Options for Living on an Off-Grid Homestead (when money is a huge factor)

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

The decision to move off-grid is life changing. Everyone has different reasons, but, for us, it's about independence. We want to be in control of our own destiny, so to speak. It's a frightening realization that the local grocery store may not always have shelves stocked to the brim. It's also a realization many of us faced in 2020.

We'd decided to begin a journey to self-sufficiency long before, but that ugly year really put some things into perspective for us. Our local grocery store was completely sold out of meat for weeks, and when it returned, ground beef was nearing $6/lb(previously $3 and some change.) A package of bacon was over $20(previously around $12.)

I'd decided months before to begin a small stockpile, which came into handy. I had a month's worth of meat frozen, and I was incredibly thankful for that. By time to re-stock, meat prices returned to near normal. Now that we're home on our homestead, we have a garden and we are working on a place for chickens and pigs. It's a slow process, but with every step, I breathe a little easier knowing my family will have access to safe, and most importantly, reliable food.

Money is obviously a huge factor in moving off-grid. You'll need to prepare to begin an off-grid lifestyle according to your needs. Some people want full amenities right off the bat, while others feel the journey to beginning from, literally scratch, is empowering(and it is!) That will be something you will need to decide with others who are joining you.


Not everyone opts for power when moving off-grid, but so many do. For the ones pandemic-prepping, but deciding to hook up to traditional power, a backup source could be a great idea for this reason.

To some, it seems like an unlikely scenario you'd ever need a backup-plan for long term power outages, but during 2020, Texans faced a dystopian-like scenario. They were hit with power shortages during one of the coldest snaps of the year.


Unless you’re really planning on starting from absolute scratch(and kudos to you if you do!) you’ll need some type of shelter. There’s tons of options out there, even budget-friendly option. Some of these options depend on how much work you want to do and how worried you are about the looks of things, but I say if you have a solid roof over your head, you’re doing better than a lot of people.

Survival Shelter

I really don’t recommend dropping everything and moving to a piece of land with no shelter, but it’s been done. There’s too many factors that come into play to consider this a safe option.

For some, although, this is an experience they want! Surviving and building from scratch can be a full-filling journey some want to take! If you do decide to take this route, I would love to hear about your preparation and beginnings. Please email me at RebekaWhiteAuthor@gmail.com


This is probably the cheapest option, but the harder and more grittier. I’m really not talking about the cheap weekend-camping tents, but the heavier, more durable canvas tents. I do believe this would need to be a mostly temporary shelter, though, as the canvas material would degrade over time. This could be a great option for someone while they build their off-grid cabin!

Camper/Travel Trailer/RV

This is what we decided on for several reasons. We wanted creature comforts, but yet, still wanted to be off-grid. A camper comes set up with all your basic comforts, plus is easy to transform to an off-grid lifestyle. In fact, they’re made for it!

With our camper, we decided to go with an older style that had been renovated and taken really well care of. This meant we only invested a (small) fraction of what we would have into a new one, but we still retained all of the newer updates. In fact, we’re planning on updated it further, but I’ll do a post on that, later.

Building a Cabin from the Land

The most difficult, but most permanent solution. You’ll need to do your research, but this can be the most worthwhile option. I see many bloggers and other homesteaders combine these methods to make their off-grid move and build their cabin. That’s what we’re doing, we’re staying in the camper while we wait for lumber prices to drop decide on what type of house we want.


There are many options available for energy needs, off-grid. This depends on what your needs are! Do you want to have A/C off-grid, or are you only looking for an option to pull a few lights and charge your phone?


The oldest method of heating and cooking. Self-explainable. Wood heaters or fire places!


If it’s available in your area, you can use propane for heating and cooking. Propane heaters and stoves/cooktops are relatively cheap and refills are usually cheap.


This is the option we chose. With our Champion generator, we are able to run our whole camper, A/C, furnace, fridge/freezer and other electronics. We use propane for hot water/cooking, but that little generator really comes in handy!


This is the option we’re working toward. Solar energy is a renewable resource, but it takes some understanding to install it yourself. Having a professional install solar will cost the most money!


This is probably the toughest one, for a lot of homesteaders. Wells are expensive, but so is land with creeks or ponds. How does one get off-grid without water? You can’t. You’ll need to secure a clean source of water before moving.


This one can get tricky, as in some places it is illegal to use water from a “public water source.” (in some states, ground water is considered property of the state.) It’s also tricky to determine if that water is safe and free from pollutants.

Rainwater Collection

We collect rainwater, but you’ll need a rainwater collection system and a tank to begin. Don’t underestimate how much water your family is using, overestimate! Rainwater collection may be an option for those that receive lots of rainfall, but don’t count it out if you’re in a desert landscape. Here’s a guy in Arizona with a huge rainwater collection system.

If you’re looking to get off-grid, but your budget is tight, you’re not alone. There’s a whole movement of individuals, and families, rushing to get-off grid in preparation of another pandemic, or for the chance to get back to a simpler life. Whatever your reasons are, you have options, despite your budget!

Disclaimer: There’s a lot of inherit risk with moving off-grid. It’s dangerous, especially when factoring in options like, potentially going without shelter, money, food, heat, air, energy or water, which can result from these methods failing. Always, always, always realize this before continuing. This post is for entertainment purposes only and I cannot be held liable for injury/death arising from misuse of this post.

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