14 Legit (and Legal) Ways to Live Rent-Free and Mortgage-Free

If you’re strapped for cash, there are ways to live rent-free. Some of these opportunities will make you money. Whether you need a place to stay while you’re job hunting, need time to save for tuition or rent, decide that your current living situation is not worth staying in, or want enough cash saved up so you can travel for a year without working, there are plenty of ways for people with limited funds to find a place to live rent-free.

Here are some ways that you can live rent-free without ever having to pay a dime.

14 ways to live rent-free

1. Couch surf with friends and relatives

Couch surfing is where you sleep on the couches of people you know. If you have friends or relatives who live in a city where job prospects are good, couch surfing is a relatively easy way to save money and never pay for housing.

The problem with couch surfing is, you can easily wear out your welcome. So, if you’re planning on doing this, you should have some money to help pay for your living expenses or at the very least be willing to help do chores around the house.

2. Stay in your car

This may be the cheapest way to live rent-free, but it’s also potentially dangerous. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get into a situation where your car is impounded, and you have no way to pay off the fine.

However, if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices, you can live in your car for free. Staying in a car can be rough on your body, especially if you’re a larger person. And some cities will harass you if they catch you.

However, if you’re willing to get creative and reduce your needs to the bare minimum, living in your car is a cheap alternative to paying for rent. Just make sure that you park your car someplace safe at night when you go to sleep.

3. House sit for someone in exchange for free rent

Got a relative who owns a vacation home or a friend who lives in another city and is willing to let you stay there while they’re out of town? If so, house-sitting for someone else is one the easiest ways to live rent-free.

You’ll probably be doing these people a big favor by looking after their homes. After all, it’s much easier for you to check up on their pet and mail while they’re on vacation than it is for them.

4. Become an apartment manager

Becoming an apartment manager can be a good money maker if you already have the skills. But it can also be a way to get free rent while you’re in school or looking for work.

It’s pretty common to find apartments that are short-staffed. If you’re willing to do some work-for-hire, you can make some extra money without ever having to pay for housing.

5. Live in a squat with friends

Squatting is when you take over an abandoned house or apartment and make it your home. This can be risky because some of the buildings you squat in could have been condemned or filled with toxic waste, which can hurt your health.

However, if you’re willing to take the risk, squatting can be a great way to live for free. Just make sure that you get permission from the building’s owner, or at least do a quick check to ensure it doesn’t have any toxic material before moving in.

6. Move back in with your parents

If none of these options work out for you, move back in with your parents. At the very least, this means that you won’t have to worry about paying for rent, but it also means you’ll probably have to give up some of your independence.

You’ll probably still need to find a way to help your parents out financially at some point, but you might not have to worry about it every month. Plus, you can start making plans for when you move out, such as saving money for a security deposit in your own place.

7. Become a live-in caregiver

If you have a lot of experience taking care of people and are willing to move anywhere, then you should consider becoming a live-in caregiver. This is typically an excellent job for people over 55 since it’s stable, and you can have a lot of control over where you live.

While this can be a great option, it also has its drawbacks. For example, the pay is typically not great. If you want to really maximize your income, then this might not be the right choice for you. However, it is a way you can live for free and make some money in the process.

8. Become a nanny

Another option is to become a nanny. If you think you can be a good nanny, this is a great way to make money. You will need to offer your services as an in-home nanny, which means that you will be taking care of children and toddlers.

Remember that this is a responsible job, so you will need to be qualified. Before you take the job, make sure that you have learned all the necessary skills. You will be living with the family, and thus your rent will be covered.

9. Live in a Commune

You won’t have to pay rent when living in a commune, but you will be expected to help with daily chores. This can be a good idea if you’re really big on communal living. If you like to give back to the community, this could be an excellent fit for you.

In many cases, communes are formed around a religious, political, or cultural movement. They can be a great place to meet like-minded people who have similar goals.

10. Become a sharecropper

Also known as a tenant farmer, sharing cropping is sharing responsibility for the care and maintenance of farmland with another person or entity. The person who agrees to the terms of the arrangement is known as a sharecropper.

Sharecropping has been around for a long time and was the standard way of farming before the 20th century. You can often find families who will employ people to do this kind of work.

While it sounds like a lot of work, this is a very flexible way to live since you’ll be able to work where you live. Since there is more than one person involved, the responsibility will be spread out.

11. Get a job as a hotel manager

Most people assume that hotel managers have to pay for their own lodging, but you can get a job as a hotel manager and get free rent. You’ll have to take on a lot of responsibility, but you can make some good money if you’re willing to do that.

Of course, you will need to take the job seriously and do some extra work to ensure that you’re a good fit for it. Remember that hotel management is not a bad gig, but it’s also not a great one.

12. Be a live-in pet sitter for someone rich

Rich people love their pets, and they will pay someone to wait on their pet hand and foot. You might have to do many things like brushing the dog, walking it, feeding it, and cleaning up after it.

When you’re with a pet all day long, you get to build up a bond with the pet, which can be very rewarding for you. You won’t be able to make much money doing it, but you will get free rent.

13. Get a job on a cruise ship

Not only do cruise ships often have a high turnover rate, but they are also some of the best-paying jobs for people without a lot of education. The pay is decent, and you’ll have fun while living on the ship.

There are a lot of benefits to this job, but it does have its drawbacks. You will be traveling the world for months at a time, and that can be very distracting. It can also take up a lot of your time.

However, you will be able to learn a lot, and it can be a good time. You must go over the job description very carefully and make sure that you’re comfortable with the terms before agreeing to take the job.

14. Live in a tent in the wilderness

If you don’t mind roughing it, you can live in a tent for free in the wilderness. This will probably be a temporary solution for you, but this can be a great way to save up money to buy land or build your own house if you plan it right.

It’s also a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It takes a lot of work to set up camp and survive in the wilderness, but it can be gratifying.

The hardest part of living rent-free is finding someone willing to let you live in their home. You need to be ready to jump on an opportunity as soon as you see it. Many people out there are struggling and love the idea of having a roommate.

You must know what you’re getting into before you take the job. Do your research ahead of time so that you know what to expect. Also, be ready to work hard.

It’s the same as getting a job anywhere else, and you need to be willing to put in the work. Living rent-free doesn’t always mean doing nothing all day and enjoying being lazy. Actually, with some rent-free jobs, you’ll end up working harder than you would with a typical job.

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