MONEY

How To Live Rent Free In 2024

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Rent is one of the largest expenses each month for most people. Here’s how to live rent free and save money (and maybe even make extra income). Living rent free may sound crazy or even impossible, but it’s a reality for some people who have found ways to eliminate one of the biggest monthly expenses…

Rent is one of the largest expenses each month for most people. Here’s how to live rent free and save money (and maybe even make extra income).

Living rent free may sound crazy or even impossible, but it’s a reality for some people who have found ways to eliminate one of the biggest monthly expenses from their budget.

Whether you’re trying to save money, pay off debt, or aim for financial freedom, not having to pay rent or a mortgage can significantly fast-track your financial goals. There are several creative and practical strategies that can help you live without the burden of rent, ranging from house sitting to house hacking.

Best Ways To Live Rent Free

Below are 16 ways to live rent free.

1. Rent out a spare room

Renting out a spare room in your house can be an easy way to start a real estate side hustle. This is when you have another person live in a private space on your property, such as a spare bedroom, and earn rental income.

Renting out a spare room can significantly reduce or even eliminate your own rent or mortgage expenses.

Getting a roommate for your home, whether it’s a full-time arrangement or renting out a spare room on Airbnb short-term, can be a great way to earn extra money in real estate without much effort.

The amount of money you can make depends on factors like:

  1. Where your home is located (Is it in an expensive area or rural?)
  2. The space you’re offering to the roommate (Do they have their own bathroom? Is there a private entrance?)

To find a roommate, you can share about it on your Facebook page, create ads on sites like Craigslist, or list your space on Airbnb. There are many places to let people know you’re looking for a roommate.

In the past, I had several roommates when I was younger and had extra bedrooms in my home. I rented them out to long-term renters and people we knew personally, like friends and my sister. It didn’t completely cover my monthly mortgage payment, but it covered about half, which I thought was great!

2. Rent out one half of a duplex

If you’re looking for ways to offset your living costs, renting out one part of a duplex or multifamily home while living in the other can be a strategic move.

A multifamily home can be a duplex, triplex, or apartment building, designed for multiple families to live in separate units. House hacking involves buying the entire building, planning to live in one unit, and renting out the others for rental income.

One advantage is that you won’t be sharing personal space, as you’ll be the landlord to your tenants. The money you earn from them might cover your monthly mortgage payment for the whole building, allowing you to live for free.

House hacking this way lets you stay close to your tenants, keeping an eye on your property while maintaining your private space. Not having to share common areas like the kitchen and bathroom can be a great benefit.

I have met many people who have done this, and I think it sounds like a good way to cover your mortgage payment, but also not have to directly live with your tenant – you each have your own space!

Recommended reading: How This 34 Year Old Owns 7 Rental Homes

live rent free in exchange for work

3. Work as a camp host at a campground

Living rent free can be a reality if you work as a camp host at a campground. As a camp host, your primary responsibilities are customer service and maintenance tasks to help keep the campground running smoothly.

Campground workers are people who work at a campground in exchange for free stay and sometimes pay. There are many campgrounds across the country looking for work campers, and this can be a fun way to earn more travel money.

You can work at beautiful campgrounds on the beach, in national parks, state parks, forests, and more. I have seen hiring signs in some of the most beautiful campgrounds!

While full-time RVing, I met many happy campground workers who enjoyed their jobs, and it’s something that I would definitely do myself! In fact, my husband and I talk about it all the time.

After all, you get to stay for free, and many times you’re even paid to stay in some of the most beautiful places in the world, such as national parks and state parks.

As a work camper, you may be:

  • Answering questions on the phone
  • Making reservations for campers
  • Cleaning campsites, bathrooms, community rooms, and more
  • Selling firewood
  • Making sure campers follow the rules

Work campers can be paid with an RV site to stay in, at an hourly rate, or a mixture of the two.

Recommended reading: How To Make Money While RVing

4. Live-in property manager

A live-in property manager or building manager (such as an apartment building manager) oversees the everyday operations of a residential property, which usually means you get to live rent free.

In exchange for your services, the landlord might provide you with a living space within the property.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Maintenance – Handling repairs and routine maintenance, making sure that the property is safe and well-kept.
  • Tenant relations – Being the primary point of contact for tenant concerns, collecting rent, and possibly filling vacancies after someone has moved out.
  • Emergencies – Responding to any emergency phone calls and situations that may come up, at any hour.

5. Volunteering for accommodation

Volunteering can be a rewarding way to explore the world while also not having to pay rent.

Two volunteer options are the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

These well-known organizations give a chance to serve while getting a place to stay.

Peace Corps volunteers spend two years overseas and receive housing, along with other benefits. AmeriCorps positions are typically within the U.S., and volunteers are often provided with housing or a housing stipend.

6. WWOOFing to live rent free in exchange for work

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF, is an international program that connects volunteers with organic farmers.

