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Don't Pay Rent ! The best money saving strategy available to millions of us.  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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One day per month. That's how much work I have to do to keep a roof over my head, in one of Canada's most expensive cities. Soon, this cost will go down, since I'm moving to a small house on wheels.
.........
This thread isn't directed towards those who already have a nice piece of land to live on. Naturally, most of those people will live on that land. I'm rather rare in that I have a nice piece of land, but I spend most of my time working in the city, where rent gobbles up a large percentage of income for many people, who never seem to get ahead. Young people, who have not yet reproduced, are the best candidates for this lifestyle. It is particularly well suited to young men, since they don't have the same security concerns that young women might have. Empty nesters are also good candidates for this. Particularly those who have arrived at middle age without resources.
.........
In the past decade, the most I have paid to live inside a building, is the equivalent of 1 day's earnings. I have also done many stretches where I spent nothing, and simply lived in vehicles at job sites. This isn't practical for large families , but totally doable for any young man in the Building Trades and in many other occupations. I live in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. I am sure this could work in most parts of North America and the world.
.......
Most of us have heard the saying, "If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall." For many people in Canada, the cost of housing is the beginning of their downfall. This is something I've known since childhood.
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The decision to not pay rent, is mostly about eliminating mental barriers. Many people will convince themselves that it's not practical, without ever stopping to try and work it out. It's simply a matter of eliminating extra junk from your life, buying a suitable vehicle , and moving in. Most intelligent people will be able to figure out things like showers, free camping spots and toilets.
.....
I had two young men working for me. They were Kyle and Martin. Kyle paid $800 per month to rent a shabby apartment, during the entire time I knew him. This represented a huge chunk of his income. Martin seized the opportunity to pitch his tent at my jobs, and pay nothing for rent. He had a huge amount of disposable income. He was able to get ahead of the game financially. Kyle was on a treadmill that left him broke at the end of each month.
........
Let's start off with a roll call. If you are one of the many who have lived rent-free, tell us a little about it. Anybody can live rent-free in a cardboard box near the mission. I'd rather hear about those who held a proper job, and have been homeless or somewhat homeless by choice , while saving a large portion of their income. The idea is to live relatively comfortably without the expense.
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This trailer will soon be my home away from the farm.
 
andre hirsz
Posts: 42
Location: thunder bay ontario canada
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Hi Dale. Loved your insightful post. I'm in northern ontario living on 73 acres that I acquired by cashing in my city business. Living happily and totally off the grid with only a property tax bill to contend with. Most may not have the opportunity to have enough cash to purchase a property with existing home on it, and in this event I would recommend sharing or privately purchasing a piece of land, placing a temporary trailer to accommodate, while building a cabin. This will allow one the opportunity to save up for their ultimate dream situation. Ecovillage situations are also cropping up, simply out of necessity.
 
Mike Jay
Posts: 661
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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My uncle-in-law spent 20 years with the army.  Came out and lived with his parents until they passed (he was then in his upper 50's).  Then he met a lady on Match and moved in with her where he's paying "rent" to her but I'm guessing it's more of a shared mortgage and bills arrangement.  So he got by for quite a while without rent.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
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I built and lived in a tiny house 23 years before it was even a fashionable. In fact I was even scoffed at because I built a 24 x 24 foot square garage and lived out of that starting out in 1994. Since we had a gravel pit and forest, I used my own lumber coming off  our sawmills, and made my own concrete to build it, so I have always owned my own home.

The people that scoffed at me? They got McMansions and mortgages to match. But as they paid in interest, and their shiny new houses lost their luster from age, and their friends built newer houses that had the latest and greatest making their homes looked rather dated, they had to take out home equity loans to pay for upgrades and credit card debt. Now they are really in debt, but me...debt free and just plugging along on my house. I admit it has taken 23 years to get to where I am now, but through steady building, moving buildings and connecting them to my house; my house is nearly 3000 square feet.

