As many of you know, my husband and I have been working and planning towards our homesteader life for many years now. Affordably Building and Living Off of the Grid
While many people don’t start on their rural living journey until after retirement, or spending several decades building a nest egg, we opted for a different route.
Living off of the grid
We did not want to wait – we wanted to raise our children in the lifestyle – and so we made a plan to get to the land.
The plan has taken twists and turns over the years – and has had to adapt, change and flex based on how life happened.
We started six years ago, and our plan until recently has been we would begin building this year – slowly constructing over a period of about three years so we can pay for this thing out of pocket.
Affordably Building and Living Off of the Grid
We’re going to build an earthbag home in the underground/bermed style of Mike Oehler. We’re using a mishmash of various styles, but are heavily inspired by Mike Oehler’s $50 Underground House book as well as the Earth-Sheltered Houses: How to Build an Affordable….
Our own home. It’s an amazing thought. Let me re-introduce us for a moment. My husband and I are in our early thirties, and we have three girls from age 6 to 1.
We love alternative construction, learning all kinds of homesteading and natural living skills, and both my husband and I have had lifelong dreams of living a simple life on a homestead in the mountains.
We believe pretty strongly in having less, doing less, and therefore having more time to enjoy those sunsets and being hands-on with life instead of slogging away in the corporate world for a lifetime.
But – just a few weeks ago, through a series of unexpected events, we decided that it is time to build.
We feel very strongly that our hand is being guided and we are getting the message loud and clear – BUILD NOW.
Except we don’t have much money. (We do already have the land, with water at the home site, as well as a small trailer to live in.)
Wanna know how much we will probably be able to spend? $10k. $15k, tops
Challenges Building and Living Off of the Grid Homesteader Life
“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
We are taking that phrase to heart. We intend to live like no one else, so that we in turn can achieve our dream of living like no one else. Living in a way that many people dream about.
Living in a 28 foot 1-bedroom camper with 3 kids while we build will be interesting.
And since this cabin we’ll build will be integrated into our final home plans, we’ll have to make some adaptations to the home plans to incorporate this (stickbuilt) cabin.
One thing we had not specifically planned on, however, was living off of the grid.
We thought initially that we would like to have the option of going off-grid, but we also liked the simplicity of being on grid.
So, now our biggest challenge in this is the power. Given the fact that hooking up to the grid will cost about $5000 on its own, we are not going to go that route. I’ll be using a kitchenette compiled from propane appliances taken from our trailer, and will be hang drying laundry or using the laundromat. Solar Power Electricity
We will very likely construct a portable battery bank, to be trickle charged by a small solar setup that we already have, but one we could conceivably transport in order to get it charged. Or a Goal Zero Solar Generator kit
I’m actually pretty curious to see what we will end up doing – I myself am a little more interested in permanently living off of the grid but neither my husband or I are all that well versed with all the systems and setups required. When it comes down to it, however, I have a feeling it might make more sense to spend $5000 on a good solar/wind/etc. setup (and any necessary training!) as opposed to spending it to hook up to the grid (and let’s not forget the monthly payment also!). I’d love thoughts on this!
Right now, we are making a list of what are the bare minimums we need in order to have a habitable home in time for winter this year. I am very thankful that the “BUILD NOW” message came now, in early spring.
Our house will not have siding to start with, and it’s likely we might not even have drywall on the inside. We’ll be using bucket/sawdust toilets. I won’t be able to use my dryer much, and it is going to be a huge sacrifice for me to not use a dishwasher.
But you know what? It will be ours, free and clear. And that, my friends, is independence. I would take that over any McMansion on a golf course you could throw at me. And as we have the money in our pockets, we can continue to improve, finish and upgrade it (as well as adding on the remainder of our planned home).
P.S. any helpful tips or resources you might like to share about building or living off of the grid would be wonderful and very appreciated 🙂