The First Steps: Living Off the Grid for Beginners
Homesteading is making a comeback. As people become exhausted from the constant nickel-and-diming from utility companies, many find serenity in ditching public services and taking matters into their own hands.
Off-grid lifestyles come with many benefits. Now, with pushes for more sustainable energy, there are even massive tax breaks for adopting renewable energy. Does this appeal to you? If so, you're probably thinking, "Yes, but where do I start?"
Before beginning an off-grid journey, there are many important steps to take, tips to learn, and secrets to know. Below is a snapshot beginner's guide to living off the grid.
What is Living Off the Grid?
Before choosing a method in which you'll live off-grid, first, it's important to know what it is. Essentially, living off the grid means that you're severing ties with public utilities. This could be public electricity, water, or sewerage. Essentially, to call yourself a true off-gridder, you must not rely on common utilities in any way.
Going off grid is often done piecemeal, and many choose to do so gradually, building up their energy and resource independence as they go along. It's not a lifestyle that needs to be swallowed whole, and a gradual approach is often great for beginners. Here, you can start by choosing a specific resource, like electricity, and purchasing a modular system that allows you to add more dependence on it as you go along.
More Ways Than One: Living Off the Grid for Beginners
There isn't one way to live off grid. Some do so with minimalism, others with extravagance. How you go about it hinges on your knowledge base, consumption needs, and personal preferences. While the list below isn't exhaustive, it'll provide a well-rounded list as you research how to get started with off-grid living as a beginner.
Join an off-grid community or homestay program
One of the simplest ways to begin an off-grid journey is by joining an off-grid community or homestay. You can find and apply to these communities online; the only expectation is that you work to help maintain the property and land you stay on. These are a great introduction to the off-grid lifestyle without making a huge financial investment. Then, if you find it appeals to you, it's easier to branch off and take the next step.
Live in an RV, camper, or tent
Off-grid living tends to appeal to nomadic types, although they might not care to pick one place to settle down. Not to worry. Off-grid living caters to the traveling spirit just as much as the homesteader. Wanderers can buy an RV or van equipped with solar energy for a truly off-grid mobile rig.
However, if you're an essentialist or don't drive, you can travel with nothing more than a tent or yurt. Campers can even purchase a small solar energy kit to bring along to harvest energy, even if they're deep in the wilderness.
Create your own off-grid paradise
Being a beginner doesn't mean you can't go all in. Many feel the calling; if this is you, you might be ready to build a long-term off-grid home. But to do this, you'll need land.
Research different areas to get off-grid land. For example, Southwestern states tend to offer off-grid land that's affordable and spacious, and they have much laxer off-grid laws. Also, plan your financial needs, as the upfront costs for building a home aren't cheap.
Once you have the land, you can think about building a house. Typically, an off-grid house costs about $30,000-$60,000. From there, you'll need to install systems for collecting resources. For water, build a well or create a rain-catching system; these are relatively cheap, costing between $1,000-$10,000. Solar energy systems begin at around $5,000 for smaller setups and range to $50,000 or more depending on capacity and power needs.
Finally, you'll need to work the land, raise livestock, hunt, or fish for resources. If you plan on gardening, consider this when buying land, as you'll need a plot with soil good for growing.
Living Off the Grid for Beginners: Start your Off Grid Journey Today
For beginners looking to live off the grid, the first step to getting off grid the right way is research. There are many great resources, blogs, and articles online explaining more about how to go off grid successfully.
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