It really is the tale of two ways to build: you can take the quick road and pay for it the rest of your life, or take the harder, slower road and build as you can afford it and reap the benefits for the rest of your life.

For what it is worth; being debt-free; I was able to retire last year at age 42.

I am no better or worse than anyone else; I just made some financial decisions that were better long term investments.
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Not so easy if you are a couple or a family , so my solution is to work for the LL . I pay a little rent less than 400$ a month for a detached house huge amount of land gardens orchard  etc etc  LL is happy I am happy department of making folks sad in the dark at 56 am a bit long in the tooth for squatting as I used to in London.

David
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 2573
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I haven't paid for housing for about 17 years. I made a decision back then that freedom was more important to me than security... If I minimize expenses to the bare minimum, then I don't have to earn as much. I don't have to plant, weed, harvest, and sell as many crops.

I lived in an intentional community for a year. Then lived in a monastery for a few years. Then I raised a woman's children for her in exchange for a place to sleep. Now I'm caretaking my parents. When they are gone, I expect to move into a vehicle and become more nomadic. I giggle at the thought... Me becoming more nomadic? What a hoot!

 
Stacy Witscher
Posts: 86
Location: SF Bay Area
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This kind of thing has never been an option for me, as I have never been a childless adult. And, at least around here, living in a car or some other alternative housing is a sure way to have the government take your kids.

But, my best friend was a long haul trucker for a number of years, and lived in her semi. Her biggest complaint was food. Truck stops have places to shower, and do laundry, and to eat. But, eating out is never quite the same, as doing it yourself.

I don't much like eating out anymore, or eating other people's food. My kids are having issues with this as well, they found college food unbearable.

I tend to have the house where everyone else stays. As soon as my youngest comes home for the summer, we will be back up to 7 in the house.
 
Daniel Ray
pollinator
Posts: 129
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 4b
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When my wife and I moved back to Montana after living 2 years in Vancouver BC, I got a job as a full time librarian--something I am still doing--and were luck enough to build a small cob house on my parents property. We have lived rent free for 2 years now and it is awesome. We don't have a fridge or an oven, but totally worth it as my parents "rent" is a bag of coffee once a week and picking up dog crap.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I have sold and given building materials to several people who are doing the small house thing. Some build them so large that they can't really be mobile very often.
........
A couple of months ago, the house on the small trailer plan was hatched. I gave notice and prepared to move out of my incredibly cheap room. Then, my truck blew a rod and is in need of extensive repair. I'm still deciding whether or not it is worth fixing. Luckily, I have my Toyota Tercel. Believe it or not, it has the most comfortable seat for sleeping of any car I have ever tried. It lays down almost flat. I park on a slight upwards incline and it's perfect. So, for a short time , the car will be home. This is a bit of a pain when I'm doing tree and hedge work. In one way it's good, because it forces me to find someone else to do the hauling. This means that I only do the cutting, which pays $50 an hour. I'm not busy all the time, and that's okay. Better to get paid well for short stints. When I'm doing demolition or preparing buildings to be moved, buildings that contain washroom facilities and bedrooms are mine for the duration of the project. It's summertime, and I'm certainly not worried about my minor predicament. I've had a really good run financially lately, and could move into a building or buy a different truck, at any time. It's quite liberating. If I end up unemployed for a short time, I can head up to the farm or to anywhere else of my choosing.
.......
 No one suspects that a Toyota Tercel is being slept in, so I doubt that I will have issues with the police or any of the local suits. On the few occasions when this has come up, I've lied to the person who's giving me grief, and moved on.
.......
A white or light-colored vehicle is almost always preferable to a dark one. In the winter, when the sun is low in the sky or it's raining, a dark-colored vehicle will not absorb any useful amount of heat from the paint on the outside. A dark vehicle will always be more prone to overheating in the summer. My car and my last van were both dark colored. The original purchasers choice, not mine.

Vehicles do absorb useful heat through the windows, even in the winter, if the sun is available. I have never heated any of my vehicles, and I have never come close to getting too cold. It's all about preparation. I do plan to heat the trailer sometimes.

