Living in your Workplace - A great way to escape the rent-debt trap!

in LeoFinance24 days ago

This post by @creativemary on how she's been living in the back room of her beauty salon for the past five years is the best thing on Hive this week - and inspirational!

The post is more about her emotional journey behind the decision and she doesn't once mention (I don't think) the money side of things, but we all take what we do from other people's work and my take isn't any of the emotional stuff it's just the pure economic rationalism of the decision, even if that wasn't her motivation.

She runs her own beauty salon and after a relationship breakdown she converted the back room of it, which presumably is supposed to be a storage room/ office space, into a living space - with a shower unit, washing machine/ drier and sofa bed and lived there for three years, and has been doing all her Hive-ing from there.

She's apparently now back in a regular house so good luck to her, but to my mind, from a purely financial perspective - three years living in the back room of your workspace - that is hands-down the NUMBER ONE way you can save money on rent and save up to put down a deposit on a house, or on just whatever, it's a lot of money saved on rent.

I mean in my old town in the UK, Hereford, which is pretty average, the cheapest decent one bed flat to rent is £500 a month, or £6000 a year, that's £18 000 over three years, which is somewhere in the region of $25 000 to Americanise it.
Screenshot 2021-09-23 at 08.16.50.png

Now that's not enough for a deposit on your own flat, but if by that time you could partner up and they could match your funds (which does happen, you know) then it would be, or another three years on your own living in your workplace and you could put down a deposit and then you're out of the rent-dent trap.

The downsides

One of the most interesting things about Mary's post for me was the fact that what she feared most about living in her workspace was what other people thought about it - and the prospect of someone telling her landlord and then presumably him/ her putting an end to that arrangement (best case scenario) or booting her out altogether.

And just the stigma attached to it.

I get this entirely, it's not normal in a developed country to do this - it is in many less developed countries of course, but it certainly wouldn't be in the UK.

That is the problem with non standard ways of living cheaply, it only takes one person to bring you down. It's a very real possibility.

And then it is tough - working and living in the same space - getting that distance between the two domains can be a challenge, mentally challenging.

I remember an old boss of mine who used to run a plant nursery with his house on-site - that was a legitimate set up btw - legal - but he used to spend five minutes in his office at the end of every day 'pretending to be driving home' to get that distance between home and work - come to think of it maybe walking around the block would have been a better option, I dunno why that's never occurred to me before!

Huge capacity to help people....

This option for escaping the rent-debt trap isn't available to everyone, only those who own their own physically space based business with a sufficiently large back office and discrete enough to avoid prying eyes for some years, but I figure there must be several hundred thousand people who COULD employ this in the UK, many more in Europe and the States.

Overall it's nice to have a post to read that's given me some ERE inspiration, even if that wasn't the point of the post!

Cheers @creativemary and enjoy your actual new home!

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When I got divorced in 2003 I moved into my small 700sq feet industrial and loved it.....right until I got caught by the landlord and reported to the council for dwelling in non-dwelling accommodation. So having been thrown out, I then lived and worked out of my small van for 6 years spending 1 or 2 nights a week in whatever Premier Inn or travel lodge I was closest too at the time. It wasn't about the money as such but about the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted, which was wonderful. Worked - travelled-worked-travelled until I made a permanent move out here in 2011.

Living in your workspace is great, but there are pitfalls if you're not well prepared. I will read the post you mentioned as I love people who don't follow the normal rules of human engagement!

Have a great weekend and I hope all is well in Portugal :-)

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That just sucks that you got caught, but I guess it's one of the risks.

Glad the van thing worked out for you, it's a viable strategy, along with hotels - it's similar to what I imagine myself doing if I ever get a van, but I'm kind of settled here now.

I am quite a homely individual especially now at my age!

Going great here cheers!


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Congrats for living in your van for such a long time! I dream about owning a van in order to visit the entire country and sleep in it whenever I please. Congrats for also moving out of it too, it has been quite a rollercoaster for you as well!

