Off Grid Living: How to Save BIG Money by Living Off The Grid – Millions of people all over the world are moving off the grid, growing their own food, building their own cabins, becoming more self reliant and self sufficient, and generally living more sustainable, healthier and happier lives. But how? Well, that is the million dollar question. It’s expensive to move off grid…if you listen to those with money. People with money tend to think differently than people without money. People with money tend to think you can just throw money at a problem the the problem will miraculously fix itself. This is wasteful and doesn’t work efficiently. People who don’t have a lot of money are more resourceful people and tend to think outside the box more than those with lots of money. This means that building a cabin yourself rather than hiring a contractor can be better and less expensive way to have shelter and is a way to save tens of thousands of dollars.
I’m going to go over a few things you need to know that will teach you how to live off the grid on a budget while also living a comfortable healthier happier live that’s sustainable and in tune with the world around you, not oblivious to it.
The Key is the SAVE MONEY Upfront and Think Long Term
There are a few things you need to look for while you’re searching for off grid land. The main things are common sense resources that will save you tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 20-30 years or so that you will own your off grid homestead. These things will also contribute to the value of your homestead both intrinsically and financially.
Those things are:
Natural Building materials located on your own land. Buy a big enough piece of property to supply you with the materials and resources you need.
- Good Soil for growing your own food
Save money by buying cheap remote land
Remote land is usually cheap land. Land that’s an hour of so away from a major city is less expensive than buying land in a city or suburban neighborhood. I’ve seen land in remote areas for less than $100/acre. Yes, that’s right, less than $100 per acre. Unfortunately most of these parcels are BIG properties and cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Sorry, but the cheapest land you’re going to find is probably going to cost you $500 to $1000 per acre and it’s most likely going to be a smaller parcel 1-5 acres, and it’s most probably desert land. Which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. There’s nothing wrong with desert land except the fact desert land is remote for one good reason. It’s HOT! There’s nothing out there. And there’s no water. Water is a HUGE part of your decision when choosing a piece of land for moving off the grid.
Buy land that has building materials
In other words, get land with trees. Forested land is sometimes more expensive than desert land or swamp land, but it’s readily available in almost every state and it’s relatively easy to find if you know where to look. Use Google maps and Google Earth to get the lay of the land in the area you’re searching. Look on the map where the National Forests are and try to get as close or in the forest if you can. Obviously you do this for the lumber. But if you’re going to build a cabin or log home from the lumber on your lan you need to make sure you have enough of it…which means buying a larger piece of land. I’ve seen forested/timberland for sale for as little as $1000/acre, but it’s remote and far away from anything. You’d have to buy 20, 40, or even 100 acres or more to get it at that price and most of the time it’s much more.
Let’s be clear. When I say How to Save BIG Money by Living Off The Grid I mean you should be thinking long term and the money you’ll save later by investing your time energy and money now. Your land and home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Think about it, take your time and do your homework. Plan for the long term.
A homestead has got to last generations. Think many decades into the future and how you’re going to live, how you want to live, where you’d like to retire. Put down roots. You’re going to buy the land and the land is going to support you and your family for decades to come. Invest your money into land. Get as much of it as you possibly can make sure that it has the most resources possible.
This means water, trees, rock, clay etc. The clay might be a nuisance in the rainy season but you’ll come to love it if you want a pond or lake because it’ll be able to hold the water better than a sandy soil bottom. The drawback to this is your percolation test for your septic system, which you may or may not have to do, but be prepared for that. Ground/soil that’s too dense doesn’t drain well and it may fail the Perc test, if that happens you can’t have a septic system, and it that’s the case you may not be able to build at all. There’s a balance between finding the right soil and finding soil that is bad for building.
PRO TIP: Don’t buy land with COVENANTS OR RESTRICTIONS. This means not buying land in a SUBDIVISION because those restrictions and covenants they say “protect you” could in fact hinder you from living your off grid lifestyle, especially when it comes to the type of dwelling you’re allowed to build or growing your own food and if you can raise livestock. The other reason you don’t want to buy land in a sub division is because you’re going to pay a higher price for it. If you buy land in a rural subdivision with large 5-10 acre lots make sure you read the covenants FIRST! Also keep in mind the price you’re paying for the land is going to be much higher because the seller has a lot of money invested into it with surveying, permits, and parceling, and legal fees and tons of other fees that YOU will be paying for out of pocket. Make no mistake YOU will pay the seller much more than what they paid for all of it. I would find a remote property larger than 50 acres. This is just my personal opinion and what I look for because if it’s that big then it most likely has not been subdivided yet and there are probably no covenants yet. Covenants and restrictions are written by sellers and their lawyers. They want to restrict the types of houses and zoning of that area based on what THEY WANT not what YOU NEED! They don’t care about your needs, they care about their profit. Find cheap remote land. BIG LAND! You’re looking for the lowest possible price per acre with the most resources and fewest restrictions. This means REMOTE! It’s going to be a larger parcel too.
PRO TIP: Make sure you secure MINERAL/WATER RIGHTS! You don’t want a company coming in later and mining out your land without your permission, because they don’t need you permission if they own the mineral rights.
PRO TIP: Don’t buy land in or too close to WETLANDS or a FLOOD PLAIN unless you know what you’re doing and can easily get a variance to build. WETLANDS are a NO-NO! Don’t do it. Move on and find another property.