Check out the photo of my $600 Toyota, bought from the original owner in extremely good condition. An absolute steal. The second photo shows my black shower bag that usually resides in the back window, but can also be placed on the roof for very fast heating.
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Stacy Witscher
Posts: 86
Location: SF Bay Area
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Dale, does is not get too cold where you are because of marine influence, because when my friend was doing long haul from Texas to Canada, through North Dakota, if her truck died she would have froze to death.

I've been to Victoria,  a long, long time ago, but in the summer, so I'm unfamiliar with your winter weather.

I'm not a traveler, was as a child, but not now. So, my experiences can be quite limited.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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We seldom get more than 10 degrees below freezing. This is not a problem for any qualified camper, particularly if they are in a vehicle, and not exposed to the extremes of wind rain and snow. It would be much more difficult in a tent. I once had a job helping to decommission a big Cold War underground facility. I had to park my van across the open doorway, to keep copper thieves out. It got cold and we received a foot of snow. I was perfectly warm, under the blankets of my frigid vehicle. When it's that cold, it's important to get dressed and get moving quickly in the morning. When going to bed, I would often hop in with my clothes on and strip down when the bed heats up. This would probably happen faster for a couple.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I think vehicle camping is the exception rather than the norm for those who decide against paying rent. Many make arrangements with employers or friends for some sort of exchange.

My plan for the trailer is rather unique. I like to hide in plain sight. I will make it look like a landscapers trailer, complete with some rakes and shovels attached to the exterior. I also don't look the part of someone who is living like this. If I'm not working, I pop out wearing my Sunday best. I cut my hair and don't have a beard. Cigarettes and alcohol are not part of my life. In this way, I am able to blend into the best neighborhoods.

When I'm working at a job where I have use of a building , I will park in the driveway or on the lawn, as I have always done.
.......
People are often concerned with what other people might think of their actions. I'm quite fond of this quote that I found on the internet .

"What other people think of you, is none of your business."
 
Bill Hinkley
Posts: 17
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Dale,
I am in the same situation.

I have spent most of the last decade living in vans and truck campers. I choose to live in these vehicles. I don’t do this because I am homeless or poor. I do this because I have always felt rent is a scam. When I rent, I am only paying for a kitchen, a shower, and a place to sleep. My van offers the place to sleep. My van/work act as a kitchen and the gym is a place to shower.

I spent most of my 20's living in a van and traveling around the country. At age 27 I decided to buckle down and get a real job. I am now 31 and recently cashed purchased my 2 acre property. I would like to retire on this property by 40 years old, at the latest.  Right now make $75k a year and live off  $1000 per month. Most of that money goes to food. Once I get my garden started my food bill will drop significantly and I think I will live off $600-800 per month.

My retirement plan is to buy rental properties. As much as I think rent is a scam, people will pay for housing, so I am going to capitalize on it.

I always try to tell people there are other ways to live but they always have excuses.

The biggest budget items that I have cut out living this way.
Rent: $400-$800 per month. saved by living in a vehicle and soon to be a yurt
Cell phone: $75-100 per month. free service plans exist. Right now I use Freedom Pop which is a free service in the US. It's not great but it works.
Internet: I don't know what people pay for internet, I use free sources.
Food: *Hopefully* I can save 200-400 per month on food once I get my garden up and running. I would like to not have to buy food at all but that is a few years away. The disadvantage of mobile life is you are reliant on the food systems.
Credit cards and other debits: $100-$300 per month. I live debt free and make cash purchases.

I save up to $1500 per month just by cutting out the major expenses most people don't think they can cut. This savings equates to $18,000 per year or $25000 per year before taxes. A majority of Americans can give themselves a 50% raise just by leaving a non traditional life style(I don't know what life cost in other countries, so I can only speak for US cost)

Also, if anyone is interested in living in a vehicle to save rent.  www.CheapRvLiving.com is a great site. It is built and occupied by friendly people living in vehicles.
 
