How to Move Out with No Money (The Ultimate 4-Step Guide)

Moving Out with No Money
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Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

June 2, 2020

Introduction

So, you want to move out of your parents’ house, preferably as soon as possible. However, your bank account is showing a big fat $0. Is it still possible for you to move out with no money?

To cut a long story short – yes, it’s possible to move out with no money, and this blog post details a 4-step guide that will allow you to do exactly that.

Assumptions

This blog post assumes that your moving out ASAP is a matter of urgency. As such, the more conservative rules of “start saving money”, “save 6 months of living expenses”, “find a stable job”, “don’t move until you are certain that you can afford it”, and “re-evaluate your decision” are not going to apply here.

In contrast, this blog post will show you exactly how you can move out ASAP, even if you have no money right now.

But first, let’s start take a look at how much moving out might cost you.

One-Off Expenses and Monthly Recurring Expenses

There are two kinds of expenses that you might incur when moving out. First, you have one-off moving expenses. And next, you have your monthly bills.

Both these expenses determine whether you can move out with no money.

One-Off Moving Expenses

Moving Costs
Security Deposits
Fees
Furniture and Furnishing

Monthly Recurring Expenses

Rent
Renters’ Insurance
Utilities
Groceries
Transport
Other Expenses

As discussed in a previous post, titled “Can You Afford to Move Out of Your Parents’ House?”, you’d see that a typical frugal person might spend $3,600 on one-off moving expenses. If he or she decides to be ultra-frugal on a month-to-month basis, he could spend as little as $1,000 a month on rent, utilities, food, transport, and the works.

But what if you don’t have this kind of money?

Relax, take a deep breath, and we’ll help you through this in Steps 1 to 4.

But first, you’re going to need to raise a little bit of cash, fast.

Step 1 – Raise a Little Cash Fast

There are a few ways that you can raise cash almost immediately:

Sell all your stuff.

What are some things that you have at home that aren’t essential to daily living? These include electronics, books, comics, DVDs, CDs, clothes, games, toys, knick-knacks, and so on. If your priority is to get out of your parents’ house as soon as possible, you will have to sell as many items as possible, even those that hold sentimental value. Whatever you don’t need for survival, sell it.

To sell these items, you can choose an online platform (such as eBay), or hold a garage sale.

Selling vinyls at a garage sale.

Track down loose change.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to find loose change in couch cushions, car seats, old cabinets, and basically anywhere around the house. As you’re selling your stuff (discussed in the above point), keep an eye out for this.

Take on odd jobs.

You will be able to fill an odd job vacancy without too much hassle. There’s no need for multiple interviews or amazing resumes. You could easily get an odd job by tomorrow, if you wanted. Examples of odd jobs include doing grocery runs, cleaning the yard, washing cars, and so on.

Donate blood plasma.

To donate blood plasma, you need to be between 18 to 69 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds (50 kilograms). You can make anywhere between $20 to $50 per donation, and up to $300 per month.

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How much time will this take?

Not too long, 2 weeks, tops. You could easily itemise almost everything you own, set it up in front of your house, and hold a garage sale in 2 weeks.

During these 2 weeks, you could take on odd jobs around your neighbourhood and donate a little blood plasma.

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How much cash can you raise?

If you’re lucky, you might be able to raise as much as $1,250, the breakdown of which is as follows:

 Activity  Cash
 Selling all your stuff  $500
 Tracking down loose change  $12
 Taking on odd jobs*  $588
 Donating blood plasma**  $150
 Total  $1,250

*Assuming a minimum wage of $7 an hour, 6 hours a day, every day for 2 weeks ($7 x 6 x 14 = $588).

**Assuming a maximum of $300 a month, 2 weeks will allow you to raise $150.

Having a little bit of money will go a long way when you’re on your own. Unless it’s literally a matter of life and death, stay 2 weeks, raise your cash quick, then move out.

With your $1,250 of cash on hand, you’re now ready to plan your exit from your parents’ house.

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What if you can't raise any cash?

