12 Advantages of Living Off the Grid
Amidst inflation, pandemics, lockdowns, food shortages, and other questionable stories in the news, people are thinking more about alternative living and considering the many advantages of living off the grid.
Though there are also some notable disadvantages to such a lifestyle, the advantages of living off the grid outweigh the drawbacks, which is why so many people gravitate toward off grid living.
Reduced dependence on others, better preparedness for emergencies, increased freedom, decreased living costs, and many more advantages of off grid living await those who disconnect their lives and learn to become more self-sufficient.
In this article, we’re going to discuss 12 of the biggest advantages of living off grid to help you decide if it’s a lifestyle that’s right for you.
12 Benefits of Living Off Grid
1. Grid Emergencies Have a Reduced Effect on You
Living off grid means that you’re disconnected from the major public utilities like water and electricity. So, naturally, you’re less affected when there are problems with those systems.
For instance, homes hooked to the grid often lose power during heavy rainstorms. Since you’re not connected to the grid, your off-grid home won’t lose power when it rains or there’s some other sort of issue with the electrical grid.
When major crises occur and whole regions are left without power, water, and basic utilities, off grid homes still have all their normal functionality since they’re not dependent on the grid for their electricity.
This has deeper implications in times of disaster. Consider food storage. Without electricity, you can’t store food. Clearly, having electricity when everyone else loses it greatly improves your chances of survival.
2. Off Grid Living Is Cost Effective
On one hand, it’s true that some parts of off-grid living can be a bit pricey to get setup. On the other hand, once your off-grid home is setup, your operational costs are very low.
For one thing, you don’t have to pay an electric bill. In most households, energy bills are one of the largest expenses. But since off grid homes generally rely on solar and sometimes even wind, their power is completely renewable, saving them the entire cost of an electric bill.
Off grid households that grow, hunt, and fish their own food reduce their living expenses even more by eating off their labor instead of their wallets.
3. It’s a Sustainable Lifestyle
A key factor of off grid living is its sustainability. Though it takes a little more work than a traditional lifestyle, it’s a very comfortable and harmonious way to live that’s in accordance with the environment.
Sustainability means living in a manner that avoids depleting natural resources to maintain ecological balance.
Rather than using energy from the grid, which is often produced through the burning of fossil fuels, those living an off-grid lifestyle utilize renewable energy sources that don’t deplete the environment.
After all, you can’t use up the sun’s rays.
Off grid living is also sustainable on an individual level, especially for anyone who’s concerned about their impact on the environment. The extra work it takes to live off grid is minor, and the satisfaction derived from being self-sufficient is immense.
4. Your Carbon Footprint Shrinks
A lot of people today talk endlessly about how much they care for the environment and how we should all do our part and on and on. Great sentiments, but they’re usually virtue signaling because the people spouting off about it don’t actually take action towards living a greener life in any way that makes a difference.
Well, by living off grid, you’re really putting your money where your mouth is. You’re reducing your impact on the environment, shrinking your carbon footprint, and lessening the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
5. You Have More Freedom
A big allure of this lifestyle for many people is the amount of freedom that it provides.
You’re no longer dependent on utility companies that monopolize their sectors.
Instead of being forced to pay one water company and one electric company no matter what outrageous fees they charge, self-sufficient living gives you the freedom to choose something different for yourself.
Likewise, you’ll never have to deal with another HOA again once you convert to off grid living. No one can tell you how your house must look or fine you for not trimming your front lawn in time.
Sometimes, people start looking into off grid living simply because they’ve purchased a property that’s going to be more trouble than it’s worth to connect to public utilities. Soon, they find that they love the freedom obtained by living a disconnected life, and they decide to make the lifestyle a permanent part of their lives.
But if you choose to disconnect before buying property, then you’ll have the freedom to choose land anywhere. You won’t be forced to find property that’s already got power and water, which leads to advantage number 6…
6. Dirt-Cheap Land
If you’ve done any property searching recently, you’ve probably realized that land in or near cities can be extremely expensive. However, land that’s a bit more rural tends to be affordable, and if you can find property with no electrical hookups and no electric close by, then you can usually pick it up dirt-cheap.