WWOOFing is where you exchange your labor for food, accommodation, and the opportunity to learn about organic lifestyles.

In exchange for food and accommodation, volunteers are expected to work for about 4 to 6 hours a day on the farm. Tasks may include cutting wood, packing items, feeding animals, preparing food, planting seeds, making compost, tending to a garden, and more – anything that helps the farmer.

This is usually hard work, so you will want to make sure that you’re up for the physical challenge of farming and that you think about the length of stay you’re comfortable with; it can range from a week to several months.

I recently had a family member who WWOOFed, and they got to live in beautiful Hawaii while doing so.

Recommended reading: How To Get Paid To Travel The World

7. Live in a free RV and park in free places

Whether you are looking to park your RV or car someplace for free or if you are looking for a cheaper trip/vacation, there are plenty of great places for free camping.

We enjoy free camping because it usually gives us a camping area with beautiful views and nearby beautiful trails. We have free camped in many, many places over the years, and it’s one of our preferred ways to camp while in our RV. If you prefer a more natural setting without typical campground amenities (usually there are no bathrooms), a free campsite might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Free camping goes by many names such as boondocking, primitive camping, backcountry camping (sometimes with a fee), dispersed camping, dry camping, and wild camping.

The most popular way to find free campsites that are longer than just a night or two is by parking on public lands or forests. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provides public lands where you can camp for free for up to 14 days.

One of my favorite ways to find free campsites is to use the Campendium app – You can go to Campendium’s website and find their link called “Free Camping.” Scroll down and you’ll see almost all of the states listed, and just click on one to find free camping in that state.

Tips for living free in your RV:

  • Embrace minimalism – A clutter-free lifestyle makes RV living easier and more enjoyable.
  • Plan ahead – Research routes and parking spots to avoid surprises. I like to satellite view the route and spot if I can.
  • Stay legal – Always make sure you’re allowed to park and stay overnight (ask for permission or do your research beforehand).
  • Be resourceful – Use solar panels and cook your own meals to save even more. Also, fill up your water tank and empty your waste tanks before you get there, so that you can stay as long as you need to.

Recommended reading: How To Find Free Camping In The USA & Canada

8. Be a resident assistant at a college

Becoming a resident assistant (RA) at a college can be a strategic way to eliminate your housing costs for college students. As an RA, you have the opportunity to live in the dormitories or student housing without paying rent.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Responsibilities – Resident assistants manage the welfare of other students in their dorm. This includes planning activities, resolving conflicts, and making sure that everyone follows campus rules (such as no loud parties).
  • Benefits – In addition to free housing, you may also receive other benefits like a living stipend or a meal plan.

To be a successful RA, you’ll need a combination of empathy, organization, and the ability to enforce rules. It’s a commitment, but one that can pay off both financially and professionally.

Every college has its own specifics regarding the RA position, so be sure to check with your institution for detailed information.

creative ways to live rent free

9. Flip a house you live in

One way to learn how to live rent free is to flip a property and live in it while doing the renovations and updating.

When you flip houses, you’re basically buying homes, making them better with repairs and upgrades, and then selling them to make more money. So, you may be living in an unfinished house, but it could be a way to save a lot of money and even make money in the end.

To succeed in flipping a house, start by finding a property that can be improved, like homes in neighborhoods that are getting better. You’ll want to look for factors like location, market conditions, and the property’s condition.

Before investing any money, figure out the costs for buying, fixing, and maintaining the property and think about expenses like materials, paying workers, getting a loan, and costs during the fixing process.

Recommended reading: 10 Best Books on Flipping Houses To Make Money

10. Find house sitting and pet sitting jobs

Becoming a house sitter or pet sitter can be a fun way to live rent free while visiting new places.

Some sites you can start with include Rover (and other dog walking apps), TrustedHousesitters, House Sitters America, and Care.com.

House sitting means taking care of someone’s house while they’re away. The job usually includes staying in the house, collecting mail, and sometimes caring for pets or watering plants.

Homeowners and pet owners want house sitters and pet sitters so that their home looks lived in to prevent break-ins, but also so that they know that the house is safe (such as not having any leaks) and/or their animals are taken care of.

House sitting jobs can range from a few days to several months, depending on the homeowner’s needs.

11. Become a live-in nanny

Being a live-in nanny is a way to find a job that comes with living arrangements. Your main role involves caring for children, which may include tasks like preparing meals, assisting with homework, and playing with them.

Your accommodation costs are typically covered, which means you can live rent free.

How to start:

  • Research on platforms – Websites like Care.com can connect you with families seeking live-in nannies.
  • Credentials matter – Consider CPR and first aid certifications to make you a more attractive candidate.
  • Background check – Be prepared for a thorough background check as families prioritize safety.

12. Become an au pair

Very similar to being a live-in nanny is to become an au pair.