The truth is, having a little bit of cash can go a long way when you’re on your own. However, if you’re unable to raise any cash at all, don’t worry. You can still move out with no money. Read on to find out how.

Step 2 – Minimise One-Off Moving Expenses

As mentioned above, one-off moving expenses include actual moving costs, security deposits, fees, furniture and furnishing, and a typical frugal person looking to move into an apartment might spend $3,600 on these expenses.

Side Note: For a more detailed breakdown of all these expenses, please click here.

However, since you don’t have a lot of money with you, there are a few ways that you can minimise these expenses.

If you don’t have any money at all, you’ll learn how to move out with no money by paying $0 in these one-off moving expenses.

Move as few things as possible.

As mentioned above, to raise cash quick, you should sell off anything that isn’t essential to your daily living. By selling off as much as possible, you will have less to move to a new place, which decreases your one-off moving costs.

Hitch-hike.

Alternatively, with just a few bags of things, you could attempt to hitch-hike your way to your destination.

Source for free packing materials.

Instead of buying boxes, get them free from friends, local stores or supermarkets. An alternative to using boxes is to use bags. If you’re not packing a lot, bags are more functional. As for packing paper and cushioning, you could use recycled paper, newspapers, old sheets, rags or even your clothes.

Score free furniture from Craigslist.

 If you type in “free furniture” into the search box, or simply check the box titled “free stuff”, you might be able to score a few hidden gems. For example, the screenshot below shows a pretty decent sofa set and sofa bed that’s absolutely free (this would set you back a few hundred if you were to buy from even the cheapest stores).

Free Furniture from Craigslist

Search the area you want to live in for really cheap accommodation.

The cheaper you place of lodging, the less your one-off security deposits and housing agent fees.

Get around housing agent fees.

By not using a housing agent, you could save up to as much as 1 month’s rent in fees. To do so, you would need to find platforms that put you directly in touch with landlords. In Singapore, you can find landlords directly on Carousell; this is a platform mainly for selling and buying second-hand items, but has been very useful in helping to connect tenants and landlords without housing agents. This also helps in removing the housing application fees.

The screenshot below shows you a listing from Carousell with no housing agent fees.

No Agent Fees for Room

Minimise all other fees.

Avoid pet fees by not having any pets. Avoid expensive things like cable, which will cost you money in set-up fees.

Take up a job that offers free housing.

There are a few jobs that offer free housing, including:

  1. Joining the military;
  2. Working on a cruise ship;
  3. Becoming a park ranger; and
  4. Becoming an au-pair.

If this seems like something you’re open to, here’s a list of 20 jobs that offer free lodging. By doing so, you won’t have to fork out a cent in landlord and utilities security deposits, housing agent fees, connection fees, furniture and other furnishings, allowing you to move out with no money.

How to Pay $0 in One-Off Moving Expenses

Let’s assume the following 3 things.

You’ve found a job working on a cruise ship. Since there’s no apartment you need to rent, this means that you won’t have to pay for security deposits and housing-related fees. What about furniture and furnishing? These will be provided to you in your cabin on the cruise ship.

A docked cruise ship. Working on a cruise ship allows you to move out with no money.

You’ve sold almost everything you own, apart from essentials. All you have left are a few pairs of clothes, necessary electronics (like a mobile phone), medication, etc. This means that you don’t need to pay for packing materials and the rental for a moving truck. All you need are a few bags, which you might already own. After which, all you have to do is pick up your bags, board a bus, and head over to your new job on that cruise ship. How much will that cost you? A few dollars, at most.

It’s possible for you to hitch-hike. If you don’t have any money at all, you can consider hitch-hiking. This way, you won’t have to pay for even the public bus transport.

What would your one-off moving out expenses look like? $0.

 Category  Cost
 Moving Costs  $0
 Security Deposits  $0
 Fees  $0
 Furniture  $0
 Total One-Off Expenses  $0

 

This is the second step on how to move out with no money. However, we’re not out of the woods yet. While you might be able to pay very little money (or even no money) on one-off moving expenses, bear in mind that you still have your monthly recurring expenses to deal with.

