I told you in the beginning that at some point I was going to get political, well here it is.
There are sooo many different reasons to live off grid.
1) you aren’t subject to the same outages that other people are. Power lines go down and you still have power!
2) Little to no environmental impact. No nuclear power plants, depletion of coal reserves. You are hooked into renewable clean energy.
3) and finally the MAIN reason we are choosing to live off grid. To make a statement against utility companies and other large corporations. On average we pay $75-$100 a month in electric. This past month our electric bill went up by $100 because we are heating our house with heaters. That is still cheaper than the $150 we were paying the gas company last year. The really sad part is that when we get those energy updates that say how well our house is doing compared to other houses we are considered “efficient”. That means that most people pay more than this.
Then today we got a letter in the mail saying that electric rates were going up 10%. That doesn’t seem like much, an extra $10-$20 a month but it adds up. the cost of everything is increasing. In the past year regular butter, not organic, just regular grocery store brand butter is $4. That’s up from the $2.50 it was. We take it because there is nothing we feel we can do about it. Yet most people aren’t even getting the 3% cost of living raise every year. So we struggle one year only to have to struggle harder the next.
C makes $12 an hour. That’s a pretty good wage here in the great state of KY. It’s the same wage he has had for the past 2 years with 12 years of experience behind him. I know people say “just get a better job” or “go back to school”. He has been looking for a new job for over 2 months but nobody is wiling to pay more than what he is currently making and he can’t afford to go back to school especially if there is no guarantee he will be able to get a better job once he is out. The market is being flooded with new graduates who accept less money than what they are worth to be able to even get a job. If I were to go back to my old job I would need a masters degree in order to make $2 an hour less than I was. That’s what happens when you have too many people qualified for the same job. It’s a great example of supply and demand.
we can try for the things that are out of our hands, we can try to work more, sell more, apply for new jobs, whatever we need to but in the long run the only way out situation is going to change is if we make it. How do we do that? Decrease our spending. Do you know that most people can spend $5000 on a solar panel kit that would decrease their electric bill by 1/4 to 1/2. That doesn’t seem like much but let’s say that means you save $50 a month. In 8 years you have paid yourself back. Not to mention that you can get tax credits and rebates for adding solar panels.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am NOT offering a political solution. I am saying that no solution can come to pass unless we agree that there is a problem. We need to agree that there is a problem in this country and it’s not with lazy people, it’s not with people who don’t want to work, it’s with the fact that someone who makes almost twice minimum wage isn’t making enough to support a family. Our solution to our situation is to change the cost of living for a family of 4. A family of 4 shouldn’t have to make over $2400 a month to be able to survive (the cut off to qualify for most government services). If we allow the cycle of money to control us it will, forever.
Imagine what your bank account would look like without a gas, electric, or water bill. For us that a savings of $150-$275 a month. That’s huge!!
5 thoughts on “Why we are choosing to live off the grid”
The biggest issue I have found in my research is WHERE to buy the land. You really have to do your research and make sure the town/county/jurisdiction will even allow you to have a place that is not tied into utilities. They want to track you. They want control. Hope you have a site in mind, and good luck with everything. Enjoying your posts, keep it up.
I completely agree with you. The land we are looking at is zoned agricultural in a county/ jurisdiction that is fairly lenient on building specifics. Our main concern is whether they will approve an earthship, but they shouldnt have a problem with utilities. If you do come accross places that wont let you, there are still ways around it. They are annoying but still possible. A lot of places say you have to be hooked up to their utilities, but you can still have a solar panel system that hooks into their system so you are using little to no power from the power company. Some companies will even buy your excess energy if you are hooked into their system. Its definitely aomethin to look into.
Don’t forget about water and sewer too! Some cities have rules about rainwater collection and storage in (cisterns if you are going that route), wells and septic systems. I think in the whole process, site selection is the number one issue! When you get ready to build, what building materials are you considering? If you decide to go with rammed earth filled tires let me know. I would like to come help!
You are exactly right. Cisterns and wells are both available in the area we are looking in, but that is a huge area of contention for a lot of areas and definitely something to look into. Some areas dont allow rainwater collection at all. Its silly really and just a way for the government to try and control you
I’m going to follow your journey with interest. We have a block on a horrible slope. A much smaller block than the one you’re looking at. But with a sliver of ocean view and lovely sea breezes. I think it would be ideal for an earthship and I’d love to be able to live off the grid but I don’t think that will be entirely possible. The house we own at the moment has full solar power that feeds back into the grid, so we get paid for the excess we produce. And just today we had a solar hot water system installed as well.
Good luck with your project. I know all the rules are different for you and me but I’d still like to see how you go.
Cheers from Queensland Australia.