Monday, January 19, 2009
How to cut your rent to $100 a month by living off the grid
I grew up during the 1930s in an uninsulated 20- x 20-foot tarpaper shack along the Minnesota-Ontario border. My job was to carry the water from a neighborhood well, split and carry in wood, and carry out garbage and waste water. Illumination came from kerosene lanterns. There was a path instead of a bath, and we used the Chic Sale even when the temperature dropped to 48 degrees below zero.
So then, are electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating and hot and cold water absolute necessities? Of course not, as any serious camper will confirm. On the other hand, I am not advocating a permanent return to the simple life, although in OFF THE GRID: Living and traveling in a van, truck, or converted cargo trailer, I do talk about one couple who did just that.
If you are in the process of losing your home, rent some shack or outbuilding from a farmer for as little as $100 a month. Rent one of those portable toilets that you see at construction sites, and haul your own water in 5-gallon jugs. You can buy cheap camping equipment at a thrift store or find it advertised on Craigslist. Millions of Americans lived like this during the Great Depression and many of us didn’t even feel deprived. Go ahead and try it during the coming summer months. Tell the kids it will be a grand adventure!