How might we minimise these monthly expenses? Let’s find out.

Step 3 – Live for Free

To move out with no money at all, you will have to live for free.

How can you live for free? You would need to get the 3 biggest categories of expenses in a typical person’s budget – housing, food, and transport – for free. How? Let’s go through each one in detail.

Free Housing

If you can’t afford to pay for housing, and need to move out with no money, here are a few good ways to get housing for free:

Accept a job that offers free housing.

As mentioned above, there are many jobs that offer free housing, including:

  1. Joining the military;
  2. Working on a cruise ship;
  3. Becoming a park ranger; and
  4. Becoming an au-pair.

If this seems like something you’re open to, here’s a list of 20 jobs that offer free housing. This is probably the best way that you can move out with no money; it’s safe, stable, you get to build a career, and you get paid.

Soldier walking on brown grass. Joining the military can allow you to move out with no money.

House-sit.

This involves living in and looking after a house while the owner is away. House-sitting jobs usually range from a few days to even a few years, and you wouldn’t need to pay a cent in accommodation. Your “payment” to the owner of the house is your looking after the house for him/her. Check out this link for a great guide on house-sitting.

Couch-surf.

Couch-surfing connects “hosts” who have spare beds, couches or floors, to those who need a roof over their head (usually travellers) for a duration of time. Money never exchanges hands, and you can have accommodation for free.

The issue with this is that it’s unlikely that your host will allow you to stay for extended periods of time, such as months or years.

Check out this link for a great guide on couch-surfing.

Join the Workaway programme.

This programme allows people (usually travellers) to pay for room and food, in exchange for work. Work includes household chores and odd jobs. No money is involved, just about 5 hours of your time each day is needed.

You can stay for anywhere between a few days to a year; everything is dependent on the agreement that you have with your host. Note that Workaway costs US$44 per year, so not exactly free, but it’s not a large sum of money either. Check out this link for a great guide on the Workaway programme.

Work on a farm.

Many farms invite people to volunteer for work; what you get in return is free housing and free food.

Your length of stay can vary from a few weeks to a few months, and is largely dependent on what was negotiated between you and your host. Here’s an article with a brief rundown of what it’s like to work on a farm, and here’s a direct link to WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

A man working on a farm. Working on a farm allows you to move out with no money.

Work in a hostel.

Above, we discussed how dorm beds go for as cheap as US$13 a night even in expensive cities like Singapore.

However, if this isn’t an option, you can consider staying in a hostel for free, in exchange for a few hours of work a day. Most hostels require a minimum stay of 2-4 weeks. The longer you can stay, the better, as that means less time training new volunteers once you leave. Check out this link for a great guide on working in hostels.

Stay in a monastery.

Though some monasteries do charge a modest fee for free room and food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), there are many that take in people free of charge.

You don’t need to be a monk or even be of faith to be welcome in the monastery. There’s no work involved, although you may need to adhere to certain strict rules (such as early curfews).

There’s usually a minimum stay of a few days to a week, but it’s unclear as to whether you can stay for a few months at a time. Check out this link for a great guide on sleeping free in monasteries.

Accept help from family or friends.

Well-meaning family members or friends are likely to offer up their own beds or couches to you for free, and this is another method of scoring free accommodation.

However, I wouldn’t recommend staying for too long (beyond 2 weeks), as that may strain relationships.

All of the above tips will allow you to score a nice roof over your head for free, allowing you to effectively move out with no money. In which case, there are many housing-related expenses that you won’t have to pay for, such as renters’ insurance, utilities, and household supplies.

CategoryCost
Rent$0
Renters’ Insurance$0
Utilities$0
Household Supplies$0
Total$0

Free Food

If you can’t afford to pay for food, and need to move out with no money, don’t worry, there are a few ways for you to score free food.

Accept jobs that pay for all of your food.

Similar to how you can score free housing, certain jobs will pay for all your food, such as:

  • Joining the military;
  • Working on a cruise ship; 
  • Becoming a park ranger; and
  • Becoming an au-pair.

All these jobs are likely to allow you to move out with no money.