An au pair is a young person (typically between 18 and 30 years old) from a different country from the family who lives with a host family and provides childcare services in exchange for room, board, and a small stipend. Au pairs typically assist with childcare and may help with light household duties. This cultural exchange program allows the au pair to experience life in a different country while contributing to the host family’s daily life.

Your main role involves looking after the host family’s children. This could include taking them to school, helping with homework, and organizing activities.

Au pair arrangements can range from a few months to a year. They are not typically longer than that.

My sister was an au pair in Italy a few years ago. It was an interesting experience, and she had both good and challenging aspects from it.

You can learn more at How To Become An Au Pair And Travel The World.

13. Move in with your family

Moving back in or staying with family is a common way to live rent free.

If you have the option, you may want to reach out to family members (such as your parents or siblings) to talk about the possibility of moving in with them.

Starting a conversation with your family about your living arrangements may include discussing how long you plan to stay (will it be months or years?) and what you can contribute instead of paying rent, such as helping with chores or buying groceries.

14. Trade services for rent

Trading services for rent is a way to live without paying rent. This means you would be trading your skills, like maintenance, administrative tasks, or landscaping, to the landlord or property manager.

Through this barter system, you can significantly reduce or entirely cover your rental expenses.

Some examples of services you can trade:

  • Maintenance – Performing repairs or enhancements around the property
  • Landscaping – Taking care of the garden and outdoor spaces
  • Administrative work – Helping with office tasks or tenant communications

15. Teach English abroad

If living rent free is your goal, teaching English abroad can be a fulfilling option.

Many schools in other countries (such as South Korea, China, Japan, and the UAE) have programs that include housing as part of the teaching contract.

16. Work on a cruise ship

Finding a job on a cruise ship can be a fun way to live without paying for rent.

There are many jobs available that not only provide a free place to stay but also include meals and other benefits. Many times, the accommodation is shared with your fellow crew members, but some higher-up positions do get their own private room.

Jobs on a cruise ship include:

  1. Restaurant server, cook, or bartender
  2. Room steward
  3. Childcare room worker
  4. Cleaning
  5. Yoga or fitness instructor
  6. Photographer
  7. Retail store worker
  8. Salon/spa worker
  9. Entertainment roles, band, technician, dancer, actor
  10. Boat crew (officers, electricians, engineers)

These are just a few examples, and with over 300 cruise ships globally and hundreds of workers on each ship, there are many opportunities.

To find cruise ship jobs, check the careers page on cruise ship websites. For instance, Carnival Cruise Ships has a dedicated job page where you can sign up for job alerts to be notified when new positions are available.

Before you apply to work on a cruise ship, it’s important to know that you may work long hours, often 7 days a week, and contract lengths are usually for around 6 to 8 months.

how to live rent free

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions about how to live rent free.

How can I live on my own for free? Where can I live when I have no money?

House hacking is a strategy where you buy a property, live in one area, and rent out other spaces to cover your mortgage and utility expenses. Another approach is becoming a live-in landlord or taking on a management position that includes accommodation as part of the job benefits. Both methods can help you live more affordably.

Can I offer services in exchange for free accommodation?

Yes, providing services like property maintenance, house sitting, or caretaking can sometimes be exchanged for free accommodation. Many homeowners look for trustworthy individuals to maintain their properties in their absence, offering a place to stay as compensation.

Is it possible to live without rent while taking care of a property?

Yes, it’s possible to live rent free by becoming a property caretaker. Private owners or companies look for individuals or families to live on a property and complete maintenance tasks and will sometimes give free living space in return.

How can a person find free living arrangements in major cities?

In big cities (like New York City), finding free living arrangements can be done through many ways such as shared living spaces, exchange programs, or even becoming a resident assistant in dormitories, which may have free housing.

What are creative ways to live rent free?

Some creative ways to live rent free include work exchange programs such as WWOOF, joining programs that have free housing for services, or leveraging online platforms to rent out your space temporarily, like Airbnb, to cover your rent.

Do you have to pay taxes if you live rent free?

Yes, many times, earning rental income also means that you have to report taxable income to the IRS.

What are ways to get free rent from the government?

If you need to learn how to get free rent from the government, you may qualify for programs like low income or Section 8 housing vouchers, or local emergency rental assistance programs if you meet certain income and eligibility requirements. These programs can subsidize or entirely cover your rent based on your situation. To learn more, you can start by contacting your local public housing agency or local charities for low-income families in your area.

How To Live Rent Free – Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to live rent free.

Living rent free requires thinking creatively and being open to unconventional living arrangements or job opportunities that include accommodations.

You can turn a spare room into a source of income by renting it out, live in one half of a duplex and rent the other, or work as a camp host at a campground if you love nature. If administrative tasks and overseeing properties appeal to you, a live-in property manager position might be something to look into, as free housing may be a part of the job.

What do you think are the best ways to live rent free?

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