How to unhook from the grid in less than 60 minutes

Having quit your job following our first article, you’re now eager to get the hell out, hopefully as far away as possible right? What about about overseas? Australia? Okay. It’s time to unhook yourself from society, the grid. Here’s how to unhook from the grid in less than 60 minutes.

It turns out we have so much stuff. When you think about it, how much of this stuff did you use in the last week? Last year even? Most of it just hangs around, for a hoarder like me there is always a just in case or we might need that one day. Part of joining the internationally mobile tribe is parting with 99% of this stuff, living lean and working out which things bring you the most joy. I’m about to move overseas myself which is a little daunting so I’ve set out how to unhook everything quickly and easily.

First of all, don’t panic! There are two calls to action, unhook your physical stuff and unhook your digital stuff. Lets cover the digital stuff first and go through a few examples. I’m about to break a load of perceptions of can’t, won’t, shouldn’t – unhooking yourself digitally from the grid is surprisingly easy and you can do it too. Unhook your comforts first:

Spotify

Spotify I love you but there is something about £9.99 a month that really blows when you’re out of a job, backpacking and enjoying life, do I really need this? This is like a year’s worth of noodles in China or whatever – unhook online in 2 minutes.

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Contact Lenses

A necessary evil for those with with terrible eyes like me. Make sure you have enough pairs for travel or until you arrive at your new home,  monthly lensmail arrive in batches of 3 months so cancel in good time. Also don’t forget to get a copy of your prescription and get your final (free) checkup to make sure you’re all good to go. That’s £15 a month saved, that’s like twenty espressos in Italy. Unhook by calling your branch (they sort everything including cancelling the direct debit) literally a 3 minute phone call.

Right 5 minutes total, so far so good.

Nasty bills

Being a 20 something adult is a fun time where nothing really matters. Difficult life choices present often, darling where can we possibly go to dinner tonight? Or, If we go out in Shoreditch and then Soho we’ll have to split an Uber, omg it’s a 1.2x surcharge my life is over. First world problems. Anyway, aside from the glamour of not really doing much there is something they don’t tell you. All those bills; electricity, gas, water, internet, phone and council tax are a real downer. Time to be a real adult and… cancel them all and run away!

Honestly don’t stress about this, set aside a lazy afternoon within 28 days prior to your departure to blast through all the boring stuff. Not only is this usually a requirement to wait 28 days before you depart but is much more time efficient to batch. Here’s how you can unhook from the grid in minimal time:

  • Internet (PlusNet, imagine dialup from 1992 and the customer service of a pot plant) you might have to buy out of the contract. Unhook with a 5 minute phone call. 

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  • Energy providers (we have a ghetto top up card so no direct debits to cancel) 0 minutes to 5 minute phone call to unhook.
  • Thames Water (I thought water was free?) unhook in 3 minutes online.

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  • Council Tax – I have no idea where the  £100 odd a month goes to… Needless to say cancelling this sucker is the best feeling ever! You will need to go to the council website and click through your address and inform a move out date. Watch out as you might be on a direct debit, be sure to cancel through your bank online. Unhook in 3 minutes online.
  • Phone contract – cancel this by phoning your provider or online. Watch out as you may have to pay out the rest of your contract period, usually 24 months. I’m with Giffgaff, log into your account and cancel auto top-up 5 minutes.

We’re up to 26 minutes so far, feeling lighter already?

Get free money

It’s good to have a UK bank account open when you’re overseas. Make sure you switch to a free account so save the pain of a monthly fee you didn’t know about (ie Santander 123, £5 per month) and check inactivity fees. Phone your bank to make an account switch or inform you will be using your card overseas, cancel your direct debits, unhook online in 10 minutes.

Next, for those lucky people with a student loan it’s time to cancel your repayments. Inform the student loan company your final employment date and fill in the overseas form, 10 minutes, send by snailmail.

Now something not many people know about, you may be eligible for a tax refund when you leave the UK (yay free money). Fill in the dry sounding P85 Tax Form – Leaving the UK and you could get a few hundred pounds for your travels – yipee!

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Say goodbye to the London rental market

I can’t believe this (!). As a millennial living in London since 18 we join a special club, generation rent. For the millions of London renters out there I feel ya, but for now it’s OVER, perhaps the only way to win the game is to quit it?

Probably a whole blog post in itself I have lived in (read, endured): 1 uni dormitory,  1 squalid flat in Whitechapel, 1 rat infested block in Tufnell Park, several, several hostels (yes, kill me), my parents house (commuting from outside London, seriously 2 hours one way HELL), 1 squat in North London, 1 Buddhist household in New Cross and lastly our it’s-okay-if-you-ignore-the-weed flat in Canada Water. Time to get out, send over that final payment with your mobile banking app, unhook in 3 minutes.

We’re up to like 49 minutes, good job that’s about it really. I’ve shown you how to sever that digital umbilical cord in way less than 60 minutes. Enjoy your freedom unhooked from the grid. Stay posted for part two, the slightly more challenging step, getting rid of your actual stuff!

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