Off-Grid Living and a Job

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Otter, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Otter

    Otter Monkey

    Hi all, I'm new here. Have been reading for a couple years about off-grid living and it all looks really interesting. I am 21 currently saving money for I'm not sure what yet. Not going to school currently, not that it matters but I have spent a decent amount of time researching off-grid living and it seems to live comfortably you need;

    Electricity; solar power/wind power
    Food; Garden/Farm
    Water; well/rain catchment
    Shelter; Build it yourself

    Now, for a family to be off-the grid it seems like you would have no bills other than extenuating circumstance, which I am POSITIVE will arise. Now the question is, when these extenuating circumstances arise what do you do? Say you need to fix something and it costs say, $1000 dollars. obviously it would be wise to have a job, but a full-time job in addition to maintaining your homestead seems like a huge responsibility and almost impossible.

    I'm just looking for input from people that are maybe doing this right now. Are you working part-time? Do you live alone and don't need any extra monetary assistance?

    Just a curious person looking for answers, trying to figure out if this lifestyle would be for me.
  2. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Property taxes, fuel, car/truck tags, vehicle repairs, building maintenance, replacement of expendibles. Going to need to make money some how.

    Off grid is one thing. Living off the land free from society is a whole other situation.
    GOG, Mountainman, NotSoSneaky and 2 others like this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I live far out in the Alaskan Bush, and am totally Off-Grid. I am semi-reTIRED, in that my employer pays me to live here, and run the place for the 9 months, the Salmon Cannery does not operate. I am also collecting my Social Security, and between the two, live a very comfortable lifestyle. My few local year round neighbors are typically also reTIRED and living on pensions, and SS. Income is really MANDITORY if you plan on anything but a totally subsistence LifeStyle, and even then, Trapping, or some kind of Craft, can supplement the monetary income, required. Better add significantly to your SkillSets, before you head out, or you likely will not make it thru the first Winter.
  4. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    correct me if im wrong but living off the grid and living on a home stead are two different things.
    So i believe you can have a homestead that is still on the " grid" and you can also have a homestead that is" offgrid"...

    But in any case i can definatly see it costing money ... lots of money... for the most part...
  5. AmericanRedoubt1776

    AmericanRedoubt1776 American Redoubt: Idaho-Montana-Wyoming Site Supporter+

    Welcome to the Monkey Tree. Build up lots of useful skills and a big savings first.
    God speed.
    KAS likes this.
  6. jasonl6

    jasonl6 Monkey+++

    I live off grid and work 40+ hours per week, We have solar/wind and generator for electricity. It's important to have income for the for mentioned taxes, fuel (4K in propane last year), vehicle maintenance and projects you need to complete. I think if you live smart and work hard you can retire early then kick back but when your starting out you will need a job. I come into work at 6am and am done by 2:30 giving me most the afternoon for projects/homesteading. It's also beneficial to have multiple people that want to live the same lifestyle as you living that lifestyle, weather they be spouses or family. 90% of the time one of the 6 people in my family are home to watch the place and do chores when i am not.

  7. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Medical emergencies will run waaaaaay past $1,000 very quickly.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  8. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    yea and being young dont get that girl pregnant !!!
    them diapers dont grow on trees
  9. Otter

    Otter Monkey

    It was just an example. But thank you for your input. It was truly groundbreaking, I will be sure to relay this information to my great-grandchildren

    I thought about this, I guess the smart thing to do would be have a large family, or maybe even a very close couple to live on the same land in a different house. not even sure if that's legal honestly. Thanks everyone. As far as living off-grid, I didn't mean living off the land free from society. I more so meant doing as much as possible by myself, while still being able to enjoy the luxuries of society.
  10. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    No matter where you live, you're going to need some kind of income. Nobody truly lives for free. Even homeless bums hustle for money. Off grid does not change what your basic needs are. In many ways living off grid is more expensive: You may have to drive a long way for supplies, or pay to have them hauled in. Anything for sale locally will likely cost more than it does in the big city. You will need tools and equipment that have to be maintained.

    You'll still have to fill your gas tank, pay insurance, medical costs, student loans, or a car payment. If you have kids, they will ring up a big tab just like everyone else's kids. You'll probably want to save for their college and your own retirement.

    You will have to organize your life around not being able to run a quick errand to the store for every little thing. That means fronting enough money to buy in bulk, plus have a way to get it home, plus have a place to store it once you get there.

    It's normal for me to spend several hundred dollars in one shot at Costco and my "shopping basket" is a pickup truck. I do this about every other month or so. I have to insure two vehicles, two motorcycles, and my house, plus keep them all in good condition. None of that stuff goes away because you live in the way-out.

    Yes, I work full time because I have to. There are no tricks, just thought and planning...and money.

  11. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    @Otter - It sounds like what you're thinking of is a mix of both off-grid and living off the land. I don't think anyone here, @NotSoSneaky included, meant anything derogatory by his comment but you did come in asking for advice without laying out all or even most of the things you'd thought about already.

