The Cheapest Way to Live: 11 Ways to Cut Housing Costs

There are many reasons to try to live as cheaply as possible. Perhaps you want to pay down debt, maybe you want to retire early, or perhaps you want to save as much money as possible.

No matter the reason, finding the cheapest way to live can cut down your expenses tremendously.

Here are our 11 tips for the cheapest ways to live.

1. Live and Travel in an RV

If traveling runs in your blood, you’ll fall in love living in an RV! Changing your housing option into an RV isn’t new when it comes to living at low costs. It’s one of the most popular options, especially for families.

Maybe you prefer space. If so, adjusting to the teeny-tiny area of the RV might be challenging. But like most houses, you’ll have the privileges of amenities such as a kitchen and a bathroom. You even get to have your bedroom!

You can park on campgrounds and RV sites for an affordable low fee. If you even opt to pay for an extended period of stay, you’ll pay almost nothing!

2. Find Unfinished Housing for a Fixer-Upper

Yes, the walls may be bare blocks, the ceilings don’t have insulation, or the kitchen is missing tiling. These not-so-beautiful aspects of unfinished spaces make them way cheaper than fully furnished ones.

In a similar vein, finding a fixer-upper that needs some work done is an excellent way to get some pretty affordable housing. Don’t get any places that require structural work, though, or you will end up with a money pit!

Search for this type of home or property, and you’ll have more than enough left to design the interior as you please.

3. Opt For a Bus House

Along with an RV, the bus is one of the traditionally converted home units you’ll find around. It is more spacious than the RV, so if you’re claustrophobic, opt for this one. A bus is also great if you have a larger family or group.

Converting a bus may require more budget than the smaller RV. But compared to the housing expenses we deal with at the moment, it’s still one of the cheapest ways to live. You can convert it yourself for optimally low cost or have it done by conversion companies.

4. Be an In-Home Caregiver

If you have nursing or caregiving experience, you’ll be surprised at how fulfilling it is to assist someone of ill health while living for free and probably earning more!

While being a caregiver living with a patient, you’ll have your own space, free meals, and other amenities. Then, top it all up with your monthly compensation. Check out for some opportunity leads or sign up for an in-home aid agency.

5. Become an Airbnb On-Site Manager

Airbnb is a popular cheap lodging for travelers. Sometimes, the hosts of these properties are also travelers themselves! They’re usually not around, making it impossible for them to deal with all Airbnb-related stuff.

They may be looking for someone to keep their property well maintained and handle guests that walk into the doors. As a manager, negotiate for personal space at a discounted rate to maintain the site and deal with customer complaints.

6. Buy a Duplex

Want a traditional living setting? Then, buying a duplex is for you. Aside from the fact that you get to live in your own housing space, complete with everything you need, you also get to earn some money.

With two separate living quarters, keep one for yourself and rent out the other. Secure half of the monthly expenses and live in a proper house.

Of course, you would have to deal with renters and maintain the property, but aside from that, buying a duplex unit will save you a lot of cash and can be a great investment in your future.

7. Become a Nomad

Nomad: a traveler without a place to call home because their home is inside their hearts (yes, that sounds too metaphorical, but nomads are deep people, most times).

Without a permanent place to settle in, you can wander around like a nomad, finding opportunities as your go. Of course, this is not for everyone, but if you’re up for some adventure of a lifetime, this route is the cheapest way to live. Literally.

8. Live With Your Family

With mom or dad or siblings, or maybe with all of them! Striking out on your own may not be the best thing financially for all young adults. However, with housing costs being what it is, multi-generational living can be a good option for many families.

With proper communication and agreement, sharing a home can be one of the cheapest ways to live and have some great extra perks (childcare, delicious food, and the great company being just some!).

Unless you have a broken relationship with your family, your family are the best people you can be around anyways!

9. Construct a Tiny House

I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of them all over social media! The tiny space saves you money with all the perks a traditional home offers. Not only that, their innovative design is eye-catching and mobile.

When it comes to tiny homes, building one from scratch will cost you a little sum of money. Yes, it’ll be a bit demanding, but it’s nothing compared to the expenses of conventional house construction.

Unlike the RV and bus home, tiny houses can’t just park in any parking spaces. Instead, tiny houses have specific parking areas, or you can also lease or buy private land for some time.

10. Convert a Truck or a Van

From RVs to buses, converting a truck into a house is also considered one of the cheapest ways to live. Of course, it will require some investment, and you don’t get a lot of space, but people have done it successfully and happily.

Even with an initial investment, the amount of money you’ll save is ridiculously more than if you opt for standard housing. It will also depend on what truck unit you’ll be converting.

11. Do Some House-Sitting

House sitting is when you watch someone’s house while they are out of town. Sometimes, house sitting services include spending the night, and sometimes it just involves stopping in at defined intervals and making sure everything is okay.

Taking house-sitting gigs that involve you staying at the property is a great way to travel-hack your way to free accommodations! You can do this for a while to save money on housing or do this while renting out your space as an Airbnb. You can read all about House Sitting here.

Quick Tips to Save More

In addition to these housing solutions, there’s also micro-managing you can do to adjust your lifestyle to save up more and live frugally:

  • Say goodbye to unnecessary subscriptions.
  • Avoid dining out. Just cook your meal.
  • Cable is expensive, and you don’t watch all the channels. Just opt for a few channel subscriptions to reduce expenses.
  • Look for a cheap cell phone plan.
  • Cut down on your wardrobe.
  • Install a whole house fan and save on your cooling costs.

The Cheapest Way to Live

The best and most effective way to save money is to cut down on your biggest expense: housing.

Finding the cheapest way to live is the quickest and best way to save money. Although these are unconventional ways to live – they can be exactly what you need!


Robyn is a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. She has her MBA and has been studying Personal Finance on her own for as long as she can remember. She has always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start her blog after a period of extended unemployment. She says that experience really changed the way she viewed her relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education. Read more at A Dime Saved.

Leave a Comment