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How to Live Life Without an Electric Bill

Basically, how we live without power.

Now I honestly shouldn’t say that we live with no power, we have plenty of power.
The difference here, is that we do not have an electric bill coming in the mail every month.

These are the tools we use for everyday power.

DeWalt rechargeable batteries
12 volt battery
Solar panel
Converter
Generator

Below I’ll explain our setup and how we use the above tools to work together for our off grid power.

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Rechargeable DeWalt battery
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Our off grid radio we use everyday. It uses the DeWalt rechargeable batteries. Click on the picture to purchase.

For the super off gridness “to da woods” experience, we try to use our DeWalt rechargeable batteries most. Everyday we use these batteries.

We listen to the radio all the time and use the batteries. Radio is the newest and oldest way for background noise and entertainment you know, everyone is doing it.

We charge our phones with these batteries.

My boyfriend has all kinds of tools he can use without being plugged in because of these DeWalt batteries.

We have a vacuum cleaner that uses these batteries. It really is just an awesome feeling not being plugged into a wall. These batteries last so long too.

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This is the 12 volt battery we use

Now for all our other power, my boyfriend has a little system going on here.

He has ceiling lights throughout the tiny house that he wires to the 12 volt battery. He labels these wires down by the battery with the name of the room they are in.

You have to make sure you know the difference between positive and negative so you don’t blow the battery.

You just touch the wire to the battery and boom you have lights.

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Red, negative on the left. Black, positive on the right,

This 12 volt battery needs to charge and keep life so we can turn our lights on whenever we want. So he wired the battery to a solar panel that is outside in direct sunlight.

The solar panel will charge throughout the day when we have sunlight and this way the battery can charge without us even thinking about it. That’s how we get our lights.

We also use a converter that is wired to the 12 volt battery and the generator. When you turn the generator on the 12 volt battery charges.

We basically only turn the generator on when we watch tv. Yes we watch tv sometimes.

We actually use this awesome antenna he bought for a one time fee and it gives us 4 channels. These channels are awesome, they have documentaries, news, cooking, soap operas and more. We use a dvd player too.

When we use the antenna we like to call it “free TV” because we don’t get a bill on it every month and we enjoy it so much.

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We can charge our phones with this piece on top of the battery

The generator is also our way to charge all the DeWalt batteries, the ebike batteries and we can charge our phones. (We mainly use the 12 volt or DeWalt batteries for the phones)

To me, his system is pretty awesome and easy. The parts were super inexpensive and we don’t have a light bill ever!

We look at the cost of our tools like you would an electric bill.

Our tools to help us stay off grid and have power is like a one time fee unless something breaks or you want even more power so you up your game.

It costs some money to get the things you need to unplug from your electric supplier but it’ll pay off quick when you stop paying a huge bill every month.

Take this post as adviser and an idea booster for you. Have fun and let your creative juices flow!

Remember to research a lot about these tools so you can find what works right for you.

Feel free to tell us about your setup, ask questions or tell us a story in the comment section or send us a message.

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The Littlest Things are the Best Things and People will Talk

Living off the grid makes the smallest of things rewarding. Like running water! Power! TV! Bathroom! Etc…All these things you don’t realize what you’ve got until its gone. You have to realize that what most people have in America are all luxuries like your running water, indoor bathroom, electricity, insulation, I could just keep going.

Once you go off grid little things people say like “I’m freezing in my house at 60 degrees” will sound silly to you. It will be harder to relate to people who live on grid. Don’t think you are better than them or they are better than you, just realize you are different.

My boyfriend and I don’t really tell many people about our living situation. People love to talk about theirs and we just let them talk! Just smile and listen, it’s very interesting and we kind of just laugh it off later like an inside joke.

You have to let go of things to be off grid. Once you let go of things, find your spot settle in and start getting those luxuries back, it’s just the best thing. For me, it was like Christmas day when I got an indoor toilet. That was on the first snow day as well.

Living small just makes life feel more fulfilling. It makes life an everlasting adventure. I want this blog to be a portal for adventure. Have fun browsing this website, let it lead you to new ideas and adventures.

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Follow, share, spread the word. The good life. The simple life. The To Da Woods life.

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Personal Story: How I came to living off grid.

It really all started with a dream. Since I was young.

 

My family’s RV

 

As a kid growing up, we went camping for what seemed like allll the time. I loved it. My family would hop in an RV, drive highways to random campgrounds and I just fell in love with the lifestyle. I think that really set the seed in me for striving to live off grid. I found a journal entry from when I was in 5th grade stating that I wanted to be a hippie when I grew up, living in a camper, playing music and giving people puppies… Now the puppies part didn’t quite come true, but my puppies certainly bring smiles to people!

 

My puppies, Crail & Rosko.

