7 Creative People Who Are Living for Cheap/Free

The majority of us live pretty normal lives when it comes to our finances. We cut our spending in the usual ways. We do what we can to reduce our costs and increase our incomes. Although we may vary a bit in how extreme we get when it comes to frugal living, most of us are living in the middle of the money-saving spectrum. Then there are the others – the creative folks who are doing really interesting things in order to live frugally.

Following are seven examples of creatively frugal people ranging from a guy living off of Groupon coupons to a guy who gave up his home to live with strangers.

  1. The Groupon Pawn. Josh Stevens, also known as “the Groupawn” is spending an entire year living off of Groupons. He’s working to promote the deal-a-day coupon site in a creative way. The site gave him tons of interesting Groupon deals (whale watching, restaurant coupons, etc.) in exchange for an agreement not to use any cash whatsoever for a year. He is allowed to use his Groupons or to trade them with others for the things that he needs.
  2. Brian Chesky, AirBnB. AirBnB is a website that travelers can use to save money by paying a low cost for local accommodations in someone else’s home. Homeowners can rent out a portion of their home to travelers to cut the cost of their own rent. That’s creative enough but the founder of the site, Brian Chesky, is getting even more creative. He’s giving up his own place and spending the rest of 2010 staying with the people who are hosts on his site. Now that’s putting your money (or lack thereof) where your mouth is!
  3. The Frugal Traveler. Seth Kugel recently accepted a job as the new Frugal Traveler for the New York Times’ budget travel blog. He is given $500 per week to travel around the world and to blog about what he sees. He’s always on the go and while $500 goes a long way in some places, it can really hold you back in other places. This may not be the most frugal person on the planet but he travels frugally for a living which is definitely cool.
  4. Daniel Suelo, Living Without Money. Daniel Suelo has been living totally without money for nearly ten years. He considers money to be an illusory thing that we should not get attached to and chooses to live without money for both spiritual and political reasons. He seeks shelter in various caves in Utah and eats from the land or from what people give to him. This is a kind of frugality that most of us could just never commit to but he does it wholeheartedly and passionately.
  5. Living off of Virtual Currency. Who needs real money when you’ve got virtual currency online? That’s the thinking behind the year-long project of the founder of online marketplace Dibspace. You can buy most of what you need on the site but you pay using online money called Dibits instead of using real money. Founder Dominic Canterbury says he’ll be able to live off of the virtual currency transactions for one year. In the meantime, he’ll gain attention for his site and hopefully generate an income off of his creative frugal living.
  6. Anita Brush, Serial Surrogate. Some women just love the experience of being pregnant … and they also know that it can be profitable. Anita Brush, for example, has been a surrogate mother more than half a dozen times, earning approximately $30,000 for each pregnancy. She has made additional income by selling her serial surrogacy story to the tabloids. This is certainly one interesting way to get enough money to live off of each year.
  7. Live Free for a Year Contest Winners. Do a quick Google search about living free for a year and what you’ll find is that there are frequent contests that advertise this. Many of these are associated with radio stations. Winners generally get their rent and food paid for throughout the entire year after their win. The most frugal of these people manage to spend almost nothing during that time. Two examples of such winners are Cindy Rodriguez and Ennecia Joseph.

What’s the most creative way that you know of for someone to live free/cheap for at least one year?

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Comments

  1. Recessionista says

    Some of these are really cool, but being pregnant more than half a dozen times does not sound appealing at all.

  2. says

    @ Recessionista … I completely agree with you on that one but apparently she really enjoys the experience. She claims she doesn’t even do it for the money although who knows how true that is.

  3. Jenna says

    There is that guy Matt, who dances all around the world and is sponsored by Stride gum, not sure if he lives for free – but it seems like a cheap way to travel.

  4. says

    @ Jenna – I didn’t know about that one. Will definitely need to look it up. Thanks!

  5. says

    i did not know about the frugal traveller. They are actually paying him to travel? Talk about a dream job. When he gets to Africa, that $500 will really go a long way because life is generally cheap here

  6. says

    I wish I am that man. He is so lucky. For me that is one great opportunity given to him. He is very fortunate.

  7. says

    @kt and “dining room table” …

    Every once in awhile I’ve seen major websites offering to hire a person to travel for them. The new Frugal Traveler took over the job of the guy who had been doing it for over four years so it’s clearly a coveted position! I’ve definitely always thought that being paid to travel would be great!

    @ Jenna – thanks for that link … the paper you wrote must’ve been interesting to research!

  8. Jenna says

    @KathrynV – Anytime. It was fun, all out how people have used social media (specifically YouTube) to get sponsored in really weird ways.

  9. says

    Daniel Suelo’s story is really interesting. Out of all the people mentioned, he is the only person who did not substitute money for something (coupons, virtual money etc.) and did not make any money either. It goes to show that you can live without money, but it is a very isolated life.

  10. Paul S says

    I bought a 23 ft 5th wheel trailer and F-250 3/4 ton pickup 5 years ago for $8550. Added 320 watts of solar, and I have traveled the West 5 years now. Live free in the National Forests and BLM land along with Casinos. Spent less than $150 last year on rent. Propane costs about $25 a month and runs the refrigerator, hot water, and cooking. Total repair costs/maintenance $225 in 5 years. Water and sanitary dumps run about $10-15 per month. Can live with abundant food in lovely places for about $650 a month, no suffering.

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