Break-Free from the Mortgage Trap and Become Independent with Alternate Housing and Living Solutions.

Written by Freedom Strider

On April 30, 2019
Break-Free from the Mortgage Trap and Become Independent with Alternate Housing and Living Solutions.

Break-Free from the Mortgage Trap and Become Independent with Alternate Housing and Living Solutions.

by Apr 30, 2019

Alternate Living Solutions allow you to break free from the mortgage trap because it allows you to live independently and create your own home – one that can be only 5% the cost of a conventional one.

A home you can own yourself, be able to maintain, repair and understand how it works whilst maintaining your personal creative freedom.



We are told from a young age that there are only two mature paths to make you successful in life when it comes to housing:

1) Rent until you have saved money, and then…
2) Buy a house with a mortgage… and your savings as a deposit.



The truth is there are many more paths you can take; all you have to do is open your eyes to new possibilities: aka alternative living.

Alternative Living is not a new concept, it has simply grown in popularity due to more and more people seeing its potential in enriching their own lifestyle. Alternate living presents greater forms of freedom along with the ability to save money faster – and requires no loans if you have the capital in the first place. It is also a lot cheaper…


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Here is the complete overview of What alternative living is, Why it’s a good idea and How you can get the ball rolling.

How much cheaper?


Imagine paying only £10,000 [$13,000] for a house.

That’s how much cheaper.

If you do need a loan for that amount, it is a lot quicker and cheaper to pay off, since it is a lot less than any mortgage loan. 

With the money you’ll be saving by choosing the alternative living path your financial, mental and physical health will have the potential to be a whole lot better off, because you wouldn’t be worrying about money as much.

What are ‘alternative living solutions’?

Chances are you have heard of alternative living solutions already. Although there’s not a specific list, most are categorized by the fact they are easier and cheaper to build and maintain than regular housing. This combined with the fact that it is often done with the environment in mind.

That is it.
That is the only difference.

Alternative Options

Tiny houses




Earth houses



Shipping containers…the list goes on.

Many of these alternative options provide many solutions to the whole debt, mortgage, stress over money fiasco.

It eliminates the need for a gigantic loan that requires decades to pay off. You have control over your own home 100%, and you can customize it exactly to how you want. (for us, the freedom of those benefits is worth the smaller floor space, and let’s be honest, most of us hate cleaning – the bigger the house the more cleaning there is).

People usually rent to save money because they don’t have enough money to qualify for a mortgage loan. People often spend between five and eight years trapped in renting to save up enough to afford a mortgage, but with alternative living solutions, not only does it allow you to save a whole lot faster, but they are so much cheaper to buy in the first place.

The Freedom

With alternative living solutions on wheels, you also wrap up your transportation costs and ‘rent’ costs into one.

Having your own car is a huge freedom – it allows you to say “I want to do this or go here” and without needing to buy tickets, check timetables or weigh luggage, you can just hop in your car and off you go. Most people pay for their shelter and transportation separately but if your home is your transport, then you can travel in the comforts of your own home and not need to pay for rent!

You can go on holiday from London to Berlin, without needing to book accommodation every night. You have the freedom to drive it at your own pace rather than sticking to train/bus/plane schedules. You are in your own home, so you don’t have to leave anything behind!

It seems most people, when going on holiday try and pack their whole lives into their suitcases, just in case. But in this instance, your home is your suitcase.

If you want to leave early, then you can. If you decide you actually want to go to Prague instead of Berlin, then you can, much easier than if you were to have booked hotels and flights in advance.

To show just how much of a financial incentive there is for alternative living solutions, look at this:

That is a saving of up to 95%!

imagine walking into a real estate agent and seeing “SALE now on, 95% off!”

The reasons for these substantial savings are best summed up in a few main points:

Due to their not being a constant debt atop your head with these alternative lifestyles, mental health improves drastically, alongside the financial benefits. Since you’re not having to spend every day working to upkeep a huge bill, you can spend more time enjoying yourself – going on more holidays, taking more walks, discovering a new hobby, building a business and more time with your family and friends.


With all this positivity, why do people go down the rental and mortgage trap route?

What is the mortgage and rental trap?

