In the immortal words of Jimmy McMillan, "The rent is too damn high!" I live in Austin, which means my wallet cries each time I pay rent. Of course, I don't live in a city where rent is sky-high like New York or San Francisco... but still, I don't live in Toledo or Memphis, cities where the rent is barely-there. The burden for this writer is heavy to bear alone.
Because of this, in my time as freelance writer, I'm constantly building and refining a worst case scenario plan in case I lose all my clients or deplete my savings. My first planned step? Lower my rent. In my research, I've come across everything from living with a minimum of four roommates to donating my eggs in exchange for room and board. And while these can be great options for others, they're not for me.
However, I did find one creative way to lower my rent that seemed more plausible: House caretaking, or caring for an otherwise vacant property—either by the request of the owner or a property management company—in exchange for a severely reduced rent. Well, at least severely reduced based on the city you're living in. Many times, homeowners hire house caretakers to manage vacation properties outside of season. Or the homeowner might hire a house caretaker to keep the home in tip-top, model home condition if they're trying to sell. As someone who has tried workaways (where you trade room and board for work, often in a different city) before and enjoyed it, house caretaking seems up my alley.
So while it's nice to have house caretaking in my back pocket as a financial fall back plan, I recognize that it might been a great everyday job option for certain people, and a terrible, terrible option for others. Want to figure out if it might work for you? Here, four things you need to know about this penny-saving path.