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My Plan for Living Off The Grid

Updated on April 15, 2014

Do You Want To Live Off The Grid?

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The Goal

My goal is to live completely off the grid. I want to be able to get rid of all my bills and increasing my passive income. The plan is already in motion, so here's the back story …

I graduated college, had a daughter, purchase my first home and went on to start my own business. That brings us to 1997, my first year running the business. The business is still up and running, but I'm not making the income I did before the economic crisis.

In 2007, the economic crisis began for me and my business started suffering. I still manage to make ends meet, but I knew I had new financial worries on the way. My daughter was soon off to college, and I have sold one home in 2004 and purchased a bigger one which meant a bigger mortgage. I panicked. Work wasn't coming in like it did before and owning your our business means no paycheck on Friday.

Fortunately , I'm a saver. During the good years I was able to save and invest some money. I managed to pull those funds together to payoff all my outstanding debt. I could have don't it better but in 2011 I managed to payoff 2 vehicles, daughter's college tuition (4-yrs), the house, and the credit card. I think I lost hair, youth, and nerves during the whole process.

After the payoff ordeal I thought to myself -- Now you have no money. My nest egg is gone and work is still slow. So, I'm still panicking. Of course not like before, but I still worry about paying the light bill, the HOA, property tax etc.

I have always been a little frugal, but I started unplugging everything in the house and buying generic. I have come to realized that my nest egg will never be what it was and sorry to say I don't want to work as hard as I have in the future. So, what can I do? I recently purchased an RV. I know, I'm spending more money. But I needed to be able to get a way without paying an arm and a leg. The RV has allowed my to visit family and friends and usually I just need gas money. Purchasing the RV lead me to my new adventure -- living off the grid. This is the only way I can see to lower my expenses.

Can I sleep in the RV?
Can I sleep in the RV? | Source

Could you sleep in this RV?

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Can I live in the RV?
Can I live in the RV? | Source

Why Go Off The Grid

After purchasing the RV and installing solar I realized how I could implement that in my home to save on the electric. Most of the appliances in the RV run on 12 volt DC or propane. How can I change my home around to run the same way. I already use rain barrels to water the garden, make my own compost, and other off the grid stuff. Why not go all the way?

Although going off the grid in my existing home sounds great in reality I need to downsize. One person doesn't need to live in a 4 bedroom house, and that doesn't solve my slow income problem. Currently I need about $800 per month ($9600 per year) to pay everything. If I had a smaller place it would be cheaper to keep. If I had the smaller place build I could implement to a complete rain barrel system for water, use solar for my electric needs, and heat the home with a cheaper heating source.

Of course selling my existing home and purchase a smaller home would help me regaining my nest egg while also lowering my bills. But I plan to do something entirely different and I need your feedback. I haven't decided whether to sell the home, but I am thinking about renting it out initially. I know, renting can be a big risk without the right tenants but I have rented a house before and I'm willing to do it again.

If I rented the existing house out that would give me another stream of passive income, but where would I live? This is were my plan may sound a little crazy. I plan to purchase some land and live in the RV.

My Plan for Living Off The Grid Option 1

Since I have purchase the RV I realize that I love traveling in it, but I can't travel full-time yet. I have a daughter and granddaughter that I don't want to be too far from. I also have 2 vehicles that are paid off and I don't want to sell them. Using a storage facilities sounds like another bill that will never go away so that is not an option either. But purchasing land could be the answer. By purchasing land I could stay closet to my family, still be able to travel, and keep some of my stuff.

The plan is to purchase land and move on it with the RV. I would have to live in the RV for one year before I could start making changes. As rent is paid, I could use the profits, which would be about $400 per/month after all expenses (including the mortgage for the land) to purchase a storage shed and convert it into a "den/guest room" and put it on the land. I would also be saving the rent profits to make additional improvements to the land like: installing a septic tank, having a driveway installed, upgrade my solar system, and expand my water collection system. All of these things can be done over time. And of course income from the business could be used as well. I still have some work and other online income streams.

My Plan for Living Off The Grid Option 2

Let's say the rent options doesn't work. I could always sell the house. If I sold the house I would regain my nest egg immediately, but I would be losing the passive income from renting it out. However, the overall goal is to live off the grid. I would still be eliminating the electric, water, sewer, cable, and telephone bills. I would be able to pay the land off immediately and make all the improvements I talked about all at once. What do you think?

If anything were to happen to me I want to be able to leave my daughter and granddaughter something. The way I see it, if I rent the house they will have the house and the land. If I sell the house, they will have the land and some cash. Sounds good to me either way.

Total Cost for Improving the Land

Rain Water Collection System
Expand Solar System
Large Shed
Includes Insulation and Finishings
Gravel Driveway
Septic Tank
Did I miss anything?

What Should I do:

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A markerDover, DE -
Dover, DE, USA
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Living Off The Grid

A markerTrails End Horntown, VA -
Trails End Drive, Horntown, VA 23395, USA
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Trails End in Horntown, Virgina. A private campground that allows you to purchase land.

I Need Your Feedback

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    • ysdata profile image

      ysdata 3 years ago from Dover, Delaware

      I found a place to live off grid. Trails End in Horntown, VA is a private campground that allows you to purchase land, not a membership the land itself. There already have the water, electric and sewer (septic) hook-ups. I would be using solar and forgoing the electric. However, I don't like the place. The land was reasonably price, but the atmosphere was less than desirable. You are too close to the neighbors and the common areas were not as nice as I would like. Thus I will continue my search. Wish me luck. By the way, the land was 16k and the HOA is 750 annually. The electric is metered and the water bill is about 200 per/year. The land I looked at came with a shed and trailer.

    • ysdata profile image

      ysdata 4 years ago from Dover, Delaware

      Thanks for your comments "CroftRoan".

      I guess off the grid means different things to different people. However, I plan to convert a shed into a den/guest room. That way when I feel cramped I can go there.

      There are some options for me to retain internet access. I just have to pick the best one.

      I don't think storing food is a big issue for me. Remember it is just me.

    • ysdata profile image

      ysdata 4 years ago from Dover, Delaware

      Thanks "truthfornow". I already grow a lot of my own vegetables.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Interesting. The RV seems okay to live in. If you had some land, maybe you could grow your own food.

    • CroftRoan profile image

      Kate Rolands 4 years ago

      Technically speaking you would not be completely "off the grid". There are still ways to get into contact with you and you are not earning your pay under the table. You should also consider the work and stress involved in your plan. I have lived in an RV before and if you are used to a bigger place it will feel cramped, especially if you don't physically go out and work. That kind of cabin fever will drive anyone nuts. There is also the consideration of natural disasters and even everyday climate. That RV could be destroyed and then you'd be out of luck. Or if there's a dry period, blizzard. Where will your internet come from? You said you had passive income online so how will that work? And how will you store food? RVs does have very big fridges.

      Plus why do you want to earn only passive income? I'm a writer and I don't think that's passive. I work my but off trying to write, publish and market my novels. Work isn't something to be avoided. There is also the thought of what if that income dries up?

      My suggestion is downsize, use solar panels, collect rain water, all of that but still keep an actual house. Go with a condo! Those are small and only use as many resources as you do.