People entering the housing market enter with the expectation that they will never fully own their own house. That is because the average working life for the majority of the population is not long enough to “pay” for a decent house anymore (by pay, we mean with the aid of a mortgage).

Paying hundreds, or even thousands of $/£/€ every month for years of your life without a break, being trapped in a cycle of work to rent to save to get a mortgage, and repeat.

Being locked into a situation where you are scared to leave your job in search of more adventurous income streams.

Being scared to try something new, in case it doesn’t work (which let’s face it, things rarely go to plan perfectly) – and if it fails to work out, you’re behind on payments and without a job and the whole thing gets 10x worse.

That is the mortgage trap.

Don’t Forget

Download your FREE eBook

Here is the complete overview of What alternative living is, Why it’s a good idea and How you can get the ball rolling.

An average deposit/down payment for a mortgage in the UK is £30,000 [$40,000] – around 15% of an average house valued at £200,000 [$260,000].

To borrow the remaining £170,000 [$220,000] (your £30,000 [$40,000] deposit goes straight to the bank, bye bye money); you will be paying around £860/month [$1,120] for 30 years.

That is £860/month [$1,120] for 360 months without any breaks.

In other words: £309,000 [$400,000] over the next 30 years.

Which means the £200,000 house ends up costing a total of £339,000,

(including your initial deposit).


Where did that come from?!

You pay interest upon your loan and pay back both, hence why you are paying an extra £139,000 [$180,000] on top of what you borrowed in the first place. Not to mention the fees incurred not only for setting up a mortgage, but also if you decide to move house or if you miss a payment…the list goes on.

This is basing of a 4.01% interest with a capital + Interest mortgage. In the past, interest rates have been as high as 8%, so this is actually not too bad in comparison. O.o

In addition, if you happen to be able to pay it up front, or pay off a lump sum early, the bank will hit you with massive ‘compensation’ fees because they feel cheated out of the interest, and this is essentially them throwing a legal hissy fit.


Fun fact, the word ‘mortgage’ – do you actually know what it means?


That’s right; it translates to ‘death pledge’. In other words, the deal dies when the debt is paid or the payment fails (aka when you can’t afford it or when you are dead).

It’s like an unbreakable vow; complete it or die trying. Hard to trust a notion that means death pledge…

As a race, we always aim for freedom (freedom of and from anything) … this doesn’t sound too freeing. The lack of freedom in a mortgage is the very fact as to why alternate living is a great solution – because they flip the problem on its head: instead of struggling to pay a constant debt owed every month, you pay to live on your own terms.

The only benefits of a mortgage is that you are paying for something that will eventually be yours, and you can get some of your investment back in a lump sum.

But let’s not forget that the government or army can reclaim the land from the council and boot you out…it’s still not your land. Captain Positivity, I know ;D

Renting on the other hand – is empty money

Benefits of Renting:

You get shelter (4 walls, a floor, a ceiling and a window)

Water, electricity and heating (at an extra cost of course)

A postcode for mail (horray?)

Okay I ran out of positives

Downsides of Renting:

All the money you pay for rent goes towards nothing but the possible repair of the house (Terms and Conditions are wonderful ‘it’s not our responsibility’ clause).

If/when you decide to stop renting, you are no closer towards owning a house, all that money you paid accounts to zero.

You aren’t allowed to modify ‘your’ space, usually, you can’t even put a nail in the wall or even use blu-tak, let alone knock out a wall or redo your bathroom.

If something goes wrong, it can take weeks or even months for the renting company to come and fix it, and you cannot do it yourself (violation of contract).

Landlords can evict you in as short a time as one month (depending on your contract)


– There, I think that about sums it up. –

In plain English, your first and conventional option is rent, pay an excessive amount of money towards no investment (you might as well burn your cash for all the good it is going to do you), and in the meantime you feel constantly worried about money, so stress and depression will be your new best friends.

Your second option is, you buy a vehicle, convert it exactly to your needs, pay minimal expenses, have the freedom to move your home wherever you wish (whether for work or leisure).  This, in turn, will make you feel free and happier and you’ll start saving money a lot faster. Money, that you can then use to start your mortgage or pursue your other interests.

