Preparing to live off the grid is something you can do right now. If you do these 8 steps now you can have a lot of things ready for the day you decide to pull the plug on the grid and kick off your new adventure much more smoothly.
Learn everything you can about living off-grid
You should digest everything you can on these next subjects. The process of gathering knowledge and developing skills is never over when living off-grid, but starting with the basics now will give you a big head start when you go off-grid.
Learning new things will also get you excited and keep you motivated to achieve your goal. A quick Google search of “off-grid skills” will show that there is a massive amount of information out there and more every day(79,100,000 results at the time of this edit). So read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos and anything else you can do to increase your knowledge base.
Consider water options
Water, being the #1 component of your survival (excluding oxygen), should be very high on your list of things to prepare for. Does your land have a water source and if so, what will be the delivery mechanism? Will you have to pay to have a well drilled? Will you hand dig a well? Will you harvest rainwater? Maybe you’ll have to begin by hauling water from another source as we did.
There are many solutions to the problem of where your water is going to come from. If you don’t yet have the land you’re going to homestead on then having a well-rounded knowledge of different water solutions will be very helpful when searching for your land and will even impact your purchase decision. For a more comprehensive look at off-grid water options, check out this article https://offgridmaker.com/2019/05/10/water-options-for-an-off-grid-homestead/
Examine the amount of energy you consume and whittle away at it.
If you’re living fully immersed in the grid then you likely consume an amount of energy that’s not very sustainable in an off-grid lifestyle. Take an in-depth look at the amount of energy you’re using and start shaving it down at every point you can. It’s the accumulation of small changes that will make a difference.
Your monthly electric bill should include the number of kilowatt-hours you’re using every month. Get a plugin kilowatt meter( under $20) and start measuring how much money you’re spending every month running each device in your house. They’re super easy to use, just plug-n-play. Find out how much that microwave is costing to run on a monthly basis. you may decide to stop using it.
The probable truth is that you have no idea how much electricity your electric appliances are using. So, you have no idea how much electricity you would have to produce to go off-grid. Don’t try to just guess what the numbers are. Find out exactly what they are so you can effectively plan your off-grid energy system.
There are many home build solar and wind projects that you can do right now. I highly suggest everyone build a solar water heater. You can do it now and on the cheap. There’s also the added benefit of seeing a noticeable difference in your energy bill the first month.
Of course, there is what I call the “Pioneer approach”. This is when you move onto a raw piece of land and basically camp while you build up your homestead. In this way, the amount of energy you consume now isn’t relevant.
Research all the different options for producing your own energy
Producing your own energy is one of the 4 key components of living off the grid. Do your research to find the energy path that works best for you. Are you going to purchase the equipment you need? Will you DIY the projects?
Some of these DIY projects can be built now while you plan your off-grid adventure. Maybe you’ll do a combination of the two. There are literally thousands of resources to learn about solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and many other alternative energy sources. And all of these alternative energy source categories have DIY projects you could be working on before you even own land.
There are many opinions out there about how people should produce and consume energy but no matter what others say there is no right and wrong way to produce your energy, but there is a way that’s best for you. It’s your energy so do it your way.
Start growing food now. Even if it’s in a container on a balcony
Producing your own food has so many benefits; from lowering your monthly living expenses to knowing exactly where your food comes from and many more. Knowing you have the ability to feed yourself and your family is very rewarding. You can start learning how to grow food now.
You may not have the space for a garden, but anyone can at least grow some herbs in a window sill. Don’t get discouraged if you fail at growing something a time or two. Everyone has those failures. Just learn some more and try again.
If there’s a community garden near you this is a great place to grow food if you’re limited on space. It’s also a great place to interact with people who know how to grow food and are probably excited to show you their own tips and tricks.
Start learning self-reliance skills
Living a lifestyle of self-reliance and living off-grid go hand in hand. You must learn not to be dependent on others for all the skills you need for self-reliance. You don’t have to be an expert in any one skill, but learn as much of the basics as you can. Below is a short list to help you get started if you don’t know where to begin.
Goto my recommended books page for a list of books that are filled with the kind of knowledge you’ll need. https://offgridmaker.com/recommended-books/
When my wife and I started this journey to self-sufficiency I literally spent hours every night sometimes into the wee hours researching the topics I thought where useful. There’s no doubt in mind that there is no piece of information that can’t be found on the internet.
-basic small engine mechanics
-basic plumbing –
Find off-grid groups online to join
There are so many groups on different social media platforms you can get lost in it all. I suggest a simple 3-part solution. first, find a local group you can physically meet with. This will allow you to build relationships with people living the lifestyle you’re chasing. They will likely let you tour their place to see how they do things, or even let you get your hands dirty with some hands-on stuff.
Next, find an online group with good forums and discussion boards. You will find no shortage of people here ready to discuss and answer questions. Finally, find a blog you like and sign up for it.
I would love for you to try mine for a while to see what you think.
These groups can be a great source of information, inspiration, and encouragement. You will find most people in this community to be very helpful and talkative about their lifestyle. Very informal mentorships will be easy to form.
Here’s an article that dives into how important the off-grid community is and several resources to find great places to connect with other like-minded people. https://offgridmaker.com/2020/03/01/the-importance-of-the-off-grid-homestead-community/
Get rid of your debt.
This last thing may not be so easy or maybe not even possible at first, but the less debt you have when you make the transition to “off-grid” the better things will be. Being able to build an off-grid lifestyle from scratch is going to take a lot of disposable income.
If most of your income is going to debt payments then there’s not much left to buy supplies, materials, and equipment. So many of the reasons people have for choosing to live off-grid stem directly or indirectly from the idea of “leaving the rat race behind”. Going off-grid with a bunch of debt is kind of like leaving the rat race then placing bets on the rats.
Free up as much of your disposable income as possible by getting rid of monthly payments. Take a moment to add up all your monthly payments associated with debt. Will that monthly amount make a difference when it comes to your ability to go off-grid? If the answer is yes then get it paid off as fast as possible.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of the things you could be doing now to get ready to go off-grid. The point of this post is to get you to take some kind of action. Going off-grid is a journey. It takes many steps. Start taking the steps that you can take now and just keep moving toward the lifestyle you want.