Join programmes that pay for all your food.

This includes:

  • Joining the Workaway programme;
  • Working on a farm;
  • Working in a hostel; and
  • Staying in a monastery.

Dumpster dive.

Dumpster diving is literally what its name suggests – “diving” and searching through dumpsters for edible food (or items of value, if that’s what you’re searching for).

Fresh, edible produce is constantly being tossed in the trash by companies, which results in dumpster diving being a feasible method of scoring free food. Check out this story behind one of Singapore’s most famous dumpster divers.

Score free food from wholesalers.

Wholesalers typically don’t sell ugly or misshapen food. They will also toss out whole crates of perfectly edible strawberries, for example, if even just a couple strawberries in 1 single pack has turned mouldy.

In Singapore, one-third of all produce doesn’t make it to the retailers (wet markets or supermarkets), as the wholesalers will throw out these food upon receipt. That’s a lot of food that’s being tossed out, and you might be able to get a piece of that pie.

Check out this story on how Singapore’s food rescue group salvages 1,000 kg of free food each time they visit the wholesale centre.

Cartons of food from wholesalers, which will allow you to move out with no money.

Become a mystery diner.

As a mystery diner, what you would need to do first is to have a meal at a restaurant. After, your task is to provide a report on your experience. If everything goes satisfactorily, you would be reimbursed for the cost of your meal. Sometimes, you might even be paid extra on top of the meal cost reimbursement.

Financial Panther has a great guide on being a mystery/secret diner, and he’s done incredibly well in racking up free meals in fancy restaurants. 

Sign up for apps and newsletters that offer free food.

While this is not something that you’ll enjoy on a regular basis, you might be able to score some free food from apps and newsletters that provide one-off offers.

For example, certain restaurants or fast food joints might provide you with free food welcome gifts when you first get on your newsletter.

These are country-dependent, so you might want to turn to Google for help. You can search for things like:

  • “Supermarket cashback apps in [insert your country/state/city]”
  • “Cashback apps in [insert your country/state/city]”
  • “[insert restaurant/fast food joint] newsletter”
  • “zero-waste apps in [insert your country/state/city]”

Grow your own food.

If you have the luxury of a little space, you might want to consider growing your own food. You can grow your own food anywhere, from railings to small containers. In fact, you could grow your own food as you have a window. For more tips on how to grow your own food in very small spaces, check out this guide here.

Home-grown herbs in pots. Move out with no money by growing your own food.

All of the above tips will allow you to score free food, allowing you to move out with no money at all. What would you grocery/dining out bill look like each month? $0.

CategoryCost
Groceries$0
Dining Out$0
Total$0

Free Transport

If you can’t afford to pay for transport, and need to move out with no money, here are a few ways that you do that for free.

Cycle.

Spend a little money picking up a second-hand bicycle, which could go for as little as $50 to $500, and then cycle everywhere you need to go. In the picture below, you’ll find that you can get a decent bicycle for $100.

In his book, Millionaire Teacher, Andrew Hallam talks about riding his mountain bike 70 miles a day, through rain and sleet, to work and back. Though that involves mind-boggling determination, it’s something that you could consider doing if you’re extremely tight on cash.

Bicycle for $100

Skateboard.

If skateboarding’s more your thing, then consider this instead. You could pick up a second-hand skateboard for as little as $50.

Walk.

If you live close enough to your workplace and grocery store, you could save a lot of money by just walking to where you need to go. Purple from A Purple Life telecommutes to work, and does all grocery runs through walking

Telecommute.

If your job can be done completely online, you might have a good case for telecommuting to work. Alternatively, find a new job that encourages telecommuting, or find online sources of income (like becoming a freelancer or virtual assistant).

Hitch-hike.

This is a means of transportation where you receive lifts from strangers in passing vehicles. The common courtesy is to offer to pay for some gas, but if you don’t have enough for that, you could offer a small gift or souvenir instead.

You could hitch-hike anywhere, and use these tips to help you in your journeys. You could even do extended hitch-hikes, like how Brendan from Bren on the Road covered 1,300 kilometres (over 800 miles) and 4 countries while hitch-hiking the entire way.

