cheapest housing options

9 Cheap Housing Ideas to Start Saving Money More Quickly

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More and more people are getting tired of having debt. Realizing carrying a mortgage is the biggest contributor, they are opting to find cheap housing ideas that might be a better choice for their financial situation and lessen their monthly expenses.

Maybe you are trying to get out on your own for the first time or can no longer stay where you currently are. You might be thinking, I need a place to live asap, what are my options?

Look here at the cheapest ways to live on your own. This list will include some ideas more commonly heard of and some that may be a little more far-fetched. Either way, they are worth exploring if this is a way you are looking to save more money.

Cheap Housing Ideas

People are focusing more and more on finding cheaper housing alternatives that work best for them.

They are tired of being bogged down because they don’t have the financial means to live the life they want. They are tired of accumulating large sums of debt due to the cost of carrying a huge mortgage.

Instead of buying a regular home, they are looking for alternative housing options that meet their needs at a much lower cost.

Also, not everyone wants to commit themselves to a mortgage and being stuck in the same place for an extended period of time. They may want the freedom to pick up and move on a whim and some of these options could be a great fit for them.

Let’s check out these cheaper housing alternatives and see if any would be a viable choice for you and/or your family.

1. Fixer Upper

Buying a home that requires a lot of work can a lot of times be significantly cheaper. The owner doesn’t want to put in the time or the resources to update it which ultimately results in a lower price or more room to negotiate a price reduction as a result.

This is the route I personally took.

When I purchased my home, I felt like I walked into a time machine and came out in the year 1954. No joke! I bought my home solely based on its location.

There was floral wallpaper, brightly colored carpet, laminate flooring, and wood paneling everywhere imaginable. These were just some of the hurdles I was going to have to tackle.

The fact I was buying this house gave me nightmares for the first week after closing but I saw its true potential. I paid far less money for the home and was able to keep saving for retirement and our emergency fund by doing so.

Since then, I have fully remodeled the home and after having it appraised, the value has almost tripled from my purchase price just a few years ago.

If you’re not afraid of a challenge (complete remodel that is), it’s great being able to design everything exactly how you want it.

2. Duplex

Buying a duplex is a great option if you can find the right tenant for the other side.

This is typically a cheaper option because it’s 1 home split into 2 separate living areas.

Each side will have its own entryway, living area, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. Ultimately, only a wall separates you from the family living on the other side.

The downside is obviously having bad tenants. Some things to consider may include:

  • are they noisy?
  • is their door a revolving door?
  • are they messy?
  • do they smoke?

Considering you’re front door is only a couple of yards away from theirs at most, you will “deal with” a lot more issues than having a traditional neighbor.

Overall, a lot of times the rent you can charge the tenants can cover most of the mortgage, if not all of it, depending on location. This allows you to contribute a lot less, if anything, to the mortgage payment.

3. Manufactured or Mobile Home

Manufactured homes are homes that are built in a factory and then moved to their desired location.

The reason they are so cheap is that they are mass-produced. They are built on an assembly line cutting the cost significantly.

One of the downfalls of buying one of these brand-new and choosing its final destination may not be as simple as you think. It’s very hard to get a loan to purchase one of these types of homes.

Lenders typically only give loans to purchase land and permanent structures. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just very difficult.

Purchasing one that’s already been placed in a permanent location will be the easier choice when it comes to purchasing a manufactured home.

4. Rental

Rentals are sometimes the route people have to take in order to cut costs. There can be a lot of pros and cons and it really depends on what your end goal is.

I personally rented for years when I was much younger.

The pros of renting are:

  • usually cheaper than a mortgage
  • rent control in certain areas
  • doesn’t have to be long-term
  • no maintenance costs
  • easily move to a new location once lease is up

The cons of renting are:

  • sometimes too expensive depending on the market
  • not a long term choice for most people
  • property has set restrictions and rules
  • limited space
  • paying for something you won’t own in the end
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Alternative Housing Options

Sometimes buying a home just isn’t an option for people. They have to consider cheaper housing alternatives that are more realistic for their financial situation.

alternative housing options

It may not be ideal for some while others find it freeing.

If you find yourself in a bind and need to explore the cheapest housing options, these might work for you.

These cheap living arrangements afford you the option to travel and constantly move to new locations if desired. Imagine waking up to a different front yard every day.

5. Tiny Home

Tiny homes have become widely popular over the years as more people are trying to downsize and eliminate debt.

These types of homes utilize space-saving storage and multi-functional pieces.

It definitely is an adjustment to transition from a regular size home to a tiny home but the money you will save is insane.

They do have some flexibility as some are stationary while others can be put on wheels and treated like a mobile home.

It really depends on your customization and how much you’re willing to spend but can be one of the cheapest ways to live.

6. RV or Mobile Home

I know a lot of people hear the term RV or mobile home and think of a tiny home or squished living space but they truly have come a long way over time.

They have some incredible options that make living on them much more comfortable and it can definitely be a more affordable choice.

The cool thing about choosing this type of alternative housing option is the ability to hit the open road. Simply fill up the tank and enjoy the adventure ahead.

The places you can go are limitless. This is a great choice for those who have a desire to travel.

The only negative is you will be required to put in a little planning for this type of lifestyle. You will need to call ahead and find RV parks or alternative places to park. It’s not as simple as driving your car and stopping at a hotel along the way. Your stops will be based on availability.

