10 Ways To Live Rent-Free

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When you think about it, renting isn’t a very favorable arrangement for the tenant. Several hundred or thousands (depends on where you live) of your hard-earned dollars are going straight into someone else’s pocket, yet you still have to live completely by their rules – and none of that money gets you any equity in the property.

On top of that, rental rates increase the closer you get to the best job opportunities. That bump in pay is essentially negated by the higher monthly rents.

The only way to avoid living in a rental, aside from living with your parents, is to buy a property. Most people aren’t ready for that, so living rent-free is out of reach.

Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to live rent-free if you put in a little effort. Here are some of the best.

1. Rent Your Extra Space on VRBO

VRBO is one of the best tools for rent-free living. It’s a site that lets you rent out rooms in your home to travelers. Guests can book other people’s residences directly through the site, rather than booking a traditional hotel room.

VRBO is so popular because it provides more variety for accommodations at a lower cost, and the residences naturally have a more “at-home” feel than a hotel room.

So how much should you list your room for? Well, just calculate your monthly rent and divide it by 30 to get an approximate nightly rate. If your rent is $1200 per month, then you’d only need $40 per night to live rent-free. It’s fair to assume your room won’t be booked every day, though, so adjust your rate based on how often your room is booked to break even on rent.

You can also browse other listings in your area to set a competitive nightly rate.

And you aren’t just limited to listing a room or two – you can make much more by listing an entire home. Charge enough for the whole place and you could cover a few months of rent while you’re on vacation or traveling for work.

Ready to create an VRBO account and start renting out that spare room of yours? You could even pocket some extra cash!

2. Rent Out Your Basement or Driveway on Neighbor

No need to stop at monetizing your living space to get rid of your rent bill. Consider renting out extra storage space — such as your basement, driveway, or garage — on Neighbor.

It’s one of the easiest side hustles to potentially live rent-free because there’s almost no “hustle” involved. You’ll make money for doing nothing.

Earning potential varies by location, and larger spaces are generally the most lucrative. For example, your basement will earn you more money than your closet.

Neighbor will quickly tell you how much your extra space is worth.

Make sure to check that renting your extra space doesn’t violate your lease. Know your local and state laws as well.

3. House-Sitting

House-sitting provides you a lot of opportunities to live rent-free for minimal effort. Most of the time, your house sitting responsibilities won’t go beyond basic chores to keep the home in good shape.

Some house sitting opportunities could be short-term, while others could be for a long time.

For example, look for people who are going on vacation or business travel. Offer to watch their houses while they’re gone. If you’re lucky, you can try living rent-free in back-to-back housesitting gigs. You will need to be fairly proactive when doing this. Otherwise, you’ll need a backup living space if you don’t find another house sitting client right away.

If you want a long-term place to stay and you live in a warm climate, look into vacation homeowners. They only stay at their vacation home a few months out of the year, and since their vacation property is most likely desirable, the owner might want someone to keep watch over it. This is a great opportunity to live in a beautiful home for free!

Some house-sitting clients might even show their appreciation by throwing a little money your way.

Ask family, friends, and neighbors about the next time they’ll be away from their homes and you could score a place to live and you won’t have to pay rent.

4. Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is a fun way to live rent-free. Most pet owners can’t take their furry friends traveling with them, so they’ll be happy to let you hang out with their pet in exchange for a place to live. Lineup a few of these clients for the long-term, and you’ll be able to bounce between multiple houses without having to pay rent.

For a more predictable living situation, consider becoming a live-in pet sitter. Many people don’t like leaving their pets alone for 8+ hours a day while they’re at work and might be willing to share their home with someone long-term in exchange for pet care.

If you’re a fan of getting paid to play with dogs, Rover is worth checking out. They match pet sitters to dog owners, making it much easier to find the dog sitting gigs you want. Rover dog sitters can earn extra money simply by hanging out with dogs. It’s a great additional paycheck to your rent-free lifestyle.

What better way to live rent-free than to hang out with animals all the time? Try pet-sitting for an enjoyable rent-free living experience.

5. Nannying

People who are great with kids will have tons of opportunities for rent-free living if they work as a nanny. The two types of nanny jobs that’ll land you a place to live for free are live-in nannies and traveling nannies.

As a live-in nanny, you’re responsible for taking care of the kids and providing them with activities to do. In exchange, the family will let you live in their house. You can easily turn live-in nannying into a full-time job, providing you both a free home and a nice paycheck. There are a lot of job boards out there dedicated to nannies, so it’s not too hard to find something interesting. You can ask family and friends if they know of anyone who needs a nanny as well.

