Saving money takes effort, work and self sacrifice.
A friend of mine saved money in his 20s and early 30s and bought a house north of the city. In keeping with his savings mentality, he moved into the basement and rented out the main floor and upper floor to tenants. He lived that way for five years until he got married, at which point he moved upstairs with his wife and rented out the basement. Obviously he would have preferred to live upstairs from the beginning, but that willingness to sacrifice to save money helped him pay down the mortgage to the point where he could comfortably afford to move upstairs. He, his wife and son now have a beautiful semi-detached home in Riverdale as a result of his savings mentality.
Sharing your space is never ideal. Yet in any larger city there are numerous people always looking to rent accommodation. If you can handle a room mate or create a spot in your house that you can rent out, that money can be dedicated to paying off your mortgage faster or creating savings to purchase another house or condominium. Many people in Toronto sacrifice privacy for the income provided by renters. My god mom, who is from Portugal, was looking for a place to stay for a while and she moved in with an older Chinese couple and rented a room from them for far less than she would have paid for her own space. The cultural exchange was sometimes challenging but the savings were worth it for both.
Airbnb provides another outlet for turning your house into rental income. In any large city there is demand for short term rentals in lieu of hotels, particularly for larger groups that are coming into town for a wedding or a special event. We have rented our house out through airbnb in the past and it permits us to spend time up north in the summer that we couldn’t otherwise afford. It takes effort to ready your house for guests…with four children it takes our family a lot of effort. But the benefits of canoeing down the Muskoka river with all four children in the boat are more than worth it.
Friends of mine ran an international student placement company. They were always looking for welcoming families in which to place their European students. Host families were compensated for accommodating those students and introducing them to Canadian culture. From time to time there would be problems, like under age drinking or stupid behaviour, but that was the exception. By and large the host families and the students had a good time together and often those relationships lasted long after the student had returned home. One of those families just welcomed the student they formerly hosted, her husband and their toddler a decade after the hosting ended.
My girlfriend had five house mates in university to cut down on the costs of accommodation. Six girls…one bathroom. She is now in her early 50s and still gets together with them once a year. This year was the 30th anniversary of them moving in together. Each now has multiple bathrooms in her house but the memories they created together when they had to share just one resonate with them to this day. Being willing to share your space can provide financial benefits along with lifelong emotional connections that may enrich your life and last far longer than the space sharing arrangement did.
A former client of mine got divorced and she didn’t want to sell her beautiful heritage house in Cabbagetown. She started a Bed and Breakfast from it. She now earns enough from renting out a couple of rooms and providing breakfast for her guests that she is able to maintain the house and pay all the costs associated with it.
With the above ideas in mind, take a look around at your space. Consider whether there is any opportunity to share it to generate some additional income.