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How to Save Money on Housing or Accommodation

We all need somewhere to live, but that somewhere is costing us more and more!

For some families, it is over half the household income which causes financial stress.

I have been a boarder, had boarders, owned my own home, been a landlord, lived in small apartments and large homes, on farms and in the city. I’ve also been homeless.

Currently, I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment in Melbourne.

In a few of the homes I’ve lived in I rented out rooms, one I used the lounge room as a studio and ran classes, as did my best friend.

In fact, I wrote about how to make your home pay for itself here, basing it on the house I was living in.

Today, look at how you can either save money on your accommodation or make money from it. Here are a few tips:

1. Look for Somewhere Else to Live

If you can move, would it work out cheaper? Don’t base the decision solely on the cost of rent.

When we moved from living in the suburbs in Canberra to living right in the city in Melbourne many said it would be significantly more expensive. The cost of rent itself was fairly even.

However, we no longer needed cars, our groceries were cheaper, bills reduced, we got rid of the gym membership as we had 2 in our complex plus a pool etc.

I have moved again, my rent is even less as I no longer have a complex with those amenities as I don’t need them.

My unit has everything I need and my lifestyle here in Melbourne is cheaper than it was in Canberra (you can read about that in “What’s cheaper, city or suburbs?”)

This will vary depending on your circumstances. I rent and it is easy to move since I don’t need to sell, however, I won’t break my lease. Look at all aspects of where you live.

I recently looked at moving further out but the cost of commuting would negate the savings on rent plus I would have spent 2 hours a day commuting via public transport vs 20mins walking!

When looking at places to live, don’t just look at the real estate agencies. Check out rentola.com.au which is a real estate search engine. This means you’ll find all the rentals in one place making it a lot easier to search and more likely you will find your ideal home.

2. Try free accommodation

House sitting, pet sitting, being the caretaker in a caravan park, couchsurfing, the super popular vanlife and farm work are all options for free accommodation.

Some occupations come with housing as do some carer positions, (you shouldn’t do this just for free accommodation though. Only be a carer if you genuinely care and are happy to help others for your work.)

Free accommodation is often easier for singles or couples, but it’s doable.

3. Refinance your mortgage

If you didn’t get the ball rolling on day 4 with your banking, do it now.

At the very least, if it’s been more than 2 years since you checked your mortgage, make an appointment with a broker to discuss your needs and have them do all the groundwork of finding the right home loan for your needs.

It can save you thousands. Alternatively, do the research yourself online but only do one application.

Multiple applications can reduce your credit score and make it harder to get a good deal.

4. Make money from your home

You can either make money by renting out a room, your garage and space in your home or find ways to make money from home e.g. 24 ways to make money on the side.

My preference was to rent ou my spare room, usually to someone I knew or a friend of a friend but you can do it through Airbnb and similar.

Find out my tips for renting a room on Airbnb here.

Alternatively, rent a room to a boarder (read these tips first).

I have also rented out my car space, driveway, my garage (to a single mum with a fashion business who didn’t have enough space in her home) and know of others who have rented their attic, basement, back and front yards. Check all regulations in your area first.

To make money from home you could look at online surveys such as Swagbucks or try the ones here where you can earn over $1,000 a year..

You might also want to check out:
How to afford a home when the average Australian home costs over $600,000

How will you make your home more affordable? 

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