Traveling nanny positions are great for people who want to live rent-free and see the world. Families like to travel, but they can’t leave young kids at home. Your client family will pay for all your travel expenses, including lodging. In exchange, you take care of their kids while you’re living rent-free, so the parents can have a stress-free vacation.

Whichever type of nannying you prefer, you’re bound to be fulfilled without having to pay for rent.

Just make sure to be safe and thoroughly vet the families you are considering!

6. Rent-For-Work

One of the simplest ways to live rent-free is through a rent-for-work agreement. These are full-time or part-time jobs where you get to live somewhere for free, but you do work to “earn” your living quarters.

Farms are perhaps the most common kind of business that offers rent-for-work spots. You’ll be expected to do some manual farm labor such as milking cows or moving hay bales, but you’ll be compensated with a free room. In addition, you’ll be exposed to a lifestyle that much of the population will never experience.

Many tasks will require some basic physical ability, but the hours are usually short enough to where you can work a full-time job outside of your rent-for-work duties. Since you won’t be paying anything during your rent-free living experience, that’s a lot more money in your pocket.

7. Land An Apartment Property Management Position

If you’re looking to live in a real apartment but don’t want to pay the rent, property management firms sometimes give their staff free units in buildings they manage. Not only will the rent be free, but you’ll earn a paycheck and your workplace will be within walking distance.

There are a lot of property management openings. Browse job boards like Indeed or Monster.com, contact landlords directly, or even ask your own landlord if you currently live in an apartment.

Now, property management companies may require some previous property management experience before they’ll give you a free apartment. If you have no experience, try to land a property management job while living rent-free somewhere else. After a year or so, negotiate a free unit from your employer.

Do it right and you’ll end up with a real apartment that’s free!

8. Work On A Cruise Ship

Got a travel itch you need to scratch? Working on a cruise ship lets you travel the world without having to spend a dime on rent.

There’s a wide variety of positions available on cruise ships. They’re the obvious ones like food service, housekeeping, maintenance, and medical staff. But there are a lot of unique jobs as well, such as in entertainment, photography, retail, security even IT.

Most cruise ship positions don’t pay very much compared to similar land-based jobs, but remember that you’re living rent-free. In addition, expenses like food and uniforms are covered on most cruises. Some cruise ships even give you a spending allowance to be used at shops and bars aboard the ship.

Besides taxes, it’s possible to save nearly all your earnings while working on a cruise ship.

And if that’s not enough, you’ll form a diverse, international group of friends with other crew and staff based on your shared cruise experience.

If you’ve got the travel bug, why not apply to a cruise liner? You could see the world while enjoying rent-free living.

9. Join The Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is another great opportunity to see the world and live rent-free. As a Peace Corps volunteer, you get to impact people’s lives around the world and learn a ton.

Peace Corps assignments typically last 2 years, meaning you won’t have to worry about money for a long time once you get your assignment. There are assignments for many different interests and skillsets. Teaching English in Ecuador, assisting developing communities in Eastern Europe, educating communities about health topics in West Africa, and improving food security in Nepal are just some of the many Peace Corps opportunities. Most positions don’t require any grasp of the local language, but you may pick up some of it naturally.

At the end of your assignment, the Peace Corps hands you an $8,000 stipend to assist with reintegrating into your home location, which is a nice little bonus.

It’s hard work and you won’t get many of the modern amenities you’re used to, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself and others as a Peace Corps volunteer without the stress of making rent each month.

10. Live With Family And Do Chores For Rent

When all else fails, your family may be willing to take you in. However, there’s no guarantee they’d let you live rent-free. To avoid paying your family rent, offer to help out around the house with chores.

Moving in with family offers many conveniences on top of the free rent. For one, you don’t need to spend time touring multiple apartments. Also, there’s no need to worry about terrible roommates.

Your family may not be willing to let you live with them indefinitely, so treat this as a temporary living arrangement. Make plans to move out while you’re with them. If you still don’t want to pay rent, look into the other options on this list so you can live rent-free without family.

Rent-Free Living Is Worth The Effort

It’s easy to think you need to pay rent just to live. However, that’s not the case if you put in a little effort. Some of these living arrangements might not be as glamorous as having your own place, but delaying that lifestyle is a small price to pay for an easy way to save money each month when you live rent-free.

After all, if your goal is to be financially secure and ready for your own place, you’ll reach it much sooner if you’re living rent-free.