Starting and growing a company comes with many costs, including payroll, utilities, phone service, security, waste management, and so on. Because of this, startup entrepreneurs are always trying to find innovative ways to cut costs, often at their own expense.

Sometimes, new cost-cutting ideas come from crafty life hacks, and one of the most creative is happening right now in urban cities -- reducing rent by living on houseboats.

According Alyson Krueger of the NY Times, "The relatively low cost of buying a boat and low docking fees can help reduce monthly housing costs, and boat owners say added bonuses include stunning views and vibrant social communities."

While the views may be fine, battling the soaring rents, especially in larger urban cities, is the real benefit. As reported in the 2018 Apartment Market Report, produced by RENTCafe, rents are at an all time high, reaching a national average of over $1,400 in 2018, a 2.9 percent year over year increase. The report also showed rent increased in 88 percent of the nation's largest 250 cities, with New York and San Francisco leading the way with rents between $3,000 to $3,500.

 

According to Krueger, one boat-commuter in New York invested $10,000 for a 41-foot boat, which had a six beds, a kitchen and bathroom and a living area. According to the boat owner, his living costs totaled $1,400 for six months.

Bunking up in small living quarters is nothing new to young entrepreneurs, who have contributed to the growing trend of "co-living" -- the modern way of saying you have too many roommates. In some locations in New York, for example, specific co-living housing communities are being built to accommodate as many as 50 housemates.

Living on a boat does seem to be a great alternative to sharing a living space with 49 people who don't clean their dishes or replace the toilet paper.

Of course, not everything about living on the water is sparkling. Krueger reports that boats need their own septic tank, which are considerably smaller than most homes, and extreme weather (and hence water) conditions can wreak havoc on even the strongest stomachs. Moreover, in cold-weather cities, winters can be harsh and, in the case of some docks, getting reliable water to your boat can be a challenge.

And maybe the biggest disadvantages to boat living is that boats generally depreciate in value over time, compared to real estate, which historically can be counted on to appreciate.

Regardless whether you live on the water, in an apartment or on a friend's couch (as I did for most of my earlier entrepreneurial years), one of the most effective ways to cut your personal overhead and focus valuable resources on growing your business may just be in where you lay your head at night -- and how you rock yourself to sleep.

What do you think? What other life hacks have you used to cut your personal overhead? Please share them with me at Facebook.

Published on: Apr 29, 2019
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