Living off-grid has become one of the most popular options for the preppers out there and every day, you hear stories about this alternative way of living. Although many people think that living off the grid means to live in a cabin, in the woods without basic comfort, the reality is totally different. Thanks to technological advances and due to the self-sufficiency solutions available today, living off-grid has become a lifestyle that offers freedom and lets you enjoy life without being stuck in the social vicious cycle. But, before giving up everything and dive head first into your new off-grid life, here’s what you need to know.
First, to live off-grid means living with what the land has to offer and learning how to make use of natural elements to ensure your sustainability.
Second, the transition from on-grid to off-the grid can be difficult for many people, especially if they didn’t considered how it will affect their lifestyle and what are the struggles they will have to overcome. For example, if your kids are hooked up 24/7 on their game consoles, switching to an environment that requires outdoor exploring and nature interaction will be a major shock for them.
If you have decided and if your mind is set to live off-grid, here are some suggestions you should keep in mind and follow, before you pack and move into the new house:
1. Start your new life without Debt.
When you want to live off-grid, the last thing you need is having some kind of debt threatening your future and peace of mind. Before starting this adventure you have to eliminate all your debt and be sure you don’t owe anyone at all. Any items such as loans, credit card debit or any other financial burden should all be paid off completely before starting your new life. You have to make sure there aren’t any bill collectors that can knock on your door. There isn’t any forest large enough or any hole deep enough to hide you from the bill collectors. I can’t stress this enough, make sure you will be free of debt, otherwise you will not be able to enjoy and live off the grid.
2. Have some money saved – you never know when you might need it.
All the people I know, that have decided to live off-grid have something put on the side for darker days. Some managed to save more than enough while others managed to save enough to give them a good start. You have to know that going off the grid will require a bit of startup cost and it’s better to have something in the bank, rather than making a mistake and start with a debt. To have a self-sufficient home will require some money, you will need to design it well enough, to cover the needs of your family and of course, you will need to build it. All the investments you put into your new home will pay for themselves and you will soon realize you don’t need so much money to live a fulfilling life. Once you buy the supplies and when everything is installed and in place, you will realize that you don’t need future investments to keep your home in good shape.
3. Do your homework and research the area you want to build and live in.
You wouldn’t buy a new house without seeing it first, right? And you should do the same before you go and live in a new place. Do some research regarding the seasonal weather, the surrounding environment and layout of the land, the criminality rate and anything that may pose a problem for your future home. You have two choices, you can either purchase an already built home or you can buy the land and build it yourself, the way you’ve imagined it. Before you make any commitments you should have a clear idea of what you want from your new home and how can it be influenced by the area you’ve got your eyes on. Some people just want a lot of land in a quiet, isolated area, but they fail to predict how the weather or the wildlife will affect their new life. If you live in a remote area, medical assistance will not be available and you will have to take care of yourself, to find ways to keep you healthy. Others just want an off the grid home located in a good community, that will give them the opportunity to use their skills and get rid of the monthly bills. However, if it’s a big community and things go south, it will be every man for himself. You will need to know how to protect yourself and always have a plan B on the side. There are many things to consider if you want to live off-grid and the more you learn about the area you want to live in, the better you will be later on.
4. Triple-check and learn the regulations to avoid running into any legal issues.
Sadly, to live off-grid has become illegal in some states and you have to know about these regulations before buying the land and building your new home. Personally, I will never understand why the government imposes these type of regulations, not even rainwater is free for the taking and it seems that the government is trying to make an enemy out of the US citizens. Unfortunately, we cannot escape from these regulations and it’s better to know what is possible and what is not when you live off-grid. Do a thorough research on what you will be able to do with the land you are about to purchase or what are the possible modifications you may want to make to the home. You will need a piece of land to live off-grid and it’s better to make the most of it.
5. Stock up on tools and make sure you have everything you might need.
To live off-grid will require starting your own garden and you should be able to do it. Not only it will cover most of your food needs, but it is also a relaxing and enjoyable activity. For certain, it will not be your small, hobby garden and depending on your land, you might want to expand and grow a large number of fruits and vegetables. You should already have a tool box in your house, I don’t know any man who doesn’t have one. But even so, before you start to live off-grid, it’s better to stock up on gardening tools that can be found in thrift shops, garage and yard sales, or just get them from friends who have some they do not use. Having more than one tool of the same type will be ideal, as you will be using them a lot. You will need all sorts of tools for your house and for your garden so make sure you can buy them in advance.
