Alternatives To Renting (34 Brilliant Ideas)

Renting is not for everyone. It can often be expensive and result in you being stuck in a long-term agreement.

But wondering what else is out there? There are lots of fantastic alternatives that will have you ditching paying those rent checks each month.

We’ve put together a list of options so that you can easily find something that works for you. So have a read of the list below and let us know in the comments what you are going to try.

House Sitting

House sitters stay in places rent-free in exchange for looking after the place and/or pets This is a super easy way to live rent-free and perfect for short-term and long-term housing. Sites like Trusted House Sitters are available globally so you can do lots of exploring!

Want to find house sitting jobs? Here you’ll learn exactly how to

Work-Trade Rent Exchanges

Many jobs also come with accommodation attached to them.

This is particularly relevant for jobs that require relocation.

Work-trade exchanges are a way to get free (or cheap) accommodation, you might just have to move!

Live-In Nanny (Or Au Pair)

If you’re looking to work with children that live-in nanny or au pair work is ideal.

Looking after children, you’ll have a place to live as well as a regular income.

Many families also take their nanny’s on holiday so you’ll also get to travel for free!

Lodge And Resort Jobs

Hotel jobs are a great way to gain employment and free accommodation. Many resorts will let you live on-site and come with plenty of perks.

Some lodges and resorts also come with free food and discounted rates for activities.

House Hack

If you own a property, you can rent out the other bedrooms in the home. Increase the rent so it will cover your mortgage and utilities and you’ll live rent-free.

Rental income is also taxable which makes this a profitable choice.

Manage An Apartment Complex

Plenty of apartment complexes will require an on-site property or community manager. To be a property manager you may need some prior experience.

However, this job also comes with a steady salary and rent-free accommodation.

Move In With Your Parents

Moving back in with your parents won’t please everyone, but it can be a great short-term solution. However elderly parents in particular may require someone around the house.

Not only will give you a chance to reconnect, but it will also save you paying rent.

Couch Surf

Couch surfing is perfect if you’re going traveling but it can also work long-term. There are sites out there that let you legitimately and safely live on someone’s couch.

All you have to do is take care of your transport to get there, but you won’t be paying a cent to stay!

See the couching apps to use

Cruise Line Job

Cruise ship jobs pay well, are rent-free, and come with plenty of perks. You can also end up in some pretty exotic destinations if you’re keen to do some traveling.

Possible cruise jobs include entertainers, cooks, and housekeepers.

Live With The Elderly

Services like Home Care Assistance need people to live with a single elderly person. You will have to be qualified to give elderly care, but some services just require basic care.

Living with the elderly will mean rent-free living and a steady income.

Be A Teacher Abroad

Companies like English First will pay for airfares, food, and rent in return for you teaching English.

Many countries have schools that are desperate for people to teach students.

If you have an ESL or BA teaching qualification you will no doubt find a position easily.

Work At A Hostel

For those that want to work hard and play hard, head to a hostel.

Working at a hostel, you’ll have guests coming at all hours of the night.

Most of this job will be maintenance and cleaning but it also comes rent-free (and is lots of fun!).

Become A Resident Assistant On Campus

If you have a degree in student personnel or higher education, being a RA could work for you.

Most colleges will like to have someone living on campus to oversee residences on-site.

This job comes with free rent and a solid paycheck.

Join The Military

This one won’t be for everyone, but there are plenty out there that will sign up. 

Enrolling in the military comes with free housing, a paycheck, and free meals.

There are plenty of different roles within the military so you can find one that works for you.

Find A Free Campsite

Looking to head outdoors?

With a tent, a vehicle, and a sense of adventure, you can find a free campsite to stay in.

Places like Free Campsites will help you find one without fees.

Work On A Farm

Farm work can be pretty tough, but it might also change your life.

Programs like WWOOF help you find a host farm family, where you can live rent-free.

This job may result in you learning a trade and gaining some amazing life experience.