 

So growing up, there was a trailer park down the road. I would tell my mom, teachers and probably any other adult that would ask me questions that I wanted to live in one of those. They totally did not feel the dream and wished that I would strive for more. Apparently, that didn’t matter because when I turned 21, my only thoughts were “I need to move out asap.”

I had two jobs, both paying $9.15 an hour and a full-time college student. Well, I dropped out of college and shortly got a full time position at one of the jobs. (the thrift store that I still work for) My thoughts of getting out made me save money. I can tell you about my saving tactics in another article. That’s just another world.

So in time, I saved up $3,000 as well as building credit. I Craigslist searched for days. Maybe even months. I found a trailer listed for $7,000. I put $3,000 down and got a loan for $4,000. (thank you good credit) This was also a private sale on Craigslist, I can give you advise on craigslist too in another article.

It was great and terrible at the same time. I finally had my own place but for some reason I found myself miserable. My gut was just screaming “wrong!” So before the year was over, I left. I packed my stuff and went back to my parents. It was a sad time leaving what I thought were my dreams. Somehow I sold it for $5000, even though I paid for $3000 out of pocket. So score! Got an extra $1000 out of my almost year of misery and confusion.

I started reading self help books and really trying to figure things out. I realized I wanted to feel happy, not sad. I wanted to feel better so I started to practice Ecotherapy naturally, not even knowing it was a thing.

In all the sadness and confusion I was feeling, I was also stirring up new dreams and ideas. I wanted to live in a camper van. I planned to either stay in my parents backyard or at a seasonal campground. I looked into getting a brand new camper van, super fancy one. Even applied for a loan, but was rejected because my credit history time was too low. Then I was back on the Craigslist grind. I was determined. In about 4 months, I found my camper van. I brought my parents down to the van and somehow they totally supported my decision. We bought it the day I looked at it. I just couldn’t wait.

After a few days of figuring out how to get it on the road (plates and registering) I brought a friend to pick it up, drove it home and I had my sense of freedom back.

 

The day I brought home my van.

 

I made a plan. I drew out plans. I sat in the van and pictured what I wanted. Some days passed. I realized I still felt sad. I was stressed and confused, thinking the van was maybe a mistake. I was doubting myself. I tried to figure out how to do this on my own. It was a little scary thought. I like being alone but I would rather have someone by my side, supporting me and pushing me to be the best I can.

So this story now goes to me being sad again. Feeling like I wanted someone. So I did something I never thought I would do. I made a Tinder account. Man oh man, that was a trip. After one day I had 70 matches. I got cheesy messages. But the first message I got was from a guy named Adam. He said tinder was lame and gave me his number. He was the only one who took us off the website immediately. We talked a little, found common interests of the outdoors, both had dogs and we both had vans. So we planned to meet at a mountain to hike.

 

This was actually our second hike together up the back side of Gunstock Mt.

 

The people I worked with thought I was crazy and also thought he would be a serial killer. They were wrong. We hit it right off. He told me in the middle of our date that he lives in a tiny home off grid. I thought he was kidding me because that’s what I always wanted and it just seemed too good to be true.

We started hanging out on the daily. We spent days fixing my camper van. We spent weekends camping in his van. We made a deal that if he helps me with my van, I would help him with his tiny house. In a short amount of time I became his girlfriend.

How I started the off grid life wasn’t really planned. If you’re thinking about living off the grid, check out my planning and letting go post. My story will keep going on so basically everything in this blog will be me, Holly, sharing all the things Adam taught me and also what I have learned from my own experiences so far with living off grid. I want to share the excitement, all the cool little tips, tricks and techniques we’ve figured out.

Thank you reading my story so far! Feel free to ask questions and also share your stories in the comment section. Hope you’re excited for more posts about living in da wooooods. I want everyone to feel good and free going to da woods.

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Guide for Planning and Letting Go

So the best way to get someplace is with a plan right? I mean, you could just wing it and let life hit you with your dreams like I did. But then again, dreaming is like a subliminal way of planning. So why not start a conscious plan?

You want to live off the grid? ( This advice could go for planning a camping trip as well but we will be using the terms off grid life) The first thing to plan for, in my opinion, would be to write a list of things you need and another list for things you need to let go. I want you to get creative with this. Look at this as your personal brainstorming guide.

Here’s a list of things to consider and questions to ask yourself. If you’re serious about this, I suggest finding a notebook and writing a list, ideas and maybe even answering some of the questions.

Only bring necessities, let go of things that no longer serve you.

