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17 Alternative Living Options Instead Of Getting A Mortgage

CEO Tinh Phung
Most of us have been raised to believe that getting a job, getting a house with a mortgage, and saving for retirement is the best way to live. It's the safe and secure path that...

Most of us have been raised to believe that getting a job, getting a house with a mortgage, and saving for retirement is the best way to live. It's the safe and secure path that has been followed by generations before us. But what if there are other options? What if there's a different way to live that goes against the traditional norms? Alternative living is a concept that not everyone considers, but the more I learn about it, the more convinced I am that it's the right choice for me. If you're not convinced by the idea of buying a house and getting stuck with a mortgage, here are 17 alternative living choices that you might want to explore instead.

What is alternative living?

Alternative living is all about pursuing a lifestyle that doesn't conform to the norms of modern society. It's about choosing a different way of living, one that goes beyond the traditional expectations of society and culture. And while it may seem unconventional, someone has to push boundaries and explore new possibilities.

1) Become A Nomad

The dream of becoming a digital nomad, with the ability to work and live anywhere, is no longer just a fantasy. With remote work opportunities on the rise, it's now possible to travel the world while still earning a living. Whether it's teaching online, freelancing, or picking up short-term contracts, the options are endless. Imagine waking up in a new place every day, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures. If you have a sense of adventure and don't mind living out of a backpack, becoming a nomad might be the perfect alternative living option for you.

2) Van-Life

Van life has become a popular alternative to getting a mortgage for many people around the world. It's the freedom of owning a home on wheels and being able to travel wherever you want. Imagine waking up in the middle of nature, with the beach, a lake, or a forest right outside your van. It's a lifestyle that offers both adventure and comfort. Converting a van into a camper takes some DIY skills and patience, but once it's done, you have the freedom to go wherever you please, with no rent, no bills, and no limits.

alternative living options Image source: ShopMrKatin

3) Purchase A Fixer-Upper

If you still have your heart set on a traditional home, consider buying a fixer-upper. This alternative route allows you to put your deposit into a home that needs improvement. While it may require some upfront investment and hard work, it gives you the opportunity to transform a cheap shell of a home into your own vision. It's a more affordable option that allows you to have a "real" home without the burden of a hefty mortgage.

4) Bus Life

Bus life is a fantastic alternative living option for those who need more space, such as couples with children. Bus conversions offer more room than a van and can be customized to suit your needs. While mobility may be limited compared to a van, bus life provides a functional and spacious home on wheels. It's a great way to have the comforts of home while still enjoying the freedom of alternative living.

5) RV Life

If you like the idea of van life but prefer a little more luxury, RV life might be the perfect alternative for you. RVs are fully equipped homes on wheels, with all the amenities you need for a comfortable living experience. While you may be limited to staying in campsites, it's a great option for those who want to travel in comfort and style. RVs offer the best of both worlds - the freedom to explore and the comforts of a traditional home.

5) Living On A Boat

Why limit yourself to the open road when the sea is out there waiting for you? Living on a boat offers the ultimate way to see the world. Whether it's a canal boat for city living or a sailboat for ocean adventures, living on a boat allows you to travel and explore at your own pace. It's a big investment that requires learning how to sail, but the freedom and adventure it offers are unparalleled. Imagine waking up in a different port every day, with all your belongings right there with you. It's the sweet life, indeed.

6) Tiny Houses

Tiny houses have become a popular alternative living option for those looking to downsize and simplify their lives. These small, compact homes encourage a minimalist way of living, as they force you to prioritize your possessions and live with only the essentials. Living in a tiny house dramatically reduces costs such as mortgages, bills, and maintenance, while also promoting a more minimal and sustainable lifestyle. Whether you choose to build your own tiny house or convert an existing structure, it's an affordable way to have a permanent home without the expensive mortgage fees.

7) Treehouse

For those who love the great outdoors, why not set up shop in the trees with your own treehouse home? While it may seem like an idea straight out of a childhood fantasy, there are people out there living their best lives in treehouses. It's a unique and alternative living option that connects you with nature in a whole new way. Imagine waking up surrounded by the beauty of the forest and living amongst the treetops. It's an unconventional choice, but one that offers a truly magical experience.

