Managing a Housing Complex – Creative Income

Sometimes when we think of being able to get through post-secondary education without being a million dollars in debt, we tend to focus heavily on where to cut little bits from a budget in order to save money.  There is no doubt that saving hundreds of dollars on textbooks, or maybe taking public transportation instead of owning your own car can make a difference to your bottom line after you leave school.  BUT our focus on cutting costs can sometimes blind us to other possibilities that exist outside of the usual boxes.  One of those avenues worth exploring is looking at coming up with creative ways to generate more income for yourself.  We’ll be looking a little more in-depth at some part-time options that fit with a student schedule, and some great summer jobs that we’ve had some experience with in the weeks to come.  Today however, I want to share a pretty cool and unique case study of my friends who were able to cut their housings costs to $0 while going through post-secondary schooling and make $600 a month at the same time, all while never going more than 200 meters from their front door.

Turning Living Expenses Into Living Income

managing a housing complex
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As you can tell by the title, the way my friends managed to find themselves in that scenario was by managing a small group of housing complexes for a third party.  The two friends (we’ll call them K and T to protect their identities) were high school sweethearts and lived together while attending school.  We’re all from a rural part of Manitoba, and so attending school meant forking over thousands of dollars in rent for either a residence room (my preferred option) or an apartment somewhere.  If you are able to live with your folks while going to school you might not be aware of what a huge budget-buster paying ALL of your own housing costs can be.

K and T both had part-time jobs as they were going through school, but they made time to manage the housing complex they lived in as well.  This involved a lot of juggling and extremely few free weekends.  Some of the duties they had to perform included writing up work orders for various repairs that needed to be done, responding to certain complaints, shovelling snow, and a few other maintenance responsibilities.  While this doesn’t sound like a ton of work, it was a fairly large time commitment (there were about 30 units).  What they loved about it was the fact that the hours they could work were so flexible.  If the only time they could do the maintenance was 5 AM, that was ok!  Also, they wasted no time commuting back and forth to a second-part time job.  Plus, as a great perk they had a pretty great apartment – at least as far as our standards were concerned!

Who Wants to Be “Inside The Box” Anyway?

If you look at their entire compensation package, an apartment like the one they got to live in, along with all of their utilities would have been somewhere in the $900 a month range (one of the downsides was that it was relatively far away from campus, so that’s why the price is fairly reasonable for such a nice place).  When you combine that with the $600 salary they made, that’s $1500 a month for a “job” that definitely never took up 150 hours per month (I believe it was a lot less than that most of the time).  Once again, when one factors in the flexibility and non-commuting perks, that’s a pretty great gig!

Now obviously not everyone can manage a housing complex when they go to school.  The point is that because my friends were willing to give up most of their weekends (they were sort of “on call”), and work pretty hard, they were able to secure a cool extra income for themselves.  There are many more opportunities that exist outside of the proverbial box if students are willing to look in non-traditional places.  Keep your head up and let your connections network know you’re looking for such opportunities and you never know what might fall into lap – just be prepared to take advantage of it when that happens!

Did anyone else come across “non-traditional” ways of making money while in school?

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That’s an interesting way of making some extra cash. After seeing what went on in my old apartment complex, I don’t know if I’d be up for a job like that! But kudos to your friend for finding a great side gig. All of my side jobs in school were pretty traditional – working for a company.

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