How Much Money It Takes To Live Off The Grid – 9 Important Basic Costs

Before you live off-grid, there are things that you will have to think about. One of the most important things to consider includes the amount of money it takes to live off the grid. Will you be able to afford the switch?

Truth is that people believe that living off the grid will cost less, or is cheaper. But the truth is, you will be saving money but only in the long run.

Several expenses come with making the switch and living off the grid. These include housing, land, heating systems, off-grid solar systems, transportation, septic, and much more.

In this article, we will take you through the important expenses you will meet when you decide to live off the grid. You will find every important detail that will help you prepare to live off the grid. Let’s get started!

Is Living Off-Grid Cheaper?

Is Living Off-Grid Cheaper?

Truth is, living off the grid is cheap. The only thing there is to it is that you will need to take care of some expenses when you are first starting.

For instance, you will need land, a well, and other maintenance costs such as the energy system. 

You should also know that when living off-grid, you can trade products from your farm or garden.

The main difference is, you will not get bills but pay most costs upfront. Of course, this all depends on your lifestyle and preferences

How Much Money It Takes To Live Off The Grid – 9 Basic Costs

How Much Money it Takes to Live off the Grid?

Living off the grid is not free. The average cost you should expect to spend is around $130,000, however, it can be less or more than that. The cost is high or low depending on the lifestyle and type of off-grid life. Here is a table with the average costs:


Cost of items when living off-grid

Average Costs 
Land$25,000
Housing$60,000
Power Systems$18,000
Water Source$10,000
Composting Toilets$3,000
Waste Treatment System$4,000
Gardening$2,500
Livestock$4,000
Monthly Living Expenses
(Including Pet Foods)
$1,000
Total$127,500
Average cost table for off-grid living

When it comes to real numbers, there are expenses for living off the grid that you cannot escape or avoid. You will need to spend money on different, very crucial items when you decide to live off-grid. These are things that are required to establish your homestead and get everything working.

These are things that are required to establish your homestead and get everything working.

Off-grid life includes many expenses. Such expenses include:

  • Costs for Off-Grid Land
  • Cost for Off-Grid Housing
  • Cost for Off-Grid Power Systems
  • Cost for Water Source
  • Cost for Composting Toilets
  • Cost for Waste Treatment Systems
  • Cost for Gardening
  • Cost for Livestock
  • Monthly Living Expenses

Let’s take a deeper look at each expense.

Costs for Off-Grid Land

Land might have different prices for different places. These costs change based on several aspects. According to recent data, land in Rhode Island is the most expensive.

An acre in Rhode Island will usually go for around $15,600. It is recommended that you get around 5 acres of land to be completely self-sufficient.

The average cost for land in that range is somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000. Some of the most preferred states include:

  • Maine – $2,410 per acre
  • Florida – $5,950 per acre
  • New York – $3,250 per acre
  • Kansas – $1,960 per acre
  • Texas – $2,120 per acre
  • Arizona – $3,800 per acre
  • Michigan – $4,960 per acre
  • Montana – $915 per acre
  • California – $10,000 per acre

You need to know, however, that there are different places with free land. Even though they are available, it is not advisable to get free land.

They are lands with a lot of undesirable conditions and other baggage. Making land livable might be a problem or costly.

Some of the places where you can find free land include:

  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa

Cost for Off-Grid Housing

Housing costs vary greatly. The entire cost you might deal with depends on the situation you might be looking for.

Standard Housing / Buying a Home Already Off-Grid

Buying a house that is already off-grid is a good idea to go about the change. With that in mind, then you know that there is a limitless list of possibilities.

You can choose to have a multi-million dollar retreat that is completely off-grid.

If you are not able to make the payments upfront, then you can make use of a traditional mortgage. On average, the home value can be around $250,000.

The entire property would therefore be around $300,000. The cost will depend on what your preferences are, as well as your budget.

You should consider how ready you are to get a built home. Some people want houses they have built themselves while others just want to get the entire process done as fast as possible.

Building your own home

If you choose to go for a stick-frame building, you can use anything between $120,000 and $150,000.

Rammed earth will normally cost you around $200,000. If you want a cheaper option, you can have a single home for around $20,000.

The amount of money you will spend will depend on the amount of work that needs to be done.

Such work might include excavation, building the house, and even roads. Your construction skills might also affect the total cost.

Tiny Houses

Tiny houses are recommended because they are very cheap to build. They are also portable with the convenience of most comforts that we are used to. There are choices.

You can go for a decked-out house or a very simple one. All-in-all, you will have spent less than a grand home would cost.

Most houses are stationary because people love spending some time outdoors.

Before you decide to make that move, consider what you need and how comfortable you would be with a tiny house.

Van Living

Van living is also a great idea for people who live off-grid. However, you should know that this type of housing means that you will need to depend on resources made available around you.

Parking, a place to eat, a place to shower, are all things you will have to consider.

This is a very great way of living for travelers. You can be living off the grid while traveling around the country. Most of those who live in vans do not even know that they are living off-grid.