Scott Tenorman
Posts: 63
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Cool topic, thanks for bringing it up.

My story is an evolution on the idea of living rent free, although I totally confess I've always had my own home during my period of homelessness. 

Back in 2006, I moved away from the bay area in CA, and bought my first house in the Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Placerville, CA.  A beautiful area, but not a ton of work, especially in the trade I was in.
I bought a camper shell (a small basic shell) for my 1989 2wd toyota pickup (the small pickup with a six foot bed), and went back to work for the company I'd been working for for the previous ten years.  I was a contractor, and the tiny company I worked for had an account with Applied Materials in Santa Clara, CA, aka Silicon Valley.  This company made the machines that made the silicon wafers for Intel.....a huge fortune 500 company with ten to twenty large buildings in the area at any given time, and thousands of employees locally.  They had gyms, and shower facilities for the employees........and because I had a card reader with "facilities access" due to my job, I was able to access any area of any building 24/7.

My typical week consisted of driving down Monday morning at 2am, getting to work a little after 7am, and then around 4pm hitting the gym, taking my dog out to play for a couple of hours (Oh yeah, I kept a cattle dog mix with me the entire time.  There were parking garages that kept the dog out of the sun while she was in the car, and with rare exception let her out every lunch to go for a short walk and stretch) then I'd normally eat fast food for dinner.  I just had a sleeping bag and the most minimal of supplies in the truck with us.  Most of the time I'd find an apartment complex to park in front of for the night, never spending the night in the same place twice, but going back to the same places after a while.  I didn't want to park in the corporation's parking lots since they were patrolled by security guards very thoroughly.  On Friday I'd drive back to my house in the Sierras and refresh my batteries at home.  Then repeat the routine.  I did this for two years.  Not ideal, but it was such a simple life, and so practical.  I was able to make a decent wage, and put everything I made towards my mortgage, not to mention making a large sum of money investing in the stock market.  Going back home was like a mini vacation every week.

I was able to pay the house off in 2008, and made a $50,000 profit on it when I sold it the same year. I moved to Utah in 2009 and was able to pay cash for a nice, newer (2001) home 1400 sq.ft., with a little over 1/3 of an acre lot. 
Let me say, I probably don't think like most, and don't behave like most.  I'm ruled by logic, and it gives me as many problems socially, as it helps in other areas.  That being said, I don't really get people, so I don't feel I need to be around them.  I am a total loner, so that allows me to get away with this type of lifestyle.  It's probable I have some type of mild autism.....but that's just a silly self diagnosis.
That being said, I don't see why I'm not seeing more people doing what I've just started to do.  There's no reason a small family couldn't do the same thing.

I'm sitting in my house one day, and I'm bugged by the fact that I just use it to sleep in, shower in, and cook in.  It's a three bedroom.......and two of the rooms are used for storage of things I don't use and don't need.  It's got two bathrooms, and obviously I'm not using one of them.  I'm using a swamp cooler for cooling which is cheap (my summer electricity bill was never more than $65, and it's over a 100 degrees for three months of the year here).  It's just a big waste for a person like me.
So I thought why not rent it out, and boondock in my backyard in a small camper or rv.  Rent here for this size house is $1,000 a month.  I could live on $600, but more is always better/easier.
I subdivided the lot into two separate zones using a nice steel fence.  I've been building the soil on my side of the lot for the last three years, and it's really showing with the garden I have growing this year.  I've planted about thirty fruit and nut trees on my portion in the last few years.  I bought an old class c rv for $2,000 last year, and moved into it two months ago.  It's all I need.
I currently have a renter (a person I met at work that I'm giving an incredibly good deal to currently).  He's living here rent free the first two months, and then $600 a month until the end of the year.  I did this to help him out, and also because I'm working the kinks out as far as the living arrangements go.  I still need to run some water and power lines to the rv, and this will involve a lot of work in the house, and in his portion of the lot.  Also, it's just a verbal agreement, either of us are free to back out at anytime.  He will also be paying the entire electricity bill which I will be using.   I've also retained the attached two car garage for my own use.