People’s fears about the unknown, and the fact they feel as though there is no other option than renting and mortgages (since we are taught there isn’t anything else) is the fact that so many people are looking for alternatives (you included since you are here reading this). This is the reason as to why alternative living solutions are gaining popularity – because they are the solution.

Mortgage vs. Rent vs. Alternative Living Solutions

– A Comparison –

How are they the solution?

Let’s get to the good stuff…

We know everyone rents to save money until they can afford a mortgage.

Since all we hear about from the banks and from the news is that you have to get a mortgage as early as possible so you can pay it off as quickly as possible to become mortgage free (oh, what a dream that is…), the main thing to do now is hunker down and crack on with earning a savings pot to afford that deposit.

In order to save and still live somewhere, you are told that you have two options – live with parents or rent.

Living with parents is dependent on whether you’ll have to pay “rent” to live there, whether it’s near your job and whether you’d actually want to. Personally, I don’t think parents should ever charge their children rent – I understand the logic behind why some do, but I don’t think it is right. In the best-case scenario, you are paying no rent but you risk sacrificing your independence… at least partially.

Renting is what most people turn to; they want independence and they want ‘the freedom’.

Let us compare this traditional route (renting) with one of the best examples of alternative living solutions: Vanlife (living in a converted van, bus or similar vehicle, they’re roughly the same cost), so we can show you how flawed renting is in terms of trying to save up…not that it wasn’t already flawed from all the other reasons we just mentioned.


In order to save money, you do still need to live at the same time. Surprise!

We are going to be focusing on Vanlife for this comparison against renting and a mortgage. Since we mentioned that the freedom of having your own vehicle is huge, we will calculate the cost of running and maintaining a vehicle separately.

Let us crunch the numbers:

Average Expenses For One Person:
  • Bills (Gas, Electric, Water, Home Wifi, Phone): £160/month [$210]
  • Food both eating out and eating in: £150/month [$195]
  • Other expenditure, like clothes, leisure activities, going out, insurances, other taxes, household items, and miscellaneous – it adds up: £190/month [$250]

Total for bills, food and regular spending: £500/month [$650].

Using the office for national statistics data for 2017 & personal peoples experience (for 1 person)

( )

Average Cost Of Owning A Vehicle

Factoring in depreciation, maintenance, insurance, tax, and everything else (aside from fuel), cars/vans cost around £0.40/$0.50 per mile driven or £0.25/$0.35 per km.

Please note all calculation are rough and rounded to give nice numbers, and the fact the UK uses both metric and imperial (Litres of fuel yet miles driven…ughhhh), I will split it into wholly imperial and wholly metric. Both produce the same result.

Fuel Price used: £1.20/L [$1.56/L] – In the USA, fuel price is half this, bare this in mind.

Average distance driven/year: 12,000 miles [19,000 km]


Cost of driving: (12,000 miles) x (£0.40/$0.50) = £4,800 [$6,000]

12,000 miles at 30 miles/Imperial gallon = (400 gallons of fuel) x (£5.45/$7.10 per gallon) = £2,200 [$2,850]


Cost of driving: (19,000 km) x (£0.25/$0.35) = £4,800 [$6,000]

19,000 km at 10.6km/L = (1,800 L) x (£1.20/$1.56 per litre) = £2,200 [$2,850]


Total cost for running a vehicle (including fuel): £7,000/year [$9,100] or £580/month [$750]

 – Bills, food and regular spending: £500/month [$650]. –

– Running a vehicle, including fuel, repairs etc… £580/month [$750]. –

– This equals £1,080/month [$1,400] –

£1,080/month [$1,400] is how much it costs to live, with a decent budget – without rent in any form nor a roof over your head. This is not including larger one off costs like furniture, TV’s and expensive electronics along with other things that aren’t basic living costs like repairs and maintenance on your home, healthcare and so on…imagine the cost of the dentist.

Income/month: £1,700 [$2,200].

Average income for a single, 25 year old in the UK:

£25,000/year [$32,500] or £20,500 [$26,650]

after wonderful taxes.

Income – Living Expenses = Potential Savings (before rent).

£1,700 – £1,080 = £620/month [$800].

Okay, since you don’t have anywhere to live, you need 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor…let’s throw a window in there as well for good measure.

