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The Combined Approach To Living: The Off-grind and On-Grid Fix

Living off the grid actually costs a lot more than you might think. Being energy independent is a noble goal, but due to the costs involved, living off the grid might not be an affordable option. The majority of people might benefit more from using a hybrid solution if they have constrained resources and an even more constrained budget.

Even as we frequently voice our dissatisfaction with the utility services we use, it is simple to forget that the costs of maintaining those services are higher than we realize. The majority of these costs for maintenance and upkeep will move from a utility service to you when going completely off the grid. It might be preferable to have a backup system in place in case your current services are interrupted. Also keep in mind that, barring extremely dire circumstances, staying put will usually be your best course of action.

The Alternative Approach

Although I would prefer to live completely off the grid, it is not practical for me. Your income may severely restrict your ability to use money to achieve off-grid goals, but it is still possible if you combine it with other available resources and have reliable backup plans in place. You should first focus on meeting your basic needs.


Your home is typically the first and best place to seek refuge. It's possible that storm damage or other issues will render it momentarily uninhabitable. Even a basic storage shed can meet your needs for temporary housing while repairs are being made. It could serve as a secondary shelter in a crisis if necessary.


Water will be a bare minimum requirement. The cost and practicality of drilling your own water well may be prohibitive. Your local utility company might also forbid it. Fortunately, the majority of your water needs can be met by simply collecting rainwater. Most of your water needs can be met with a good filtration system and a rainwater catchment system, which costs about $500. In my situation, our monthly average rainfall of 3 inches can fill all of our water storage barrels to the brim and give us more than 500 gallons each month.

Additional Power

Temporary power is still required to keep some appliances in good working order. Without a constant source of power, your refrigerator and freezer won't be able to adequately preserve your food. In my situation, I always have a small portable gas generator on hand (cost: $400 + fuel) that I can use in such a situation. I can keep my appliances running for as long as necessary to cook and consume the food they contain in the event of a significant power outage of any length of time.


In order to have off-the-grid backup for your current utility services, there are a number of other priorities that also need to be taken care of. Propane and wood are the simplest and most cost-effective sources for cooking and heating. Wood stoves or gas and charcoal grills are very effective in off-the-grid or emergency situations, are inexpensive, and require little maintenance. Most people usually have one or both of them ready to use.


If necessary during colder weather, small propane heaters  can also provide emergency heat. They are typically incredibly portable. With the proper ventilation, the majority can even be used indoors. Even a fireplace can serve as an additional source of heat in a home.

You don't have to live off the grid; instead, you have access to simple and affordable options that can help you continue living your normal life in case of emergency.


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