Self-sufficiency: How to Prepare for Off-the-grid Living
One of the most empowering lifestyles out there is off-grid living. If you want to be self-sufficient and live independently from the systems, this is the path. Many individuals and families are taking steps towards off-grid living for different reasons. Some want to be good stewards of our nature and live more intentionally, while others want to cut their expenses and free themselves from utility bills.
This kind of sustainable living is primarily focused on reducing one’s consumption and becoming more environmentally responsible. If any of these is your goal, an off-grid lifestyle is worth considering. Read on to learn more about this off-grid living and how you can prepare for it.
1. Become mentally prepared
We’re talking about changing a lifestyle, which means you’ll also need to make a few changes to your attitude and decision-making. Off-grid living is about attaining a higher level of personal responsibility and independence. It’s about learning how to live and maintain self-sufficiency. For such a reason, it’s important to be mentally prepared for the switch. Your patience and hard work will be tested, especially in your first year in off-grid living. After all, independently running your utilities or growing your own food can already be a headache.
2. Minimalize your lifestyle
While off-grid living doesn’t necessarily mean you should downsize, this lifestyle equates to reducing your belongings. These include electronics, gadgets, clothes, furniture pieces, books, or whatever items you’ve collected over the years. Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit into your new lifestyle. You don’t have to trash them. You can donate them or set up a garage sale to earn a few bucks. If you’re an avid collector or hoarder, reducing your possessions will be more challenging. The trick is, if an item conjures up feelings of regret or guilt or you don’t find it useful anymore, you don’t need it.
3. Pay off all your debt
Off-grid living goes hand in hand with financial independence. It’s supposed to free you from all your personal stressors like your debt. Start paying off all your debt now if you want total freedom and live a sustainable life without unnecessary problems. Create an income and expenses sheet and review it every month. From there, you can create a budget that primarily works on paying off your highest interest debts first. To help you save money or have the cash to invest, you can choose to cut your expenses or increase your income streams. Pick what works for your situation.
4. Plan the energy source
The energy source is a primary concern of anyone planning to live off the grid. To determine the right sources to acquire and install, you must first identify how much energy you’ll need to power up the house. Heating and cooling, for example, are good places to start. One popular option for electricity is installing solar power, which is ideal for areas with sunny winters. Solar panels are a convenient way of generating and collecting energy without grid connection.
If your area experiences consistent strong winds, you can consider using wind turbines to generate electricity. Or, you can opt for hydropower if you have flowing water nearby that can be suitable for the energy system. Furthermore, you should plan for maintenance of your chosen source, from checking the water intake of your hydropower to the routine balancing of your solar batteries.
5. Consider water supply options
Aside from your electrical power, you’d obviously need to plan your water source too. You will need to learn to harvest your own water if you don’t want to connect to the local utilities. In general, you need water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and gardening. The simplest option is a rainwater collection system wherein you’ll only need some water storage barrels and additional plumbing fixtures.
If you have the extra money to spend, you can consider building a water well. You can go with an electric or a manual water pump. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with nearby springs, you can use this as your natural well. Other options include ponds, streams, or rivers. If you’re planning to get your drinking water from these sources, research the appropriate and safe filtration process first to obtain the right filtering system.
From practical living to a smaller footprint, off-grid living has so much to offer. This way, you and your family can have less impact on the planet, live a healthier and debt-free lifestyle, and eliminate your dependence on the systems. Off-grid living takes a lot of time and work, which you can minimize by preparing in advance.