It’s a long-held tradition that with military service comes horrible housing. Whether it’s black mold in the barracks, lead paint in family homes, or feces raining from the ceiling, there’s no shortage of disturbing domiciles to which troops and their loved ones can be assigned.

As such, we’ve compiled a list of BAH-friendly alternatives one might consider.

In a van down by the river

Divorced motivational speaker Matt Foley wants listeners to know that although living in a van down by the river was once the negative consequence of drug use, these days it’s prime real estate with a view.

A cardboard box under the highway

Nothing says adventure like having a house you can take with you. The world is your backyard. With the BAH you’re saving, you can also get the closet-sized box and make it a duplex.

Among the mole people in the NYC subway tunnels

No rent, no sunlight, no problem. Once you’ve dealt with black mold in the barracks, this network of underground mazes laden with rats and decades of grime is a cake walk.

Subletting from the old woman who lived in a shoe

If you can get past the stench, the shoe is a gem. Plus, she raised an incalculable number of kids in those cozy confines, so it’s great for a growing military family.

Rent Oscar the Grouch’s garbage can

The mean, green Sesame Street curmudgeon realized he can make a fortune by living upstate and renting his efficiency-sized aluminum garbage can to a family of four. Just watch out for Big Bird — he’s a nosey neighbor.

Move back in with the parents

This is tricky if your duty station isn’t in your hometown. However, the amount you’d be saving in housing could easily go towards taking a commuter flight to your installation each morning. And you get to eat mom’s spaghetti every night.

The fires of Hell

Oh wait, that’s where you are now.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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