This week on Monday’s Money Saving Tips I’m looking at avoiding contracts for flats. I simply hate them. I refuse to pay them and I totally refuse to pay deposits – completely outrageous. I detest deposits (dead money) with a passion. Imagine paying two weeks rent for a place before you have even moved in! That’s crazy. But my main tip for saving money is never sign a contract for a place. The worst mistake you can make as a traveller is to sign a one year contract for a flat. I never dwell that long in the same place, so I refuse to pay them.
4 Reasons Why I Hate Long Term Contracts
1. You are kind of stuck there for the duration (or if you’re not, you’ll have wasted some of your money on it).
2. You can’t really get a job in another city or country as it would cost you to break the contract.
3. You can’t really travel anywhere (why waste a month’s rent on a flat, only to go backpacking for 3 weeks of it – makes no sense).
4. If you do need to break the contract you have to arrange for someone else to take your place, and that is just hassle (I hate filling in forms and doing hassle related activities).
So what I tend to do in most places is find a job first and then find a short term place to stay while working there and see what happens. The last time I signed a one year contract was 7 years ago, for a flat in Southbourne in Bournemouth in England in 2008. And low and behold, I wan’t always in the flat. I managed to go backpacking to Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, San Marino, Hungary, France, Guernsey, Jersey, Herm and Sark during that year, meaning I really only used the bed and bedroom I paid for about 9-10 out of the 12 months. Certainly not value for money!
It was back then that I decided I would never pay for a permanent contract for a flat ever again, and I’m really proud that for the last 7 years I haven’t!! In the intervening time I have stayed in the following places:
– With a local family in Charminster, Bournemouth, England (paid weekly)
– With friends (settees, armchairs, beds, floors) in places like Colombia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia
– Couchsurfing in Tunisia
– In hostels, guesthouses, homestays, backpackers etc. all over the world
– In 1-5 Star Hotels
– On boats in places like Antarctica, France, Australia
– On buses in places like Bolivia, South Africa, China, Ethiopia, Laos
– On trains in places like Iran, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Malaysia, China
– With my girlfriend in her family flat
– On flights
– With my family in Northern Ireland and England on short trips back there
– With a local family in Montevideo, Uruguay (while studying Spanish)
– In a tent in Poatina, Tasmania
– In backpacker’s hostels as a temporary resident
– In flat shares in Hong Kong and Australia (none with a fixed contract, and only one of which had a dreaded deposit)
– In my car (when travelling in Australia, French Guyana and England)
So it’s fairly easy to do it I must say. Don’t fall for the 6 month or 1 year contracts for a flat. If you’re travelling with a backpack only, you can move around a lot more. I’ve never bought a TV, bed, wardrobe or even a chest of drawers. I have owned a car before (in England, Australia and in Northern Ireland) but aside from that my backpack has always remained my biggest possession. Who needs a flat?? The world is my home and it’s yours too!!
Safe travels and happy money saving on this fine Monday!