The idea of living off the grid has been flying around for quite a long time now.
Sometimes, you can’t help but think that maybe the influence of all these movies about the apocalypse and zombies have penetrated the layers of our society that we can no longer tell fiction from real life.
But there’s more to an off-grid lifestyle and fortunately, most people are drawn to it not because of those crazy Hollywood movie portrayals.
Living off the grid (also known as homesteading) is popular for all the right reasons – the practical and economic benefits that can be achieved in the long run.
Just like everything else, there’s more than one way to live off the grid.
If you’re among those who are highly interested in an off-grid lifestyle but not really sure what it’s all about, then you’re in the right place.
Today, I am going to walk you through three different ways to go off-the-grid.
The Alaskan Style
Going all out is the cheapest way to go.
Essentially, you will be ‘roughing it’ by building a small home on a parcel of land, which equates to a dry cabin.
You will have no water and not be hooked to a local power grid.
The only thing you have is a structure and, for sanitary reasons, an outhouse.
You will heavily rely on a generator for your power supply and in order to conserve energy, you can use matches and candles to light up your surroundings in the evening.
If you don’t have a well, the most viable option available is to haul in water.
There are alternative ways to source water such as collecting rainwater and then storing that in a large underground bladder.
Sourcing your water from the rain this way can cost you more, so you might want to look at other options to meet your water supply needs.
Another thing to note is that getting off the grid this way means having to hand wash your laundry or frequenting the laundromat, which can both get utterly exhausting.
Preparing food will also require more work because you will not have access to an electric stove you can just fire up in a jiffy.
Alternative methods of refrigerating food without an actual refrigerator will definitely play an important role to preserve the freshness and viability of your supply.
Lastly, just imagine how taking a bath can become a more interesting activity for the lack of having a shower room with running water.
Taking all these things into consideration is a must because jumping into this lifestyle is delving into the extremes.
It will take a while to be completely used to the lack of certain privileges.
A lot of people are unable to sustain this lifestyle after realizing that they cannot be fully weaned off their modern living comforts and that is totally understandable!
Partially/Halfway Off the Grid
This is the way to go for small-scale homesteaders.
You will raise your own food and become self-sufficient rather than relying on the modern system in terms of meeting your dietary requirements.
However, you will still be hooked to the municipal power grid.
You can choose to implement an electric-powered well and a septic tank, which you should be able to do so without a problem because they are not exactly cosmic expenses.
Aside from those major changes, everything else will pretty much be the same.
Cooking will be the same and turning the lights on will be super easy because you will still have your electric appliances and your house is still connected to the power grid.
You must be wondering now, “How exactly is this an off-grid lifestyle?”
Truth be told, a lot of people wouldn’t consider this living off the grid.
But remember, there’s an emphasis on being partial or just being halfway there.
You can be selective and choose only a few specific off-the-grid elements to become self-sufficient.
While that may not be much, it is certainly a step in the right direction in preparing you for the last off-grid lifestyle we are going to walk you through on this post.
The Contemporary Off-Grid Life
Living off the grid with all your modern conveniences sounds like a very tempting yet dreamy idea.
It is possible and while you may not realize it, there are plenty of people out there who live off the grid but don’t seem like they are.
Drastically cutting back on your expenses and not relying upon the local power grid for anything are key.
Going off the grid this way means the implementation of an electric-powered well to suffice your water supply needs.
Add a hand crank to the well to ensure you make use of your well when your power source is out or still replenishing.
You will have a regular bathroom that will not run into a city sewage system but into a septic tank.
In order to properly maintain your septic system, follow through the steps here.
Like I mentioned earlier, you will be disconnected from the local power grid.
In order to fill the electric power gap, you will have to implement a solar power source.
There are other alternative methods to draw electric power, namely hydro (water) and wind-powered systems.
If you don’t live in a place with abundant wind power or are concerned that water dries up (which is a sensible thing to consider), solar power becomes the obvious choice.
The sun will always be there to constantly give the opportunity to draw solar power from it.
It is also worth mentioning that the prices of solar panels continue to decline, and a lot of companies continue to make them more affordable.
Plus, you no longer have to deal with these ginormous battery packs that extract solar power.
You can get this relatively small battery instead that attaches to the side of your home.
Even better is that you can incorporate solar shingles to your roof to maximize your household’s capacity to draw solar power into the small battery on the side of your home.
While solar panels in general have become more affordable, you need to realize that they can still be quite a luxury of an investment if you plan to use the amounts of energy you normally use, especially if you have a large home.
Regardless, there are financing options available that will allow you to easily obtain solar panels.
They are normally paid in a 20-year period.
Thanks to the ITC, also known as the federal solar tax credit, you get to have tax credits for having solar panels installed in your home.
If you choose to go to a solar bank, they will offer you lower monthly payments and might seem more attractive by being less than what your average monthly bill would be.
The downside is that they will take your solar tax credit and that is usually a large sum of money.
If possible, save up before investing on a solar panel, or at least consider going for a home equity line of credit rather than solar bank financing.
Either way, make sure to do some research first to determine whether you should hire a solar installation crew or doing it yourself.
Once you get solar panels installed and finally able to harness renewable energy from the sun, you can finally start switching over to solar powered appliances.
In short, the idea is to live totally off the grid yet feel as if almost nothing has changed.
Whichever route you choose to take in pursuing an off-grid lifestyle, the most important part is finding fulfillment throughout the process and that you are happy in putting the pieces together.
I hope this guide has helped in giving you some perspective in viewing what your off-grid lifestyle should really be.
See you on the next post!