All of the above tips allow you to get around for very little or no money at all, and eliminates any car-related expenses, private transport expenses, and even public transport expenses. As such, you’re able to move out with no money.

CategoryCost
Car Loan$0
Car Insurance$0
Car Maintenance$0
Road Tax$0
Private Transportation (Uber, etc.)$0
Public Transportation$0
Total$0

Step 4 – If You Can’t Live for Free, Minimise Monthly Expenses

However, if accepting a job that comes with free housing, sleeping in strangers’ houses, and dumpster diving isn’t for you, and if you have a little money to rent your own place, here’s what you can do to minimise your monthly recurring expenses as much as possible.

 

Minimise Housing Expenses

Get as many roommates as possible.

If a 3-bedroom apartment costs $1,500 a month, taking just 1 bedroom to yourself will cost only $500 a month. If you share that bedroom with a partner, that’ll set you back only $250 a month.

In Singapore, an expensive city, you could spend as little as S$250 per month on rent (about US$170) if you’re willing to share a room with 3 other people. Here’s what it’s like to have 4 people sharing a single room in Singapore:

4 people using bunk-beds in a single bedroom. By getting more roommates, you can afford to move out and rent inexpensive places like this.

Stay as far from the city as possible.

Usually, the closer to the city centre you are, the more expensive rents would be. The US$170 a month apartment shared above is located far from the city centre, and is therefore affordable.

Reduce utility bills.

You can do this by not using excessive amounts of air-conditioning or heating (or even better, not using these at all), using only natural light, not having a mobile data plan, and using energy-saving appliances.

Stay in hostels.

If you’re unable to secure an apartment, you could consider staying in hostels. This is a slightly more expensive option than renting a cheap apartment, but still won’t break the bank.

For example, even though Singapore is an expensive city, you’re able to get a dorm bed for as cheap as US$13 a night. Per month, that would set you back US$390. Check out the prices of hostels at Hostel World.

Hostels in Singapore go for as little as US$13 a night.

Even in an expensive city like Singapore, you could pay very little for housing costs per month:

CategoryCost
Rent$250
Renters' Insurance$20
Utilities$50
Household Supplies$20
Total$340

Reduce Food Expenses

There are plenty of ways to reduce food expenditure. However, if you don’t have a lot of money, and would like to cut your food budget to the bone without starving, here are the 5 best ways for you to do so.

Go vegetarian.

Staples and vegetables are much cheaper than meats.

Staples: For example, staples like whole-grain oats go for $0.20 per serving.

Vegetables: In Singapore, 500 grams of tomatoes cost just S$1.37 (about US$0.95), whereas 500 grams of a ribeye steak will set you back S$9 (US$6.20).

Vegetables vs Meat Prices

Shop at local markets instead of supermarkets.

In Singapore, these local markets are called “wet markets”. You can get vegetables like potato leaves for $1.50 per 400 grams, whereas in supermarkets these go for $4.50 for the same weight. For more cost savings in Singapore local markets, check out this article here.

Buy produce that is on sale.

Many supermarkets have “bargain buy”, “flash sales” or “priced to sell” items. These items are usually nearing their expiry dates and need clearing. By buying only produce that is on sale, you will be able to score up to 50% in additional savings.

In local or wet markets, you might be able to score discounts when vendors start closing up stores. They want to get rid of the day’s produce, and are usually more open to bargaining.

Never buy junk food or snacks.

In contrast to healthy food, such as vegetables and staples, junk food is (strangely) priced at a premium. In Singapore, a 185 gram pack of Lay’s can set you back anywhere between S$4 (when on promotion) to S$5 (usual price). This is mind-boggling, consider that 185 grams of any vegetables will cost less than S$1.

Eat everything you buy, and eliminate food waste.

In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, ensuring that you have zero food waste will ease the strain on your wallet. Here are a few great ways for you to use all your leftovers and reduce food waste. 

