Would you rent your extra bedroom to work 1-2 less days a month?

So here’s the question I asked a new nurse. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment by herself. I asked if she would rent it to a traveling nurse for $500 a month, so she could work 1-2 fewer days a month. A starting RN wage in Nebraska is $28/hr. That’s $336 a day before taxes, so essentially she could work 1-2 days less a month and have the same income.

She said, “no, absolutely not, I like my space.”

I said, “Really, you work 12 hour days and so do they. How much would you really overlap?”

She said, “nope, not worth it.”

“Well” I said, “with compounding interest…”

She cut me off and our conversation was over. Wow, if someone had said to me when I was twenty, “Rent out your spare room and in 3 years you’ll have $18,000 in the bank”. I would have at least entertained the idea.

For the “want to be parents someday”, think about this…

Here’s a different perspective. How many of my friends had empty spare bedrooms when we were in our twenties and then they cried every day for weeks when they went back to work when they had to drop off their newborns at daycare? Whoa, let’s talk about that for a moment. If you had $18,000 saved to extend your maternity leave would that be more alluring? Imagine dropping to 2 days a week during your baby’s first year of life by renting a room you weren’t doing anything in.

My lack of better judgement

Here’s what my math would have looked like. When I was younger, we bought a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house when we became engaged. (I did not follow my “buy the house you need, not the house you want advice. It was my childhood home, so cut me slack.) So, if we rented all 3 bedrooms with a 25% vacancy rate, we would have had $40,000 in the bank after 3 years which was the timeframe before we had our first child. There was absolutely no reason we didn’t have roommates after we became a married couple. Sure, roommates can be annoying but so is a house payment. We could have been putting that extra money on our home loan, saving it for me to cut my hours after our daughter was born, or retire 2 years earlier. (After 20 years, at a 7% rate of return it would have been $150,000.)

Is “Your Space” that important?

My space is important to me at this point of my life. It’s not really my space that I cherish but my kids’ space. I don’t want to rent out a room to someone at this point, to be honest we don’t even have an extra room. If we did, I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to a stranger in their home. If we had a different set up, I might think differently but having a renter’s room right next to my little people isn’t acceptable to me right now. BUT 10 years ago, hell yeah, I wish I would have taken advantage of our spare bedrooms.


If this concept is at all interesting to you, you can go to furnishedfinders.com to see how much you could potentially rent your space for. I prefer joining groups on Facebook that match travelers with landlords, such as, Travel Nurse Housing – The Gypsy Nurse. I post my rental for free and it’s for nurses only. This way if someone is a deadbeat they are gone after 3 months. I’m helping a friend rent their 2 bedroom basement apartment and I get a 10% commission every month.

If you have spare bedrooms that are unused and you don’t want to rent them out, why do you have them? What’s the true cost of those extra rooms? You are not only paying extra for the property but also for taxes, utilities, and insurance. Do some math and decide if the extra space is worth working extra hours. Here’s an interesting article about the cost of the extra bedroom in different cities.

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