A healthy savings account is a priority for any life changing decision and the one to live off grid is no different. While you ultimately can save a lot of money living off grid in the long run, if you aren’t connected to utilities such as power, gas and water, you will need to spend money on establishing your off grid paradise even if you buy an existing well set up property as all properties need repairs and investment over the longer term to remain practical, functional and safe.
Saving money forces you to strategise, plan, and think creatively, all of which are skills and the mindset you need to live off the grid!
Here is a list of basic ways you can start to save money today for living off grid
- Use beeswax wraps instead of clingwrap/clingfilm/ saran wrap
- Replace cleaning products with a combination of vinegar and baking soda mixed together. For more stubborn grime add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the mix.
- Stop buying paper towels, cut up old towels to make cleaning cloths/dishcloths instead
- Bake your own bread and sweet treats from scratch
- Buy fruit and veggies when they are in season – that’s when they are cheaper. If you buy in bulk during these cheaper times you can chop up and freeze most fruits and veggies as well to use throughout the year while prices are higher.
- Save seeds from fruit and vegetables and try to grow your own
- Grow your own herbs from cuttings. Herb share with friends and family. Many local libraries in Australia run seed banks with free seeds to take to grow at home
- Use powdered milk instead of regular milk in baking and cooking
- Plan your meals weekly to shop the specials
- Make double batches of dinner and freeze the second batch for fast dinners or take as leftovers to work
- Set your air conditioning or heating to the recommended winter and summer settings or better yet, dress up and down with the seasons – think, thick blankets and socks in the winter vs turning on the heating
- Cut and color your own hair or teach your partner how to do it for you
- Dry your clothes on an outdoor clothesline or indoor clothes rack to limit the use and power of a dryer
- Learn to sew on a button, fix rips, and patch clothes to give your clothes extra life
- Barter or trade for everyday basics such as eggs, fruit, veggies, milk
- Reduce your family’s meat consumption and try beans and eggs as substitutes. “Meat Free Mondays” – even one meat free dinner or day per week can save you loads of money each year
- Use a power board and turn it off at night to reduce standby power usage – a great way to get ready for off grid electricity
- Choose free or cheap entertainment – join local Facebook groups and check your local council and municipalities websites to see “What’s on for free” in your area. If there isn’t a group for your area, start one and encourage locals to submit their free local activities and events.
- Borrow books and DVDs from the library
- Cancel unneeded subscriptions to steaming and music services. Youtube has a heap of free music, documentaries, movies and content to watch for free.
- Negotiate, at least yearly, with your utilities, phone, internet, bank and insurance providers for their best deals and rates
- Brew your own coffee at home and take it to work and outings in a travel mug or thermos
- Take advantage of any work/profession group rates/discounts on insurances, internet, mobile phone plans
- Review your bank account charges – look for free online accounts and high interest savings accounts to grow your savings faster
- Consolidate any credit card bills to one low rate account to cut interest costs and then aim to pay off your card/s in full each month and cancel unneeded, high interest cards.
- Buy good quality second-hand clothes from secondhand / opportunity shops, garage sales, or local Facebook swap groups.
- Join local “Buy nothing” groups on Facebook for free furniture, clothing, toys, pretty much anything!
- Install LED lightbulbs where possible to reduce electricity usage
- Drink tap water instead of bottled water and put a filter on your tap if needed.
- Redeem credit card reward points for supermarket gift cards and save the cash you would have spent
- Join supermarket rewards programs for discounts, free samples and dollars off your weekly shopping. The 2 main programs in Australia are Woolworths Everyday Rewards and Coles Flybuys
What easy cost savers and ideas can you think of or do you currently use?