How to get off grid with not a lot of money… that is the holy grail, right? I see many people posting messages here and on other websites, all saying very much the same thing, they want to be independent, to have a piece of land, to have a small place to live, to be off grid, but they don’t have the money to do it, they often want to join other people in hopes of pooling resources, or just jumping on someone else’s bandwagon.
I am here to tell you it is possible to do this without resorting to illegal means and without having to join with other people or a group to get off grid.
I’m sure my way isn’t the only way, but it’s how we did it and it works for us. You may have to take a different path, but a path you must take if you truly want to do this.
First, it’s going to take some money, it can’t be done for free, and you will have to earn it, there is really no way around that, unless you have a relative who is going to leave you a bundle of money or a property, if you have that going for you, then you can skip the financial part, lucky you :)
If you don’t have money already, then you are going to have to save, scrimp, put back every penny you don’t absolutely have to spend of living. It is amazing how much money people waste every paycheck, every day… You might have to work more than one job, you will have to live as cheaply as you can, that means not paying for anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to live, don’t go out to eat, eat at home, buy inexpensive food, don’t splurge, buy used cars, shop at thrift stores for as much as you can, every penny you don’t spend on living is money that will be going toward your future. If the company you work for offers a savings plan, a stock plan, a 401K plan, then sock every penny you can into it, especially if they will match it. Put that money aside and do NOT touch it. The more money you can put back, the quicker you will be able to start living your dream.
Next you are going to need a property, one that is owned by you, free and clear, now that goes back to the money thing, look for cheap property, but be smart about it. Be absolutely sure the property you are looking at will be able to accommodate you and your needs. Check and double check to make sure you will be able to live as you wish on your property, and check out any neighbors you will have, it’s no fun to have crappy neighbors or nosy neighbors. Check for restrictions, the more you CAN’T do on your property, the more restricted you will be on being independent.
Look for properties with “issues”, the property I bought was cheaper because the access to it was difficult, there is a seasonal creek running across the front of the property, the far bank goes up about 15 feet and there isn’t an easy way to drive a vehicle across, my neighbor has a bridge, we don’t… that alone made the property less desirable, to most people, but not to us.
Now, while you are doing all of this, you need to assess your skills. How handy are you? Can you build? Can you fix things? The more things you are able to do yourself, the cheaper everything will be for you, period. If you aren’t handy, then you need to get that way, do whatever it takes to learn a little bit about as many handy man type things as you can, yes guys, I am talking to you. Ladies, you aren’t exempt from this either, if you want to do this, you need to have or learn some skills too, such as cooking from scratch, canning, and as many things you can physically do. The more you can do on your own, without having to pay someone else to do it, the better off you will be. These are also skills that can get you by financially when the time comes, being able to do some handyman things can earn you some money, or you can trade your skills for the things you need, in other words, barter.
Will this take some time? Of course it will, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will be living your dream. Just think, if you had started this journey 5 or 10 years ago… where would you be now? It’s never too late to start, but start you must if you really want to do this.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you, I don’t recommend joining a group, quite frankly there are too many issues with groups, and if it breaks up or has legal problems later on, where does that leave you? The best thing, IMHO, is to own your own land, free and clear, that means buying up something cheap where you will have the freedom to build your own place, or plant a cheap mobile home on it until you can build something more permanent… heck, living in a mobile isn’t so bad, it will certainly make your taxes a LOT cheaper, and that is what we all strive for, cheap living so that you aren’t a slave to a 9-5 job for the rest of your life…
I would say that if you don’t have children yet, don’t have them until after you are settled in your own place on your own land, there is nothing wrong with having kids, but they cost money, a lot of money and time, if you really want to live independently off grid, then you need to focus on THAT first, then start a family once you are settled in. If you already have children, and they still live at home, you are going to have a harder time of it, it will probably take you longer to achieve your dreams, but don’t give up your dreams. If you are like PB and I, empty nesters, then you will probably have an easier time of it, the life experience alone makes that happen. :)
I never said it would be easy, most of the time nothing worthwhile comes easy, but if you really REALLY want to do it, stop waiting for someone else, and take charge of your life, set your goals and don’t give up.
If you need more help, try reading my series about prepping on a budget, that will help you save more money, and the preps you put up will help you in the long run to living off grid.
This book is a bargain filled with lots of information written by a couple who have lived the life, walking the walk not just talking the talk, this is the real deal.
This book is full of great information on how to trailerstead, how to find cheap, sometimes free trailers to plant on your property, I wrote an extensive review here http://www.off-grid.net/2013/04/28/trailersteading-book-review/ be sure to read it, it’s an inexpensive book to begin with and it will help.
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