Family Money Saving Tips

The Secret Formula to Living off the Grid

Secret formula to living off the grid
Written by Oana Schneider

In a typical household, majority of the monthly budget goes towards paying utility bills. Electricity, water, food and other expenses are there to make living at home a comfortable one. But what if you would like to go off the grid? Can you save a significant amount of money for your monthly expenses? And what exactly is the secret formula to living off the grid? Find out here.

What Does it Mean to Live off the Grid?

Saving money and living off the grid is based on a truly secret formula. First, let’s take a look at the meaning of living off the grid. It simply refers to living without power from the main utility providers, and having your own waste disposal. Basically, you would be living a self-sufficient lifestyle minus the need to rely on public utilities. What are the benefits of living off the grid and why do some families do it? Take a look at the following list:

Living off the grid is the only option.

There are rare instances when living off the grid is the only option. Let’s say that you have a cottage out in the woods where there are no neighbors, no electricity lines, phone lines, pipe lines for water supply, etc. The only option for you to maintain the cottage is to go off the grid.

If you want to have lighting at night, you need to install a power source using alternative energy. You would also have to come up with your very own waste disposal system, and think of ways on how the cottage can operate without having to rely on public utility suppliers.

Living off the grid means having less household maintenance expenses.

Even if you live in an urban area or right in the middle of a crowded city, it does not mean that you cannot live off the grid. Using alternative sources of energy or living off the grid is something that’s done by some families in order to reduce their household maintenance expenses. Imagine how much money you can save by using solar instead of traditional energy sources.

The secret formula for alternative sources of energy include wind or water energy. Those who live off the grid also produce their own food supply, which means lesser bills when buying grocery items.

Living off the grid is friendlier to the environment.

More importantly, living off the grid makes your household friendlier to the environment. Those who do their share in cutting back their electricity consumption are already operating an eco-friendly household. If you’re living entirely off the grid, that becomes even more beneficial to Mother Nature, which is why a lot of people go for this option.

Secret formula to living off the grid

Learn How To Save Water And Never Pay For It Again!

Ways to Save Money by Living Off the Grid

 Now, just because you are living off the grid and you do not have to pay traditional electricity bills does not mean that this task will not cost you any money. In fact, the mere fact that you will be relying on alternative energy sources might cost you more initially. However, the savings that you will incur in the long run will be more than worth the initial investment and there’s no secret formula to do this. 

Let’s say that you had a house built in a remote area. It might cost you thousands of dollars to hook up all the utilities, especially if you do not have any neighbors yet. But when you choose to live off the grid, you would have to spend money on the initial costs of buying solar energy panels, for example.

Once you have managed to install the system, however, your household will be self-sufficient, there will be no monthly electric bills for you to pay, so you will end up saving a lot of money in the process.

Here are the specific ways that you can save money while living off the grid:

Choose which alternative energy source you should have in your home.

Living off the grid has actually become synonymous to not depending on electricity from the power company in your area. What does this mean for you as a homeowner?

Basically, you would need to find an alternative energy source, the most common of which are solar and wind energy sources. Although reliance on solar energy is not an entirely new concept, there are still many homes in the US and around the world that have yet to rely on solar energy as a major power source.

If solar is your alternative energy source of choice, the first thing that you need to learn about is Photo voltaic solar panels. These are solar panels located on the roof of a house or near a house, which are made up of silicon semiconductors.

The panels collect the energy, allowing the electrons to flow freely and create an electrical direct current. The DC is then passed through an converter, creating the AC or alternating current needed to run the electrical appliances inside your home.

If wind power is your energy source of choice, you need to install a residential wind turbine. Once the wind blows, the blades will start spinning and a generator will take the produced energy to turn into AC with the help of an converter.

You can even use a combination of both solar and wind energy to completely cut off your reliance from the public utility providers. When taking this alternative energy route, just remember that the initial investment will be well worth it in the end. Not only will you have no monthly electricity bills to pay, but you can actually sell back to the utility companies any excess power that you produce back to the grid.

What about a water and sewer system that’s off the grid?

Another ingredient of this secret formula to living off the grid is to install your own sewer system. The next thing to do if you would like live entirely off the grid is to install your very own water supply and sewage system. Okay, if your goal is to save money by living off the grid, this may not necessarily be a low-cost project. But take a look at a few statistics.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, around 15% of the homes in the US get their water on their own. Around 17 million have their own private wells, so consider these two options when thinking about having your own water supply. Just make sure to use a licensed well driller. A residential well project can set you back anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000.