Your meals each day might look something like this, as taken from the article on Business Insider on what it’s like to eat on a budget of $2 a day:

MealIngredientsCost
Breakfast1 banana + 1 serving of oats$0.39
Snack1 banana$0.19
Lunch 1 serving of tortilla + 2 servings of peanut butter$0.61
Tea1 serving of sunflower seeds$0.14
Dinner4 servings of pasta + 1 serving of butter$0.58
Daily Total-$1.91

With a total spending of $2 per day, your monthly grocery bill will amount to only $60.

If you have the extra cash, you could actually increase your spending to $100 a month, and eat very well. Check out all these guides from other personal finance bloggers who spend, at the minimum, $1 per meal ($90 per month), to a maximum of just $140 per month. It’s incredible, really.

 

Reduce Transport Expenses

Since money is tight, private transportation (such as having your own car, taking cab rides, or even ride-sharing) is out of the question. The only option that you have left should be public transportation.

Even so, public transportation isn’t always cheap, and can still put a strain on your wallet. As such, here are a few ways for you to reduce your public transportation costs.

Travel off-peak (avoid rush hour).

In order to alleviate the rush hour issue, some countries may offer fare incentives to those willing to travel during off-peak periods. In Singapore, for example, you can enjoy a $0.50 discount on your fares if you board the train or bus before 7.45AM.

Fun Fact – Back in 2017, if you alighted from your train or bus before 7.45AM, your fare would be absolutely free. (This has, unfortunately, been discontinued.)

If your country/city offers such fare incentives, do take advantage of them.

Buy monthly public transport concession passes.

Travel concession passes typically allow you to enjoy unlimited travel on public transport for a fixed monthly price. In Singapore, a monthly travel pass will cost just $128, and you can enjoy unlimited travel all over the country. This caps your travel expenses to just $128 a month.

Fun Fact – Singapore used to offer an off-peak travel pass, at just $80 a month. (However, this has also been discontinued.)

If your country/city offers these monthly passes, and you do a lot of travelling, this might be a good way to save some money on transport.

Take advantage of cashback credit cards.

If you have the ability to open new credit cards, research the best cashback credit card for public transport, apply for it, and use it. In Singapore, you can get up to an 8% cash rebate when you use credit cards to pay for your public transport.

Take advantage of money-saving apps.

You can also research for travel cashback and reward apps. In Singapore, for example, Singtel Dash offered a 50% cashback on your first 10 public transport transactions from mid-2019 to early-2020. I personally took advantage of this promotion and saved myself an easy $15 on transport that month. 

Calculate your fare.

Another easy way to save money is to brainstorm various routes of getting to your destination, calculate your fare for each different route, and take the cheapest route. In Singapore, this is made easy with public transport fare calculators.

Assuming that you live in Singapore, and you take advantage of off-peak travel, here’s how much it’ll cost you to get to work and back home by public transport over a month:

DayCost
Monday$1 + $1.50*
Tuesday$1 + $1.50
Wednesday$1 + $1.50
Thursday$1 + $1.50
Friday$1 + $1.50
Saturday$0
Sunday$0
Total$12.50

*A regular reasonable trip from the city centre to the heartlands will set you back around $1.50. By taking advantage of off-peak travel, you would spend around $1. Getting to the office and back each day would therefore cost $1 + $1.50 = $2.50.

This brings the weekly cost to $12.50 ($2.50 x 5).

Over a month, that’s only $50.

Over a month, if you’re living on only the essentials, you could spend as little as:

CategoryCost
Rent$250
Renters’ Insurance$20
Utilities$50
Household Supplies$20
Groceries$60
Other Living Expenses$5
Transport$50
Healthcare$0
Health Insurance$0
Total$455

Earlier in Step 1, we talked about raising some cash fast. Assuming you raised $1,250, avoided most fees like we discussed above in Step 2, paid a one-month landlord deposit of $250, utilities deposit of $40, you would still have enough leftover to survive 2 months without a job.

In fact, if you spend just $455 a month, you could easily make do with a minimum wage job.

In Singapore, the minimum wage is $1,300, which is more than enough for you to cover all your expenses. Minimum wage jobs are usually in the F&B industry or menial labour jobs, which are usually common to find, and easy enough to land.

