Going off-grid is a big lifestyle change. So much is different in various ways; there's a lot of research and preparation to be done, but it's worth it! I knew going off-grid was going to bring me back to the basics and that was just what I wanted. I had a feeling that after things got rolling on the farm that I would start to see a decrease in spending -- I just didn't realize how much I would be saving! Whether you live in town and simply unplug or you take the plunge (like I did) and relocate to somewhere off of the map, these ways of saving apply.
- Little to No Electric Bill – When you take a chunk of money and invest it into switching to a form of clean/free energy, you disconnect from the electric company, eliminating the monthly bill. The savings are immense, and could be anywhere from $50 - $200 or more per month.
- No Water Bill – There are several water systems designed for off-grid households that allow one to save money by disconnecting from the water company’s service. Rain barrels and water catchment systems provide fresh water. There are gravitational systems that can be set up to provide a flow of water through gravity-fed pipes. If you have a free energy source you can also use a small water pump to pull your water. You could eventually be saving up to $100 or more per month.
- Free Food – Growing a garden, even if it is tiny, will save you some money. Add a few small farm animals and you'll save even more. The produce alone can save a person a nice little portion of their grocery bill. A packet of seeds and a few baby chicks are fairly cheap compared to the possible return on the investment. A garden is a gift that keeps giving.
- Little-to-No Heating Bill – Many off-grid homes have wood burning stoves or a fireplace to heat the house and cook with. It's not that you don't have to spend any money; you are just spending less. The price of five gallons of gasoline for a chainsaw is all you need to cut a couple of months’ worth of firewood. If it isn't possible to use wood heat in your home you can still save money by using solar, wind or water power, although these options may require more of an initial investment.
- General Purchases – How you buy and what you buy change when you live off the grid. Lightbulbs are replaced with crank, solar or oil lanterns. Items that are designed to be reused or recycled are often purchased, eliminating repeat spending. If you recycle everything you can and use a burn barrel for all paper products, you can eliminate your trash bill, as well as your carbon footprint.
Saving money is just one of the many benefits of going off the grid. The amount of money you can save, combined with the fact that you are cutting back on pollution, provides a sense of positivity that makes going off-grid all the more worth it. Take the time to consider how different your life would be if most of your bills were eliminated -- how many things it would be easier to accomplish!