Do you live paycheck to paycheck? If so, then you’re not alone. Roughly 78 percent of American works have nothing left over after paying their bills.
It’s hard to imagine, but what would you do if the paycheck you just received was your last?
If you’re unsure, keep reading because I’m going to show you the 12 best ways to survive and live a happy life without money (or not a lot of it).
These are the same strategies people have used to start living in a world without money. These strategies are action-packed with tips to help you to live the life you want without money or very little of it.
So whether your goal is to learn how to live without money or a job, or just learn how to live without a lot of money, you’ll love these tips, tactics, and strategies.
Let’s get started!
Why Do We Need Money To Live?
There are many reasons why we need money. Having money allows us the freedom to live a life with choices. With money, we can satisfy our basic needs for housing, food, and transportation. But money also allows us to fund our dreams and pursue our passions.
However, for many Americans, money is becoming a scarce resource. The average worker is finding it harder to make ends meet. Stagnant wages, coupled with crippling debt from student loans, credit cards, and the rising cost of living, doesn’t make your money problems any easier.
Money does allow us to live our greatest life. But you can live an equally great life without it if you need to. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, two of our basic physiological needs are shelter and food. All other needs can be met once these two basic needs are satisfied.
So, first, let’s see how you can get housing for free.
How You Can Live Rent Free
1. Get Free Housing In Exchange For Work As Private Staff
Ever wanted to live in a mansion? You could if you found work as private staff for a wealthy family. Private staff jobs often provide accommodations for free within some of the most luxurious homes in the world. Not only will you be able to live rent-free, but you’ll be paid better than many regular jobs.
Full-time positions pay as much as $100,000 a year or more. The best part is that the pay is in addition to your private living quarters within the home, and allowance for food and expenses. You also get medical, dental, and vision insurance.
Interested in applying for a position like this?
Hire Society is a company that specializes in staffing high-net-worth homes with private staff. There are always looking for positions to fill. Check out their website and see if one interests you.
2. Become A Live In Nanny
If you would instead look after children, then become a live-in nanny or Au Pair. The family would pay you a regular salary in addition to room and board.
The quality of your living space can vary from family to family. However, you should be given at least your own room with your own bathroom. You could also receive your own suite that is attached to the property or is on the premises.
Transportation may also be provided with the use of a family car or they may purchase one for you to be used at your leisure. But the primary purpose of the car would be to transport the children around to school and other activities.
Working with children can be demanding. Your life will revolve around the family and their schedule, so keep this in mind when looking for positions.
3. Work On A Farm For Free Room And Board
Do you mind working and living on a farm while learning to grow your own organic produce? If not, the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farmers (WWOOF) would love to provide you with the opportunity.
WWOOF is one of the top providers of farm jobs with housing. The organization links volunteers with organic farm jobs exchange for free room and board. These farm jobs with housing will involve you helping with day-to-day tasks on the farm, such as gardening, taking care of animals, cooking, and building fences.
The real benefit is the hands-on education you will obtain. Not only will you live for free, but you’ll have the opportunity to learn about different cultures, how they grow food, learn new recipes, and more.
To get started, go to their website and look at the different destinations they have available. You can choose to stay in the U.S. or go abroad to places in Europe, Asia, and even Africa.
Next, get connected with WWOOF groups and ask questions about what to expect and other questions you may have. Once you’re comfortable, find a host in your desired location and make contact.
They have opportunities to live on a farm for a week or something longer, like a summer farm job in Europe. If staying in the U.S. is your desire, you can select to work and live on a farm in California.
If the host accepts you, make plans to travel and enjoy your WWOOFing. You will have to fund your own travel there, so you will need to work that out on your own. If you’re short on cash for travel, check out these strategies on how you can make money without a job.
To get started, check out WWOOF today.
4. Go Couchsurfing
As a couch surfer, you can be provided free accommodations from places all over the world. Couchsurfing platform provides an online community to backpackers, ex-pats, students, and worldwide travelers about opportunities to stay at people’s homes for free.
It costs you nothing to join and surfers don’t pay the hosts to stay at their house either. However, it is a plus if you know how to cook and can cook your host a dinner to show your appreciation.
Couchsurfing does provide you a place to stay, but it’s meant to go deeper than that. When staying at someone’s home, you have the chance to share their life, their world, and their journey.
To get started, go to Couchsurfing’s site and create your profile. Make sure you complete as much information as possible (description, personal information, photos, etc.).
If you have friends that are couch surfers, have them write you a reference. Couchsurfing operates on the reference system in order to keep surfers safe. Someone with negative references causes other surfers to think twice about staying with them.
Start staying with locals and meeting travelers by signing up with Couchsurfing today.
5. Become a house sitter
House sitting isn’t just for travel hackers. If you are looking to not come out of pocket for housing, becoming a house sitter can help with that. Just like couch surfing, house sitting comes with the added benefits of forming new and lasting relationships.
If you are a pet lover, you will often find yourself watching the owner’s pets while house sitting. You can’t help but form a bond living with them for a couple of weeks or months.
There are several websites you can use that will connect you with homeowners looking for a sitter. The downside is that most of them require an annual fee. It’s a small price to pay to live for free. But if you need some quick cash, follow any of my tips to get free PayPal money.
- MindMyHouse.com ($20 annual fee). With the low annual fee and well laid-out website, it’s a great place to look for house sitting jobs. Most of the jobs are in North America and Europe.
- Nomador.com (free or $89 annual fee). If you are looking for paid house sitting jobs abroad, Nomador has the most house sits in Europe and is growing globally. The platform uses “trust profiles” that help both the host and the sitter stay safe.
