How We Haven’t Paid Rent or Utilities in a Year and a Half

Sep 02

How We Haven’t Paid Rent or Utilities in a Year and a Half

In April of 2014 we moved to Texas and took a job as the on-site managers of a storage facility near San Antonio. At the beginning of August, 2015, we took a new job in Fredericksburg, Texas, at a locally owned hotel. Why did we take these jobs? They paid a salary and offered a free place to live, plus utilities.

I discovered these types of jobs several years ago when I first started researching full-time RV traveling. I knew there had to be people out there without a retirement account or social security that were still traveling and able to support themselves. This was how I found out about workcamping – working somewhere either on a volunteer or paid basis while living in your RV.

I couldn’t find many jobs, though, that paid a decent wage. What I did find was a lot of volunteer positions or a few that paid minimum wage and then subtracted your RV space and utilities from your pay. I knew I didn’t want a job like that either. Plus, we didn’t have an RV yet and I didn’t know how long it would take to get one. The idea of workcamping and traveling was put on the back burner as something we’d do in the future. But when I was diagnosed with lipedema, I picked up the idea again. If we could live and work somewhere and not have to pay rent or utilities, how much money could we save? Based on a few of our high months – a high gas bill for heat in the winter or a high electric bill in the summer – I estimated we spent $1000 month on rent and utilities. If we could earn the same amount as we were already making, we could save that $1000 month.

I didn’t count on some other health issues delaying us a bit, but before long we had a chance to apply for a position near where we were already living. The dog park we frequently carried our dogs to needed someone to live on site as a caretaker. It was a volunteer position, but it was close enough where I could keep my full-time job and we’d be able to live rent free. We interviewed for the position with the idea that I would continue to work and Scott could work part-time or just live at the park. We didn’t get that position, though. But I kept looking for other ways we would live for free.

We came up with another idea  – buy a mobile home for cash in a nearby mobile home park (we had enough money to do it) and all we’d have to pay then would be lot rent and a few utilities. We would be paying something, but it would be a lot less than $1000 month. We could then save maybe $600 or $700 a month. Before we did that, though, I found a website that listed jobs specifically for couples to do together. This is my go-to website for these types of positions. The site is WorkingCouples.com.

It’s a subscription site, but it’s affordable at $5 month or quarterly for $15. I signed up and we started to apply for jobs. We knew we wanted to move to Texas, we knew the amount of money we needed to make, and it had to be a place where our son could move with us and where we could bring our dogs. We must have applied to about fifteen or twenty locations before we finally got a phone call.

We interviewed for the storage facility position in March and eight weeks later we were on our way to Texas.

While we were happy to take the position and had the money to make the move, we didn’t get the money we wanted. The idea was that we would use the salary we received and then build our eBay business to earn the balance. Ultimately that’s what we need to do anyway in order to continue having an income even after we stop working for someone else and become full-time creative nomads. But it was taking too long to grow eBay into a profitable business. Then we had the issues with our van’s transmission. We went back to the WorkingCouples website to find a new position.

I’ve written a book that shares our story and offers tips for anyone else who wants to work with their spouse or significant other, have free rent and utilities, and the possibility to work anywhere in the US or the world. The book is Escape Cubicle Jail (affiliate link). It’s available on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.

I share information about different jobs such as apartment managers, hotel managers, gate guarding and general workcamping. There are two sections – jobs that provide housing and jobs that require you to have an RV. I discuss the pros and cons of the different jobs, the typical pay rates, and if the jobs are good for families or just couples. I also share my tips on how to research a possible job and the employers, questions to ask, and what to look out for.

The jobs on the Working Couples website are typically long term jobs. The employers are looking for people to stay around for a while and help to grow the businesses. Most of the workcamping, RV jobs are temporary, lasting only a few months before you move on to something else.

The best part is that you may even be able to try out a job like this while still keeping the job you have now. Search the website for your city or town and find a position you’d like to apply for. While the company hires couples, they may only pay one person (this is something to be aware of) so the other person can still work. As long as the duties you’re hired for are completed, this could be possible. I worked part-time last Christmas in a retail store while Scott handled the storage facility office, so it can be done. This can be a way to keep a full-time job where you are, save the money you’re paying on rent and utilities, and have one spouse working at home or nearby. This could work well for parents with school age children or someone who’s already a stay-at-home parent or self-employed.

Do you want to learn more about how to work as a team with your spouse and save money on your rent and utilities? You can buy Escape Cubicle Jail today.

 

Do you have any questions about the types of jobs available or what it’s like to work somewhere as a creative nomad? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

Due to our new responsibilities, I’ll be posting once a week on Wednesday for the foreseeable future. You can catch up with us each week and can also subscribe to our email list to stay in touch. 

One comment

  1. Penny Sheppard /

    Great blog on an interesting alternative lifestyle.

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