The cost of gas can get pricey too so keep that under consideration as well.

7. House Boat

I had a friend who lived on a houseboat and thought it was pretty cool. She was able to head out to sea as she pleased and constantly took trips along the coast.

This is definitely another great way to travel and see new places.

cheaper housing alternatives

I wouldn’t recommend this cheap housing idea if you are the type to feel claustrophobic or have any type of motion sickness.

Even though this may be a great way to save money, this will not work for you.

Keep in mind too, you will also need to do some planning ahead. You need to make sure you have somewhere to dock your boat and places you can get fuel along the way before heading out to travel.

Get a game plan in place and it couldn’t hurt to have a backup plan either.

8. Bus Home

Bus homes aren’t heard of very often. There are only a few instances where I’ve seen reality shows that featured people living on a bus.

To be honest, I see them most often in movies where they are parked out in the middle of the woods where people are living off the grid.

Maybe that’s what you’re looking to do, who knows?!

In reality though, once you get all the bench seats out of them, you can make great use of the space inside. You can truly customize it to meet your needs and can design it based on your budget too.

9. Find a Job that Provides Free Housing

Free is the ultimate choice for cheap housing ideas. Keep in mind that free does come at an expense and your time is usually the cost.

Let us head into the next section to dive a little deeper into the types of jobs that provide free housing.

Jobs That Provide Free Housing

Another route to finding alternative living arrangements could mean taking a job that provides free housing.

Even though these types of jobs are more limiting, they are definitely an option if you have the right education, training, and/or certifications.

Considering one of these jobs could mean banking a lot of money fast without having the huge expense of a mortgage or rent.

Keep in mind too, there are more jobs that offer free living arrangements but these are definitely at the top of the list for being the most popular choices.

Live-In Caretaker

This may sound easy and possibly could be but it can be a lot of work too. You are essentially taking care of another human being on all levels if necessary.

This could mean bathing, dressing, possibly feeding, administering medications. and even more. These are just a few examples.

Imagine taking care of someone who can’t walk? What about someone who can’t communicate their needs?

You have to be properly trained and possibly certified depending on the needs of the patient. You may have to deal with nurses and physical therapists coming to the home as well to work on the patient.

Will you need to be present for all of this? When will you get time off? This is a great way to spend less but these are just a couple of things you need to consider beforehand.

Butler or Maid

Families who have a butler or maid are not only wealthy but typically have a huge home meaning plenty of space for their employees to stay.

Your job will be to wait on the family in many aspects and act as a personal servant in a sense. If this is something you don’t mind doing, why not?

You’re getting paid to ultimately run someone else’s household while not having to shell out a ton of money for a mortgage or rent.

The cons may include:

  • you have to follow the rules of their home
  • can’t have guest over
  • not a job for someone with a family
  • can’t walk around naked

Building or Property Manager

Most companies who own buildings or properties full of renters provide free housing for their property managers.

They want someone on-site at all times to be able to handle and be on top of any problems or issues that may arise. This means being available 24/7.

You will typically work normal office hours during the day but you will be required to answer your phone whenever it rings in case any major issues were to arise in the middle of the night. Something to consider while you’re trying to cut living expenses.

Yacht or Cruise Ship Employee

cheap housing ideas include working on a yacht

This is a great job for anyone who loves the water and loves to travel.

Not only do you get a free room to sleep in but you get to travel all over and see places you might have never seen otherwise.

If you don’t get seasick and don’t mind waiting on the guests, this can be an adventurous experience.

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Personal Chef

Personal chefs make a ton of money and the job typically comes with their own room too.

People get hungry at all different times of the day and when you’re rich enough, you can pay someone to always have a meal ready for you.

Typically you will need proper schooling and experience to land this type of job but it’s completely attainable.


Being a nanny is an extremely rewarding job. Not only do you get to “play” all day but you get to help shape tiny humans into who they will grow up to become.

A lot of families who have nannies have them live in their homes. They want them close by to help fill in on the ‘parenting duties’ when they can’t.

Be sure the family is a good fit for you. It will be hard helping raise someone else’s kids if you don’t necessarily agree with their parenting style or rules they have in place.

Military Servicemen

This takes a special type of person. I honestly could never willingly join the military. If you are disciplined enough, this has many more perks than just free housing.

Check out all the benefits available if you choose to take this route. This is another great way to see the world but you may be putting your life on the line.

Be sure you understand and are willing to accept any consequences of taking this career path. If you end up on the battlefield, it could possibly result in severe health and mental problems you’ll deal with for the rest of your life.

Alternative Living Solutions

Beyond all of the options listed above, I think the only other option is to move back home with mom and dad or pitch a tent out in the woods.

You could even consider getting roommates if you are single and don’t have a family to worry about. This may not be ideal but is a great way to put money aside for you to eventually move out on your own when you improve your financial situation.

These may be your cheapest living options depending on where you live and your specific situation.

My Thoughts

I would give almost anything to make the cost of my mortgage disappear. The cost of living is insane and people are having to resort to cheaper housing ideas just to make ends meet.

This list is a great place to start if you’re looking to find a way to cut your costs on a monthly basis. Just be sure to do your research to determine if any of these cheap housing options is right for you.

This can pave the way to more financial freedom and free your money up to live the life you always dreamt of.

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