Have you ever seen those photos on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube of couples living in a revamped school bus or a tiny house? How about the videos of people making fires to heat their coffee or capturing wind speed via a wind turbine? Maybe the tiny home in the middle of the woods running off a diesel generator instead of an electrical grid?
The thought may have crossed your mind of how much happier they are without the stress of city life with high population density. Or how much money people are saving by living below their means from the rest of the country.
When you think about it, “grid living” really just means living without a slew of modern conveniences and amenities. Your first thought when hearing “living off the grid” maybe those van couples, or it may be a crazy old man living off the land in a battered tent alongside bears while avoiding property taxes.
Either way, those people are living for much less than you probably are! Living without some conveniences ultimately leads to less money spent overall and can help you lead a happier life.
Fortunately for all of us “normal” people, living off the grid doesn’t just mean giving up everything and living in the woods immediately. “Living off the grid” means being self-sufficient and less reliant on municipal utilities, simple to do in small steps.
If you want to know a few steps you can take to start going off-grid and see how you compare to the daily life of a pro , keep reading to see.
“Off-grid living” centers around a lot of eco-friendly habits, including reducing your electricity use. Many people dedicated to an off-grid lifestyle depend on on-grid solar power for renewable energy. They live in off-grid homes that various energy systems, such as a solar panel to collect off-grid energy to charge a battery bank for reserves.
They are definitely saving on their utility bills with free electricity!
For us “normal” people, one easy way to cut costs and be more environmentally friendly is simply turning off your bedroom lights! Turn off the lamp and larger lights each time you leave the room or unplugging phone charges, even if you’ll be back in a few minutes; every hour of electricity costs you about $0.16, and every penny counts!
If you’re planning to live off the land, you’re probably want to reuse items that you already own. For example, how many blankets, pillows, and throws do you have in your bedroom? And how often do you replace them?
You don’t need a new decorative pillow or side table knick-knack. By limiting your decor purchases, you’ll save tons and be one step closer to living off-grid.
Furthermore, by learning how to mend the comfort items you already own, you can save up to $100 per year and become more independent within your home. Thankfully, you haven’t given up the Internet yet, so you can click here to find a video guide on how to mend your items.
Water and Sewage
Getting off the grid also means having a natural water source because you’ll be disconnected from the city water. You can accomplish this by having a rainwater collection system (also known as rainwater harvesting) to provide you the running water you need.
However, since there isn’t any sewer, you’ll have to find alternative solutions, such as a composting toilet or a septic system.
The kitchen is one of the places that we are most dependent on public utilities. I won’t ask you to cut off your stove and throw out your fridge immediately, but there are steps you can do to cook your food and cut some kitchen costs. A person who knows how to live off the grid, can just depend on a wood burning stove to cook their food.
If you’re looking for more cost saving strategies in the kitchen, you can avoid buying paper towels!! By relying on paper towels, you rely on large industries to create those products. Paper towel alternatives have become very popular as of late, even though the United States is still number one in paper towel usage globally. If you want to be resourceful, you can cut down old towels and t-shirts to stock in the kitchen. If you’re not entirely on that level, looking up “unpaper towels” on Etsy will yield cute, environmentally friendly results that will cut your costs on those products.
A person living on the land derives their food from different methods, such as hunting, fishing, gardening, farming, composting, etc. However, even if you’re not going to live off-grid, shopping smarter for groceries can mostly cut your monthly costs. Things like buying from minimalistic grocery stores, buying straight from farms, and growing your produce can slice your grocery bill in half.
Try to buy fewer packaged items and instead hit up your local farmer’s market or your backyard. In addition to shopping smarter, you can always cook smarter too. Living off the grid means you never waste food and use your resources wisely.
To do this, figure out what things you have that go bad before you can eat them. If you like smoothies, freeze your bananas and separate them off the stems. If you make a lot of soup, keep veggie stalks to create your stock. The opportunities are endless, and so are the savings!
An unexpected place to cut costs in your home is the laundry room! Just think of all the products and electricity you use in that room alone; between dryer sheets, laundry detergent, and running the washing machine, the laundry room is eating away at your bank account. I’m not suggesting you forgo your washer and dryer, but there are some methods you can implement to cut down on that room’s bill.
The laundry room is likely where you store many of your cleaning supplies, a significant money waster! Americans spend almost $200 on cleaning supplies each year, and that’s not even considering new appliances like vacuum cleaners and mops.
The good news is that making your cleaning supplies is practical, easy, and astronomically cheaper than buying them at the store. Since there are so many different types of cleaning supplies, I won’t list them all now, but click here for a recipe on making your multipurpose cleaner and here for a guide to many other types of cleaners.
The best part: you can customize your scents and ingredients and know exactly what’s going into those products and onto your surfaces!
If you’re someone that uses dryer sheets, you could be overspending by hundreds of dollars a year. One alternative to this is to buy or make dryer balls! These are small fabric balls that act as dryer sheets in reducing static and softening fabric, and they’ve exploded in popularity in the past few years.
Living off the grid can mean much more than moving into the wilderness, depending on survival skills every single day. At its simplicity, it’s about freedom. You don’t need the most expensive summer vacation, your off-grid home can be the perfect “staycation.“
But, with freedom, you still need a way to support yourself financially. To increase your cash flow, you can reduce your expenses by saving, which everyone can take steps to achieve.
By making small changes in your house’s living space, you can cut a lot of your costs and ease into the “off the grid lifestyle.” There are plenty of other ways to go off the grid: you can be more electricity conscious, raise chickens and cattle (find a guide to starting that here), cut out plastic usage, or even filter your water.
Even so, I hope this article provided you with some helpful tips and tricks to start your journey to more self-sufficiency. Find out the ratio of off and on-grid that works for you, and watch your life become more fulfilling as you become a little bit wealthier.