Save Money on Housing with these Alternative Housing Arrangements


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
My parents’ house was only a few miles away from the college I went to. But when I graduated high school and was about to go to college, I knew I wanted to live on my own. I’ll be honest, it hadn’t always been easy. There were times I barely made rent. And I even had to sneak back home a few times to load up on canned beans and sausages from the pantry.

But don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my parents, and they’ve got a great home, but I like being on my own. I value my own independence more than any type of creature comforts. That said, I had to make a lot of adjustments to make sure I always had a roof over my head. Some of these involved getting creating with my accommodations and finding alternative living arrangements. Being resourceful and creative was the first step to finding frugal housing.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one looking for frugal housing options. In fact, I learned a lot of these methods from hanging out with students from upper batches. There’s like a mini-network in my school of students sharing intel on frugal housing options, and scoping out what’s available out there. We all kept each other covered and gave each other a heads-up when a housing option becomes available that someone would find beneficial.

But not every student will have the benefit of such a network. And that’s why I’m writing this post – to help others find frugal alternative housing. Some of these tips will be more, well, creative than others. But all of them are totally legit (that is, legal) and guaranteed to be great ways to have a roof over your head. And these methods aren’t just for students. Many of these tips will work whether you’re a student or a professional looking for alternative family living arrangements. If you’ve been looking for ways to save money on your living arrangements, this article is for you. Read on to learn about my top tips for finding alternative housing arrangements!

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Live at Home

I know, I know – I mentioned not wanting to move back home earlier in this article. But that’s for me. For other people, moving back home might not be such a bad arrangement. And there’s totally no shame in moving back in with your parents – I think more and more adults are doing that.

The key to having a harmonious home life with your parents is to help pay for the expenses at home. Living at home will save you money, but will still have to contribute to the household expenses. In fact, this article from Business Insider had the same idea. It recommends contributing to the groceries if you live at home. The article said:

"Buy a bag of groceries every once in a while

The bigger idea here is “find ways to ease your burden on Mom and Dad.” When I moved home, it represented a 50% increase in the household population.

The fridge couldn’t stay full enough, and I was a big part of the reason why. It was a no-brainer for me to spend a little money on the occasional grocery run.

Mom and Dad didn’t keep financial scores on the food I ate, because my gesture of bringing resources into the house was more valuable than the eggs that disappeared every morning."

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Get a Roommate

This is pretty basic info, but I still think it’s worth sharing. A lot of people dream about having their own living space, but sometimes sharing that space is the way to go. If you have to choose between getting a roommate and not being able to pay the rent, I think it’s easy to say which option is better.

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Care for the Elderly

I did this for a couple of semesters, and it’s a pretty sweet gig to have. I would have kept the job longer, but my academic load made it hard to balance the job with my studies. As a caretaker for the elderly, I was entitled to on-site employee housing. Accommodations were pretty basic – just a room, really. But it was enough for me. And I also earned pretty good money as a caretaker. I have a natural tendency to care for people, and I loved this job.

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Consider Motels

Motels are surprisingly cheap. While it’s certainly not cost-effective to live in one for months on end, they’re pretty good options if you’re looking for a temporary solution while looking for more permanent accommodations. As long as you look for a decent motel, your stay should be nice and pleasant.

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Get Side Hustles

Working side jobs isn’t a method of finding alternative housing per se. But earning money from side gigs and odd jobs is a great way to supplement your income. And that’s money that could go to helping pay your monthly rent. Let’s consider these “alternative methods” for earning income.

One of the best alternative ways to earn additional money each month is by using rewards sites. I was a pretty busy student. And I already had a job to juggle. The great thing about rewards sites is that they’re super easy to use, and they didn’t take much time away from my studies and main jobs. Most reward sites have three methods of earning: answering surveys, watching videos, and completing offers. It’s easy to do all three while waiting for my prof to arrive, or during the time between classes.

There are a lot of rewards sites out there, but I’ve been using ZoomBucks since it came out, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. One of the best things about the site is that it only takes 48 hours to get my earnings. That’s super helpful when rent was due soon and I absolutely, totally needed my money by then. ZoomBucks had helped pay the rent several times already.

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