It took some work on our part here , but we are now looking at out of our pockets at $400/month for total monthly housing expenses (mortgage, electric, phone, water/trash, heat). Of course repairs and improvements would put us over that $400, but here's how we do it:
1. Bought a large 5 bedroom house in a cheap neighborhood. Mortgage = -$1000
2. All utilities on entire house = -$500
3. A total of 3 of the bedrooms rented out = $1100
Leaving us responsible for $400. We bought this house for the purpose of sharing it with another family (that didn't go as planned), but put some ads on Craigslist and screened roommates. We have been blessed with no real problems with roommates (besides occasional everyone wanting to take a shower at the same time...luckily there are two bathrooms) and it has been fun to share life with them. If things got REALLY tight financially, we probably could rent out one more bedroom, but first we need to get rid of stuff we're storing for that family that was supposed to move in with us.
The only bad side of this is that we are going to have some improvements coming up this year that are required. I am limiting them to ones to bring the house back to a livable shape or cost me minimally out of pocket. They are repairing the driveway after we replaced the water line this past January, install front storm door (reduce drafts in the winter), and install insulation everywhere I can.