Cost for Off-Grid Power Systems

The entire cost for off-grid power systems might vary greatly depending on the type of system you want. You can either go for solar power panels or choose turbines.

Solar Panels

On average, you should expect to use around $18,000 for solar panels in your off-grid home. The lowest you should expect to use should be around $1,000, which is for a single panel and inverter.

Your choice will be based on the amount of power you need in your home. You should know that spending the least amount, which is $1,000, might save you some money but will limit the number of appliances you can have.

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit

Wind Turbines

While solar panels are very efficient, some people would prefer to have wind turbines instead. You might choose to hire a professional who will help you, mainly because the installation might be a bit dangerous.

Unfortunately, installation of turbines might be a bit of a challenge and you should expect to spend as much as $50,000.

At the same time, there are DIY turbine kits that will cost you as little as a few hundred dollars. Even though they might not generate much electricity, you can boost it up with a solar panel for efficiency.

The amount of money you spend will depend on the size of the turbine you prefer to install.

Cost for Water Source

What will you do when it comes to water?

Well Water

Do you need to dig a well on your property for water? The truth is, you might need a well. But before you dig a well, there is something you should consider.

First, there is a certain amount of money that you have to put into the project. The good thing is, when you dig a well, it will provide you with clean water for years and years.

Digging a well is not all there is in regards to cost. You will need to include some underground piping coupled with a pump so that water can flow to your house.

The overall cost of piping is somewhere between $2,000 and $8,000.

The lowest you can spend is around $3,500, even though the cost can move up to $20,000.

Water Tanks

Another alternative is water tanks. This option allows you to collect rainwater and is cheaper. You should expect to use anything from $3,000 to $5,000.

A 1,000-gallon tank should be adequate for a small 3-bedroom house. It will cost between $600 and $1,000.

Remember, there are additional things you will require such as replacement parts, or even building permits. All this should take the cost up a notch.

A.A 30 Gallon RV Fresh/Gray Water Tank

Cost for Composting Toilets

Composting toilets are not what people are used to. It is not a modern-day type of toilet that we might be using.

These are toilets similar to the ones that people will use in RVs. The problem with these is that they need constant maintenance compared to the normal toilet.

However, they are eco-friendly and perfect for people living off-grid.

A composting toilet will range from $800 to around $4,000. The price will depend greatly on the simplicity of the toilet you want to build.

Cost for Water Treatment System

Getting a source of water for your house and installing the pump and pipes is not all you have to do. The water still needs to be safe for use and consumption.

You will need a water treatment system installed to make the water usable, especially if you are getting it from a freshwater body such as a lake nearby.

When you have analyzed the water, you can decide on the best system. The water treatment system starts with a sediment filter coupled with a carbon filter for the removal of particles, odor, and taste.

You should then use UV light for bacteria. After that, you can install further treatment based on the results of the analysis.

After purchasing all the required parts, and installation, you will find that you have used around $1,000 if you install it yourself. However, the cost can be on an average of $4,000.

Cost for Gardening

The lowest amount of money you can spend on this is about $100, while it can be on an average of $2,500. The most amount of money you can spend will depend on the amount of food you need to produce.

4,000 sq. ft. of a garden should be enough to produce adequate food for a family of four people. Buying seeds will cost around $100 each year.

You can save your seeds after you get started. You will also need to fence your garden, which should use a maximum of $1,000. Installing a chain link costs more.

If you want to save money on fertilizer, we recommend that you consider composting. It is free and all you will require is to start some sort of pile in the yard. A fancy bin might make life easier and it will look great.

Cost for Livestock

Cost for Livestock

Every month, the cost can be around $320. The lowest total should be around $1,000 and an average of $4,000.

A chicken will go for around $10 each and the feeding cost can be around $2 for each chicken. In regards to pigs, you should expect to use around $100 for pigs for food.

If the pigs are for breeding, expect to use anything around $3,000.

Cows, on the other hand, will be between $1,000 and $3,000. A single cow should produce adequate meat for a small family for one year.

The feeding cost should be around $200 monthly. Milking cows will save you more on ice cream, butter, milk, cheese, and other such products.

Monthly Living Expenses

Monthly Living Expenses

Let’s assume that everything is up and running and your entire homestead is set up. What will you be living on?

There are monthly expenses that you should expect including food, household supplies, household items such as pans and bulbs, gasoline, pet food, takes, insurances, travel, healthcare, and much more.

To get all these, you should expect to use a minimum of $1,000 monthly.

The cost, however, will depend on your preferences, as well as the size of your family.

Conclusion

The average cost you should expect to spend is around $130,000. You should know that the costs we have provided are only for reference. The actual values might differ depending on several factors. 

There can also be other costs that are hidden. This number may confuse you. However, it should not stop you from living off-grid. At the end of the day, the off-grid living initial investment will pay off and your new freedom will be worth it.

As always, thank you for choosing emoffgrid.com as your reading source! If you are reading this article of ours, I hope you find the shared information helpful to you.