Although hostels, Airbnb and Homestay are popular accommodations, have you considered house sitting when traveling? House sitting is gaining momentum and it’s a service that benefits pet owners, homeowners, and travelers. When Brittnay and Jayden moved to Dublin, they quickly realized that rent was extremely high so they looked into house sitting. Brittnay Sharman is a house sitting expert who enjoys sharing money-saving strategies for long-term travel and she successfully completed four house sitting assignments in Ireland. In this blog post, Brittnay explains why living in Dublin is so expensive, tips on how to get started house sitting and how she saved over 5,000 € house sitting in Ireland.
Take it away Brittnay!
House Sitting in Ireland
How house sitting transformed our experience living in Dublin and saved us money!
Dublin is a beautiful place to live. It has lovely parks, beautiful beaches, and welcoming people. However, we didn’t move here on purpose. We were living in London for the past two years and loving it. During that time we had managed to visit 21 countries and couldn’t imagine our lives anywhere else. However, our visas were expiring and we needed a plan.
Our first thought was Spain, then Dublin. Dublin was close, easy to get visas for and similar climate to the UK. What we didn’t know was that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in Europe.
When we looked into rental properties, we were shocked.
It was a minimum of 1,450 € for a room in a share house. This was for the bare minimum and would be with students in a significantly older home. Our recent house sitting job for a friend came to mind, we could try house sitting in Dublin.
After lots of research and applying, we landed our first sit via Skype.
Our first house sit was at the home of a lovely young expat family from Australia. They were off to France for three weeks. This couple needed someone to look after their elderly lab Roxy and their eight-bedroom mansion.
When we arrived, we were ushered through the big gates and met Roxy. Roxy, the most relaxed dog in Dublin, who only required a walk up and down the driveway every second day.
With our four-week stay in Dalkey finishing up soon, we thought we better find a new home. With a week until we would be homeless, we came across another house sit in Dalkey. After a quick exchange with the homeowners, we were locked in for another four weeks in Dalkey.
Even with one successful house sit down, we were still nervous. This house was even nicer than the last. It had been the winner of “Ireland’s most beautiful home” the previous year. We were also in charge of looking after her parents’ dogs as well. Nori, a Chinese Hairless Crested and Dodo an elderly Whippet. We were quite a sight on our daily walks with this electric crew.
Our homeowner was even kind enough to put us on her insurance so we could drive her yellow Mini around town. The dogs loved a trip to the beach which was only 5 minutes away.
Why Is Housing So Expensive In Dublin?
Demand Far Outweighs Supply
There are two main factors attributing to the high cost of living in Dublin: large corporations purchasing a vast number of properties for temporary employees as well as many construction projects being abandoned during the recession.
The reality is that demand in Dublin far outweighs supply. This has led to rent price surges as high as London and Paris.
The Digital Boom
Dublin has also been recently named the “European Silicon Valley”.
Many companies have their European base in Dublin with the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. They are all taking advantage of the low corporation tax.
Having these companies in Dublin means that there are great opportunities for local workers. However, it has also brought an influx of international workers.
This is yet another reason why there aren’t many rental properties available in Dublin.
How Expensive Is Dublin?
Heading out for a drink is an Irish way of life but it is hardly affordable. Pints here are more expensive than in most cities in Europe.
A pint of Guinness will cost you around 8,00 € and it will be 10,00-12,00 € if you decide to drink at Temple Bar.
A glass of wine will be 8,00 € and a cocktail will cost around 14,00 €.
Alcohol prices in supermarkets are cheaper, with a bottle of wine costing around 14,00 € which is double what you would expect to pay in Rome.
Here’s how much it costs to spend a week in Rome.
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How We Saved Over 5,000 € House Sitting In Ireland
House sitting allows you to save on transport, bills, household goods and food. However, rental costs are where we saved the most.
Saving on rental costs
Over the three months we spent in Dublin, we saved at least 1,450 € per month, which over three months amounts to 4,350 €.
Through house sitting in Ireland, we were able to put these savings towards buying a campervan for the summer.
Another advantage to house sitting in Ireland was that we were able to live in homes that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. House sitting in Ireland gave us the opportunity to live in three luxurious homes in the most expensive parts of Dublin.
One of the areas we lived in was a seaside village 20 minutes from the city centre. With castles, harbours, and nearby beaches, Dalkey was a lovely area to live.
We couldn’t say we were surprised when we found out that Enya and Bono also lived here!
Saving on transport
During one of our house sits we were given access to a very stylish yellow Mini. Having a car allowed us to drive to work and explore the area we were living in.
Public transport in Dublin is one of the most expensive systems in Europe, making it more costly than Zurich and Brussels.
We were both spending around 6,00 € a day for public transport as well as spending an hour each way.
With our yellow Mini, a tank of gas would last two weeks and only cost 40 €, previously our transport costs were 144 € per week. At 20 € a week for fuel, we managed to save 124 € per week, therefore saving around 496 € a month.
Saving on bills
Bills were another expense that we managed to avoid while house sitting in Ireland. Always within reason, we were able to enjoy well-heated rooms and nice warm showers knowing there were no bills at the end of the month.
We didn’t have to worry about internet or phones bills coming in either. By house sitting in Dublin, we saved around 100 € per month.
Saving on household goods
You may not assume that household goods are much of an expense, however, cutting out the need to purchase things like shower cleaners, washing detergents, toilet cleaner and toilet paper adds up.
By house sitting, we managed to cut out a large chunk of our shopping bills.
Being foodies, we love to cook so having access to kitchens that were the size of our previous apartments was fantastic. This meant that we were less likely to venture out for meals. This saved us on average 80 € per month.
How Do You Get Started House Sitting
We advise learning as much as you can about the process of house sitting as it can be very competitive.
To help you get started, here is a guide of how to become a house sitter.
Who knows, you could land a house sit at a beachfront villa in Bali or in a small village in Austria overlooking the snowy mountains from your quaint cottage balcony.
Through house sitting in Ireland, we have created lifelong friendships and discovered the generosity of people in Ireland. The homeowner from our second sit was nothing short of amazing to us. We have been over for dinner and she even invited us to her parents’ home for the weekend. Through house sitting, we have also been lucky enough to discover places in Ireland that we would never have had the opportunity to see.
And after moving five times in Dublin, we are traveling to New Zealand for two months for our next house sit.
We look forward to the adventures ahead.
About Brittnay Sharman: Brittnay is a professional house sitter from Australia. She has been living in London for the past two years and recently moved to Dublin. She has visited over 21 countries in Europe and Africa in that time (including lots of cheese, wine, and beaches).
You can find all her adventures in house sitting and travels on The Travelling House Sitters.
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, writer, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.