So what are your options:

  • Mortgage a house
  • Rent…something
  • Alternate Home (such as a large vehicle)

Let us compare the living costs of a mortgage, rent and living in a converted van, assuming that you also have a vehicle as well, for fair compassion sake (like mentioned earlier, a van is both accommodation and transportation):

*I halved the cost of bills from £160/month to £80/month as in a van, a) You use less of everything including electricity, water and gas and b) If you invest into things like solar and rainwater harvesting, you bills can actually be free.

Mortgages are the most expensive, and renting is not far behind it, although the initial cost for renting is far lower – hence why people choose to opt for renting. For our alternative solution, the per month costs is half.

Let me repeat that.

Alternative Living is half the cost.

Obviously, you can spend a lot more or even less, but these are all fair averages of prices in the UK. That £620 [$800] you had left from your income, pretty much all of it goes on rent, and once you throw in council tax, you’re actually in the negative by £100!

So you are losing money.

This means that the ‘savings’ you were hoping to earn from renting…oh dear. Unless you cut down on your expenses and try to get by on the bare minimum, you are actually going to be losing money. Sure, you can give up your car to save a larger amount, but is that really want you want to do? What will have a better impact on your mental health: a rooted house or a house with an engine?

Without scrapping by or giving up a large portion of personal freedom by sacrificing your vehicle, renting doesn’t help you save that much money, if any.


Still Unsure?

If you need more guidance in understanding alternative living, be sure to pick up your FREE ‘Is Alternate Living For Me’ eBook.

Meanwhile, if you chose Vanlife or similar, on the income of £1,700 [$2,200] a month, you would be saving £700 [$910] a month…

Over 3 years, that is a saving of £26,200 [$34,000].

Yes, the initial cost of getting into vanlife and alternative living is – usually – a bit higher than rent, however, smart investments are all about the long-term perspective and don’t forget to weight the monetary investment vs the personal health investment.

Take a quick look at this intriguing table, which compares how much money, each housing type (mortgage, rent, vanlife), it will cost the average person over a extended period of time to stay and maintain the respective accommodation.

This table, also shows how much faster you can save for your mortgage (or whatever you are saving for) with vanlife instead of renting.

6 months after converting a moderately cheap van, you are already saving more money than renting, despite the higher initial cost – so even if you put it on credit, you would be able to pay it off after 6 months to a year.

This table shows that after the 3-year period we just talked about, since renting doesn’t actually earn you money without making cutbacks, you will save £26,200 more by choosing Vanlife or similar, than if you were to rent, despite the fact that at the beginning you have to fork out more money to afford the van.

Imagine what you could do with an extra £26,000?!

That is nearly enough for the £30,000 to start a mortgage on a house or land, or enough to build an entire alternative home in the likes of a tiny house or an epic double decker bus conversion (just to spice it up) with change to spare.

People usually say alternative living is not for everyone – I disagree.


It can be for everyone.

You just have to find the right fit for you.
Learn how to use it as a tool.

Get our massive Van Layout design bundle!

‘To scale’ box template of the approximate loadable space in both Mercedes Sprinter and VW Crafter LWB.

Going alternative is not ‘good’ or ‘evil’ – you can use it as a catalyst for a lifestyle change or simply as a means to an end. nor is there a rule book that you should follow religiously – take that which works for you with no shame and put aside that which doesn’t.

When you’re looking for a normal house, you spend hours visiting house tours, looking at photos, surfing websites – the same goes for this. Explore your options, and do not let narrow-minded thinking, stereotypes, prejudices and misconceptions stop you.

Perhaps Vanlife does not sound appealing, but there are plenty of alternative solutions out there.

None of us are taught in school about housing, and from most standardized news sources, renting and mortgages (regardless of whether they debate which one is financially better) are presented as the only way to go. A standard house built by the government is the way you have to live.

For thousands of years, people built their own homes.

Now we don’t.

Alternative Living Solutions don’t have to be built by you per say if you don’t want to, but they are often designed by us or companies which have the attitude that there are other options out there.

If we all opened up our minds to the fact that there are countless solutions, then it’s easily possible to own your own house within a few years, yet alone a lifetime.

And not break the bank doing so.