PFME Guide On How to Live for Free Off-Campus

One of the major expenses in almost everyone’s monthly budget is housing expenses. Being a college student is no different; unless you live at home, you’re going to incur a significant expense to have a roof over your head. You might be surprised to find that there are ways around that and maybe even make a few dollars.

First, you’ll need to find a place to live that can comfortably house several people. In most cases, you’re looking for a decent-sized house.

 Basically, you have two options for the property:

1.   Buy it. Unless you’re an exceptional 18 year-old in exceptional circumstances, you’re probably going to need the help of your parents to purchase a home. This is especially true if you’re going to school full time instead of working. But it might not be a hard sell if you explain the following to your parents:

  • Your parents could actually make money on the deal. Imagine buying a house and then renting it out to 5-8 people. If all the expenses are $800, and you charge 6 people $250 each, that’s a profit of $700 a month and you can live there for free.
  • You’ll be there to ensure that the property is cared for properly. What could be better than having a family member watching the property?
  • At the end of your academic career, the option would be there to sell the property or keep it and continue renting it out.

2.  Lease it. This option might be a little more challenging, but it’s accomplished all the time. You can find a house to lease yourself and then find roommates. Find enough people and charge enough money to pay all the bills and have something left over.

  • The only challenge is finding a landlord that will let you sublease. Most don’t like the idea, but there is always someone that won’t mind. Most landlords stay pretty happy as long as the bills are getting paid. If you keep the numbers under control, you’re unlikely to have any problems.
  • Spend a couple of days on the phone and call people with homes for rent. It might take a couple of days, but in the end you’ll make/save thousands of dollars. When is the last time you made thousands of dollars in a couple of days? And all you have to do is talk on the phone.

Finding Renters

 This can be tough your first year, but the key is to plan ahead. Get out to the university early, preferably in the spring before everyone takes off for the summer. Plaster the area with flyers and take advantage of any social media opportunities. Be sure your flyers stand out; college campuses are covered with them.

Something simple like this is enough:

 “Great house available, Near Campus… Cheap! I need roommates to share the costs. Call 555-555-5555”

 Always get a deposit, preferably a non-refundable one. In some states, you can spend the deposit however you want. In other states you must save the deposits (if the deposit is refundable).

This strategy will take some work, but it’s not difficult at all. Find and control a house that will hold a few people and find some renters. You can live for free, and even possibly make a few hundred dollars each month in the process.