Most people are looking to purchase property that’s ready to be built on and they don’t even consider off-grid living during their search. Because of this, all those great properties that are a bit harder to reach are left relatively unnoticed.
Don’t assume for a moment that these properties are undesirable just because they’re cheap. We know better, because we know that they’re great choices for off-grid living! And in truth, some of these properties are absolutely stunning.
When looking for land, you can usually find great candidates on Craigslist and other sites where property and homes are sold. Just browse the options that are available a bit away from the city and see what you find.
On more great advantage to purchasing land farther from the urban centers is that…
7. You’re Better Prepared for Catastrophe
When disaster strikes, people are almost always woefully unprepared.
A few lucky folks may have backup generators to keep their lights and food storage devices running, but most people are struggling just to find batteries for flashlights. Their food goes bad in short order, the last batteries in the flashlights die, and they’re left hoping for help from external sources.
One of the biggest advantages of living off grid is that you’re much better prepared in such situations.
When you’re not connected to public utilities, your electricity isn’t linked to everyone else’s. When the power goes out for everyone else, you’ll still have the luxury of lights and electricity. While other people are floundering, unprepared with no emergency plan, your life will largely continue as normal.
Even if you are hooked into public utilities, with the right setup, you’ll still have power when everyone else’s electricity is out. You’ll just have to make sure you have the right equipment to prevent backflow of electricity and remain within the laws of where you live.
Additionally, off-grid homes are generally built a little way away from the urban centers, as we’ve already discussed. This means that you’ll be less affected by other aspects of disasters as well, like the looting and crime that often accompanies such turbulent times.
8. You Don’t Pay into the System as Much
Many people are unhappy with the way things are today. Utility companies have a clear monopoly over their industries.
Think about it. Can you choose to go to a different electric company if you don’t like the way yours operates?
Of course not.
And utility companies are universally known for their shady and deceptive practices.
Your wallet allows you to vote for the businesses you support and don’t. Spending at one business instead of another helps one business stay alive and jeopardizes another.
Unfortunately, utility companies are set up in such a way that they’re unaffected by such notions. You can’t simply spend your money elsewhere.
However, you can skip the energy companies altogether by going off grid and giving them no part of your money at all.
Finally, we have a way to vote against the utility monopolies with our money, which leads to our next point…
9. Reduced Dependency
If you’re living a more mainstream lifestyle, firmly plugged into the grid, then the truth is that you’re dependent on the systems around you, as demonstrated by the complete breakdown of society that often occurs in disaster situations.
What happens when the electricity goes down? What if there’s a water main break and you have no water for days?
Remember food shortages in 2020 and how panicked people were. That’s because they’re absolutely dependent on these systems. Without public electricity companies, public waterworks, grocery stores, and other modern conveniences, most people are left with no idea of what to do or how to survive.
But one of the big advantages of living off the grid is that you’re not affected the same way that others might be.
And the further off grid you go, the less dependent you are on any of these systems.
For example, as soon as you have a substantial solar system and a small backup generator, you’ve severed your reliance on electric companies.
Dig your own well and you no longer need public waterworks companies.
Install a septic tank or learn to compost and you’ll never worry about sewers again.
Gain some gardening skills and your veggies will be free and abundant forever.
Learn to hunt and fish on top of your gardening skills and you’ll be safe from starvation, even if food shortages abound and grocery stores close.
Going off grid can be an incremental process because…
10. You’re Constantly Learning and Growing
An off-grid life is a life of self-sufficiency and growing skills. You’ll constantly be learning new things as you work to improve your off-grid home.
There’s a very long learning curve to off grid living, but that’s only because there’s so much to learn as you go along. After a few months of living off the grid, you’ll have learned so much and evolved as a person to the point that you’ll hardly recognize your old self!
Off-grid living is more than just a lifestyle; it’s a process. You can’t learn it all in a weekend or by reading a few articles. Rather, you have to really get out and experience off-grid living for yourself.
