Achieving Financial Freedom Off-Grid

A homesteading couple from Idaho shares their monthly expenses and long-term plan for a debt-free lifestyle, which involves building an off-grid home on 5 acres.

  • The couple spent about $9,000 on tools and were able to acquire about $20,000 worth of building materials for half that cost by using reclaimed materials, searching Craigslist, and bartering.
    Photo by Alyssa Craft
  • The 11 yards of 3/4-inch minus gravel for the couple's driveway cost them $160 with delivery.
    Photo by Alyssa Craft
  • Jesse and Alyssa quit their corporate jobs to create financial freedom and build their own home.
    Photo by Alyssa Craft

In 2013, I was working as a graphic designer in Boulder, Colorado, and making nearly $50,000 a year. Despite my steady job, I was deeply unhappy. I felt like a chronic consumer, and my urban apartment didn’t provide many opportunities for self-sufficient living.

My partner, Jesse, and I decided to turn our lives around by saving for a rural piece of property in Idaho where we could build an off-grid home. For the next two years, we worked extremely hard to reduce our overhead living expenses and save money for a down payment on a piece of land. We spent huge amounts of energy selling Jesse’s brick-and-mortar business, building micro-businesses online, and fixing up an old house in exchange for reduced rent. No words can describe the chaos, stress, and excitement of this two-year time frame. We lived in four different houses, each worked 80 to 90 hours per week, and often plugged away until the wee hours of the morning.

We understood that starting our own homestead and building an off-grid home from scratch would help us achieve our financial goals in the long run; we also knew that we’d need a substantial amount of money to get the ball rolling. A loan would’ve worked against our goal of achieving financial freedom, so we crunched some numbers to understand approximately how much money we’d need to save before getting started.

We moved to 5 rural acres in Idaho just five months ago. Since then, we’ve spent more than $30,000 on various aspects of our journey and thought it would be helpful to others to provide a breakdown of our necessary expenses.

Keep in mind that while our initial investment was high, our household expenses will taper with time, as will our monthly bills. This is our fast-track plan to achieving financial freedom and living a debt-free lifestyle.

Initial Homestead Investments

Instead of sitting in the bank, our money is wrapped up in physical assets. These assets help us build our home for a fraction of the cost of buying a home and having a mortgage, plus we can resell them if we need to or when we’re done.

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