saving money. If you haven't yet taken the home buying plunge, but plan to soon, there are a few things to consider for cheap housing.

    First, think small. Small homes cost less money (depending on the area), are easier to clean, take less resources to heat/cool, and less money to maintain. Bigger is not always better.

    But one thing you may want to have room for in your home for cheap living is a renter. Is there a garage or basement or area of your home that could be turned into a private residence? Taking on a renter can be a fabulous way to pay down your mortgage.

    My grandparents spend their entire lives flipping houses, starting in the 1940s. Their first house was run-down, and cost them $800. Over the next few months, my grandparents worked around the clock to fix the place up. They also separated it into two, forming a duplex for cheap housing. This extra income got them involved in simple frugal living and real estate from a very early age.

    Though the years they owned multiple apartment units, from duplexes and triplexes to a handful of 4 or 5 unit buildings. Their goal was simple: buy a property, fix it, rent it out, and sell it. This lifestyle allowed my grandfather to retire from working in his 40s, and allowed them to fulfill other avenues of interest, including owning a restaurant, and even a farm!

    With the foreclosure market that is currently in existence, there is a possibility of doing the same thing nowadays too. Consider buying a single family unit and splitting it into two, building a mother-in-law's apartment, or even straight out buying a duplex and living in half of it for cheap living.

    Or, go mortgage free. This is the direction we are heading in. We're planning on building our own cordwood home on land once our travels are done. We'll build it 100% from the money we have in our savings account, using our own two hands (well, eight hands if you count me, my husband, and both kids) and save a fortune.

    Cheap Living: Go Rent Free

    But what if you really want cheap living and you don't want to have to pay rent at all? Is it possible to live for free in America? Well, yes, it is. There are many opportunities out there for shelter without paying for it.

    The first cheap living option is to live with family. While not the most ideal situation, it can be a cost-effective short term solution for a young family, whether they are struggling to keep up with bills due to lay-offs or foreclosure, or are trying to save up money for a down payment on a first home.

    The next frugal and free option is to live full-time in an RV, like my family currently does. Right now we travel full-time and do not have rent responsibilities, as we are living out of a campground system. (Don't knock it until you've tried's a very inexpensive way to live.)

    Then there are job opportunities such as apartment complex management, or storage unit management that often come with free housing as a cheap living perk. And don't discount other work arrangements. For example, our family spent almost a year on a farm in Texas rent-free in our quest for simple frugal living. We traded our time taking care of animals, the grounds, and gardens in exchange for free housing. Plus, we learned how to milk goats and raise rabbits!

    Also, explore alternative situations such as house sitting. While this cheap housing option is usually recommended to singles, often small families (a single mom with one child, or a couple with one child) are able to take advantage of some opportunities. And also explore house sharing, where you could trade a living arrangement for your time assisting a disabled or elderly person.

    Sneak Peak at Next Week

    Like this section on cheap living and being frugal and free? Next week we'll talk about how to save money on home improvements. We'll talk about places to get cheap supplies, projects you should never hire a contractor for, and more.

    Not part of our $5,000 Money Saving Mama challenge? Sign up for updates below so you don't miss even a single money-saving week.

    How Much Will These Cheap Living Ideas Save You?

    I'd love to hear how you are coming with your frugal and free challenge.

    What do you do to save money on housing? Have you tried any of the above methods? Would you try any of them? Why or why not? Tell us below!

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    Related Pages

  • Money Saving Challenge - Reduce Housing Expenses
  • Live Mortgage Free
  • Buy Cheap Houses
  • Live Cheap in an RV
  • Should You Rent or Buy?
  • Home==>$5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge==>Cheap Living

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