I'm in the middle of a growing city (there is a medical college being built two blocks up the street from me, one of only two in the state, and it will be opening this summer), and it's becoming more desirable each year from what I've seen from its growth.  There is a shortage of rentals in the area already.

Anyway,  I haven't seen many people do this with their own property.  Yes, I've seen the tiny house people living on other people's lots, but not people living tiny on their own lot and renting out their main house.
It seems like it would make a lot of sense for a young couple so that they would have an easier time affording their monthly mortgage.  It's not a glamorous way to live by any means, but it's surely practical/logical.  There are some incredibly nice, cheap, spacious rv's out there (especially if they're not running well) that could be permanently parked on a lot.................

That's all.


 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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There are many people who choose to live small in their own home, just by moving to a portion of it and renting out the Lion's Share. I know a young couple who live in their basement apartment, while renting out a big house for $2,000 a month. They are the exception of course. Many more young couples will pay rent on that basement apartment owned by someone else. I also know an older lady who lives pretty much in one room of her large house. She rents out one apartment and she provides room and board to several people.

I built a small cabin for my friend John. It is only 25 feet from the house, where shower and toilet are located. His total cost was $9,000. He rents out rooms to foreign students who attend the University. It took three years of renting out one extra room, to pay for his cabin. He has much more privacy now, and his little house is costing nothing.
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Scott Tenorman
Posts: 63
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Okay, so obviously I don't get out that much..... :-/

I just don't like the idea of living with someone else in the same house, or for that matter, sharing the same lot with no defined boundaries.  I don't want to hear footsteps overhead, or have to worry about how loud I'm playing my music.

That's a nice looking cabin, and it looks like you're quite the carpenter.  Here's the problem I have with it.
It's permanent to a certain degree (at least it looks like it is). 
Where I live, what I'm doing is technically illegal.  I don't think you can have two separate residences on the same lot.  My neighbors are cool, so I don't see it being a problem for me......but if it is, worst case scenario is I sell the MOVEABLE rv, and figure out how I'll morally evict the tenants out of the home so I can move back in.  I could always boondock out in the nearby desert for a time while that was being worked out.

After searching my local craigslist for less than a minute (literally), I just found this for just under $10,000 (in my experience with cl, people are willing to negotiate, and I'd bet it could be had for $9,000.)  https://stgeorge.craigslist.org/rvs/6169183519.html
I don't know what all is in the cabin, but I'm guessing it's not as nice as this (although I'm certain your cabin is a better built, longer lasting asset)........
If a couple doesn't have the skills to build themselves a cabin (or the time for that matter), they could purchase an rv and be in it in a day's time.
Also, when they decide they're sick of living in their small rv, they could always sell it for whatever they could get, and move back into their main home, alone, and not have a permanent structure stuck on their lot.

Of course I'm more city oriented when I speak, and in a more country setting a nice cabin on the same lot is probably more of an asset in the long run.

Like I said, I don't see a lot of people doing this, it just seems like there'd be more examples.  Like I said again, I don't get out much.  lol.

I hope I'm not coming across as rude or anything, because I'm not trying to be.  I'm just sharing my story. 

I actually think what might have actually inspired me to live in such a manner is the foreigners I used to work with back in the bay area.  They were Albanian, (muslim) and were really smart about buying real estate in the area.  They'd buy a house, rent it out, and then find a job on the side managing an apartment complex.  They'd get a free room at the apartment in exchange for maintaining the daily needs of the complex, and dealing with the renters.
All the while having their home's mortgage paid for by the renter.  I saw first hand people come to this country with nothing, make less money than me, and be able to buy a house in the most expensive housing area in the nation.  Some of them had multiple homes after the thirteen or so years I worked for them.
Smart people, and I'm thankful to have met with and worked with them. 
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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My tenant, Randy has lived at my place for 5  1/2 years, without paying rent. He makes himself useful by maintaining the road and other things with his excavator, and he acts as a watchdog. I tried several other people who failed at the simple task of keeping the place clean and reporting to me once in a while.