  • Clothes: You really need to ponder about your closet. Will your tiny dwelling off grid have a closet? How big will it be? You really should consider going through and weaving out the things you never wear anymore, even if you love it. One thing I do is sell my old clothes online, I chose Poshmark, but you can use any site like eBay, amazon, etsy for vintage, Facebook and I’m sure there are many other platforms that can help you sell clothes. You can donate your clothes to a local charity. Read more about that in my financial guide.
  • Things: Do you collect things? Anything? What are your favorite things? Things like nic nacs, home decor. Consider which ones are extra meaningful. Consider the space you will have in your dwelling. You really truly don’t want to feel crammed in your new exciting space. You want to feel at home, at peace. Everything should have a purpose. I’m not against feel good things, I have a crystal and art collection because I like those things. I get new ones and sell or donate the old. Nothing wrong with reselling things, but that’s a whole other topic! Back to things… Yeah, just be mindful of your things. Free yourself of clutter. Living the off grid simple life might mean letting go of things that don’t serve a purpose. Really, think about it when you plan to live off grid.
  • Hobbies: you don’t want to ever have to give up your hobbies or future hobbies. So plan to make space for hobbies new and old! You can do that by decluttering the things in the bullets above.
  • Food: What kinds of food do you like? Will your tiny home have storage for food? Is there a store nearby where you can access food easily? Are you using a fridge? If you are using a fridge now and plan to live off grid, you now need to consider if you are going to have power. Check out the off grid food post for ideas of eating without a fridge.
  • Power: Where will you get your power? If you can plug in, you are not off grid. It you plug into a generator, that is off grid because you, yourself are relying to start that generator and provide gas. When you plug into the grid you are now relying on the electric service to provide you power. Will you use solar? And going back to the food, is there enough power to support a fridge? My boyfriend and I currently use a tiny solar panel, batteries, and a generator. We have no fridge and when we want cold items we use a cooler. If you work in a facility that has a break room, see if you can use that fridge for food you’ll be eating there. I usually keep sandwich meat, cheese and bread at my workplace.
  • Location: how far away is town? (To buy things) how much land do you want? Are you homesteading? Are you going to have animals? What town do you want to live off grid? What are the town rules? There is a lot of controversy of the off grid lifestyle. It is a taboo thing and you either need to be sneaky and dishonest or look into the town rules. Always read the fine lines!
  • Work: Do have a job? Is it high stress job? You should consider that living off grid will be a lot of extra work. Trust me, you won’t be bored even if you want to be.
  • Water: This is a big one to think about. Where are you planning to get your water? Will you have a shower? Will you have a toilet? Is your water choice drinkable? Will you be lugging your water? Do you have the strength and motivation? This also ties into power if you plan to make your own off grid water system.
  • Heat: This can also tie into power and location. We live in an area that can be below zero degrees for months at a time. So we think about heating a lot! Are you living in a cold area? Think about this: people usually always have their thermostat set to never go under 72 or 65 degrees. So if you live in an area that goes under 65, you will feel cold! Think about how you will insulate. Are you going to have a wood stove? Are you going to have a furnace? If a furnace, where is your power coming from? Are you going to use solar heat? Is there enough sun all the time to supply your heat?
  • Sharing space: Consider if you will be living with anyone or if you’ll be living alone or plan on maybe having someone join you in the future. If you’ll be living with someone, you have to reallllly like them because your alone time and space might be a little different than what you’re used to. I like to think my boyfriend and I are partners and like a team. We enjoy each other’s company. We help each other with projects, share ideas, encourage each other, have understanding with each other. Our dogs also get along great and they are medium to small size. To me it’s perfect. To someone else it might not work. So just think about how you want to share space. Do you want to be in an environment that requires work and may be small and personal?

Living off grid takes a lot of motivation, strength, time and thinking.

When I decided to go off grid I let go of a lot of things. I didn’t really have a plan. I did a lot of trial and error. There’s nothing wrong with learning by trial and error. In fact, I think that’s one of the best ways to learn. But since you found yourself here reading my experiences, you can plan ahead!

To me, letting go is like a practice. I work in a thrift shop that recieves dontated items. I see a lot of people letting things go. Letting go of physical things relieves clogged space. It gives room to breath easier. With letting go it goes deeper than just things as well. It releases negative energy that you were holding onto. Some people use crystals to release negative energy and I support that. Some people use the power of letting go to release negative energy. This means letting go of emotions. This doesn’t mean yell at yourself for having a bad feeling like anger, anxiety, waves of sad, etc… This means really letting yourself feel the feelings. It’s a practice. Just let yourself feel, let yourself go. You’re doing new things, you’ll make mistakes, you’ll also do wonderful amazing things. Make sure to let yourself feel every emotion. Life is a roller coaster. You will probably have ups and downs when you plan to live the off grid life. So now you can plan to mentally prepare yourself for the adventure of your life!

We all have different experiences and stories. Feel free to share your story in the comment section below ask any questions and let me know if I forgot something! You can also go to our contact page to privately send your comments, stories and questions. What are some things you should plan and think about before moving off grid?

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