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Living off the grid is a dream for many people, although few ever actually try to do it for any length of time. Most people assume that becoming self-sufficient would either be extremely expensive to set up initially or that the sacrifices to their lifestyles would be too great to make it worthwhile.
A couple from Bisbee, Arizona, however, has managed to build an entire house for only $30,000 and now live without any mortgage, water, gas or electricity bills. In fact, the only bills that they still have to pay now are internet costs and property taxes, both of which are essentially unavoidable.
Arizona couple build off-grid house for $30,000
The couple Karen and Bob, both in their fifties, decided to try the project several years ago and completed their 600 square foot house just 18 months later. As might be expected of people living off-grid, most of the items inside their home have been reused, gifted or salvaged. They are also providing a lot of their own food after becoming expert vegetable and fruit growers.
The house itself is made primarily from cob, straw, and plaster and many of the other building materials were either bought cheaply from Craigslist or given to the couple. As well as their house the couple also has two trailers on the property which were donated and are used by guests, and the bathroom walls were created using sheet metal.
The most costly parts of the house were, in fact, the solar panels that the couple uses to heat their water and the septic system meaning that unlike many off-grid systems, the couple has a complete working plumbing system.
Speaking about the key to making projects like their succeed, Bob said:
“We did everything out of money saved, and then we sold half of our 60 acres when we needed more money. … Many people aim too high, and end up getting divorced or having a house that is simply too big to maintain, ”
A video tour of the house can be found here:
Indeed the majority of self-sufficiency and off-grid projects shown in the mainstream media today tend to have been undertaken by wealthy individuals with high budgets out of reach of most people. Often giving the self-sufficiency movement an elitist appearance to those who only tend to see it represented on television.
Despite the mixed views of the public on off grid living, however, the movement as a whole is gaining popularity in many countries. The idea of living debt free and without having to pay the majority of the bills most people are forced to pay for their entire lives is a very appealing one to many people. Also, the chance to be able to potentially live on a very low-income meaning more free time and fewer pressures from careers and working is something many people also strive for.