Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

10 Reasons to Live Off-Grid

The security of self-sufficiency and the freedom that comes

wood heat

from being a producer rather than just a consumer is what our family is working toward. We have found it on so many levels here on our suburban homestead and look forward to increasing that as we eventually transition to our off-grid homestead.

We have started taking steps in the direction of an off-grid lifestyle by heating our house with wood and growing and preserving a lot of our own food.

On the coldest night of this winter, our county lost power, thankfully only for a few hours. There were stories of families huddled together to keep warm as the temperature plummeted outside.

It took as much as a full day to heat their house back up to a comfortable temperature. We have been heating with wood so we stayed cozy and warm. The only worry we had, was for the neighbors.

As we work toward our off-grid dreams we have put pen to paper and compiled our top ten reasons for wanting to live off-grid.

1. Freedom from utility bills

Likely the first advantage that comes to mind when considering an off-grid lifestyle is eliminating utility expenses. Exploring alternatives for power, water, and sewer is a great way to reduce the cost of living.

2. Good stewards of the Earth’s resources

When we are responsible for our own resources we are more aware of where they come from and how much we are using. Eyes-wide-open awareness is the most effective way to bring true change in any area of life.

3. Security

When tied to the grid we are tied to more than just the electric company. There are so many variables that could cause us to be without power. We want to eliminate that risk as much as possible. Not just by creating our own electricity but learning to live without it too.

4. Freedom to choose your lifestyle

Living off grid gives you options. Maybe you want to live in a yurt with no amenities. How about an RV? A tiny house? You might want a big house with every convenience but on a property that is too far from the electric grid. These are all possibilities off grid.

5. Location, location, location

Being free from the electric grid means that you can position your house in the best or most beautiful place on your land no matter how far it is from the electric lines.

6. Living as producers instead of consumers

orchard-fresh apples

Our family has really enjoyed our garden and livestock so much! Learning how to grow, harvest and preserve our food feels incredible. We are looking to expand that into so many other aspects of our off-grid life.

7. Environmentally responsible

Learning how to use much less electricity, recycling gray water and having a composting toilet are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint and make off-grid living work.

8. Learn new skills

I am excited to learn more about solar, harvesting water, building from the ground up and living more in touch with our land.

9. The sense of accomplishment

This might be the thing we are most excited about, building our homestead from the ground up. To be able to really express who we are in every aspect of our lives then look back and see all that we have learned and accomplished.

10. Encourages a life unplugged

Living off-grid is a chosen departure from everyday modern life in some form or another. That departure causes change, even if it is as simple as hanging the laundry to dry instead of throwing it in the dryer. Many off-grid tasks connect us to nature and life outside of a screen. We plan on embracing that with open arms.

Going off grid is not the wonder-drug that will solve all of your troubles. There are many choices that can be made, no matter where you live, to reduce your carbon footprint. For our family, it is the combination of all of these reasons that inspire and compels us to work toward our dreams of building our off grid homestead.

Your Turn!

  • What does off-grid living mean to you?
  • What reasons for living off-grid would you add to this list.

How To Get Out Of Debt

What would your life be like if you didn’t have any debt payments? How would your financial picture change if you weren’t tied to those payments month in, month out? Let’s break the cycle and finally get out of debt.

Three years ago, my family had close to $60,000 worth of consumer and student loan debt. I had been in debt since I got my first credit card at 19 years of age and after spending close to 20 years in the debt trap, never thought we could climb out of it.

After feeling fed up and tired of juggling nine different debt payments on top of the rest of our monthly bills, I knew we had to make a change. Using these 5 steps, along with focus and determination, we were able to pay off our consumer debt in 25 months. Here’s how we got out of debt, and you can too.

5 Steps to Debt Freedom

 

1. Stop Using Debt:

Seems obvious right? If you want to pay off your debt, you have to stop using debt. It’s time to cut up the credit cards or at the very least put them on ice (literally). In order to get out of debt you have to commit to using cash for your purchases from here on out. This means being patient, saving up, and planning your future purchases. If you’ve been relying on debt, this will be the hardest step, but this is the first step in finally freeing yourself from the mountain of bills.

2. Establish your Emergency Fund:

Inemergency fund order to have a bit of a financial cushion between you and life, and cut ties with the credit card or line of credit, you’ll want to make sure you have a starter emergency fund. For most of us $1000 set aside in a separate savings account will cover most emergencies that arise while getting out of debt. You must commit though to keeping this money in case of emergency only (and no, that pair of boots that you’ve had your eye on and have just gone on sale for 75% off are NOT an emergency).

3. Get on a Budget and Stick With It:

If you want to get out of debt, changes in how you behave with and manage your money are key. The biggest change you can make that will see the debt gone once and for all is to get on a written monthly budget and stick with it. If you’re new to the budgeting process, this article will help you get started.