8) Shipping Container

Living in a shipping container has become a more affordable alternative for young people who want to avoid hefty house deposits. These converted containers offer a unique and stylish living space, with all the necessary amenities. It's an innovative way to repurpose materials and create a comfortable home without breaking the bank. You can find inspiration from individuals and couples who have successfully transformed shipping containers into their own homes.

9) Yurt

Yurts are portable, round tents that are gaining popularity as an alternative living option for those who want to reconnect with nature and live a simpler life. These traditional structures provide a cozy and comfortable living space while allowing you to move and explore different places. Living in a yurt encourages a more sustainable and minimalist way of living, as you have to prioritize your possessions and live with only what you need. It's a unique and adventurous choice for those looking to break away from the norms of modern society.

10) Earthships

Earthships are eco-friendly homes designed to be self-sufficient and sustainable. They are built using recycled and natural materials and are designed to generate their own energy and collect water. If you're creative and enjoy building things from scratch, creating your own earthship could be an alternative living option worth considering. It's a way to live in harmony with the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.

11) House Shares

House shares have become increasingly popular, especially among the younger generation, due to rising house prices. Sharing a home with others allows you to split the rent and bills, making living costs more affordable in high-cost cities. It's a practical and cost-effective way to live, and it also provides the opportunity to build community and share experiences with like-minded individuals.

12) Couch Surfing

If you're a traveler or just looking to save money on accommodation costs, couch surfing is an alternative living option worth considering. Couch surfing allows you to stay with local people in the cities you visit, providing a unique and authentic travel experience. It's a great way to meet new people, immerse yourself in different cultures, and save money on accommodation. Many people have successfully traveled the world for months or even years using couch surfing as their primary accommodation option.

13) Become Self-Sufficient

For those who crave self-sufficiency and a closer connection to nature, buying a plot of land and building your own sustainable home might be the perfect alternative living choice. Building your own home and living off the land allows you to reduce your reliance on external resources and live a more sustainable lifestyle. While it may require hard work and initial investment, the rewards of living off your own hard work and enjoying the fruits of your labor can be incredibly fulfilling.

14) Find An Off-Grid Community

Off-grid communities are self-sufficient communities that live independently of mainstream society. These communities often prioritize sustainability and rely on renewable resources for their energy needs. If you're looking for a close-knit, like-minded community that shares your values and priorities, joining an off-grid community might be the ideal alternative living option for you.


WWOOFing (World-Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms) offers the opportunity to volunteer on organic farms around the world in exchange for food, accommodation, and sometimes payment. It's a great way to experience a different way of life, learn new skills, and connect with nature. Whether you're passionate about organic farming or simply seeking a unique and immersive travel experience, WWOOFing can provide a rewarding alternative living option.

16) Adapt To A Minimalist Lifestyle

Embracing a minimalist lifestyle is about living according to your values and priorities, focusing on what truly matters to you, and letting go of excess possessions and distractions. It's a personalized approach to living that allows you to create more time, space, and energy for the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. Embracing minimalism is a journey that looks different for everyone, but it ultimately leads to a more intentional and fulfilling way of life.

17) Go Zero-Waste

Going zero-waste is about making a commitment to reduce your waste as much as possible and live a more sustainable lifestyle. It's an alternative living choice that aligns with a minimalist mindset and a concern for the environment. By reducing your consumption, embracing reusable and eco-friendly alternatives, and making conscious choices, you can minimize your impact on the planet. Going zero-waste is a holistic approach to living that encompasses various aspects of life, from food and shopping habits to personal care and waste management.

There are countless alternative living options out there, each offering a unique and fulfilling way to live. Whether you're seeking a more minimalist lifestyle, a sense of adventure, or a deeper connection with nature, these alternatives are worth exploring. They have been tried and tested by individuals who have chosen to think outside the box and live life on their own terms. So, if you're looking to mix up your life plan and embrace a different way of living, keep an open mind and consider these alternative living options. Who knows, one of them might be the perfect fit for you. And if you know anyone who has an alternative way of living, or if there are any options that I've missed, feel free to share in the comments below.

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