How to Live Off the Grid With No Money
Off-grid living continues to grow in popularity, and for a good reason. Some pine for a more eco-friendly lifestyle; others want more independence in case of natural disaster. But there's a problem: off-grid living can be expensive upfront, especially once the land, housing, utilities, and food are factored in.
The cost is a big deterrent to those dreaming of off-grid living. But many don't realize there are ways to go off-grid for ultra-cheap, if not free. All that's necessary are survival techniques, a will to work, and the right connections. Want to learn how to get off the grid with no money? Keep reading for a list of ways to get off the grid affordably.
How to Live Off the Grid with No Money
Going off-grid means disconnecting from public services, like the electric-grid, municipal water, and the internet. Some choose to build entire homes with modern amenities powered by wind or solar. Others forsake the bells and whistles and live off-grid for free. How is this possible? There are multiple avenues to take, and we’ll explore them below.
Live off the grid for free with off-grid communities
There are many established communities for those pining to slip the grid. Ironically, many of these communities can be found online, where you can apply to become part of the group. These communities tend to be work exchanges, where you provide labor in exchange for room and board.
Typically, the required labor in these communities is farming, cleaning, and property upkeep. Communities are great for getting started in the off-grid lifestyle. It allows people to try the lifestyle for a period of time with a group of like-minded people. Within the group, you’ll already have access to resources like gardens, water, shelter, and toilets. Many of these communities even let participants stay after the initially agreed-upon work period is up.
There are also certain homestay programs that cater to those looking to live off-grid. As the name suggests, you stay with a family in their home for free or for a small fee. If you do your research, you may be able to find a perfect off-grid getaway somewhere overseas.
All-in-all, this might be the cheapest way to live off-grid.
Get off-grid from the ground up, literally
If you don't want to join a pre-existing community, there are other ways to go off-grid for practically free, but they require the most know-how and planning.
Find free land
Did you know that certain US states provide people with free land? But there is a catch: you must agree to build a home and settle there for an agreed-upon period. Many places in Canada offer the same deal.
If negotiating with state agencies doesn't appeal to you, you can also connect with someone who has land and is willing to let off-gridders stay there. For example, you could connect with a farmer looking for responsible people to work the land in exchange for a free plot.
Once you find the land, you'll need to construct a small house. There are many resources available about how to gather cheap, eco-friendly materials and turn them into a safe place to live. For example, you can use an old shipping container, or you can build a cabin out of logs, crates, or pallets. These are all materials that are often given out for free.
Find food and water
After finding land and securing shelter, next comes finding ways to harvest utilities and resources. To start, it’s important to construct a system to harvest rainwater, like using an old tarp to funnel rain into a clean basin or cistern. Or, a fancier option is to install gutters that collect rainwater.
You'll also need food. Gardening is a great, cheap way to have a dependable food source. Hunting, fishing, and foraging are also great options. However, make sure you build up a basic knowledge of foraging so you don't accidentally pick the wrong mushroom and cut your off-grid journey short.
Electricity is the trickiest piece of the puzzle to navigate at a low cost. Unless you plan on living without electricity, there are not many viable ways to obtain power without an upfront investment. But, of course, solar and wind energy are free once the system is set up.
You can find a cheap solar kit that harvests and stores a small amount of power for $500-$1,000, but this will only work to power simple devices. To set up solar energy for a larger home, you're looking at a $5,000-$15,000 investment. Additionally investing in battery storage is always recommended, as it gives you an extra reservoir of power for emergencies.
Get Your Research, Get Started, and Get Off the Grid
Now that you understand the basics of how to live off the grid with no money, the next step is to continue researching and planning your move.
Remember, an off-grid solar kit is the best option for generating power for those starting out on an off-grid lifestyle.
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