Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

Highlights

Open

10,000 Games Galore Sweepstakes from AARP

AARP Auto Buying Program

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Games Galore Sweepstakes

Sept. 3, 2014 - Oct. 14, 2014
Play AARP Games for a chance to win $10,000!
See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

Save a Buck

Free Land

You'll have to build a house, but what's under it won't cost you a cent

Want small-town living for an even smaller price? Even in the 21st century, free land is available in the United States for modern-day homesteaders willing to build a house and live in it.

free land

— Roine Magnusson/Getty Images

Most of the programs are in the Midwest, run by local governments that hope to revitalize the population and tax base of farming or fledgling manufacturing burgs. Certain qualifications, building requirements and related costs apply.

For instance, in New Richland, Minn., about 80 miles from Minneapolis, you can get an 86-by-133-foot plot for free. You'll have to pay about $25,000 in assessments for such things as water and sewer — but after tax incentives, which are income qualified, that could drop to about $14,000, the city says. And you're required to build a home, at least 1,000 square feet with a two-car garage on the land within a year of the deed's being issued.

Other states with free land programs include Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. And entrepreneurs take note: In Camden, Maine, a 3.5-acre lot is available for people willing to start job-creating businesses.

Contact the Center for Rural Affairs about free-land programs elsewhere.

Of course you can't expect these locales to resemble traditional retirement havens in Florida or Arizona. Still, retirees are encouraged to apply — and will generally enjoy lack of rush-hour traffic, low or nonexistent crime, and a rural lifestyle.

"I live next door to an elderly retired couple, and there's another retiree across the street — but he's in his 20s. You don't need much money to live here," says Aaron Brachfeld of the Meadowlark Cooperative, which provides lots of between 1/8 and 1 acre in Agate, Colo., a farming community about 30 minutes outside of Denver.

That program is privately run, drawing on land from a 60-acre parcel. Participants don't have to pay cash for the land but must maintain membership in the cooperative, through such things as donations of labor or grown food. For more info, send e-mail to meadowlarkcolorado@gmail.com.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Official Sweepstakes Rules