4. Organize Your Debts:

Time to take out those debt statements and organize them in the order that you’re going to pay them off. There are two ways to organize your debt. Both work because they force you to focus your attention on one debt at a time, and the power of focus is key. 

Snowball: Organize your debts from the smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate. Pay the minimum payments on all of the debts, except the smallest, and throw every extra penny you can at that debt. Once the smallest one is paid off, you take what you had been putting towards it, plus the minimum payment, and start attacking the second smallest debt. By the end, you’re putting a significant amount of money towards your largest debt, making that disappear faster than you could have thought possible.

Avalanche: A second way you could organize your debts is by using the debt avalanche. In this method you are lining up your debts from the largest interest rate to the smallest interest rate. Like the snowball, you’ll keep making minimum payments on the other debts while you pay off the debt with the largest interest rate first and then keep working your way down the line.

5. Throw Every Extra Dollar at Debt:

In order to get that debt paid off as quickly as possible, you want to make sure that you are throwing every extra penny you can at the debt. This means revisiting the budget and seeing what can be trimmed in the short term so you can free up money to add to your debt payment. It may also mean making some extra income.

Getting out of debt requires making some short-term sacrifices, but they payoff is well worth it. Your paychecks become yours again so that you can save for retirement, help pay for your children’s education, and save up for that vacation you’ve always wanted to go on.

Once you start living a debt-free life, I promise you’ll never go back to using credit again.

You Turn:

  • What are you willing to cut from your budget to pay off debt?
  • What would you do with your income if you didn’t have debt payments?

Minimalist Mindset: Is It Bad To Love Things?

If your house was on fire, what would you grab before running out of it? Anything? Everything? Becoming a minimalist has made me look at my relationship with things completely differently. I used to be able to list off the things I would grab: my laptop, external hard drive that houses my photos, my phone, etc. Now I wonder: why are these things so important? Is it bad that I feel like I need these things? Is it bad to love things?

Is It Bad To Love Things? Minimalist Mindset

1. Being unattached to items makes life flexible

I used to have a closet full of clothes. I had so many things that I cared deeply about, including designer handbags, shoes, jackets, and my shelf of very-carefully collected jeans that all fit perfectly. I had a fancy headboard on my bed and I had the perfect collection of throw pillows that I’d spent months accumulating. I loved these things. I was proud of this home that I’d made. Then my life changed. My relationship ended, and I had to move out, pronto. I had to leave a lot of things behind, and I was genuinely upset that I felt like I was leaving my life at that house.

2. Home Is Not Where The Stuff Is

Minimalist Mindset: Is It Bad To Love Things?After moving out, I started to minimize my belongings further. I didn’t want my life to be focused on things any more. It’s nice to have things you like, but being upset about replaceable things felt completely ridiculous to me. I didn’t want “home” to be a place with my throw pillows and fancy headboard – I wanted “home” to be my favorite people, a feeling of comfort, something inside of me.

3. Your Stuff Does Not Define You

Using things as just that – things – has created a massive shift in my life. I don’t need a wall full of jeans anymore, I just need one pair. One. I just need a few shirts. I prefer to buy clothes that I am comfortable in and wear often. But the brand, the designer, or the popularity of the clothes that I’m wearing doesn’t matter to me anymore. I am not defined by the clothes I’m wearing – and I want people around me to see me for me, not for my clothes. I want people to see how kind I am, how caring I am, what I’m passionate about; not the label on my clothes or whether I have the trendiest bag.

Minimalist Mindset: Is It Bad To Love Things?

4. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

What you spend time, money, and energy on is generally what you are prioritizing in your life at the moment. By taking out the value of things and my emotional investment to them, I am more willing to share. I am more willing to be the person I want to be. If something happens to my jeans, it doesn’t phase me. It’s just a pair of jeans, I’ll get a new (new to me) pair.

So, is it bad to love things? I recently heard the saying, “Love people, use things. The opposite never works.” Loving things isn’t the worst thing in the world, but loving people is always so much better.

Your Turn!

  • How do you feel that loving things has impacted your life?

How to Make More Money

When you’re determined to get out of debt, or save for a big purchase, you want to do it as quickly as possible. Today we’re going to look at how you can make more money to hit your goals even faster.

Make More Money

Now, in all honesty, these 5 different suggestions are not going to make you rich, nor are they meant to replace your main form of income. Instead these are strategies that you can use in the short term to help you reach your financial goal.

