The water bill is high this month, it seems as though your electric bill is forever on the rise, and you worry about all the control the government has over your property. Living off grid allows you freedom from endless bills and also protects you from an attack on the power grid should one ever occur. There are many different reasons people choose to live off the grid.
There are about 2.1 million farms in the United States, and around 88 percent of them are small family farms. While not all of those farmers are living off the grid, doing so is a great way to cut down on expenses and be more self-reliant.
Most people who live off the grid also earn an income from their homestead or figure out ways to make money that take them completely out of the scope of the suburbs. The good news is that you don’t have to give up a job you love or make a drastic change all at once. Instead, you can take steps to live off the grid and keep the job you have.
One day, you may want to leave that job and live completely off your homestead, but for now, here are some gigs that help you have the best of both worlds:
1. Restaurant Server
Living off the grid means living well within your means. If your corporate job is dragging you down, and you only need enough funds to pay the mortgage or property taxes and living expenses, then a job as a server might be just the key.
Typically, a job as a server is a bit more flexible than most jobs. If you need to harvest the crops at the farm, then you can reduce your hours a bit for a couple of weeks or work after dark. On the other hand, during the coldest months of winter when there aren’t crops to tend, you can increase your workload and bring in extra money.
2. Skilled Trades
Become a plumber or electrician. You can even specialize in helping others get off the grid by installing nontraditional plumbing and alternative electric systems. Skilled trade workers are in high demand, and there will almost always be a need for plumbers and electricians.
You can use your skills in creating your own homestead, but also make some money on the side. You can also keep a limited number of clients to reduce your hours worked outside the homestead or add clients to bring in more money.
3. Remote Worker
Are you currently in a corporate position that you enjoy, but want out of the office? Talk to management about the possibility of working remotely at least part of the time.
If you’re living off the grid, you may not have internet service at the homestead. However, there is free internet to be had at coffee shops, fast food restaurants, and libraries. While these locations may not be quite as convenient as working from home, they are a viable alternative. You may be able to find a location closer to your home, too, so you don’t have to commute as far for work.
4. Personal Fitness Trainer
If you’ve developed some muscles on the homestead, you can study physiology and become a certified personal trainer.
Schedule clients according to when you want to work and go to their homes to help them develop fitness plans and get in shape. You could even host a few classes on your homestead and call them farm workouts. This career path allows you to stay active and only requires certification on top of a high school diploma or GED.
Maybe you’ve started your homestead but you’re still working a full-time job because of medical and retirement benefits. Take advantage of the extra income and save as much as possible.
Invest those savings into rental properties. This allows you to create an ongoing income, so once you retire, you still have income rolling in every month from your real estate investments.
Transition to Full-Time Off-the-Grid Living
If you currently work a full-time corporate job and you want to transition to living off the grid, there are a number of things you can do to get there.
- Save enough money to buy the land and build your homestead without debt.
- Develop skills, such as leatherworking, canning, and soap making, so you have items to sell at farmers markets.
- Come up with a plan to add cabins to your homestead and rent them out during peak seasons.
- Learn presentation skills and offer classes and camps on your farm.
You should get your finances in order now by paying off any debt. Be sure to also put enough money in your savings to cover unexpected farm-related expenses you might not have foreseen, such as the year a drought kills your plants. This is also a good time to develop a client base so you’ll have customers to sell items to when you open your homestead business.
Living Off Your Homestead
Living fully off your homestead is possible, but you have to get creative and figure out ways to use your animals and land to make money. One of the keys to quitting your job and living off your homestead is learning to make do with less.
If you utilize solar energy, then you won’t have the expense of an electric bill. If you grow your own food, your grocery costs are reduced. You may not have the sources for an expensive vacation or designer clothes, but you’ll gain the satisfaction of knowing you’re fully self-sustaining.
Whether you decide to keep your current job and homestead during your off hours or you go full-on homesteader, creating balance is the key to success in life and on the farm.
Those who live off the grid are passionate about their choice. They want to help the environment, live a simpler life and teach their kids how to survive if the world ever disintegrates.
Living off the grid is well worth the time and effort involved in getting there. With a little planning, anything is possible.
Holly Welles is a home and garden writer with a passion for keeping living spaces green. You can find more of her environmental advice on her blog, The Estate Update, and keep up with her on Twitter @HollyAWelles.