And that’s how you raise cash quick, pay for one-off expenses, and survive 2 months of living on your own, even if you have no money now.

 

Recommendations

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Don’t underestimate the importance of raising cash.

You might have realised by now that you could skip Step 1 (raising cash fast) completely, since there are a number of options for you to move out with no money, and live for free. However, if there are job openings in your area, or if you have items to sell at home, don’t skip this step.

Having a little bit of money when you’re on your own can go a long way. If you have unexpected medical expenses, you will be able to pay for them. If you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, you have enough to pay for a cab ride out of there.

Z

If you need free housing, pick a job that provides this – my recommendation would be to join the military.

Unless you’re super passionate about living on a farm or in a monastery or in a hostel in exchange for work, it would be best to find a job that pays for all your accommodation and food. And the most stable of these careers? The military. They put a roof over your head, feed you, clothe you, educate you, and pay you. You’ll come out of there wiser and richer.

On the other hand, the other options seem less stable. For example, if the hostel no longer needs work, or can’t afford to feed you, you’ll find yourself on the street.

Z

If you prefer to pay for housing, live as frugally as possible. Live within your means.

Get as many roommates if possible. Use as little utilities as possible. Stay far from the city centre. Feed yourself through dumpster diving; it’s free and sustainable. Cycle and walk wherever you can. Save any money that you can. Never live above your means.

Summary (TL;DR)

If you need to move out with no money:

Sell everything you have and leave home with only your essentials (at most a couple of bags of personal belongings).

If you don’t have enough to pay for transport, hitch-hike to your destination. This could be a hostel, farm, monastery, etc.

After, live for free.

Free Housing

Accept a job with free housing
House-sit
Couch-surf
Join the Workaway programme
Work on a farm
Work in a hostel
Stay in a monastery
Accept help from family or friends

Free Food

Accepting a job with free food
Join a programme with free food
Dumpster dive
Going to wholesalers
Mystery dining
Sign up for apps and newsletters
Grow your own food.

Free Transport

Cycle
Skateboard
Walk
Telecommute
Hitch-hike

If you have a little money:

You will have even more options. On top of the above, you might be able to:

  • Move with more personal belongings (you don’t have to sell everything you own).
  • Rent your own bed in an apartment.
  • Spend a little money feeding yourself every month.
  • Use public transportation to get to where you want to go.

However, you should minimise any expenses that you might incur.

Minimise one-off moving expenses

Source for free packing materials
Score free furniture from Craigslist
Rent cheap, thus reducing security deposits
Be resourceful, thus circumventing fees

Reduce housing expenses

Get as many roommates as possible
Stay as far from the city as possible
Reduce utility bills
Stay in hostels

Reduce food expenses

Go vegetarian
Shop at local markets instead of supermarkets
Buy produce that is on sale
Never buy junk food or snacks
Eat everything you buy
Eliminate food waste

Reduce transport expenses

Travel off-peak (avoid rush hour)
Buy monthly public transport concession passes
Take advantage of cashback credit cards
Take advantage of money-saving apps
Calculate your fare

This will allow you to live for as little as $455 a month.

CategoryCost
Rent$250
Renters’ Insurance$20
Utilities$50
Household Supplies$20
Groceries$60
Other Living Expenses$5
Transport$50
Healthcare$0
Health Insurance$0
Total$455

Frequently Asked Questions

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How can I live on my own with no money?

There are actually quite a few options for you to live on your own with no money. Our Step 3 above covers everything you need to know about free housing, free food, and free transport.

For free housing, you can accept a job that offers free housing, house-sit, couch-surf, join the Workaway programme, work on a farm, work in a hostel, stay in a monastery or accept help from family or friends.

For free food, you can accept a job that pays for all meals, join a programme that offers free food, dumpster dive, visit wholesalers, mystery dine, sign up for apps and newsletters, and grow your own food.

For free transport, you can cycle, skateboard, walk, telecommute, or hitch-hike.

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Should I leave home with no money?