Both my husband and I have used a couple of these tips to help us earn some extra money. My husband asked around to people he knew and ended up getting an on-call job with the city as a stagehand for our local auditorium. I on the other hand, decided to use my speaking skills and media skills as a teacher to create my own YouTube channel about personal finance and documenting our debt-free journey.

piggy bank with money

So if you’re willing to take some of your extra time and turn it into extra money for your bank account, let’s get started:

 

  1. Turn your hobby or your skill into extra money: Consider what you enjoy doing and know how to do and see if that is something that you can make some extra money from. For example, if you have a dog, and take that dog for a walk everyday, why not look into becoming a dog walker for other people in your neighborhood too? This is a great, easy way to make a few extra dollars. Crafty? Consider opening up an Etsy shop to sell your goods.dreams don't work unless you do
  2. Do some freelance work online: If you are interested in making extra money, but would like to do it from home, there is a great opportunity to pick up some freelance work. Check out Upwork. Becoming a freelancer allows you to select jobs that suit your interests and set your own workload.
  3. Flip thrift store finds: If you’re willing to spend the time searching through the racks, you may in fact find some sought after name brand labels that you could look at reselling online. You want to do your research to see what certain brand names go for in order to be sure it is worth your while, but this is a great way to supplement your income from the comfort of your own home.
  4. Selling your unwanted items: Do you have any old cell phones or tablets lying around if you’ve upgraded to the latest model? Do you have any DVDs hanging around that you don’t watch anymore? Do you have any home items that you simply don’t need? Selling your unwanted items is a great way to free up some extra money and get rid of some unwanted clutter. 
  5. Ask around: Let your friends and family know that you’re looking to pick up a few extra hours of work. Perhaps this will lead to some casual part time work either in a place of work or by helping others by completing small jobs.

 

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but will hopefully spark some inspiration about what you might be able to do if you are looking for ways to increase your income.

 

Your Turn!

  • What is something that you have done to earn extra money?

How To Start Living A Minimalist Lifestyle

Living in a more minimalist way can create more free time, more money in your savings account, and a more purpose filled life. I started my minimalist journey about two years ago, and since then I’ve quit my job, saved a lot of money, and traveled to over 20 countries. Living minimally has led to so many opportunities for me, and it can do the same for you. To get started with a more minimalist lifestyle, you’ll just need to take a few steps.

1. The decluttering process

To live a simple lifestyle, you’ll need a simple living space. Take some time to declutter your living area. Focus on keeping things that you value deeply, and toss things that you don’t need any longer. I took about six months to fully declutter my space. Giving yourself time will ensure that you are intentional about what you keep and what you discard.

I like to complete the decluttering process in sweeps; the first sweep, get rid of anything that you know you no longer use. Take a few months to live without those things, and notice if the things you’ve kept are serving you. I did three sweeps in total, after noticing that I had held on to things following the first two sweeps that I still didn’t need. After the third and final sweep, I was shocked to see how few possessions I actually used in my daily life.

2. Stay mindful

Minimalists live intentionally. If there is something in your life that you don’t love, change it! When I started my minimalist journey, I was in a job and a relationship that didn’t serve me. Within six months, I was out of both of those, and happier than I’d ever been. I like to think about what my ideal life looks like, and then work toward that. Cutting out the things that aren’t serving you are the first step to creating the life that you want. An exercise that really helps me is to write down what an ideal day would look like for you in five years time. Then work toward that goal.

3. Minimize your relationships

Going minimalist to me meant that I was spending time with only the people I wanted to spend time with. Though I have a lot of friends, only a few of them are people who motivate and inspire me to grow and learn. These few people ignite my creativity and spending time with them is incredibly valuable to me. To me, becoming minimalist meant focusing my social time on people who lifted me up. This way, I was maximizing my social time, and also maximizing the amount of  time that I had to focus on things that I wanted to work on.

4. Be intentional with your time

Instead of RSVP’ing “yes” to everything you’re invited to, take some time to think about whether it’s something that you are excited about attending. Be intentional with how you spend your time. When I started my minimalist journey, I decided to cut out 99% of my social events, and just do whatever I felt like doing. This included a lot of hiking, learning about photography, and spending a lot of time with my family. I felt so much more fulfilled and happy when I scheduled my time according to what I wanted.

5. Create a savings account

A huge part of minimalism is creating financial freedom. Creating a savings account and contributing to it regularly will help you build a little nest egg to quit your day job, build a tiny house, or start traveling. Try setting up an automatic transfer, so that you can save without even trying. Think about cutting out unnecessary expenses and subscriptions that you don’t use to save even more.

When I took the journey to minimalism, I set up an automatic transfer for $100 per week to be sent to my savings account on the day I got paid. This helped me save my first $1000 pretty quickly. Once I got more into minimalism, that amount grew, until I was transferring about 60-70% of my paycheck into my savings. Simple living really pays off!

Minimalism has affected my life in ways that I never thought possible. I found passions that I didn’t know I had, I saved a lot of money and attained financial freedom, and I deepened my relationships with family and friends. What could minimalism do for you?

For more articles on minimalism, see:

  • How To Become A Minimalist
  • How To Build  A Capsule Wardrobe
  • What Defines A Minimalist

Your Turn!

  • How would simple living affect your daily life?
  • Would you be willing to give minimalism a try?
Page 112345...Last »
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-body"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]
[class*="-slide-open-holder"]