Do you want to live off the land without any outside employment?
Is it really possible to be self-sufficient in this way?
What steps do you need to take?
What are all the ways to do it?
Whether you’re leaving the corporate world, or you already have a bit of experience with land-owning, there’s a lot to know when attempting to live off the land.
The first thing is…it is achievable.
Living a simple and natural life is within your reach.
It may not “get you rich quick,” but it will certainly lead you down the path to feeling content, fulfilled, and supported when done correctly.
Here are the top ways to live off the land.
1. Find the right parcel of land
You can’t live off the land unless you have the right land to live off of.
This should be your number one priority when you want to shift to a more self-sufficient model.
You should be seeking the “right” parcel of land in size and purpose.
While you’ll likely need at least 5 acres to sustain an income, you also don’t want to take on more than you can handle.
You may dream of owning 100 acres, but do you have the resources to do so?
Will you be able to maintain that much land?
Is it a good investment to purchase 100 acres if you’re not quite sure what you’ll do with it?
The answer is probably no.
You want to purchase the right parcel of land so that you can live off it but not feel overwhelmed.
And fortunately, there are numerous states that offer free land!
If you’re able to get your land for free, this is a great way to get started with your new way of life.
2. Be a minimalist
We live in a world that has everything, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes you don’t need more, more, more.
You don’t need more cars, gadgets, or land.
Sometimes you can be happy with just what you have, and this lifestyle will absolutely teach you that.
Those who live off of the land are minimalists and adjust their life accordingly.
This lifestyle requires sacrifice, and you’ll need to be comfortable with not having the biggest and best material items out there.
Your life will be different, from time to time it may feel overwhelming, but the land will provide for you in different ways.
It’s part of the beauty of it!
3. Find a passion
It’s a lot easier to do something when you absolutely love it.
Make sure that you’re committed to and passionate about whatever you decide to do on the land.
The days will be long, and it won’t always be easy.
However, if you know that you care about what you do and you want to be doing it, then it’s a lot easier to keep going even when you have those tough days.
4. Be open to change
You haven’t always been living off the land.
You may have had a 9-5 job or been living in the city.
This will be an adjustment for you.
Your life doesn’t need to be defined as others have defined it.
Take the time to invest in your new lifestyle and be ready to work for your new lifestyle.
Sometimes living off the land starts with being open to change and being willing to change your mindset.
5. Become debt-free
Having debt gives you less financial freedom.
If you want to live off the land, you’ll need to find ways to reduce the financial commitments you have each month.
Getting rid of the debt you have – whether it’s from your credit cards or student loans – is a great place to start.
Read this article from AARP to get started, 10 Steps to Be Debt-Free in Less Than a Year.
Once you’re debt-free, you’ll never want to go back!
6. Grow your own food
This is surely one of the elements you first thought of when you first conceived of the idea of living off the land.
The production of food is one of the most obvious benefits of owning land.
You can provide for yourself and your family without ever needing to rely on anyone else.
To get started, you’ll need to know your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone and have a plan for year-round growing.
If you don’t have any growing experience, you will have an interesting first couple of years.
You’ll have to get used to all of the aspects of food growing, preservation, raising animals, hunting, fishing and more.
Growing your own produce is a great start, but you may also want to learn how to hunt, fish, trap and preserve game.
It can be difficult and frustrating, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be producing enough to sustain and nourish yourself.
You can check out these helpful resources for more information:
7. Find a natural freshwater source
If we’re talking about food, then we definitely need to talk about water.
While you can survive weeks without food, you can only live days without water.
A freshwater source is necessary for you to live off the land.
If possible, you’ll want to purchase a piece of land that has a freshwater source that is drinkable.
Otherwise, you’ll want to check whether you’ll have access to municipal water or the ability to dig a well.
There are also a few options for getting water without a well.
You can expect a well to cost at least a few thousand dollars ($2,000 to $25,00).
The website FindASpring can also help you locate a freshwater source close to you.
8. Learn to repurpose items
Instead of automatically throwing out useful items, learn to repurpose what you’ve already bought.
Recycling and repurposing is not only better for the environment, but it’s better for your wallet.
9. Buy used
Before you head out and buy new stuff, think about how you can save.
Buying used items often gives you the same value without breaking the bank, especially on big-ticket items.
If you need a car or tractor, always consider used first.
Items like these lose a tremendous amount of value the moment you drive it of the lot.
Reevaluating these purchases (along with other smaller ones like clothing) can help you to stretch the money you do make further.
10. Forego the junk food
Have you always loved takeout, soda, candy, or processed food?
You’re not alone!
There are millions of Americans who think they can’t live without these in their diets.
Yet, it’s also expensive, and when you’re looking to live off the land, it doesn’t fit into your budget as easily (especially not when you can grow food for free!).
Say no to junk food and start living a happier, healthier, and more affordable lifestyle.
Downsize in every aspect of your life.
Whether you choose to get or build a smaller house, opt for a smaller vehicle or better gas mileage, or donate those old items you don’t need, these are all great ways to make your income go a little bit further.
Plus, when your land is all you need to live, you don’t need those material possessions anyway.
