PF Weekly Grab a Brew

Could you chop your budget and live off of the grid?-PF Friday Grab a brew #55

grab-a-brew-online-reviewGIVING IT UP TO LIVE ON LESS

 

I’m not sure if I am the type of person who could give up my convenient life to live off of the grid but many people do.

When I read about 34-year-old Abe Connally who quit his full-time job to move his family of four to the middle of the desert in Southwest Texas to live off of the grid I felt a bit of a jolt go through my body.

He closed the door on 40 hours of working a week to enjoy the 5-10 hours he works now to live a simple rural life.

Imagine what you would do with an extra 30 hours per week. The family lives off of a budget of $800 a month which covers everything from groceries to feed for the animals. Quite impressive.

I certainly know I could do all sorts of things including hobbies of mine that seem to be put on the back burner because there is no time left in my day.

It makes me wonder if we work ourselves into the ground for nothing and over-think living without giving much thought to the obvious living off of the grid. I know many of us are looking at ways to improve the way we conserve energy but it’s on a small percentage for us compared to what some families like the Connally family does.

 

Living off of the grid

 

What does living off of the grid mean?

If you don’t know what living off of the grid is exactly it simply means using the earths natural resources such as sun and wind to generate electricity and heat. Anyone who lives off of the grid knows that solar power is the golden ticket to making it through day in and day out. Sounds simple but planning is key to this lifestyle and lots of it.

The family went as far to purchase a plot of land to grow their own vegetables and have many fruit trees. They also have bees that give them plenty of honey and when I read it I instantly thought of my friend Karen over at Lil Suburban Homestead who shares her families passion for sustainable living.

You can find Karen with her bees, canning and growing a garden and so much more with her entire family. I instantly became friends with her online as bloggers because her lifestyle intrigued me to the point where I’ve learned so much from her.

The Connally family also collects rain water in these huge tanks which they made as its scarce living in the desert and filter it for personal use. I’m sure many of you say that sounds like a great plan but putting this life into motion did and continues to keep this family busy.

I envy these people who are able to just walk away from what they know is relatively secure income to live life on their own terms.

Living off of the grid meant that Abe and his wife had to build their own home, in fact they built two which took them years and is ongoing but they are raising their kids through the entire process. It makes me wonder how these children will differ from those that are raised in the city with all of the conveniences we are so used to.

Granted, they haven’t given it all up you can see video games and internet are part of their life because they blog at Vela Creations which at the time of writing this is down because of heavy traffic from the Yahoo article.

That only tells me that many people are interested in learning more about grid living and this family who washes and dries clothes the old-fashioned way as only part of their money-saving life-style.

 

My wake up call

 

Every morning I get up at the crack of silly and the first thing I do is turn on the lights and plug-in the kettle to put my morning brew on. From there on goes the computer to read my morning Yahoo news to see what crazy stuff is happening in this world and sip away while watching the weather network on the television.

I could easily see me heading out to the farm to feed the animals like the Connally family does with their rabbits, chickens, pigs etc. but it certainly would be a lifestyle change that would have to be embraced full-force.

Yes, our house is lit up but for only a short period in the morning but that’s by choice although I keep in mind time of use regulations so we aren’t paying out the nose. It’s been about 2 years now since I tested almost all of the appliances in our house to see how much energy they were drawing to figure out the costs to use the appliances.

The amount of money is a bit shocking depending on the appliance but in reality we will continue to plug-in because we’ve become accustomed to using these appliances.

I’m not sure If I’d be ready to give up the life I live right now to live off of the grid but I will continue to do my part to use less, hang dry laundry, recycle, combat waste, grow a garden and conserve energy when I can. If I was forced to live off of the grid then I’d certainly do whatever I needed to survive.

Could you give up your city life and career to live off of the grid?

 

Top recipe

 

pineapple cake with cheesecake frosting

Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called “Bunny’s Warm Oven”. Now Bunny’s recipes are no stranger to Canadian Budget Binder as she creates some of the most tantalizing treats I’ve ever seen like this one today. You will need to grab a brew just to be able to savour every bite of this baked beauty.

It was a tough call to pick a top recipe this week but Bunny’s “Easy Pineapple Cake with Cheesecake Frosting” did it for me. Not only did I love it but the fans on The Free Recipe Depot loved it as well. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us Bunny..

 

Weekly CBB Posts

 

If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!

 

Weekly reads

 

Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.

Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #55 so happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.

-Mr. CBB

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17 Comments

  1. I too read about this family and they are certainly inspiring. What impresses me about them is their ability to use anything and everything they can. Also, that they pick and choose which conveniences they have, including internet and videos for the family. While I could never achieve what they have in my whole lifetime, I do hope many people get ideas from them about simpler things. Great family to follow.

  2. My goal is to have a retirement home that is “off the grid” as much as possible. In the meantime I am looking at making my current home as energy efficient as possible, looking at solar panels and tankless water heater.

  3. Hi Mr. CBB! Happy New Year! I loved this blog post and I so appreciate the mention 🙂 We did become great blog friends right away and I am so glad we did 🙂 (Blogging Kindred Spirits) but more so than that I learn so much from your blog! It has been harder for me as my kids get older to stay focused on being frugal but your blog helps me do that in a fun way!

    1. Awe, thank-you Karen for your kind words. I think we bring so many different things to the table on each others blogs that it really is a great learning experience for us both.

  4. This house is really neat! They say it took them 12 years to get there and didn’t cost much, but 12 years at a $50,000 salary is $600K… Sure they only work 10 hours a week but it takes most of the day to feed animals, preserve food, do home improvement, etc. the only good thing is you do them together as a family instead of being in a cubicle with a dreaded boss.
    I underestimated the amount of work to live off the grid before, it is a lot. I am amazed they get so much vegetables in the desert too, with so little water.

