Find a Room to Rent - it's another frugal possibility

If you find a room to rent, you might just find a nice alternative to apartment living. It's not for everyone, but it can work out just fine if you know what you're getting yourself into.

The key to success is to know the limitations associated with the rental arrangement. Both parties, you and the individual from whom you're renting a room, need to have realistic expectations as to what this type of relationship entails.

I rented room when I lived in the Washington D.C. area. It worked out okay, but it wasn't an ideal situation for me. Part of the problem was finding a cheap place to live that was close to my employment, as this college student had to foot all expenses associated with travel and living for my three-month assignment.

I'm glad I had the experience, but it wasn't what I would orchestra today if I found myself in a position where I needed to find a room to rent. Nevertheless, my experiences allow me to relate some of the particulars to you, and I hope this information will help you find a room to rent that matches well with your needs and interests.

It's probably just as well that I tell you my story in a rather direct manner instead of trying to disguise the particulars and sugarcoat some of the rough edges. I think it's always best if we move forward with our eyes open, and my story might just open your eyes a bit. If your interest is to find a room to rent, then indeed you need to proceed fully aware of some of the potential problem areas as well as the benefits associated with this type of housing arrangement.

About 30 years ago I rented a room from a lady who was a little dingy and goofy, and I'm certain that contributed to my most interesting experience with her. I suppose she wasn't much different than most people who seek to rent out one of their rooms. She was looking for extra income, and she thought this was a good way to earn some. Indeed it was, since it can often be earned under the tax radar.

Here are examples of goofiness associated with my room rental experience:

I was happy to find a room to rent on such short notice, but the room was small and there was only a tiny bit of space in the closet for my clothes. My landlady was using the overwhelming majority of my closet space. This wasn't expected, and it certainly did nothing to make me feel welcome. Strike one.

My landlady was also very particular about her oven. She insisted that I clean it. She repeatedly told me I needed to clean the oven. She said this so much that I had asked her, "Is it necessary that I clean the oven before I use it?" Apparently she had had a bad experience with the previous border - a young man much like myself. He used the oven and made a mess of it, but never bothered to clean it up. So, I received a good finger shaking from the kitchen Nazi as if I was going to follow in his footsteps. Strike two.

There was also an issue of my business versus her business. She was quite interested in managing my life, especially my after-hours activities. I sensed that her main interest was to have me away from the house so she could enjoy the privacy of her home, and still have supplemental income from the room rental. Strike three.

These three examples clearly suggest that when you go to find a room to rent it's necessary that you sit down with the individual you are renting from (and living with) and get a good understanding of their expectations. You also need to make your interests and expectations clear as well.

Some of the issues associated with renting a room include:

  • Privacy
  • Kitchen privileges
  • Pets
  • Self direction
  • Normal hours
  • Parking your car
  • Bathroom privileges
  • Guests
  • Use of the yard
  • Relaxing in other parts of the house
Despite these possible points of contention, it's possible when you find a room to rent that you'll also discover a new friend and some good company. Despite the three strikes associated with my misadventure in renting a room, I enjoyed interacting with the lady, and we found ways to help one another as well. It certainly wasn't all a bad experience.

In hindsight, I might have selected another room to rent, but at the time I didn't have many options, and I didn't have the luxury of time to find a room to rent that was more suitable. Since my assignment was only three months, it was something that was tolerable, and it made for a few laughs along the way.

If you're looking for affordable housing and you don't mind living in a small space, renting a room could be a way to meet your housing objectives in a very frugal manner.

In addition to the precautions noted above, I would also suggest that during tough economic times, those individuals seeking to rent out a room may have unrealistic expectations in terms of rental receipts. When you find a room to rent you might have generous house privileges that make renting a room far better than an apartment, but you might also find a situation where house privileges are very limited and yet the homeowner expects to make rental income more akin to an apartment. It's best in such situations to simply walk away and find a room to rent elsewhere. If people are unreasonable at the start, there is a good chance you're only seeing the tip of that unreasonable iceberg.

Good luck in your quest to find a room to rent. May you find something that's affordable, comfortable, and just as entertaining as I once did. You can start your search in the local newspaper and traders publications, but also use your network of friends and co-workers. They can help you find a room to rent that might be available, but not advertised because the homeowner wants referrals from people they know, not simply someone who can read the paper.

Done with Find a Room to Rent, back to Cheap Housing

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.