It’s all about living that minimalist lifestyle!
12. Say goodbye to subscriptions
You know what minimalists don’t often have?
Subscription services that charge an arm and a leg!
You may be subscribed to a number of different services without even realizing it.
Cable, radio, newspapers, subscription boxes, video streaming services, gym memberships, and more!
You may not even know what you’ve subscribed to anymore.
But guess what?
It’s draining your bank account!
Cancel those subscriptions and focus on your newfound hobbies.
13. Buy within your means
It’s easy to have eyes that are bigger than your wallet.
Yet, this can be a true obstacle to living the lifestyle that you want to.
Always be willing to buy something (land, vehicle, etc.) that’s a little bit more modest rather than go bigger and get into debt for the wrong reasons.
Buying within your means can help you achieve your financial goals, including buying land and living off of it!
14. Decrease your monthly bills
Decreasing any monthly bills you have can help to make your costs more manageable.
This may align perfectly with paying off debts or reducing subscriptions.
For instance, if you get rid of cable, how can that help you make larger car payments and pay off your car faster?
How can you potentially decrease your monthly cell phone bill by switching to a different provider?
There are a number of items that modern society deems “necessities.”
Do they still fit into your current needs?
Constantly reevaluating this can help you save money.
15. Sell what you don’t need
Do you have something that you don’t need laying around?
Sell it and make some money off of it!
This will only help you continue to live off the land!
16. Learn to barter
Bartering is an important aspect of rural communities.
If you have a skill or service to trade, then this can be a great way to obtain products or services you may need.
Use the people in your nearby community to your advantage.
17. Get in tune with nature
Living off the land is a big change for most people.
If one of the big draws to living off the land is getting in tune with nature, then why not do it?
Buy a parcel of vacant land and say goodbye to your 9-5 life!
It may seem scary at first, but not worth having is easy.
18. Go off the grid
Moving somewhere without power, water, or other amenities can be difficult (especially if you’ve never done it before).
However, it isn’t impossible to bring utilities to a property.
You could also consider living fully off the land if you want to.
This would make you self-reliant and would be less expensive as you won’t be paying anyone for water or power.
19. Become a beekeeper
Have you always loved honey?
Beekeeping is a rewarding endeavor.
While this venture isn’t for everyone, it may be for you.
Read more here about Becoming a Beekeeper.
If you find that it’s something you’re passionate about, you can bottle honey and sell it locally.
You can also look into other creative ways to make money off vacant land.
20. Learn basic medical skills
If you’re going to live off the land, then you’ll need to have basic medical skills.
After all, it’s unlikely you’re right up the road from the local hospital.
21. Join a local farmer’s market
Even rural communities have farmer’s markets so that locals can buy and sell homemade products.
Join your local market and sell whatever you’ve made from the land.
22. Breed livestock
Becoming a reputable breeder and selling your stock or services can help you live on your land and make an income too.
23. Start a blog
If you’ve always dreamed about living off the land, what makes you think others haven’t too?
Start a blog about your experience and look into monetizing it if it becomes popular.
Blogs often become side hustles (if anything), so don’t expect anything to happen too quickly.
24. Become a freelancer
Freelancing can be a great way to supplement your income as you live off the land.
Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork make it easy to get started.
25. Think outside the box
Living off of your land requires thinking outside of the box.
The sky is the limit.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started….
Start a mushroom farm
Start a garden
Sell dried herbs
Sell potted flower arrangements
Sell farm-fresh eggs
26. Rent or lease parts of the land
Have more than enough space for yourself?
Section off parts of your land and advertise them to the community.
You can build tiny houses on them and rent them out short-term.
27. Teach classes
Do you have a skill connected to the land that others may want to learn?
Set up a workshop and teach classes.
28. Host field trips
When you were little, did you take a trip to a farm or a similar property to learn about the land?
If you feel comfortable, open up your land to nearby schools.
Charging a small fee for field trips can help you live off your land while providing a learning opportunity to others.
29. Become knowledgeable about protection and security
If you’re going to be living off your land, make sure you know how to protect yourself.
You may encounter large animals, or you may encounter people.
Either way, it’s great to know how you can best handle any unsafe situation.
30. Understand alternative waste options
This isn’t the most fun topic, but it is one you need to know about because you’ll need a way to deal with waste safely when living off the land.
There are three options.
Composting (the cheapest)
Incinerator toilet (alternative to septic system – approx. $2,500)
Septic system (most expensive – between $4,000-$10,000)
31. Take your time
Living off the land may not feel natural at first.
None of the above suggestions will help you get set in a single day.
Find the right plot of land and create a plan so that you know how to make it work for you and your family.
It may be difficult initially, but as long as you love what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to make it work!
These are some of the top things that can help you understand what you’ll be undertaking when choosing to live off the land.
While it will be an adjustment, it’ll also be incredibly rewarding.
Don’t hesitate to find the perfect plot of land and go for it!
Additional ResourcesIf you are looking to buy affordable land, you can check out our Listings page. And before you buy land, make sure you check out Gokce Land Due Diligence Program. If you are looking to sell land, visit our page on how to Sell Your Land.
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Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.