The Best Way to Cook an Old Hen – Coq au Vin

It’s almost time to get new chicks. Farm stores stock baby chicks in March and we plan to get a half a dozen this year. Hens lay eggs reliably for the first 3 years of their lives, but can live for over a decade. When we got our chickens, we did so knowing one day we would need to get a new flock, and come to terms with eating the old ones. As chickens age, the meat becomes very tough and requires different cooking techniques. After trying a few recipes, we made some delicious French cuisine that left us craving more.

Tasty birds

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The Market’s Gonna Crash, Don’t Screw Up

It was March of 2009, we were in Hawaii and the stock market was on a tear. We had rented a house on the eastern side of Oahu where we could snorkel and kayak from our backyard. And after a year of heavy losses the stock market was finally turning around. Everything was right in the world, but I was feeling ill – I had just realized my worst financial mistake. Continue reading

Our $20 Dream Wedding

Love is something we can’t buy or sell, yet it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give and receive. Getting married is an affirmation that two people love each other so much that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. There is a lot of meaning behind a wedding, but there can also be massive expenses. I’m lucky to be married to my best friend, and we share many of the same values. For both of us, a huge wedding wasn’t what we wanted. In fact we only spent $20 getting married, and Mrs. CK wanted to share the story.

Strong woman!

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Brewing Crazy Awesome Beer Cheap

I like beer, I like it a lot actually, and the beer scene in New England is outstanding. For me, there’s nothing better than a juicy New England style IPA exploding with hop aromas. The only problem is these brews are more expensive to make and in high demand, which means if you can get your hands on them, they sell for $10 a pour. A few years ago some friends persuaded me to try homebrewing. We came up with a recipe, and I brewed my first citrusy IPA. It turned out good – like really good – and I’ve been hooked ever since. These days, for about $0.40 a beer, I can brew something that to me (the prime consumer) rivals the best beers in New England.

One of my home brews with home grown hops.

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How to Travel Hack a $6,000 Vacation for Free

We do a fair amount of traveling. Travel costs were our second highest expense last year – at over $7,000, it was 18% of our $38k spending in 2016. This year, we mean to put a serious dent in those numbers through more extensive travel hacking. So far, we’re off to a good start. We booked a 9 day all-inclusive vacation to Jamaica – and we didn’t pay a dime for it.

A prior trip to Jamaica.

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Stop Leaking Cash – Easy Ways to Crush Your Energy Bills

When we purchased our home, it was tough to keep it heated. It’s a slightly bigger house than our last, but our oil consumption was nearly double. After having an energy audit performed, we discovered it had more holes than Swiss cheese. Luckily, sealing a home from air leaks is easy to do, doesn’t require special tools, and can be done very cheaply. After a lot of sealing, we can now heat the entire 1700 square foot house with a small wood stove during the harshest New England winter days, and many days we don’t need to run any heating or cooling. Continue reading

The Cost of Living Well – 2016 Expenses

There were a lot of changes for us in 2016. Half way through the year, I quit my job, drastically cutting our income. At the time, we decided we were financially independent if we could spend less than $40k a year. But then we started to travel a lot more, spending over 2 months on the road exploring Colorado, New Mexico, Nova Scotia, Maine, and Costa Rica. I was also in a wedding and went to Montreal for a bachelor party while Mrs. CK enjoyed a weekend at the spa. We went sailing, fishing, hiking, biking, and ate and drank like kings. Overall, I think we have been living pretty damn well, but what did it cost us?

We did a good bit of traveling in 2016.

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