If you have ever considered going off the grid, but don’t know where to start, 2016 can be the year where you start to make steps in that direction. Don’t procrastinate making changes even if you aren’t ready to dive into a full scale lifestyle change. Taking small steps can go a long way in your personal journey and they ease the transition for the whole family. Here are seven changes you can make this year to progress towards a new off-grid way of life.
Grow Your Own Food
If you have not ever tried growing your own fruits and vegetables, this is one way you can start getting off the grid. Being dependent on others for your food is something that many preppers and off-grid thinkers advise against, especially in a situation where retailers can jack up prices when there is a shortage. By growing your own, you are in charge of the harvest, you can freeze or can the excess, and you don’t have to worry about there being a public shortage. If you have never gardened before, you can start small and try growing some vegetables in a raised bed or in containers. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could go in with a couple of friends and plant a big garden patch.
Cook From Scratch
If you are serious about living off the grid, you will need to know how to cook from scratch. You won’t want to have to depend on pre-packaged foods meals. Besides, cooking from scratch can be healthier and will have less additives than boxed foods. Cooking from scratch can be a fun family activity that you can learn to do together, and you can make a goal to try at least one new recipe each week. Being able to cook meals from scratch is a valuable skill that could prove very useful in a crisis, or in a time where you can’t get to a store. You will know enough basic recipes that you can feed your family nutritious and filling meals without worry.
Cut Off Cable
Many people are ditching cable television, not only to save money, but to spend time doing other things rather than watching TV. By cutting it off, you won’t be locked in to a contract with the company, or have an extra bill each month. You will still be able to get news and other info from newspapers or online. Another thing is that there are plenty of streaming services out there like Netflix and Hulu that will allow you to watch movies and other programs without cable. You could also get an outdoor antenna if you don’t like the streaming option. Our local library also has hundreds of DVD’s for rent at no charge, and your library might do the same.
Stick to a Budget
Another smart way to move closer to off grid living is to tighten your budget and stick to it. Save money wherever you can. Only buy things that are absolute necessities. Limit trips into town to just a couple of days a week, and run all your errands on those days. Make some changes to your cell phone plan and cut out any services you don’t need. Do things like manicures or dog grooming at home if at all possible. You can give all the boys in your family haircuts with a $30 pair of clippers. It will pay for itself in a couple of uses. Trim your expenses wherever you can, and see how much money you can save.
Save on Electricity
Do you have an unused fireplace or wood burning stove in your home? Try using it this winter and see how well it works compared to the electric heat. Try using only daylight to see during the day by opening blinds and doors and turning the lights on only if they are truly needed. You could also try opening the windows night and day during mild weather and not turning on the AC or heat at all. We notice a big difference in our electric bill during those times. Another thing you can do is cook outdoors on the grill or over a fire when it is warm out to avoid using the oven or stove top. This will help your house from getting too hot in the summer. Try hanging clothes out on the clothesline to dry versus using the electric dryer. Even little things like closing off rooms that you rarely use will cause your dependence on electricity to dwindle. If you have the money, you can invest in solar panels if you really get serious about off grid life.
Purge Your House
Are you overrun by clutter? Do you have boxes and totes of things you haven’t touched in years? A minimalistic lifestyle will prep you for off grid life by allowing you to get by with way fewer belongings. You don’t need as many clothes or shoes as you probably think. It feels surprisingly good to de-clutter your home,and will let your home breathe a little.
Cut Back on Water Use
If you ever find yourself in survival mode, you may not have as much access to running water, or you may need to conserve how much you use. Try bathing every other day if you can, or only running the dishwasher when necessary. In the summer, you can go for a swim to cool off rather than jumping in the shower. Put a rain barrel on your property to collect water for things like watering plants or even feeding animals. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and take shorter showers.
These are just a few of the simple things you can do this year to begin living off the grid. They won’t be huge inconveniences, and you will probably find you won’t miss certain things as much as you thought you would. What steps is your family taking this year to move towards an off grid lifestyle?