- HouseSitter.com ($90 annual fee). This platform only services the U.S. and Canada. HouseSitter.com is part of the CareGuide family, a company that has a portfolio of sitter websites, such as HouseKeeper.com, PetSitter.com, and NannyLane.com.
It’s standard to charge a daily fee for house sitting. But if your primary concern is having a place to stay, you can advertise that you’ll work for free in exchange for food and other amenities. This could really help you win jobs over other house sitters charging standard prices. Professional house sitter salaries average $25-$45 per day.
When you are selecting jobs, make sure to pay attention to the location, timing, and other needs. If you plan it right, you could string along multiple house-sits in a row with few or no gaps in between.
Now that you have options to live for free, let’s see how you can eat for free as well.
How To Get Food When You Have No Money
6. Eat For Free as a Mystery Shopper For Restaurants
Going to restaurants and eating for free is one thing. But getting paid to do it makes this strategy even better. Market Force is a mystery shopping company that helps food companies, restaurants, and other service providers get feedback from customers. The feedback is used to improve their services.
When you sign up at Market Force, you sign a contract as an independent contractor. You’ll have to provide some personal information, such as your social security number and bank account information.
Market Force uses this information to pay you for tasks you complete and to report your earnings to the IRS. Yes, you will have to pay taxes on the money you earn just like a regular job.
Once you are signed up, you can start to complete tasks. The platform has a map feature that shows different active tasks in your area. You can scroll through and select one to get started. The task could include something as simple as confirming operating hours to sitting down in a restaurant.
One downside is that you’ll have to pay for your meal and get reimbursed the following month, along with your payment for the task. This can be difficult if you don’t have any money.
If so, check out the different ways to make money online. Any of those tips will give you enough to start. After your first payment, you’ll be able to use the money to fund future tasks. At that point, you will truly be eating for free.
Get started with Market Force today to start eating for free.
7. Forage for your food
Early men foraged for their food for thousands of years. With the advent of supermarkets, foraging for your food today is considered taboo.
However, many people still forage for their own food. There are even beginner guides to foraging to start you off. You can get a guided wild-food tour to get hands-on training if you live near any of the Mycological societies or agricultural extension services.
8. Grow Your Own Food
Having the ability to grow your own food can provide you with a level of self-sufficiency you can’t get doing anything else. A window sill can work for things like herbs and lettuce. Smaller vegetables like tomatoes can be grown in a small area in your kitchen.
The best vegetables to grow are:
- Onions and garlic – You can use onions and garlic in just about everything, so they are the ultimate product to grow. Also, you don’t need to store them in the refrigerator, which frees up room for other vegetables.
- Potatoes – Another stable ingredient. All you need is an old bin and a brown bag half full of compost. Plant one or two whole potatoes in there and wait 10-20 weeks. Then, you’ll be ready to eat.
- Herbs – Doesn’t take a green thumb to grow herbs. My son has been growing herbs successfully, and he’s 4 years old. Simply place some potting soil and place the herb seeds. In a few weeks, you’ll be ready to sprinkle some herbs over your potatoes.
You can get many of these products to start growing your own food from food banks, another great place to get free food.
9. Food Banks
A fast and convenient way to get free food is through a food bank. These charitable non-profit organizations help to distribute food to people with little or no money. Their hard work helps to avoid hunger for thousands of people while providing a source of nutritious food.
The types of food you will receive will most likely be shelf-stable foods, such as can goods, pasta, rice, and other dry goods. Some food banks will give you produce like potatoes and onions.
Communities That Live Without Money
10. Join a Gift Economy
An Teach Saor, Irish for “The Free House,” was founded in 2013 by Mark Boyle, and his friends Thomas Smith, and Jesse Pasteiner in County Galway, Ireland. The three realized that there are better ways of expressing, trading, and storing value other than money.
The three discovered that with a money-less system, time, energy, and skills can become currency. A currency anyone can provide, as gifts, so that everyone can benefit.
In a gift economy, you contribute what you can. If you contribute nothing, then you will receive nothing. As a result, you get out of what you put into it by using your skills, knowledge, food grown, drinks brewed, and cultivated land.
Anyone is free to join. You won’t be provided any money for your work output or services rendered. But you’ll always have a place to stay and food to eat. And for some, that’s more than enough.
11. Live Cash-Less at Twin Oaks
Twin Oaks is an eco-village and international community in rural Virginia. The community has been around since the late 1960s. Now Twin Oaks isn’t totally cash-free. More like cash-less.
They exist by sharing income from 7 businesses they run and operate. The income that’s generated is pooled together to meet the needs of the community. Work contributed by community members are evaluated the same. One person’s hour is no more or no less than another person.
Only a few members touch any money at all. Each member is required to contribute 42 hours a week. By meeting your weekly hour contribution, the community will cover all of your living costs, such as food, housing, medical, education. They will also include entertainment and transportation needs. Community members can receive a $100 per month allowance to help cover things not purchased by the community, such as cigarettes.
12. Faith-Based Bruderhof
Bruderhof is one of the oldest moneyless societies, having been around for over a century with locations in multiple countries. Just like Twin Oaks, Bruderhof doesn’t live totally without money. However, community members have no personal possessions, and they share everything with each other.
At the core of the community is faith-based teaching, where their values are rooted in the teachings of Christianity. Their faith is a significant reason why Bruderhof values living together because of the Christian belief that communal living is the best way to follow the teachings of Jesus.
Many community members are relieved to not have to worry about typical day-to-day problems many of us deal with – paying bills, making dinner, picking the kids up from school. All of these needs, and more, are covered by living in the community.
Final Thoughts on How To Live Without Money
You just learned 12 of the best ways to live without money. Now, I’d like to hear from you.
Which of the 12 tactics would you use if you had no money? Or, is there a strategy you think should be included?
If so, share this article and tag me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know.