I think it all depends on where you are, or rather what power source you have available (wind, water, etc) and how much of a DIY person you are.
I've read about generator systems cobbled together from common things like old car generators for very little money. Needles to say that something like that, especially powered by an unreliable source like wind, isn't going to keep the lights on and the appliances running for extended periods. On the other hand if you have a good reliable water source you might be able to produce sufficient power for all of your needs with the right design.
Start by assessing your power needs and your available resources and take it from there.