a roof over my head and savings in my pocket
July 31, 2012 5:09 PM Subscribe
Give me all of your best tips and strategies for living rent-free, especially if that involves house sitting for strangers.
posted by pinetree to work & money (20 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I am fortunate enough to have a job I love at a great organization with some health benefits. However, I am on a very tight budget and I happen to live in a college town with relatively high rents. To rent a room in a shared house here averages about $500 per month. Believe me, I am willing to live in a really run-down place, but I just cannot find anywhere cheaper, especially when utilities are factored in.
My salary is not amazing (though I will be getting a 15% raise in September), but it is enough that I have been able to manage paying rent every month. However, I really want to save as much money as possible. If I could just get out of paying rent for even 6 months, it would allow me to save a substantial (for me anyway) emergency fund. I'm really excited about being debt-free and building a 3-6 month emergency fund.
I had some really positive experiences pet-sitting at two different houses over the winter holidays last year and I lucked into house-sitting for a college professor for three weeks next month. I have nowhere lined up to live after that and (while I'll keep searching for a sublet), I would love to find other house sitting gigs.
If you have managed to line up house-sitting gigs in the past, please share your tips with me! Should I take out an ad in the local classifieds? Post on Craigslist? Send out a mass email with various contacts bcc'd? Register with an agency?
Thanks in advance.
[Just to help keep the thread focused on house-sitting: I want to rule out asking family for help as an option completely. Also, while I think my friends are great, I don't feel comfortable imposing on them for extended couch surfing since this is not an emergency situation. If I were out of work or desperate, then I would ask, but this situation isn't like that. Oh, and of course I'm trying to boost my income as much as possible and I already have a second job working for a catering company on the weekends.]