All of this will save you money long term. It will cost you more money up front, but it will save you much much more long term on the backend.
Think about it this way. Would you like to have a $1 million dollar log home in the mountains? Of course you would and you can have it. This is how you do it. Buy the land and build it yourself. If you’re smart and do your homework you’ll be able to buy land that has all the materials and natural resources on it that you need to build your dream home. So that $100k spent on a large remote property today will be so much better and save you so much more in the long term. Especially if your cabin and barn and workshop and chicken coop are all build from locally harvested lumber. Then it’s just sweat equity and your time you’re putting into it. It’s going to take a long time to build, but you got time because you’re not working for the man…you’re working for YOU and your family.
Save money by buying the tools and equipment you need to build everything you need
To build a cabin and barn and chicken coop and your greenhouse you’re going to need tools and equipment. Invest you money into the BEST tools and equipment your money can buy. This will allow you to build the things you need for years to come, and when you purchase the best quality tools and equipment they’ll last you a lifetime if you take care of them.
Save money by building your own cabin, start with the foundation
Using the tips I’ve outlined above you can now think about building your cabin. You have to lay the foundation before you build. I’m not talking about your cabins foundation. I’m talking about the foundation for your new life. It’s obvious you need a foundation for your cabin, but what’s not so obvious in today’s society is the foundation you need to build a healthy happy life for you and your family. You need all the things I’ve list above. Shelter, food, water. You need electricity for light and heat and entertainment, internet for work, gas/wood for heat, and you need a safe and secure place for you family. This means spending the time now researching properties and finding the perfect one. Take your time, don’t get in a hurry, and do you homework. This will lay down a solid foundation to build you off grid life on.
Land is that foundation. Education is also part of that foundation.
Save money to move off grid by getting an education (online)
But what if you don’t have $50k or $100k sitting in the bank? Don’t worry almost no one does. But this isn’t to say you can’t raise that money over a couple few years. Don’t take out a loan. Never get a mortgage unless you’re willing to deal with the payments and worry of possibly losing what you’ve worked so hard to build. If you get a loan you will become a slave to the debt and you’ll be forced to work for someone else at a job you don’t like because you HAVE TO and you’ll be spending more time at the job than you do with your family. That’s no life to live. That’s not a happy life nor a healthy life.
This is about building a healthy and happy life for yourself and your family off grid, not some rich greedy corporate a**hole.
So…if you don’t have the $50k to $100k to pay CASH for your land, don’ worry about it, you can make it, just go back to school and start a small business. And whatever you do don’t take out a student loan either. That’s even worse than a mortgage because you can never discharge that debt, it will always follow you until you pay it down and that will cause you more stress and grief and worry than you can possibly imagine. If you already have a student loan then you already know.
Go Back To School
Get an education! Learn a trade. Make it something you like. Pay for it out of pocket so you don’t have student loan debt. Why? Because most people need MORE money and that requires a better paying job to pay for the land they need. Find something that pays well, save your money, sell everything you own (it’s only stuff), go back to college and get an education, work, save and then buy your land.
Author’s Note: I’m going back to college and I’m 45 year old! I need to retrain in a field that makes more money. I’m doing it for personal enrichment too, just to learn more and become more knowledgeable about the things I’m interested in. I also want to help folks achieve their dreams and I’m also working on a project that will help people out of poverty. To do that will take money and lots of it. So I realize I have to go back to school and learn a new skill so I can make the money I need to help more people.
Try a New Career
Don’t be afraid to learn new things. You’d be amazed at what you’re capable of doing. What do you like to do? What do you enjoy? What do you spend most of your time doing? Can you make a living at it? Look it up. See if it’s possible. See if there are any online courses you can take. Create a second income online and take that money and put it in the bank for the OFF GRID FUND. It’s you moving off grid fund and you can’t touch it no matter what. You may have to teach yourself some discipline but you can do it. It’s possible. And the reward is your freedom. Always keep that in the back of your mind.
Save money by working a part-time job or start a small business (side hustle)
Make more money to save by starting a small business. Get busy with a side hustle. Find something you can sell online to make some extra money. Maybe buying, fixing and reselling stuff from Craigslist, or arts and crafts, or soaps, or preserves. The main goal here is just to generate cash to save for moving off grid. There are millions of things you can sell online for a nice profit.
Now you have everything you need. You’ve gone to school, worked your side job (small business), saved your money, and you’ve done your homework. You’re now ready to take the plunge. You already have your land picked out, it has all the resources you need to live off grid for decades to come. Now it’s just a matter of building it. So what are you waiting for?
The philosophy of this article is to teach folks another way of doing things. How to build something from nothing. From scratch. How to use intelligence and ingenuity to build a life on a homestead not just a cabin on a piece of land. It takes hard work and dedication and you can do it if you set your mind to it. You don’t need millions of dollars to move off gird and you don’t need to be rich to live a rich life.
Spend the time now saving and selling and saving some more and that will save you hundreds of thousands later. You don’t need to save for 20 years to move off grid. You can do it in a year or two if you’re really dedicated, and if you’re not picky you can do it faster than that. The point is not speed, the point is savings.
The land is you main purchase. The tools and equipment and your labor is what builds it. Invest in the land, tools and equipment and put in the work and that is how you live off grid on a budget.
That is how you build your million dollar homestead. That’s how you become healthy and happy.
That’s how you live off grid on a budget.