Even after years of living off the grid, you’ll always be finding new ways to improve, conserve, and grow. There’s always a new skill to conquer, a new project to undertake, something new to build. Which does lead well into…
11. An Off-Grid Life Is Rarely a Boring Life
Boredom appears to a chronic problem for people today. It’s a symptom of a life that’s too convenient and too easy. Everything is instant and requires no effort.
But things are a bit different when you’re living off grid. You can have every modern convenience you desire, but everything takes a little bit more work and you have must pay a bit more attention.
You can run your electronics, but the batteries must be monitored to ensure they have plenty of juice left. Even if you have a massive battery bank and plenty of solar panels, you still have to monitor the system daily because if anything goes wrong and you don’t catch it, you could be without any power for days!
You’ll learn quickly that it does not pay to procrastinate when you’re living off the grid. But you’ll always have something to do! There’s always some task that needs to be accomplished, something that needs to be fixed, or some improvement to be worked on. That’s just the reality of off grid living.
Now, you could look at that as a drawback, but most people feel more fulfilled when they’re spending their time problem solving and improving their lives rather than sitting with a hunched back and staring at a screen for hours!
12. Living Sustainably Can Be Healthier
Everyone takes their off grid living to different levels, but those who are truly off grid are eating healthier than a majority of the population.
Let me explain.
People who are all-in on off grid living harvest their own food. They grow crops, raise livestock, hunt, fish, and do whatever it takes to put food on the table.
This food is devoid of all the hormones, chemicals, and preservatives that most food in the grocery store is pumped full of.
It’s sensible to correlate such a natural diet free of the negative additives common in modern food with a higher probability of health.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of living off the grid?
There are many advantages and disadvantages to living off the grid. Some of the most important are:
- It’s a sustainable lifestyle
- Your carbon footprint shrinks
- Off-grid living is cost-effective
- Grid emergencies have a reduced effect on you
- You’re better prepared for catastrophe
- Land for off-grid living is dirt cheap
- There’s a long learning curve
- It can be expensive to get set up
- Off-grid living takes more work
- You must be self-sufficient
- Your electricity is dependent on the weather
Is it Healthy to Live Off Grid?
In many ways, living off grid is healthier than living on the grid. For example, many in the off-grid lifestyle harvest their own food, whether it’s through farming, gardening, raising livestock, hunting, or even fishing. Rather than eating processed foods or foods that are pumped full of hormones and preservatives, these folks get to eat much healthier fresh, whole foods. Best of all, they know exactly where their food comes from and what went into growing it.
Why Do People Choose to Live Off the Grid?
There are many reasons that people choose to live off the grid. Some choose the lifestyle for environmental reasons since off-grid living is more sustainable and reduces your carbon footprint. Others choose to live off grid because it’s more cost-effective in the long run while offering more freedom in how you choose to live. Still others opt for off grid living because you’re better prepared for disasters. You’ll even meet people who choose the off grid lifestyle because of the potential health benefits.
What Skills Do You Need to Live Off-Grid?
Off-grid living requires a high degree of self-sufficiency, so you’ll need quite a few skills for this lifestyle. Some of the most vital skills for off grid living include construction, home repair, electrical, automotive repair, plumbing, general DIY, gardening, hunting, fishing. In general, you’ll need to build, maintain, and repair anything you want to have in an off-grid lifestyle. If you want solar, for example, you’ll pretty much need to learn how to set it all up, troubleshoot it, and keep it running.
What Is Needed to Survive Off-Grid?
To survive off grid, you’ll need several things, starting with a variety of self-sufficiency skills. If you’re already a self-sufficient person, then here are the physical items you need: shelter, electricity such as solar or a generator, a source of clean drinking water, some way to deal with waste like a septic tank or composting toilet, repair tools, gardening and landscaping tools.
The Final Word
No lifestyle is perfect, but for many people, the advantages of living off grid far outweigh the drawbacks. Having said that, it’s still important to be informed, so make sure to read about the disadvantages of off grid living here. Or, if you already know that a disconnected life is right for you, then you might consider checking out our guide to living off grid for beginners, which will give you a good idea of what’s in store for you and how you can get started.