My off grid life is more enjoyable and more fulfilling than just about any part of my old life – living in the city, working 2 jobs just to make ends meet (barely), work, eat, sleep, pay bills, repeat. Honestly I am more busy now, but it’s things I want to do, not things I am forced to do by government, society and life as I used to live it. I get to choose what fun activities and community activities I wish to do and is that ever fun! How does this work?
Simple, I have no bills to speak of. Our land is paid for, I cleaned out my savings to do it, it was hard to let go of that money but I consider this a better investment. We bought cheap property, we did everything ourselves from moving, to building our sky castle. We brought no bills with us, we own a 69 VW Beetle, no car payments there, we do keep up our car insurance, but that’s not very much per year. Of course we have property tax and school tax, but since our property is cheap and what we built is small, AND I take advantage of a homestead exemption, our taxes are small.
We have no credit cards, let me repeat that, we have no credit cards. No loans, no outstanding bills. This may be difficult for some of you, maybe even seem impossible, but I assure you it IS possible to live without credit cards. If you have the discipline, you can have a credit card, use it every once in a while for a small purchase and PAY IT OFF before it accrues interest, that way you keep your credit card active and available for emergencies. Honestly, most of us are not able to do that, it’s far too easy to think that you will use the card more and more, and pay off the bill later… that’s a trap and it will hurt you in the long run, so for us, it’s just easier and better to not have a credit card at all.
I do maintain a bank account, and I use a debit card or bank card for all of my purchases, and I do not take advantage of overdraft insurance, I have it, but don’t use it, it costs too much money, it’s equivalent to a “stupid tax”. If I know I don’t have the money in my account, I don’t use the account until I do, period.
We support ourselves by doing odd jobs, I have a (very) part time job that pays a regular paycheck, but even that job is not a major undertaking, I work for the state as a caretaker for a lady who happens to be a friend, I also clean houses and the 2 churches in the neighborhood. In fact, I have to turn down cleaning jobs from time to time, if I took every one that came along, I wouldn’t have time for anything else. Of course we barter too, trading services for building material and other things we can use, these are often things that would be tossed into a landfill anyhow, or leftover new material from other peoples’ building projects.
I can appreciate not everyone is willing to or even wants to live like we do, and that’s fine, I am simply demonstrating there are alternatives to the way many people live, with big houses and equally big mortgages, taxes, 2 car payments, multiple credit cards, and such. Too many people/families are living on a razors edge, they are one paycheck away from being homeless, they are one illness away from being destitute, one unexpected bill away from losing everything. We chose to take charge of our lives and lifestyle. Living the way we do, we are much more insulated from the financial woes of the world, that’s not to say we aren’t affected at all, we just aren’t so immediately affected that we can get by much easier for much longer than we could before we made these changes.
I have an internet friend who has chosen to live in a similar way to how we live, she and her husband purchased raw land and are building a small house, they are doing everything themselves, with a bit of help from family and friends.
They are using a lot of recycled/salvaged material. The really wonderful thing (IMHO) is they have not gone into debt to do this, they own their land, they own their house, as I stated in a comment on her blog, it’s not a mansion, but it’s paid for and that is priceless. My internet friend has a generous heart, she also has conquered her fears, she has actually taken the steps necessary to live this life, that takes courage, not to say it’s not scary to step out and actually do it, it is scary to do new things, it’s scary to make such major changes, but that did not stop them, and that, my friends, is the epitome of courage. I am very proud of her and her family. Please take a few minutes to visit her blog and say HI to her. http://craftycountrymomma.blogspot.com/
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