Renting or Homeless? Minimum Wage Challenge


One of the biggest decisions I need to make that will determine whether this living well on minimum wage challenge will be successful or not is my living conditions. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and there is little doubt that renting would definitely be the safer, cheaper option.

The first question I asked myself was do I really need to pay for a place to live? Could I create an arrangement where I could live someplace for free? Would it be possible to find someone leaving the country for a year and housesit for them in exchange for a place to live? Could I find a family that would let me live rent free if I was willing to do their grocery shopping for them since they


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18 Responses to Renting or Homeless? Minimum Wage Challenge

  1. This challenge is really going to make you decide on every financial aspect. I think you are doing well with the planning process, but who knows what will happen once it comes down to execution.

  2. jay says:

    Regarding this particular aspect, we’ve often wished for trading a room (and board) for help with a disabled family member. Yet another possibility that would fit with your lifestyle.

  3. Amy says:

    I think that there are very few minimum wage earners who have the flexibility of traveling so much, especially far distances. If you’re only traveling short distances, say 50 miles or less, I don’t know how hotels over a rented room would be more economical.

  4. Most minumum wage earners I know live at home with a subsidized lifestyle, so they’ve got it pretty good. it’ll be interesting to see what you do with your “extra” money if you don’t have rent to pay. Also, do you have a sleeper van or something else to stay in?

  5. jeffrey says:

    Always the challenging part of every challenge :)

  6. jeffrey says:

    I think there are a lot more of these opportunities out there than most people think like this — non typical, yet a way to get a place to live without actually having to pay a monthly rent. I will be keeping my eyes open to see if I come across any during the year that make sense for my situation.

  7. jeffrey says:

    I agree and it probably wouldn’t be for the typical minimum wage earner. if you are reading this in hopes of seeing the life of a typical minimum wage earner, I think you will be disappointed. As I have said, I have many advantages over the typical minimum wage earner. This is more a challenge to creatively use finances to get a lot out of very little money.

  8. jeffrey says:

    A sleeper van in an interesting idea — I could probably trade in my little car for an older one, but I would need to run the numbers to see if it would make sense.

  9. Dang, this challenge is the real deal. I’m very interested to see how this plays out.

  10. Linda says:

    I’d rent the Room. You need to have someplace to shower.

  11. jeffrey says:

    heh — don’t worry, even traveling full time, I plan to take a shower at least once a day :)

  12. Gailete says:

    One of the last vacations that I took expecting to stay in motels the whole way, we pulled up into Kansas City around midnight after a grueling day (I learned never to drive anywhere on vacation with a truck driver, they don’t know when to quit for the day) and ended up not being able to find any room as a convention was going on in town. We had to sleep in the van whether we wanted to or not. We then proceeded to buy an air mattress and pillows and before the trip was done we ended up several more times having to sleep in the van. This is actually what poor people do but with you wanting to live the good life with this challenge, you may want to find a way to beat hotel prices. Do you have a frequent stay card on any of them that you can earn rooms with?

  13. Dee in RI says:

    I’m with you’re sister, Jeffrey.

    One thing that bothers me though, is that you refer to yourself as “homeless”. You choose not to have a permanent residence, just like some people in careers like the Merchant Marines or the Navy who have no parental responsibilities might do. Not my definition of “homeless”.

    To me, homeless means you have no alternative but to live on the streets. I know some formerly homeless people and they did not choose that life.

  14. jeffrey says:

    I agree and that is why I say that I am purposely homeless.

  15. jeffrey says:

    This will be the challenge and definitely something that could cause me to fail at the challenge. Unlike having a rented place where the costs are fixed, when traveling costs can be quite variable as you mention, and keeping these costs down will be one of the things I will have to constantly work on.

  16. When I finished college I thought about nannying for a while. A lot of the gigs were pretty sweet (well on paper at least, who knows). Many families wanted live in help and offered a studio or a private room and bathroom in the house. I guess I would have been “on call” all the time, but it sounded pretty sweet in theory not to pay rent.

  17. cathy says:

    I would never be one to poo poo someones dream/idea of doing something, although I wish you had called this something other than the “Minimum Wage Challenge”.. this give people the wrong impression of what you are trying to do..

    which really is just traveling on a limited budget. The point of it being,, Im note sure..

    good luck and god speed..

  18. kathryn says:

    Another way of living rent free is to take in boarders.For example rent a 4 bedroom property. If the rent is $1000 month including utilities, rent each room out for $400-$450. You live for free and possibly come ahead.You are still responsible for any vacancies. You are responsible for any damage, but collect a damage deposit from each boarder.

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