Rent A Room, Watch A Dog, Cover Your Rent/Mortgage Payment

If you’re like me and live in or near a large, growing metropolis, then you probably pay a fairly high rent or mortgage payment. In this blog post I’m going to share with you my best strategy and a few others to help you cut that bill in half or maybe even more than half.

My living cost (for my home) is $1,600/mo. I am a single mom and doing my best to get by with multiple business incomes, budgeting and paying off debt. Some months in the past have been tight, but now they are pretty doable and I even have some money left over at the end of the month.

My Strategies

Below are the programs I use to cover at least half my rent ($800) per month.


I live in a 3 bedroom semi-detached home. It’s just me and my daughter is with me 50% of the time so there is one extra bedroom. One of the bedrooms is considered the “Master” because it has an attached private, full bathroom. The second bedroom is the exact same size as the master and then a smaller third bedroom. When I first moved in here I was in the master and my daughter was in the second room. The third was just used as a guest bedroom.

Once I started thinking about using Airbnb to rent out a room and make some extra money, I decided to move into the second bedroom and move my daughter into the smaller bedroom.

I renovated the master because it was…let’s just say it was needed. I put a new coat of paint on all the trim and walls. I purchased some new artwork and a few other small things.

Total renovation cost: $250

I used bedding and towels that I already had, although I did buy some used white towels from ValueVillage (a second had store popular across Toronto). Just bleach ’em out and they’re good to go.

I took some pictures on a nice sunny day when there was a lot of light and continued to put up my room details. I did a little research on other Airbnbs in the neighbourhood to see what price I should set. I came up with $49/night. I decided on all the rules that I wanted people to follow and got my listing completed.

Within a day or two I had people messaging me on Airbnb and since then I’ve earned anywhere between $800-$1,300/month renting out that room. Now I am considered a Super Host and half if not more of my rent is covered.

What I like about renting out my extra room on Airbnb is that I can decide who stays and who doesn’t. Because I am a single woman living alone, I have to feel comfortable with the guests. (See posts below for more details on how I run my Airbnb.)


The other strategy that I use is a little bit more fun. I give dogs a vacation from their owners. LOL

I love dogs and have had dogs most of my life. At this point I don’t want one full time, but I’m totally ok with babysitting one or two for a few days or even a week.

This is a great site that matches up dog owners with local dog lovers. They have a review process. You can arrange to meet the dog owners and the dog ahead of time to decide if it’s a good fit for all three of you.

I’ve watched three dogs so far and it’s been great. I am selective about the age and kind of dog I take on. I like a clean house so I avoid dogs who shed and I’m not patient with barking and running around so I tend to accept only middle aged and older dogs.

Below are a few pics of some of the dogs I’ve watched so far.

I charge $25/night but Dogvacay takes $5…so I make $20/night. For a week of watching a furry friend, I’ll make $140. Do this a couple times a month and it’s probably enough to cover a car payment or at least a couple utility bills.

Some Months I Actually Live Rent Free

Just with those two strategies alone I am living rent free.

If I make $1,300 a month on Airbnb and another $300 on DogVacay I’m golden.

And I didn’t even have to leave my house to do it! 

Other Strategies

I could put a lot of other ways to make money in this post.

Things like starting a blog, starting a direct sales business, working a part time job, consulting, etc, etc, but really in this post I was looking at specifically “sharing economy” style income and the type where I don’t have to put in hours and hours of my own time.

I mean isn’t that what “REAL LIVING” is about? Having the time to do what you want when you want and still have a great income?

But here is a list of other sharing economy ideas that you might want to give a try:

Uber / Lift – become your own taxi service. (I actually tried this for a day, but it took up too much of my time for too little money.)
Zipcar / Getaround – rent your car.
NeighbourGoods – rent your stuff like blenders, cameras, lawnmowers and more.

Other Ideas That I Just Didn’t Have Time To Research

  • Rent out other space in your home like a parking space, an empty garage, an empty basement
  • Rent out your designer clothing, shoes or surfboard
  • Watch your kids or eat dinner at my home
  • Rent out your backyard to gardening enthusiasts
  • And more….

Here’s a REALLY COOL AND SUPER site I found that give you a ton more ideas!

For any of these programs, be sure to read the fine print, make sure insurance is covered and check into tax reporting! All very important!

What ever you choose I’m sure you’ll make money at it. Just be smart and careful and cover all your basis and you can get at least 50% of your rent or mortgage covered every month by not even leaving your home and not spending hours working!

Until next time…

Love & Light!



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Tracy Cummings

About the Author

Tracy Cummings