How to make your house pay its way

Earning a living, without a formal job, in a sea-side village with no real industry has meant we’ve always been teetering on the edge of the global economic tsunami that’s so pervasive now. One of the ways we’ve survived has been by buying a house, fixing it up, and selling it for a profit. That’s all over, and we are now stuck with our current house and a mortgage that needs to be paid. So I’ve been thinking of ways to make money from a house without actually selling it.  
garden-shed1Garden cottage, basement, attic, storeroom, shed – anything you can do up and rent out to tenants. No one is getting home loans so being an owner right now is an advantage. You have what people want and can’t get – accommodation. Letting out space means a monthly income at the cost of privacy, but you know what they say about beggars. 


Forget the roses and poppies and think carrots and beans. Turn all those flower beds into veggie patches and feed your family. If things get as bad as the prophets of doom predict, you can barter – potatoes for a haircut, parsnips for dentistry. It worked in the Great Depression and it’ll be good to go in the Great Recession too.
If holidays are still something on your agenda don’t spend money on hotels or B & B’s, do a Home Exchange. We swapped our house in Sedgefield for an apartment in Berlin and had a fabulous holiday for little more than the price of the air tickets. Read about our exchange here. home-business

Run your business from home if you can. The local hairdresser has given up her premises in the shopping centre and is trading from her converted laundry. She passes on the rental discount to her customers so everyone is happy. A few roads away a woman is using her swimming pool to give lessons to kids and aqua-cise classes to their moms.


We’re lucky enough to live in a place that has a bumper holiday season over the summer and we have often let our house out to tourists. It’s a hassle getting everything into shape and cleaning away a years worth of family living, but well worth it for a daily rate. My mom lives close by so we all descend into her garden cottage. If you don’t live in a holiday destination look at big events locally when people will need accommodation – conferences, trade fairs etc. Even Johannesburg is going to be uber-desirable during the 2010 World Cup.
If any of you have more ideas on making money from that big millstone round your neck, I’d love it if you’d let me know!  

1 Response to “How to make your house pay its way”

  1. 1 Ernestine March 6, 2009 at 10:16 am

    You have a way with words, and your blog is so enjoyable to read, have you thought of on-line editing or subbing?

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