    1. That’s just it Pauline, they have no one to answer to but themselves and for many people that’s worth giving things up. 🙂

  5. When I buy my next home, I’m going to make sure it has a fireplace and gas appliances so I can live off the grid a bit more. After the Ice Storm we had, being without heat for 48 hours made me realize how dependent we are on electricity and it scared me.
    Whenever I travel to Hawaii to stay with family, we use very little electricity because it is so expensive. The interesting thing, is that I enjoy it. We hang clothes to dry, make very simple meals as it costs a fortune to run the oven and there’s no cable TV. It’s quite relaxing.
    If I could live with a fireplace and candles for light, I’d be happy.

  6. I read this article too, Mr. CBB, and found it very interesting!! We have done a lot to move toward self-sufficiency, but still have a long way to go. I have to say, though, that there is a certain peace about providing for yourself, drying your clothes on the line, growing and preserving your own food, etc. Not sure if I could go as far as the Connallys, but I was very impressed by them. Thanks too, for mentioning Jason’s article from this week – it was a good one! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

    1. I was also impressed by them but it really does take a commitment to want to live off of the grid like they are doing, kudos to them.

  7. We have been having such a tough time with my daughter entering kindergarten this year…behaviors have come out that she has never expressed and all I keep saying is I want us to just quit and be home with the kids. Homeschool, garden and raise some chickens. This is SO not me!!! I’m the girl who determined which house we would move to dependent on how close the Starbucks is (not really, but kinda). I feel helpless in the matter because my husband and I both make good incomes. His is a bit better, but I have amazing insurance (his is terrible and expensive). It feels like a really tough choice to make…especially since I am not the stay at home type. I get antsy after a couple of days of vacation! I’ve been working full time since the age of 16. I don’t know how to stop!! Trying to figure it all out…but I immediately sent this post to my hubby!

  8. Well first off your Bunny’s “Easy Pineapple Cake with Cheesecake Frosting sounds really tasty! But to the other point, living off of the grid. I have become so accustomed to my “creature comforts” that it might be hard to make such a dramatic change. The pay off sounds great (less stress, less work hours, etc.) but I’m not sure if I’m ready to make such a commitment. Thanks for a really interesting and entertaining post, I really enjoyed reading it.

  9. I’m not sure I could live totally off grid but the thought is an interesting one. I did read a book from the library a few years back on doing just that and about ways to generate your power, including wind, solar and hydro-electric. It was rather technical as it explained about using batteries to store and convert the power to a usable form. I have also read books by Joel Salatin that were very good booking on farming!! I would love to live on a larger bit of land so I could have a nice veggie garden and some fruit trees. Be a little more self sufficient for food at least.
    I grew up in town but have cousins that grew up on a farm and my experience is that farm kids tend to be more self sufficient themselves as they are used to having to help out on the farm with all the chores and such.
    That recipe does look tasty!!!!!!

  10. I was listening to a radio program last week and the female announcer said their area in the city was without power for three hours the night before.Her hubby had cell phoned her to pick up a pizza on route home. She said it was a nightmare. All the things you would normally do in the evening we off, including heat in the house. All she could do was retire to bed early.

    Living in the country we are use to these inconveniences. When the hydro goes out so does our water, as well as oil furnace, let alone I am 54km from a store. But with some living off grid,wood heat/cooking, a large pantry full of preserves and some preparations like 300L of battled water in the basement, we have survived many long storms. Unlike the city our hydro takes forever to come back on. You ever milked 48 cows by hand? Or moved them across ice to get to a pond, that you have to break the ice with an axe?

    Sometimes when this happens we think how grateful we are to live now and not in the 1800’s.

  11. Like Tammy R, we live in an apartment so it would be difficult to live off grid. We made the choice because it suited our needs at this stage in life and, in this, we have something in common with the Conallys: We didn’t want to have to spend all of our time working in order to own a home we were rarely in because we had to be at work in order to pay for it. Our ages and our love of comfort make living off the grid an impractical choice for us, but we can – and did – choose to live with much less. Few things in life are all or nothing propositions: There are many degrees in between. Most of us can simplify, and most folks choose to do so somewhere along the way. It’s all in finding the balance that works best for you.

    All that having been said, I’ve lived my life acquiring skills that will stand me in good stead should I suddenly find myself without the money or means to access conveniences like electricity. I believe it’s a very good idea to have those basic life skills in your repertoire.

  12. In many ways, going “off grid” is one of my ultimate goals – but within limits! I don’t want to shower in cold water or give up my computer. But I *do* want to reduce my working hours, produce more of my own food and generally enjoy a “simpler”, less materialistic existence.

    The irony, of course, is how expensive buying land and getting yourself set up in the first place can be – meaning you sort of have to at least start off in the rat race to give you the capital to leave it.

    As your strapline says though, it’s all about how you save your money for future investment!

  13. Hi CBB! I think reading about these situations is so interesting. Thank you for sharing this story!

    While I do not think I could live off the grid, we have recently sold our home and moved to a 700 sq ft apartment. We have only been in a week and are so happy that we walk around with silly, pumpkin grins. CJ said that I am the calmest he’s ever seen me. He actually thought I hadn’t slept one night and was tired, but I told him I was just happy. Less stuff, less space, more happiness.

    I am tempted by living off the grid, but I like the conveniences I find in the city. We keep one car and walk as much as we can. I appreciate what others are willing to share and that you share your thinking with us!

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