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Off-grid living is the dream of many but the reality of very few people. Whether it’s the fear of the unknown, lack of proper finances, or no idea of where to start, many people don’t ever give it a shot. Contrary to popular belief, off-grid living isn’t how you might think. The more you spend, the more comfortable the lifestyle can be.
It’s hard to go off-grid because it requires enough money to purchase the land, housing structure (or vehicle), and more. You also have to know how and where to get water, food, and what to do during emergencies. Gardening, communication methods, and survival skills are crucial.
Throughout this article, we’ll show you how hard (or easy) it can be to live off of the grid. We’ll also break down how much it costs, several beginner tips to make it easier for you, and why some people find it more challenging than they thought it’d be.
Is It Hard to Live Off-Grid?
It’s hard to live off-grid for most people because they’re used to living on the grid. Living on the grid provides a reliable source of electricity, water, sewage, access to WiFi, and more. On the other hand, going off-grid means you’ll give up all of those in favor of other methods of achieving those things.
Here’s what makes living off-grid hard for some people:
- There’s no grocery store, auto parts manufacturer, or emergency supply locations when you’re living off-grid. Off-Grid World shows most people are shocked by how difficult it is to suddenly transition to living off-grid since there are no available stores for random supplies throughout the week.
- Running water and sewage are hard to come by and can get backed up. There aren’t any plumbers when you go off-grid, though you might be lucky enough to live near one. It’s best to brush up on your handyman skills before moving to the location. Remember, off-grid doesn’t mean you have to be hundreds of miles from civilization.
- If you run out of food or water, you’ll be in serious trouble. Unless you have a car with enough gas to get to a local store, running out of either irreplaceable resource could cause big problems for your livelihood. Always have a separate stash of food and water if your land isn’t close to other people.
- It’s not cheap to live off-grid for many people because they need to buy the land. Unfortunately, the land is more expensive than it’s ever been. Not only that but a lot of land is owned by local governments, which means it can’t be bought. You’ll have to buy expensive plots if you want good soil with flat terrain.
- Finding locations to go off-grid is challenging because most places have restrictions. Some land requires a specific amount of farming, while other land doesn’t allow off-grid living because it’s considered wetlands. Always research the land before buying it to know if it can be plumbed, farmed, and so on.
Those who’ve never had to learn survival skills will undoubtedly face more problems than people who’ve done it before. Having a lot of leftover money will also help because it’ll let you have better options for electricity, wells, good soil, land, and so on. If you want to know how much it costs, read on.
How Much Does It Cost to Go Completely Off-Grid?
It costs between $1,000 to $1,000,000 or more to go completely off-grid. There’s no reliable price point because you can live on land that you already own with gardening, farm animals, and running water using a purification system. However, those looking for solar panels, wells, new land, and other amenities will spend at least $100,000.
According to Off-Grid Permaculture, going off-grid doesn’t have a reliable price. Some people can fork out millions of dollars and get the perfect setup; Others will have to scrape together every penny to get a small plot of land. The more amenities you want on your property, the more money you’ll have to pay.
Preview this list of common off-grid necessities and amenities that could increase your budget needs:
- Location (different states and countries charge more for the land)
- Gardening equipment
- Vehicle (could double as a shelter, but it’s not always necessary to have a vehicle)
- Solar/wind/hydro/wired/geothermal power (again, not necessary, but often sought after)
- Water source (wells, reservoirs, purifiers, etc.)
- Gas and/or wood for heat, cooking, and more
- Food (farm animals, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc.)
The possibilities are endless. Living off the grid doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite on-grid luxuries; It simply means you don’t rely on on-grid utilities.
How Do Beginners Live Off the Grid?
Beginners live off the grid by purchasing land with high-quality soil for gardening, running water or a space for a well, and enough room for farming. A beginner should also acquire solar panels for electricity and consider geothermal energy to reduce their need for on-grid power. Combining these two sources of energy is an eco-conscious way to stay off the grid.
If you’re a beginner who’s considering living off the grid, follow these suggestions:
- Money Crashers recommends finding a way to get power (solar panels and geothermal energy are excellent options).
- Keep a spare stash of food and water buried or somewhere temperature-controlled.
- Purchase books for farming, off-grid living, repairing structures, gardening, and so on.
- Find out what you’ll do for entertainment (many people forget that most of their time will be spent doing nothing if they don’t have anything left to do).
- Create a means of transportation and communication until you’re well-versed in living off of the grid.
Going off-grid is much easier if you learn the necessary skills and come up with a financial nest egg beforehand. Nothing’s worse than deciding the lifestyle isn’t for you and coming back to no home or place to go. Having a bit of money tucked away can also help you if your food and water sources run dry.
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Here are some of my favorite van life essentials:
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you’re experiencing your life on the road. Here are some tools and gadgets I use on a daily basis that made my van life a lot easier. I hope you’ll also find them as useful as me. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my closest friends and family.
Kitchen: I’m cooking a lot and I’ve finally found my perfect cookware set: The Magma Cookware 10 Pcs that you can nests and store in less than 1/2 cubic foot of cabinet space is really handy. Since I’m also spending a lot of time working at my desk, I use my favorite coffee mug from Yeti. For more, check my list of kitchen accessories I can’t live without.
Outdoor: Even though I’m spending a lot of time in my van working, I do enjoy getting out and explore my ever-changing neighborhood. This sometimes requires me to take my portable solar battery with me. And when I just want to chill outside and take a nap, I use the Winner Outfitters Hammock.
Clean/Tidy: Space is precious and therefore I used these heavy-duty storage bins from Homs to store my material. They’re robust and you can stack them together. Regarding showering, I like to use this portable solar shower from Advanced Elements when it’s hot outside.
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations about van life, check out this resource that I made for you!