6. Practice to live off-grid before you GO PRO.
As I said at the beginning of this article, going off the grid is not for everyone and you should find out if you are cut for it, before starting the real experience. This lifestyle will mean some drastic changes in the way you and your family will be living, but it will also change the way you do everyday chores or tasks. Before you go and live off-grid you have to understand that you will be giving up so many of the easily available luxury items that you are used to. It might be easier for you, if you have a powerful will, but at the same time it may prove difficult for your family members. There are things you can do to see if living off the grid is for you. Your new lifestyle involves a lot less going out and more staying in to take care of your home. You can try cutting back on eating out and entertainment and see how that works for you. Also, you can start cooking more and try canning or any other projects you find appealing. To live off the grid doesn’t mean you will be completely cut off from the rest of the world, but it does mean cutting back on your internet usage, social media and gossip focus, and we all know this would be a tragedy for today’s youngsters. There will be times when you will have no power and you will have to learn how to deal with it. Try cutting down the time you spend on Facebook, start a few hobbies, spend more time with your kids and see how this is working out for them. Try living a month with the restrictions you would have when living off-grid and see how it plays out. If you manage to live through this training period, then you have a good chance to adapt and live off-grid, if not, you can look for something else or discuss every detail of off-grid living with your family before actually going for it.
7. Learn to generate a low income – Use your skills!
For most people that chose to live off-grid having big income to survive and thrive in the new life is not important. However, most of them have learned how to generate a small amount of cash flow and save up for emergencies. Before you go to live off-grid you should consider how you could earn a little money by living off the grid. Some sell their goods or crafts, some have turned to freelancing or have developed a home based business, while others barter or make good use of their skills. Once you go off the grid, you will have more free time than you did before so is better to know in advance how can you make good use of this free time. Identify which are your stronger skills, how can you develop them and most importantly, how can you make money from them. Maybe you’re a good handyman, or maybe the hobbies you had as a kid could earn you some money now. It is all up to you, how you reinvent yourself and how you thrive when you live off-grid.
8. If have a good thing going for you, make sure it lasts.
Keep in mind that to live off-grid will require some extra protection measures for you and your loved ones, as you never know what dangers might lay ahead. Some people decide to go and live off-grid in remote areas and they stockpile on guns and ammunition to fend for themselves, while others prefer the safety of their new off-grid community. Whatever your choice will be, you have to make sure you’ve taken all the possible precautionary measures and you’ve assured the proper safety for your loved ones. Get your hands on some reliable weapons, a good cleaning kit and stockpile some ammo. You are your best bodyguard and you should make sure the good thing you’ve built for your family lasts. Learn how to protect your home as there are many ways to do it, this video will teach you more. Once you’ve taken care of the safety factor is time to move to the next step.
9. Don’t just survive, thrive!
If you live off-grid it shouldn’t be about survival, it should be about thriving and enjoying your new lifestyle. You will have to learn how to make the best out of everything. You will need to learn new skills or develop the ones you have in order to assure the best comfort for you and your family. Learn what makes you and your loved ones happy and do everything you can to make it possible even when you live off-grid. Start canning to have a good amount of food supplies, learn how to barter (this article will show you the items needed for bartering), grow your favorite fruits and vegetables, surround yourself by useful animals (including pets for your kids) and do everything you can to improve the background and make it as hospitable as possible. Living off the grid will create a special bound between you and your family, it will teach kids how to be independent and you will learn to enjoy the little things, just like you did, when you were a kid. You should plan your storage room so that it contains everything you might need, you should keep a thorough inventory and you should replace your provisions on a regular basis. There are items that go fast in a crisis and it’s better to know what you should stockpile.
10. Take advantage of nature and its elements
To live off-grid is about nature and being part of it, is about respecting nature and learning more about your surroundings with each passing day. There will be times when nature will be your best friend and there will be times when it will be your worst enemy, it is all about learning to cope with it and moving forward. This is why you need to know how to take advantage of what nature has to offer. You should learn how to hunt, how to fish and even how to forage, as these activities will add a little extra to your food supplies and will help you go through harsh times, when food is scarce. Learn which are the medicinal plants you can grow in your garden, how you can use them and how you can preserve them for later use. Take advantage of the rainy season and collect rainwater. Learn how to use the power of the elements, install additional solar panels, wind turbines or even a micro hydro plant to harness the power of water. There are many ways in which nature can work for you when you live off-grid.
Living off-grid will be a constant learning experience and the idea you may have for your home and how it will function may be completely different from the way it will work out in reality. Take into consideration these suggestions before deciding to go and live off-grid and you will know which are the things you have to do and how to do them.
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