Countless people dream of living off the grid. They seek the adventure, the scenery, the privacy, and above all the freedom. This is the freedom from not relying on the government and from debt. If you are on your own land secluded from everyone you could do almost anything as long as you don’t hurt anyone.
The original “American Dream” was about being self-reliant and living off the land. This might not be your ideal vision. But it’s still interesting to see how some people live and there’s no harm in dreaming.
In fact, my husband and I are planning to move off the grid in the Rocky Mountains by this upcoming Fall. Subscribe to see how that’s going to work out.
When I go off the grid I don’t want us to be hunting for our food. I don’t have time for that. So, we’ll be driving to the grocery store and buying in bulk.
That being said, I suggest you get a “significant other” before taking this leap. I’m sure the forest isn’t a good place to find a date. After you’ve got that covered then do the following to get off the grid and into freedom.
Things To Do Before Going Off-Grid
1. Buy Land
I recommend you check out Landwatch.com to find your perfect piece of land. Prices vary from $1,000 to $5,000 per acre on average.
Also, just because you go off the grid doesn’t mean you must be secluded, deep in the wilderness. Your home can be off the grid and you can still live close enough to drive to work. Just make sure it’s legal to live off grid in that county.
Characteristics of Good Land
- Choose a place somewhat near a grocery store (unless you plan on hunting your food every day). Once your homestead is paid off (which shouldn’t be that long) you’ll have plenty of extra money to eat like a king or queen.
- Trees – to build with and for privacy
- Rocks – can be used to build structures.
- Secluded – your property will be harder to get to and therefore safer.
- Mild Temperatures – choose an area that has tolerable winters and summers.
2. Have Ways to Make Money Off The Grid
You’ll want to choose several flows of income. You will still need to buy things and pay money to maintain equipment.
- Work from home with satellite Internet.
- Sell hand-crafted items or furniture.
- Rent out goats (they are natural lawn mowers and fertilizers).
- Sell your homegrown vegetables at the farmer’s market.
- Write a book.
Camper trailers or RVs
Campers and RVs are probably the best choices to live in while you build your permanent home. RVs or campers are even more ideal if they have a compost toilet and solar panels already installed.
Click here to see some designs and prices of campers.
Yurts (can be a temporary or permanent home.)
A yurt is a simple, lightweight home that can withstand strong winds and icy cold winters. They have been a part of central Asian life for about 3,000 years. Mongolian nomadic people lived in them through harsh winters.
It is quite the clever design. When the top ring cover (on the roof) is open, warm air rises through it. This pulls cool air into the yurt’s open windows.
Also, its lattice-like frame can bend. So, if you’ve got a few feet of snow on its roof, the weight is distributed throughout the flexible frame.
4. Solar Panels
As soon as your shelter is setup you’ll want to install some solar panels.
First, you’ll want to go to your online electricity account. You can also check your past bills. It will show you your Kilowatt Hour (kWh) usage for the past year. Write that number down.
Cost of Solar Panels
Low energy usage 3kW = about $7,000
High energy usage 12kW = about $28,000
While the initial costs of installing solar panels may seem expensive these panels will pay for themselves in 4-6 years. You will pay much more than the cost of solar panels on your electric bill over your lifetime. Plus, there are state incentives for going solar.
5. Water Well Installation
To get a well installed you will need to get a permit and pay $100 to the Division of Water Resources for that area. Why they think they own the world’s water, I don’t know. The turnaround time for the permit is 4-6 weeks.
So, before your well is finished you will need to buy jugs of water or use a rain catching system.
6. Install a Septic System
Unless you want to use a compost toilet or an outhouse, you’ll need a septic tank. Call your local septic system installers for an appointment. The installation will cost about $3,000 to $5,300.
And voila! You’ve built the dream and you’ve secured your future.
Can you imagine the amount of pride you would have every day after you complete your homestead? After you pay it off (which will be much sooner than paying off a mortgage) you no longer have utilities or rent/mortgage. You could afford to travel and really experience life.
Would you live off the grid?
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