You could leave home with no money, but this isn’t recommended. Having a little money will go a long way when you’re on your own with no one else to rely on.

Before leaving home, try to raise cash quickly by selling all your stuff, tracking down loose change, taking on odd jobs, and donating blood plasma.

This will take at most 2 weeks, and you might be able to raise anywhere between a few hundred bucks to even $1,250. (All this has been elaborated upon in Step 1.)

Unless leaving home is a matter of life and death, staying for another 2 weeks to prepare for your moving out might not hurt.

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Is $1,000 a month enough to live on?

Even in an expensive city like Singapore, it’s possible to live on just $1,000 a month. And you won’t have to scrimp excessively either.

You can still enjoy your own private room, feed yourself well, eat out, and travel around the country. Here’s what it’s like to live on $1,000 a month in Singapore.

Your budget might look something like this:

Category of ExpensesBudget (S$)
Rent$500
Utilities$55
Other Household Expenses$40
Groceries$150
Other Living Expenses$29
Transportation$96
Healthcare$130
Total$1,000
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Is $500 a month enough to live on?

As mentioned above, when living on only the bare essentials, you could actually survive on as little as $455 a month.

However, note that it isn’t prudent to live on such a budget indefinitely. Feeding yourself on only $2 a day might lead to you not getting proper nutrients in your body. In addition, you should have insurance, and you should visit a doctor whenever you’re unwell. These aren’t catered for in such a small budget either.

Your budget might look something like this:

CategoryCost
Rent$250
Renters’ Insurance$20
Utilities$50
Household Supplies$20
Groceries$60
Other Living Expenses$5
Transport$50
Healthcare$0
Health Insurance$0
Total$455
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What if I have nowhere to go?

As mentioned, there are actually a fair number of options if you want free housing. Step 3 on living for free goes through all of these options in more detail, but here’s the rundown: For free housing, you can accept a job that offers free housing, house-sit, couch-surf, join the Workaway programme, work on a farm, work in a hostel, stay in a monastery or accept help from family or friends.

If none of these work out, you still might have a few other options:

Homeless shelters – The best way to find the nearest homeless shelter around you is to Google for it. Doing so will help you find websites like this Homeless Shelter Directory, which is limited to America. How long you can stay at the homeless shelter differs from shelter to shelter, but it could be anywhere between a few days to a few months.

Religious organisations – Usually, suggestions to avoid homelessness include seeking help from religious organisations. These include Christian organisations, Buddhist organisations, amongst many other organisations out there. Alternatively, you can go directly to places of worship, such as monasteries, churches and temples. Here’s a story from Singapore on churches and temples taking in the homeless.

Charity organisations – You could also reach out to charity organisations, such as the Salvation Army and various food pantries. They are likely to give you a roof over your head, especially if you volunteer your services to them.

Non-profit organisations – There might be non-profit organisations set up by kind-hearted people in your area. For example, in Singapore, there’s non-profit called Homeless Hearts of Singapore, which raises awareness and helps to house the homeless. Googling around your area for non-profit organisations and reaching out might be an option for you.

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What if I can’t find a job?

If you’re unable to find a job to provide you with free housing, you can still house-sit, couch-surf, join the Workaway programme, work on a farm, work in a hostel, stay in a monastery or accept help from family or friends.

Alternatively, you might turn to homeless shelters, religious, charitable and non-profit organisations for help. You could volunteer your services to them in exchange for a roof over your head.

In the meantime, continue applying for a job. Apply for 10 jobs a day, every day. Apply for even minimum wage ones; these will help you to pad your bank account while you’re searching for something better. In times like this, even a minimum wage job is better than no job.

It’s extremely tough to move out with no money, but you’re tougher. Good luck and take care.

Have you ever had the experience of moving out with no money? Do you know anyone who had to move out with no money? Are there any other tips that might help?

As always, thank you for reading and supporting this blog.

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2 Comments

  1. Roger Fox

    I must say that this is an intelligent and vital guide. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Liz

      Thanks so much Roger! Appreciate it 🙂

      Reply

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