Many people think of off-grid living as these back woods people who live in hand-built shacks with a slew of farm animals and self-sustaining practices; and often times that is correct. But the idea of “going off-grid” simply means that you have chosen not to rely on your town’s electrical grid system.
That’s it! No relying on the good old grid to supply yourself with power. So…where will your power come from if you are no longer dependent on the grid? Well, that’s entirely up to you, and it can seem like a daunting task to think about. How are you going to generate enough power to sustain all your needs?
I’m not going to address the whole story from A-Z, I’m just here to help you get started. After all, deciding to live your life off-the-grid is a big commitment that requires a lot of thought and skill. Today, we are going to talk about the first stages of what it means to go “off-the-grid”.
1. Set Goals
Before you drop any money or time investing in gear, it’s important to sit down and think, “how off-grid do I want to get”? That image is going to look different for everyone. Write out your absolute dream examples of your ideal situation. Once you get that written out (with no limits in mind), you can take a look at your picture and begin to tailor it to a more realistic place. Some people will want to make small changes just to keep the cost of living down, and some people are going to want to dive in head first in total independence. Once you have your ideas out on paper the next thing to do is to set up a timeline, start doing research, and get to work on making your off-grid dreams come true.
2. Take Inventory of Your Power Consumption
Once you have your goals set, it’s time to take inventory of how much power you consume RIGHT NOW. This will help you see in tangible numbers just how many Watts you use in a day, month, and year. This may seem a little daunting, but counting every Watt from every lightbulb, cell phone, fridge, television will paint an accurate picture of what you are dealing with. Also, take into account the square footage of your home, and any other power consumption that can take place on your property (like your garage, shed, or backyard).
When you calculate your estimated figure, you will be able to decide what adjustments need to be made. Making this decision is completely up to your personal preference. Some people are happy to give up their televisions, computers, or curling irons. Some people can even go so are as to give up lights and hot water! At the end of the day, its all up to your preference. There is no wrong answer. Just know that the more power you need to keep your off-grid life going means you will have to invest in more equipment (and that’s not a bad thing either).
3. Get Your Finances in Order
This step is going to be the hardest. MONEY. We make money every day but somehow it never seems to be enough. That’s why many people decide to go off-the-grid: to save money. While that is true in the long run, you will need to be prepared to make some hefty investments up front. You will need to invest in some good solar panels, generators, water systems, and more. As mentioned before, your level of commitment will determine how much this will cost you up front, so the budget is going to look different for everyone.
First thing’s first, make sure that you are sticking to a healthy budget for your current lifestyle. Focus on getting debts paid off. Include a timeline in your plans as to when you want to become debt free. While you are chipping away at your financial successes, use this time to research the best off-grid power sources for your needs. Doing research takes time and it will help you shape your budget too. You may wince in pain when you see how much the right equipment will cost, but remember: you will have a high initial investment that will result in a lower cost of living.
4. Start Practicing Skills in Self-Reliance
While you are preparing your finances and doing your research, you can begin to sharpen your skills in self-reliance. If you are going to have an off-grid lifestyle, you are going to have to know how to do a lot more than plugging in gadgets and ordering take out. Get your hands dirty with the first thing that interests you. Many off-grid enthusiasts have skills in cooking, landscaping, horticulture, agriculture, and beyond! Do you know how to use a circular saw? Now is the perfect time to learn! Do you want infinite eggs? Time to adopt your first chickens! You don’t need to dive in head first; just start small with the skills that interest you the most.
This blog is by not means the end-all be-all for off-grid knowledge, but taking these steps will get you in the right direction. Here at Togo Power, we strive to be as helpful as we can. In addition to monthly blogs, we have power stations, solar panels, and gas generators that are available to you and time. We have products that can fit a wide variety of budgets and lifestyles, and we are always happy to help you decide what works best for you.