There are thousands of properties just on this island, that might benefit from having a part-time caretaker. I found one couple on this site , who were supposed to do 2 hours of work per month , in exchange for living in my cabin. They couldn't find that kind of time, and I had to kick them out.

The caretaker thing is probably the most available and workable situation for most people. Particularly if there are children , a fixed address can be desirable.
.......
Most of us don't get paid to sleep. I know a fellow named Carol who does get paid to sleep, in his van, at job sites where materials might be stolen. His dog barks at the slightest provocation. When he wakes up in the morning, he's already at work.
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Excavator hugelkultur
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Randy put logs right where I want them
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He excavated this pond
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 652
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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On the landlording website BiggerPockets, the typical strategy for living for free is to buy a duplex or triplex, and have the rent from the other (or other two) units cover the whole principal, interest, taxes, maintenance, and insurance on the complex.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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My dad used that simple concept to accumulate about 25 rental units by the time he was 70. Not bad for a carpenter who raised 10 kids. My dad used to Marvel at the number of relatively broke old people that he would encounter. He'd say "how could  these people have lived through the sixties and seventies and not made money?"

That scenario is not really doable in the expensive real estate market where I live. Prices have grown far beyond the ability to raise that much through rents. 50 miles from Victoria, it works sometimes. On British Columbia's mainland, it works once you get about 100 miles from Vancouver. Of course there will always be exceptions.
 
Dale Hodgins
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For the past several days I've been living in my new Oceanfront home that is worth somewhere in the 5 million range. They want a 10 million-dollar one. It's being demolished. I have all the comforts of home. They even left me as super comfortable couch to sleep on. The electricity is still on and I have a stove, washer and dryer and a microwave.

My only complaint is at the seagulls and otters get up really early. At about 5 a.m. the otters that sleep in front of the window, near the big rock, sometimes start wrestling.

I wake up at work, turn on my radio and look for valuable pieces to tear off of this house. I've already delivered some giant glazed pots to a friend. I've got at least a year's worth of cleaning supplies and paper towels from this place.

Quick tip. If you're going to live in a junk heap, make sure it's a good junk heap. There's better stuff in those ones. Other people will buy it.

This car living isn't so uncomfortable after all.
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This house comes with a built-in way to make money
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Terry Bytes
Posts: 14
Location: NE Iowa
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Dale Hodgins wrote:My tenant, Randy has lived at my place for 5  1/2 years, without paying rent. He makes himself useful by maintaining the road and other things with his excavator, and he acts as a watchdog. I tried several other people who failed at the simple task of keeping the place clean and reporting to me once in a while.

There are thousands of properties just on this island, that might benefit from having a part-time caretaker. I found one couple on this site , who were supposed to do 2 hours of work per month , in exchange for living in my cabin. They couldn't find that kind of time, and I had to kick them out.

The caretaker thing is probably the most available and workable situation for most people. Particularly if there are children , a fixed address can be desirable.
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Most of us don't get paid to sleep. I know a fellow named Carol who does get paid to sleep, in his van, at job sites where materials might be stolen. His dog barks at the slightest provocation. When he wakes up in the morning, he's already at work.



I can't believe people are so utterly lazy that they can't chip in a couple hours of work each month. In exchange for rent. It boggles my mind.
I usually listen to Paul's podcast JUST to hear about the crap and beggars he has to put up with. It seems like he attracts them.
I just listened to #373, "Epic Shit", where he describes examples of this, and in contrast, the hard work he put into his early career to get where he is now. I highly recommend it, if you haven't heard it. Very inspiring.

I don't know why, but the purple-breathers fascinate me like a train wreck. I'm always rubber necking the carnage.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I love the pictures, and the loader. That's a great relationship.

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6783
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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