In today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and save money. But is it really possible to live completely for free? According to a recent viral Reddit thread, the answer may be yes!
The post asked if there was anywhere in the world someone could still live like the homesteaders of early America – just finding a patch of land and living off the land. The answer, according to hundreds of replies, is a resounding “maybe” – if you’re willing to make some big compromises.
Live For Free in a Japan Akiya
One of the suggestions was buying an abandoned or vacant home (known as an akiya) in Japan. With Japan’s declining population, there are millions of empty houses, especially in rural areas. The government even gives subsidies to people who buy and fix up akiyas.
At first glance, an akiya seems like a dream – who wouldn’t want a super cheap house in Japan? But there are some big caveats to be aware of.
First, while akiyas can be very affordable, you still need to pay property taxes, acquisition taxes, broker fees, renovation costs and more. One Redditor shared that after all taxes and fees, their Tokyo akiya purchase was not as cheap as expected.
Second, akiyas require extensive repairs and renovations. Many are left vacant for years and may not even have running water or electricity anymore. Be prepared to invest tens of thousands more to make it livable.
Finally, local governments often impose conditions on akiyas to discourage foreign buyers. You may need to live there 20+ years, have kids in local schools or invest a certain amount into repairs within a timeframe. Not to mention visa challenges if you’re not a Japanese citizen.
So while an akiya could be an adventurous and affordable way to live in Japan, it’s not quite the “live for free” hack it initially appears to be. Make sure you understand all the costs and legal requirements before committing!
Other Suggestions To Live For Free
Suggestions ranged from the extreme (living in an abandoned fishing village in Norway or becoming a monk in exchange for room and board) to the risky (squatting on public lands and constantly moving your camp to avoid the law) to the downright dystopian (going to prison or becoming homeless in a city).
A few creative folks suggested finding a rural village willing to give you land if you move there and boost their population. Others said to sail endlessly on the open ocean or roam the great plains as a nomad. But every suggestion came with huge caveats that made a truly “free” existence seem nearly impossible in the modern age.
Still, the sheer range of ideas shows the lengths some folks will go to escape the grind and live life on their own terms. For the less adventurous, the takeaway was to take advantage of all the freebies you can – from free museum days to public lands to leftover food apps. With some creativity, resourcefulness and pluck, you too may be able to shave off a good chunk from your monthly bills. Just don’t expect to be able to homestead your way to a 100% free existence!