Going off the grid isn’t a lifestyle for everyone, but adopting some aspects of this life can be a great way to save money without having to completely move to a cabin in the woods. Instead of taking things that far, you can reduce consumption and save money by eschewing some of the costly and wasteful habits that most people are used to.
Even if you’re not interested in going fully off the grid, here are some money-saving techniques to learn from that lifestyle.
1. Downsize Your Belongings
Most Americans have a similar problem: We all have too much stuff, and our homes are growing bigger to accommodate all those things. Home sizes have tripled in the past few decades, while 10 percent of Americans have to rent storage units to keep all their unneeded stuff.
This stuff drags us all down and takes up valuable room in our living spaces. Take the minimalist, off-the-grid approach and get rid of all the things you don’t need. Be strict and judicious with what you want to keep. When you’ve found the things that can go, donate them, sell them or give them away. Everybody wins that way, and you’ll be grateful you have room for more important things.
2. Cut the Cord
A great way to save money and move toward an off-the-grid life is to finally cut the cord and get rid of cable TV. With prices inching upwards and plenty of alternative entertainment options, there’s never been a better time to get rid of cable. The number of people getting rid of paid TV is on the rise, so you definitely won’t be alone in your decision.
Want to see how much money you can save? Use a calculator to see how worthwhile the cord-cutting decision is.
3. Look for Cheaper Internet
Getting rid of cable TV is a lot easier than ditching internet. For most of us, getting rid of internet is a nonstarter. Depending on your needs, you might want to consider using your phone’s mobile data as a hotspot.
This all depends on how good your mobile carrier is when it comes to data pricing, but it’s something worth considering. It could be an effective way to save money and reduce the number of bills you need to pay.
4. Get Energy Efficient
Power in all forms, whether it’s solar, wind or gas, is especially precious when you’re off the grid. Likewise, if you’re on the grid. To ensure you have no problems with overconsumption, you’ll want to make your home as energy-efficient as possible.
That means utilizing appliances – especially refrigerators – that aren’t wasteful, insulating the home for maximum efficiency and being smart with your consumption habits. Taking all these steps will help you save money.
5. Use Propane for Some Power
Solar and other renewable forms of energy are ideal, but they might be too expensive or inadequate to power everything you need. If you’re serious about saving money in an off-the-grid way, you’ll want to consider propane to supplement your energy needs.
This clean-burning fuel can be used for home heating, water heating and even some appliances. It’s often a cost-effective way and can be stored on your property in a large underground tank to ensure you’re off the grid.
6. Cut Down on Credit Cards
When people think of going off the grid, they envision generating their own electricity, growing their own food and similar things. Going off the grid can also mean ditching the financial norms that most people are stuck with. To that end, you should consider limiting the number of credit cards you have. This is good financial advice whether you want to go off the grid or not, as high credit card debt is something most Americans suffer from.
You don’t need all those cards. Having one or two is convenient, but any more than that might end up holding you down and costing you money.
7. Assess Your Spending
When people are going off the grid, they need a plan with incremental goals to reach. The same must be done from a financial standpoint. Take a step back and look at your spending in the previous year. Going over credit card statements, past bills and bank statements will give you a clear picture of where your money is going. When you have that knowledge, you’ll see how to spend your money more efficiently.
8. Be Flexible
One of the most important things when trying to save money is to have the ability to be flexible. You don’t have to go without your favorite things, but it helps if you’re adaptable and willing to change things up.
That’s part of what an off-the-grid-lifestyle is all about. It’s not always easy or painless, but it does come with its own rewards. Keep that in mind and you’ll do great. Your growing bank account from all the wise money decisions you’ve made will be concrete proof of that.