The family of four who "went off the grid" to become fully self-sufficient, spending just $45k a year… and that INCLUDES vacations


The family of four who 'went off the grid' to become fully self-sufficient, spending just $45k a year… and that INCLUDES vacations

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UPDATED:

21:27 GMT, 5 November 2012

A couple who decided to unplug themselves from consumer culture have revealed how they became fully self-sufficient, spending less than $45,000 per year while raising two young children.

Shannon Hayes from upstate New York decided the family needed to cut costs when her husband Bob Hooper was fired from his job as a county planner.

Together, they can fruits and vegetables, make their own clothes, barter, go to the grocery store once a month while raising their own grassfed lamb, beef, pork, and poultry, and homeschool their daughters.

Radical homemakers: Shannon Hayes from upstate New York decided her family needed to cut costs when her husband was fired from his job as a county planner

Radical homemakers: Shannon Hayes from upstate New York decided her family needed to cut costs when her husband was fired from his job as a county planner

Ms Hayes, who idles their one car, a Toyota RAV4, several days a week, told Phily.com: 'I burn wood, use solar panels, I'm usually barefoot.

'It is essential for everyone to be at least halfway radical,' she added. '/11/05/article-2228227-15DCED55000005DC-136_634x412.jpg” width=”634″ height=”412″ alt=”Self-sufficient: Ms Hayes, who idles the family's one car, a Toyota RAV4, several days a week, said, 'I burn wood, use solar panels, I'm usually barefoot'” class=”blkBorder” />

Self-sufficient: Ms Hayes, who is married to Bob Hooper (middle) said, 'I burn wood, use solar panels, I'm usually barefoot'

Joyful life: The author, who has spent six-months vacationing in France with her family in the past two years, said 'We have time for vacations, canoe trips, afternoon swims and naps, and even evening cocktails'

Joyful life: The author, who has spent six-months vacationing in France with her family in the past two years, said 'We have time for vacations, canoe trips, afternoon swims and naps, and even evening cocktails'

This average is made up of necessities
for a family with two children, covering housing costs, food, child
care, transportation, health care, and taxes.

In contrast, Ms Hayes' family of four have been 'off the grid' since 2010, hope that the way they live – where $45,000 a year covers all these necessary expenses, plus luxuries – will start a movement.

Ms Hayes is the author of four books: The Grassfed Gourmet; Farmer and the Grill; Radical Homemakers and Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover's Companion for Enjoying Meat; and Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously.

She then decided to self-publish a book called Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, which includes lessons in self-sufficiency in a modern age.

Back to basics: The family can fruits and vegetables, make their own clothes, go to the grocery store once a month, barter and homeschool their daughters; Ms Hayes wrote about the experience in a self published book

Back to basics: The family can fruits and vegetables, make their own clothes, go to the grocery store once a month, barter and homeschool their daughters; Ms Hayes wrote about the experience in a self published book

Back to basics: The family can fruits and
vegetables, make their own clothes, go to the grocery store once a month, barter and homeschool their daughters; Ms Hayes wrote about the experience in a self published book

For the book, the couple travelled
around the U.S. with their children, interviewing hundreds of men and
women in all age demographics who were living without the consumer
comforts many people think are necessary.

Ms Hayes said: 'Some gardened in city plots or suburban backyards. Some were wizards at car repair. They sewed, made furniture, played music or wrote. All of them could cook. None of them did everything.'

Following four specific pillars, 'ecological sustainability, social justice, family, and community,' the book aims to inspire others to follow in Ms Hayes' ecological footsteps.

The book's description writes: 'It explores what domesticity looks like in an era that has benefited from feminism, where domination and oppression are cast aside and where the choice to stay home is no longer equated with mind-numbing drudgery, economic insecurity, or relentless servitude.'