NBC’s Today Show endorses off-grid living

Curry - approves of thrift store aesthetic

How to live well on $20,000 a year?  Go off the grid said the Today show at 8.10am.

Its peak time for the Breakfast show, and yesterday they used it to announce what host Anne Curry called “the new American dream, and it’s not about buying a big house…..its about comfortably living on less. And for some, even leaving your things behind to pursue your passion.”

The couple interviewed on the slot live off  the grid in Maine. “Theirs is a life of living without. No heat, savings, life insurance, trips to the mall or cable TV, though they do have state-provided health insurance. And when things break, Michael fixes them. Jennifer repurposes everything….”

As Jennifer puts it: “It’s far from perfect, but it suits us. And not being tied down to money just allows us to appreciate the very simple things in life, which are each other, the environment around us, and just doing what we love. Money isn’t everything.”

The second half of the Today slot is an interview with Jeff Yeager, a self-professed cheapskate who wrote the”The Cheapskate Next Door.” His main message is that “you must figure out what’s really important in your life and skip the rest. It’s also a way to really understand the relationship between happiness and what’s important.    These people are living debt-free. It’s a simple as this: If you can’t afford to pay for it now, you can’t afford it.

So how do you live debt-free?  By never paying the full price of course.

Mr. YEAGER: Lots of people like Jennifer and Michael are buying things used. We all know that a car depreciates 20 percent when you drive it off a lot. But also clothing. You can buy it at the thrift store, 10 cents on the dollar. I’m wearing entirely thrift store clothing this morning. It’s not Matt Lauer-ish, but it’s fashionable enough.

CURRY: It looks nice, actually. I like these cord–I think Matt would like those cords.”


3 Responses

  1. The cheapest living is shared housing in a city of between 100 and 300 thousand people. If your purchases are to be of used stuff, then you want a large pool of it bicycle or bus distance away. I like having hundreds of garage sales and 6 auctions available each week.
    I know this is an off-grid site,but my $25 electric bill is a very small part of my spending, and I live on $8,000 a year.Paid for (30 years) house, car, No debt.
    And food is much better and cheaper in a midsize city. Towns under 10,000 are food deserts.

  2. As an American happily living in Australia I see the same squeeze happening here with the Reserve Bank and interest rates. Getting out of debt is #1 key before thinking about investments, savings or luxuries. Second-hand goods last longer too, because so much junk today is made cheaply somewhere and not built to last. Going off the grid really means off the financial grafting systems. You can stay in your community and live on much less when you make other good decisions when you wait for that house, car or job that locks you into a financial drain where insurance, banks and governments profit before your own family does. I pay cash where I can, buy direct to cut out middlemen, and buy local to support your community. Your first charity is your family. Your next is your local community. If everyone did this just for 2012 all the house of graft would fall. they need our money. Differentiate wealth from graft and wealth from producing and service. Refuse jobs that squeeze employees and customers while pouring money into technology and shareholders. The solution is US, spending our money (our worldly power) consciously, not hoarding. Live smartly, live off the financial grid and all power falls to the individuals again. Peace to you. Choose well. Eat chocolate too.
    ~Lori Mitchell

  3. With my business down 80 percent, I had to drastically change my lifestyle. I no longer use my 2year old high efficiency heat pump summer or winter….diff of$250 a month. Great Goodwill clothes. Hunt,fish, and garden. Turned off fridge. Cook big meals….different favorites when items on deep discount,then freeze in portions. Have dropped lots of outside activities because of gas prices. Spend more time with my animals and researching and writing two books ….one about my life with Harold Gibbons, the Teamster who talked Hoffa into financing Las Vegas, and with whom I have wonderfully hilarious unpublished stories about celebrities such as Hope, Sinatra, on down. The other is about the stunt men and character actors who made our western heroes….this is told through Ward Bond, Terry Wilson, and Frank McGrath….stars of the first four years of Wagon Train. Yes, you can change your life drastically and stay out of debt!

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