A second option is for you to build a cistern or a tank that holds rain water. These can be made from concrete, steel or fiberglass. Lastly, you can have a septic system installed which collects and releases the wastewater inside your home. When going for any of these options, make sure to seek the help of expert installers who know exactly what they’re doing so that the health and safety of your family will not be compromised.

Secret formula to living off the grid

Living Off The Grid Is Very Eco-Friendly!

Buy electrical appliances with high Energy Star ratings.

Let’s say that your electrical supply is already off the grid. The next thing to do is to replace your major appliances with ones that have high Energy Star ratings. As you may already know, these are products which do not consume that much electricity. Just because you already have a home that’s reliant on solar power does not meant that you can use up all the electricity you want.

Your original goal is to help the environment so wasting solar power will defeat the purpose. By buying appliances with high Energy Star ratings, you can save the power that is already being produced by the alternative energy source that you have at home. As mentioned earlier, you can even make money by selling any excess back to the grid, so it’s a win-win situation.

Know how to live an off the grid lifestyle.

If you have a house that’s non-reliant on public utilities, that is well and good. It is important to note, however, that you should still do the same things that a household relying on traditional energy sources should do in order to save power.  You might need to learn how to operate your electrical appliances and gadgets one at a time so that you can conserve even more energy.

The same thing holds true for using water, especially if you have a cistern system. There will be that time of the year when rainfall is very little, so you would need to really conserve your water usage within the household.

Living off the grid also means that you cannot rely on the garbage service available. Recycling and composting is the ideal solution for this. When it comes to producing your own food, you can grow vegetables, raise some chickens and avoid packaged food items as much as you can. If you’re producing more food than your family can consume, make money by selling your produce at a farmer’s market.

To sum it all up, living off the grid means not relying on public utility providers for water and energy; reducing your living expenses; producing your own food; consuming less commercially-prepared products; minimizing your possessions; and reducing your living space. If you think that you’re up to the challenge, you will cut back majority of your monthly bills and live a greener life. Apply our secret formula and enjoy a better life!

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

9 Comments

  • Living off the grid isn’t so bad; my older brother lives like this and I got to live with him for a month when times were tough. There’s definitely more work to do though.

    We primarily used solar panels to power the house and because is cottage was in a forest area, we constantly had to clean them.

  • This is something my boyfriend wants to do so I guess we will see what the future holds. It is something we cannot do right now. I love the idea of it though. I think it would be a nice and peaceful way to live.

  • This is also something my bf was interested in, especially when looking at the prices and positioning of different properties. It always looked like such a huge project, though! But I guess it really does teach you how to be self-reliant, and I feel like this is the sort of thing that makes you more aware of the riches you have, and how grateful you should be of it!

  • My hubby and I spent many years living off the grid. We didn’t use electricity and our water came from natural sources and we would boil and filter the water when necessary. We didn’t use store bought soap or anything of the sort, but used soapwort roots we would collect for washing and cleaning everything that needed it. We lived out in a national forest and our shelter was a dome tent and our “household” was carried on our backs in hiking packs. It had it’s rough moments, but all in all it was a very pleasant and infinitely enlightening and educational experience. We foraged for our food, usually wild foods and a fair amount of fishing. We never starved. And we never left any camp in a shambles. Always leaving looking as though no one had ever been there.

    Mostly, the only animals we had to worry about were other humans…otherwise it was the occasional raccon or possum snooping for food.

  • While I think it’s extremely difficult to live off of the grid as a permanent solution (although by no means impossible), I can definitely see some benefits to doing it. The sense of personal accomplishment seems like it would definitely be greater when you’re living off the grid.

  • I don’t think it is necessary to go off the grid cold turkey, a person can start small. Have black out periods where you power down the house, it is shocking how much is lost from vampire equipment that runs this little thing or that little light. Buy a wind up alarm clock and un-plug the electric one. Cut the cable cord and find other ways for entertainment. Walk or ride a bike. The list is endless but the steps are in the right direction. Today you can get by doing things like charging your cell at work or school or many other things like that. My personal favorite- use a laundromat you save time and money because the machines are better and it takes less energy from you and the utility company to do this chore all at once. I can dry three loads in one dryer in 20 minutes where at home that would have taken close to four hours. Cost at the laundromat- 50 cents.

  • Very interesting indeed and I’ve always actually followed the steps. I think I’ve been doing great with that and I recommend everyone to actually read it carefully because it can be really useful.

  • I watch a lot of shows about Alaska, and many of the cabins there are dry cabins with outhouses, and off the electrical grid. The shows are also a great way to learn information about how people cope with less, and make do, reuse, and re-purpose goods. Good well water tastes much better than what comes out of my pipes here where I’m living now, and I’d love to make use of some solar and wind power. I think these are some great suggestions, and hope to follow many of them in the future.

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