Become A House Mother Or Father

Sororities and fraternities will have house mothers and fathers to look after the place. Boarding schools will also commonly employ them to look after students.

This means living on-site for free in exchange for keeping the place in order.

Student Work-Exchange

If you’re a student, there are occasionally opportunities that result in rent-free boarding. Head to your school’s housing department and see what opportunities are available.

Many will have free room and board for working several hours for the uni.

Become A Farm Caretaker

Being a farm caretaker is also an option if you’re looking for a rent-free living. For this job, you might be required to live rurally or in more remote areas.

However, it’s perfect if you already have farm management skills or looking to gain some.

Work For A Host Family

When families move to a different country, some will struggle to adapt. This may be from navigating a new environment or learning the language.

Families will often hire someone to help them acclimate, and let them live at home.

Become A Cemetery Caretaker

If you’re particularly brave or looking for something different, head to the cemetery. Rent-free with all utilities paid for, the work is mostly clerical.

As a caretaker, you’ll be responsible for maintenance and keeping the place in order.

Work At A Summer Camp

Summer camp jobs are plenty of fun and available all around the world! With free accommodation and food, you’ll have plenty of fun living and working at a camp.

These jobs are often hard to work, but highly rewarding and full of adventure.

Try Sabbatical Homes

Sabbatical Homes helps students find a house sitting or sharing opportunities. Many homes are reliant upon work-rent agreements and close to campus. Some stays might even result in free meals as well!

Live With Relatives

If you’d rather avoid the parents, see if any other relatives want an extra hand around the house. For a rent-free situation offer to do household duties in exchange.

This might mean cooking, cleaning, or mowing the lawn.

Become A Workamper

For those that have an RV, you can live rent-free on campsites with free utilities. In exchange for these, you will be required to help out with any labor-required jobs.

There are plenty of these opportunities around the US and Workamper is a fantastic tool.

Live At A Convalescent Home

If you have experience working with the elderly, convalescent homes are an option. This is not an easy job but it often comes with free accommodation and a paycheck.

The Nursing Home Jobs listings board will have available jobs for you to apply for.

Live In A Van

Van dwelling is super popular at the moment and a great way to see the country. Your main costs will be fuel, food, and the maintenance or conversion of the van.

If your looking for some inspiration here are my favorite van life blogs, these always give me a lot of travel inspiration!

Prefab Cabins

If you own some land you can get yourself a prefab cabin. They come in a kit, which you can easily build yourself.

The cabin comes with solar panels for electricity, and hot water and can easily be installed with a stove.

Sober Living House Managers

If you have experience in a rehab facility then consider becoming a house manager.The perks of this job include; a salary, meals, utilities, and accommodation included. This is a rewarding job, but certainly not easy for the faint-hearted.

Teach At Sea

There are plenty of colleges that offer Semesters at Sea, this means teaching or working on board a ship. Good pay, paid meals, beautiful surroundings and free rent are all on offer!

Live On A Boat

Another boat-related option comes with affordable housing. Boats are cheap, eco-friendly, and often don’t come with a mortgage. Life on a boat will be different but is much cheaper than buying or renting property.

Living In A Lighthouse

For those looking for something more unusual, try living in a lighthouse. The National Park Service can help you find one, rent-free. 

There will be long days and nights alone, but it’s certainly an experience. 

Container Homes

Container homes are affordable, eco-friendly, and small, the cost of them will differ, however, you can spend as little or as more as you choose.

Shipping containers are a particularly easy and cheap option to go for.

Shared Living Spaces

Housing co-ops are another form of rent-free housing, co-living means sharing a house and dividing the expenses for amenities and resources.

Housing co-ops can come in many different forms, but it often results in very low or minimal rent. Renting doesn’t work for everyone and it doesn’t have to!

There are numerous weird and wonderful alternatives so that you can live rent-free. From couch surfing to van living to working on a farm.

There are so many different options out there and plenty is full of adventure. So, say goodbye to landlords and go try something new!

What is your favorite rent alternative?

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

Through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so if you have any questions, please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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