    Off-grid is, probably, the easy part and like you said that's the initial focus. Having multiple families (even just two) on a plot of land isn't a requirement for off grid. Off-grid means no tie to the utilities and therefor no reliance on the outside for what they provide. Solar, wind or even hydro will work for power, a well for water and a septic system and you are effectively "off-grid". That doesn't even require a wife much less another family.

    Living off the land or even supplementing what you have to buy by growing your own, whether it be animal or vegetable (or fruit) is a different story and frankly, @BTPost is probably the most well versed in that because he lives in the Alaskan outback and literally is isolated and on his own for potentially 6+ months a year. If he screws up bad enough they'll find him and his wife in the spring...maybe...if they even bother to check. He's been doing it for decades and has probably forgotten more than most of us know about off-grid/off the land. No disrespect intended @Tevin.

    A better outline of what you want to accomplish is going to be your first step. Without that, the how is meaningless because you don't know what your ultimate goal is so you can't work towards the interim goals. Do you ultimately want to provide for yourself exclusively? Do you only want to be off-grid? Do you want to supplement say, half of what you eat/use? Each of those is a completely self-contained goal (although one can lead to another) with FAR different requirements and lifestyles. Unless you decide to go "Grizzly Adams", you're going to need a job and you'll have to balance both.

    Can having someone else around help? Sure, if you need things done when you can't do them (ie: while you are at work), but again, for off-grid it's going to be MONEY you have to worry about to even GET off-grid. It's not cheap and you cannot generate your own power with a bicycle generator so you're going to have to put something else in place (but I think you realize that and I'm beating a dead horse...I think there's an icon for that).

    Am I off-grid? Oh hail no. I live in a freakin suburb and I'm as reliant on outside providers as 99% of the country. Do I want to be and wish I were? Yes. Am I working towards it? Yes. I have a LOT of considerations though. I have a good job but it requires that I go into downtown. I have 3 kids, one in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school. I've decided that I won't be moving out into BFE until they are in college because I will NOT "Little House on the Prairie" them. It isn't fair at this point to pick up and just vanish or live so far from everything that they are isolated.

    How am I going to go about it? First I'll get some land, hopefully with a dwelling. If not, build (and do as much of the work as I can on weekends and vacation). Then become energy and water independent (with a septic system). There will be enough room to grow things but that is phase two, including some animals. I seriously doubt that I will be fully independent by the time I retire though unless things get very bad and I have the time to devote to LIVING. My guess is we'll be 60-80% food independent but we will still come into town for doctors visits and things we can't make or grow ourselves. I'm sure I'll have internet but it'll be wireless. I can't cook CPUs so I'll be buying my computers, etc.

    I, personally, am NOT willing to go full Grizzly Adams (you say you're 21, I'm assuming you know who that is...:)) but I AM willing to give up a lot of creature comforts, downsize the house, minimize reliance on outside providers but I'm not going to sever that cord. Frankly, neither is anyone who is on this board, for the reasons I outlined above.

    I guess my whole point to this diatribe is that you need to know exactly what you want to accomplish before you start trying to get there from here. Without that you will make mistakes (that'll happen anyway but you'll make more than you need to), you will spin your wheels a lot, and expend a ton of extra, unnecessary energy on things that don't move you towards your goal.

    Your eyes are open, that's step one and a fantastic step at that. Don't close your ears and end up ostracizing yourself because you took offense where none was intended. There are several lifetimes worth of knowledge here at the monkey. Pick a branch, look around and be willing to learn. Don't take anything personally (even if it's intended that way...which it most likely won't be) and be welcome!
  12. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    @Otter Welcome to the tree ! <--- Which is what I shoulda said first. [tongue]
  13. er1c

    er1c Monkey

    I understand where you are coming from and it is possible if you do without when you cant make ends meet.... at the light end this means you have to eat meal after meal of potatoes when they are in season. At the dark end you lose your thumb due to an infection from a simple thorn as you couldn't afford/get to treatment.

    The reason off the grid and survival planning is so fun when you have a job is you get to throw a bit of money at it as and when and it becomes a hobby. Even if you invested 50k on a superb off the grid system.

    Bearings break down
    Batteries become useless
    filters clog, things split, wear, rust, decay in UV sunlight
    Storms/Wind/Theft etc

    I have spent thousands on silly little things for off the grid... its learning process, and as such an expensive one.
  14. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep

    Welcome to the world of the Awake! Self sufficiency is always good!
    Start a handyman business, or window cleaning service.....
    I am a Painting Contractor and work about 20 hours a week on average, but make more than full time money.
    One of my best friends started washing windows for local businesses and made enough money at 4 hours a day to support a Beach Bum existence in Cal..
    Low output for Materials, Squeegy, bucket, ladder, extension pole, rags, etc... probably less than $100, he did that for 5 years, before he grew up!
    He had all kinds of time on his hands, their is good money to be made, doing things nobody like to do! Garage cleaning and organizing is a good way to make money and accumulate a lot of stuff that would save you money in the long run. When you haul the stuff to the dump you can keep what you want from it.
    Us "Old Timers" will tell you we have lots of crap laying around that most people would consider junk, not, to us, their precious treasures waiting to come into being.
    Good luck![tf]
    Yard Dart and NotSoSneaky like this.
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