How To Get Cheaper Housing

In today’s post I continue into the Housing topic in the How To Live Totally Free plan and focus on how to get cheaper housing. Unfortunately, this is getting harder to do in America because the costs of rent and mortgages increased sharply this year alone. However, it still can be done if you’re willing to make some major sacrifices. What may those be? Let me explain.

How To Get Cheaper Housing: Move To A Cheaper Cost-Of-Living Area

How to get cheaper housing is to move to a cheaper area. Really, that’s the best and easiest way. However, this requires a great amount of sacrifice. Usually the cheaper areas in a particular state or even a city are away from various amenities. Or those areas may be unsafe.

Now, I don’t want you to reduce your safety to save money. Your health nor safety is never worth saving any amount of money. Instead, I want you to consider moving to the outskirts of a city to attain affordable housing. Yes, this will increase your transportation costs (along with lengthening your commuting time if you commute) but the trade-off can be worth it if the savings are massive. When I lived in Atlanta, GA I didn’t live within the city limit as that was too expensive. Although my job was inside those limits I lived in the northern suburbs and commuted like other citizens. Yes, my commute took anywhere 40 minutes to 55 minutes depending on the day, traffic, and weather but saving hundreds of dollars on rent per month was worth it.

Another option you have is to move away from the big city to the second most-populous or even a rural area. This option is doable now because of remote working. If you are a remote worker I don’t understand why you would stay in the big city and continue to paying those high costs. I would high-tail it for a cheaper city. And that’s exactly what I did. I left Atlanta, GA to go back to my hometown and reduced all of my costs considerably, including housing. I do have to concede this option requires quite a bit of sacrifice too.

How To Get Cheaper Housing: Rent A Cheaper Place Or Buy A Cheaper House

How to get cheaper housing is to rent a cheaper place or buy a cheaper house. Again, I know this is harder to do today because of the insane rent and house prices. Yet, there are deals out there if you’re willing to look and compromise on certain amenities.

When I bought my first house in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA in mid 2020 I chose a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom townhouse. Did I prefer a single-family home? Yes, because I grew up in one. However, I couldn’t afford one at the time. So a townhouse was a good compromise. I purchase one for $131,000 when a decent single-family home cost at that time minimum $200,000. And the latter would need some fixing up while my townhouse was move-in ready.

I suggest you keep all your options open when looking to rent or buy because the more you’re willing to compromise the more money you will save. When I rented I got apartments without in-unit laundry to save money. Yes, I had to go to the laundromat but upon reviewing my spending there I saved money than purchasing a washer and dryer. I also would choose apartments with older units instead of the renovated ones to save money. Usually the older units had nothing wrong with them other than they were outdated. Finally, you can look into renting a room or a basement apartment. Although these are smaller than a regular apartment they are usually cheaper.

When it comes to buying a cheaper house it’s best to buy the worst house on the block. When I bought my current house it was the ugly house in the neighborhood. It needed a new roof and a HVAC system but I made a profit selling my townhouse so I invested some of that into those items. Originally I wanted a renovated house but upon seeing the prices of those homes and the poor renovations done by the seller I decided a fixer-upper would be better. Because I could perform the repairs properly myself or hiring a trusted contractor. So be ready to get your hands dirty if you really want to save money. However, don’t buy a money pit.

Downsides To This Decision

How to get cheaper housing does have downsides:

  • Having to move far away from work and the “fun areas”
  • Requires more research to find a good deal
  • Making sacrifices is difficult to say the least
  • Your family and/or friends may not like traveling so far to visit you
  • Increases to other costs, especially transportation

And there’s more downsides than what I listed there. However, this is the decision you have to make if you truly want to live totally free. Every dollar you can save is a dollar you can invest in using your time as you see fit instead of selling to an employer.


If you miss any of the posts of the How To Live Totally Free series you can find all the posts here.

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