Save Cash: On the Roof Over Your Head

I’ve saved thousands of dollars.

I have not paid rent since August 2012 when I switched coasts. At first I lived with my sister, just for a couple of months, before adding “facility caretaker” to my daycare assistant job description. In addition to assisting at the home daycare, I took on the responsibility of cleaning, organizing, and residing in the house the daycare was located. In return for the extra responsibility and number of hours worked, I was able to live in the house for free.

There were, of course, positives and negatives to this situation. This was the first time I lived by myself. AWESOME!  There was sparse adult-sized furniture in the house because the entire space was dedicated to miniature human beings. NOT AWESOME.  I saved a lot of money on gas during the six months my commute consisted of walking from my bedroom to the mudroom to greet the kids early in the morning. AWESOME!  I worked very long hours, and became the sole care provider several times a week (early mornings and late pick-ups), because it was convenient. NOT AWESOME.  I had an abundance of “me” time during which I focused on the stuff that makes me truly happy, like cooking lots of homemade bread and pasta, and reading books, and toiling in the garden. DOUBLE AWESOME!

Then I was hired by AmeriCorps Cape Cod.

In exchange for taking care of a big, old house in the Cape Cod National Seashore – I get to live in that house for free.

My responsibilities include household maintenance and repairs, or at least calling the appropriate contractors when needed, and overseeing the safety and comfort of the thirteen AmeriCorps Cape Cod members who reside there as well.

Yes, I have 13 housemates. Hence the lengthy gaps between posts!

SIDE NOTE: I do other things in this position as well, like shuffle paperwork at the office and use my massive muscles (and various tools) to eradicate invasive Bittersweet and Honeysuckle from Cape Cod parks and natural areas alongside the AmeriCorps members. My favorite part, though, is being in a different Cape town almost every day of the week. On any given day I could be working in Provincetown or Bourne, or anywhere in between seeing all the nooks and crannies of Cape Cod.

The 15 towns of Cape Cod.

The 15 towns of Cape Cod. I work in all of them. Photo credit.

Recently I’ve been wondering…

What other types of jobs provide housing? It is a lot of responsibility, being a caretaker of property you don’t actually own, but absolutely worth it in my opinion. During the months that I have not paid rent I’ve paid off several credit cards, getting me that-much-closer to reaching my goals.

I often think about what I will do when it is time to move on from this job. During my free time, I researched several different ways to avoid mailing a rent check, and came up with quite the list of opportunities. Here is the first installment.

Teach English as a Second Language

I am not an expert on this subject, but I am actively researching it and there seems to be a lot of options out there. I check in on several blogs of those currently teaching English and those who have in past, specifically in South Korea, but English teachers (as well as other subjects) are in demand in other places such as South America, Asia, and Europe as well.

I’ve learned that in addition to a decent salary in South Korea, companies will provide an apartment close to the school you are assigned to teach at. There are positions that require a TEFL certificate, and those that do not. Some programs charge a fee to teach abroad, and some that do not. There seems to be a lot of options out there, and it can be difficult to navigate. Here are some sources I have been directed to.

Daves ESL Cafe Jobs

Dave’s ESL Cafe is a website that EVERY informed individual I’ve spoken to about this topic has recommended. I personally find it busy, messy, and a little bit of a rabbit hole. Probably because I still don’t truly know what I’m looking for exactly. Essentially, this website lists teaching job openings from all over the world. I just did a quick look, the first 20 or so posts include countries like India, Honduras, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

GreenHeartTravelAbout six months prior to my move back to Massachusetts from California I signed on with CCI Greenheart as a Local Coordinator. It’s a part-time contract position which does not pay unless you successfully place at least one exchange student with a volunteer host family in your region. Sadly, I had no luck in finding a volunteer host family in Humboldt County, but that is how I first heard of the company. After getting sucked into their beautiful website and seeing all the different programs they offer I checked back regularly, especially to their Teach English Abroad programs. Personally, I would definitely consider working with this company to secure a teaching job abroad because I was so impressed with the staff members that I interacted with during my short stint with them. TeachAwayIncTeach Away Inc. has a clean and organized platform. It’s always nice to look at a pretty screen when researching! This website provides information on teaching requirements, living conditions, currency exchange, etc. for 60+ countries worldwide. It allows you to search for jobs by teacher category, region of the world, or specific country. With a registered account, you can apply for jobs right from the website.

 Go straight to the experts!

I really like these blogs. Check them out:

GreatBigScaryJamie has a lot to say about teaching English abroad, and I appreciate his candor. Most of what he shares on his website, Great Big Scary World, shines a warm, positive light on the opportunity, see THIS post, but he does get just a little negative with THIS post. Here is a list of all his posts related to Teaching English.


RedDragonI frequent Tom Gates website because he writes on very practical topics related to living and teaching abroad, specifically South Korea. The Red Dragon Diaries covers topics such as the cost of groceries and toiletries in Korea,the difficulties of dating, quality of the program provided housing he lives in, and detailed account of income vs. expenses. I especially enjoy watching his videos on YouTube.


A photo of Angela from her blog, The Elephant Hat.

A photo of Angela from her blog, The Elephant Hat.

I go to Angela Hevron’s blog, The Elephant Hat, for a different perspective of the experience of teaching in South Korea. She’s been a teacher state-side for over a decade and decided to move to South Korea to teach English just over a year ago. I’ve read many of her blog posts so far, and she is always telling great personal accounts of her experiences. Not only does she provide photos of herself in the places she frequents or just visits, but she provides photos of the food she’s eating and what the places look like inside and outside.



Jackie Laulainen, The Budget Minded Traveler, has gone and done it again by adding a podcast to her blog! A recent episode was all about one woman’s experience in obtaining certification and teaching on two continents for four years. During her interview with Jackie, she offers great insight to the process and experience, check it out HERE.

Stay tuned, because I have much more to say…

The idea for this post originally came to me back in December of 2013, and I’ve been (slowly) tackling it since. While writing, researching, and discussing the topic amongst friends, I found myself faced with more and more information and new ideas on how to find jobs that provide housing. Because of this, the post has turned into quite the beast, so I’ve decided to break it up into multiple posts.

To be continued…

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