How to Build an off Grid Cabin on a Budget

How to Build an off Grid Cabin on a Budget

Planning to live off-grid but don’t have a cabin? Don’t worry because building an off-grid cabin is easier than you might think. This means you can easily save money and build your cabin yourself while staying on a budget.

For this, you may have to learn several tips and tricks to get the job done. For instance, acquiring the material and hardware is the most expensive part of building a cabin. Therefore, you need to spin a creative wand to figure out where and how you can get all the necessary tools, materials, and machinery required.

Read this post to learn some basics of building your off-grid cabin. 

Find an Ideal Cabin Location

Your choice of land to build an off-grid cabin significantly impacts your budget. For instance, whether you should choose a permanent foundation for your cabin or simply go for the concrete block base. 

When constructing a cabin, the price also varies depending on the design, land, power, water, and septic. So, to start with, let’s talk about land. 

Off-Grid Land

The property you choose for your off-grid land is very important. It is so crucial that it can determine the failure or success of your cabin. So, you need to keep several factors in mind before you decide to get the land. 

What Should You Look For?

Early settlers would select their land after evaluating the available natural resources. 

So if you’ve done your research well, the chances are that you’ll select the right land with all the necessary natural resources. Again, this is an essential step for building an off-grid cabin while staying on a budget, as it saves you more money.

It can also let you enjoy your time doing the things you love and keep you from running to the store for daily necessities. In addition, a good location can make it easy for you to travel to different places such as work, school, etc. 

You can become self-sufficient by selecting an off-grid cabin location with good resources. Besides, if you know how to build a cabin, it becomes a bonus as you can utilize them for constructing your cabin. 

However, if you aren’t a proficient builder, you should source your raw materials wisely instead of getting everything from a single store.

Natural Resources for Building Off-Grid Cabin

Your cabin needs three fundamental building materials: timber, rock, and water. Without these materials, you can’t construct your cabin.

Nevertheless, water is necessary for drinking, sanitation, and cooking. For having plenty of water near your cabin, you can look for a place with a natural spring, pond, creek, stream, river, lake, or well. Plus point, you can easily go fishing near these water bodies.

Moreover, choosing a piece of land with abundant rocks and trees is important. Why? Well, rock and timber serve an important role in laying your cabin’s foundation, keeping you warm, and building your barn and livestock area. 

However, don’t choose the land that is too near a water body as it can risk your security. It may also disturb your privacy as people often like to visit a lake or a pond for recreation. So instead, go for a cabin location where you can access water easily. 

Get the Right Tools for Building

With the right tools, you can always complete your job perfectly. In addition, the right equipment and tools help you save a lot of time and help you work efficiently. Similarly, getting good equipment and tools is essential for building an off-grid cabin. 

If you want to save on your budget, you can get your materials with the resources available at your cabin location. This will help you cut your building costs, but it can also give you high-quality tools that will serve you for years to come. 

The best part about investing in tools is that you can use the money saved on getting other great items for your cabin to elevate its look.

What Equipment to Get?

If you’re unsure what equipment you need to get first, here’s a lending hand. 

You should get yourself a portable sawmill, which is essential for cutting wood logs into smaller pieces. It can also assist in designing and shaping your cabin the way you desire. Not only that, but it eliminates the need to buy lumber from the store. 

As a result, you can significantly reduce your cost of getting tools. 

For instance, according to a 2013 report by the National Association of Home Builders, lumber costs soared by around $47,000 for trusses, framing, joists, etc. This was an average cost for average-sized cabins such as a 2600 square foot off-grid cabin.

Speaking of 2013, that’s almost a decade ago. While considering the rising inflation, this price must have tripled by now. Therefore, you can purchase a sawmill instead if you don’t want to drop such a significant amount on buying lumber to build a tiny cabin of around 1500 square feet. 

The sawmill will help you cut natural and untreated lumber. Moreover, you can keep the equipment for future use as well. A genius investment, isn’t it?

How to Save Cost on Equipment?

To cut on tools and equipment costs, you can consider following these tips:

  • Try to get good quality power tools in used condition.
  • Do not invest in heavy machinery such as backhoes, concrete mixers, etc. Instead, you should rent them. After all, you won’t be using them all the time.
  • Buy a power generator. It’s necessary for lighting your cabin and powering tools. 
  • Get a sawmill. We’ve talked about this earlier.
  • Get an auger for digging holes for poles and posts.

How to Design Your Off-Grid Cabin?

Here’s where the real fun begins. Designing your cabin is a real challenge. You want your cabin to receive sunlight, fresh air, and, most importantly, a heavenly scenic view. 

Transforming your mind map into an actual cabin requires great skills and expertise. Therefore, you can consider budgeting for a design professional. It may help increase efficiency and save you a lot of time. 

So, when you’re done sketching out your design and have modified its dimensions, you need to start drafting the plan with accurate details.

Although small off-grid cabins do not necessarily require drafted plans by professional architects, you should check if you need to get approval for building a cabin in your selected location. This is because building codes vary depending on sites and cabin size. 

Regardless, you need to draft your cabin building plan as professionally as possible, as due diligence is the key to avoiding trouble. 

In contrast, you can search for cabin building plans online. These plans are usually cheap and can save you a good sum of money. However, you might wish for your cabin to be unique. So, skimping on your own draft paper and bringing your vision to life isn’t a great idea. 

Get Professional Assistance When You Can

Since you’ve saved a good deal on land, tools, and materials, it’s time you use that money to get some professional help. But, you should stay thrifty when hiring a professional. Since you’ve already drafted your cabin plan, all you now need is a helping hand. 

So, hire a student architect to polish things such as floor plans for the interior, roof pitch, wall heights, etc.

You should be mindful of the following factors in your cabin’s design plan:

Cabin Orientation

To benefit from the natural light to brighten up your cabin, you need to position your cabin in a certain direction. This is also critical for sun exposure to generate solar power. In contrast, if you live in a hot region, you may strive to minimize your sun exposure to beat the heat.

Strong Built

Many rural areas are affected by heavy snow, flash floods, and strong winds. These weather conditions can become life-threatening on certain occasions. Therefore, your cabin must be built and designed to endure these tough weather phenomena. 


Insulating your cabin is an excellent way to boost your energy efficiency, such as cooling or heating your cabin. Floors, walls, doorways, ceilings, and windows insulate your cabin. Therefore, you should research to find innovative ways to insulate your cabin according to your needs and budget.

Final Thoughts

Building your off-grid cabin is a great way to start living sustainably. These cabins can also become your go to recreational spot for camping, etc. 

Building the cabin while sticking to a limited budget will help you stay mindful of your spending. You can follow the above tips to save costs on building materials and tools. Also, seeking professional help when necessary won’t cause you any harm and may benefit you in the longer run. 

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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