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Where to stay when you don’t have a steady income

Liezl Hesketh in Renters 


Housing options for the cash strapped

It was a long day at work. Your second shift has just ended and you’re looking forward to getting home and sleeping for the rest of the day. On your way out the manager pulls you aside to inform you that they can’t afford to employ you anymore. Sorry, it’s a last in first out policy for casuals.

In today’s unstable economic conditions, no job is secure. Whether you’re a student working two shifts just pay the bills and hefty study fees, a young professional excited about your first ‘real’ job or a heavyweight who has been at the same company for the past 35 years, you can’t assume that you’ll have a job at the end of the month.

Students in particular have to constantly face their fear of the unknown, as employers don’t necessarily care about the job security of casual workers. If one leaves there is always another desperado to fill their shoes. However, there are ways to ensure that you’ll always have a place to stay when you don’t have a steady income.

How to keep a roof over your head on a shoestring budget


Stick it out with family.

If you have a good relationship with your parents or extended family and they have a room or granny flat available, it will definitely boost your budget to stay with them. It may not be as liberating as having your own space to call home, but if you are between jobs it will be much easier to tell your dad that rent will be a month late than a landlord.

Student-specific accommodation has its perks.

Being enrolled at a local university or college allows you to make use of designated student accommodation. Use this opportunity to find a room or flat close to work and university to minimise travel cost. Living at Res or a commune means you’ll be part of a community of like-minded people that can help you cope with studies, finding a job and having a great time as a student.

Find accommodation with flexible options.

Life becomes significantly easier if you have a family to call upon for rent money and to help cover living expenses, but many don’t have that option. If you have to fend for yourself as a student, young professional or struggling artist you may have to think outside the box to make ends meet. TheRoomLink understands the need for flexible accommodation options, which is why we encourage landlords to make rooms available on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis.

Keep the job you already have.

Whether you stay with family or at a commune you need money to pay bills and cover living expenses. Youth unemployment is at an all-time high in South Africa and if you have a part-time job you are already luckier than most. Try to hang on to your job for as long as possible, even if you have to endure rude managers and long working hours. Remember, you know what you have but you don’t know what you’re going to get.

Budget, budget, budget.

Planning ahead will help you cope with uncertainties. Always put extra money aside when you do have a job to cover a full month’s rent. That way, if you end up losing your job you’ll have a grace period of one month to help you find a new one or alternative accommodation. If you can’t find extra cash on your current budget, try to downsize. Find roomies to help pay the rent, move from a flat to a room or move in with family to help you get back on your feet.

Looking for low budget student accommodation? Want a landlord’s that’s flexible? Visit TheRoomLink!