The freedom that comes with owning your own living space no matter how small it is can never be over emphasized. Her post was really nice and shows how hardworking and creative she is. She inspired a lot of people from the post. Owning my own house is at the top my bucket list, because i want to leave the every moment worry about rent.

It's a good thing in life to priorities. It was a great post for sure!


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Living in the same house your office are is not easy because every day work.
There will be alot of challenges, plus disturbance.
But if you are living there to save money to buy a house is good because you need to dedicate something precious to you by discomfort yourself for you to get successful.
Thanks for posting

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Oh massive challenges for sure! I have no doubt it's not an easy path to walk, but great rewards.


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Thank you

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Thank you

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We were hoping to move to find a place with enough space to let us do this, but Tokyo is tight, I'm not sure we'll be able to just yet. We are both working from home more and more though we will have two separate rooms which we can both treat like an office when we fold up the futon in one room.

Home work is the way to go, Tokyo is notorious for high prices! That sounds like a challenge for sure.


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I'm working at my living place. 🤓🐶🍻

Interesting, where do you work?

Yes, I agree, wonderful message and brilliant article! In the COVID and post-COVID world, working from home proves to be the best and most productive option to avoid the rent-debt trap, have full or almost full ownership over your business, have a flexible working schedule, and enjoy life to the fullest in these harsh times! Let us not forget the fact that we're currently dealing with the most dreadful economic recession since the late 1920s and early 1930s!

I agree - it's the way forward, and escaping the nonsense that is working for the man!

You're right once again! Keep up the good work and all the best! :)

I think this only works if you own the place.

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That would make it easier, but I think owning your own workplace, that's pricey!

i can see it on plenty of indian and chinese shops, where the shop is upfront,, and they made the deposit room upstairs like a flat of some sorts. i don't know how your area was, but here there are plenty of kind of derelict old buildings where you get the shop on ground floor and some even got 2 floors to deposit your stuff.

I never read the linked post yet but I'm going to. Thanks for linking it.

I like the way you think as its similar to how I do. Owning your own house is the first step to having financial freedom or in this case, not having to pay rent is the first step to financial freedom. As you pointed out, there's some non traditional ways that can be done. I know someone who stayed in a camping trailer for a couple years and saved enough to get a home started on his families land. I seen so many make bad financial decisions based on earning money they weren't use to having. Mainly young folks on cars in which gave them debt for 7 years (which in most cases they never paid and messed their credit up). I tell them, you realize that's a house payment and then I chuck in the, that car is going to go down in value the moment you start it and drive it off the lot. They usually get pissed and think I'm jealous of them getting a new car (most people need to learn the hard way).

House over a car any day.

There are hundreds of people around here living off grid for cheap, it's a bit of a Meca for that sort of thing!

Thanks so much for this article, as a matter of fact you are spot on with all of the affirmations! Indeed it was the stigma attached to it , the idea is pretty much a life -saver and money-saver if you think it through but getting over what other people think is the real challenge. I hope your article inspired many people to get out of the rent-debt trap too along with my story, I truly appreciate you spreading the word!

I've always thought this about workplaces, they are basically redundant at night, most of them, and it wouldn't take too much effort to turn a few corners of most of them into liveable spaces!

Schools, for example. What a total waste of space for 12 hours a day!

This is so true! I was thinking the same about the very big churches in our country, they would be so good for accomodating people without a home after the sermon. Indeed the same is happening with a lot of big buildings which are left empty after the schedule is done. One would think that with so many buildings around no one would have an issue with finding accomodation somewhere

Pretty good price for a part furnished flat. Rents are getting quite high in Sunny Scotland, to the point people are buying because its difficult to afford renting. In a good place, that is. I mean you can get a dive for next to nothing!

I didn't mention it but I always exclude the first few searches on rentals or any property searches - there's always something wrong with them - the one photo is the give away!

I couldn't live in a dive these days! I don't think anyone should have to.

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