My Journey to Financial Independence

Growing up, my parents had extended periods of unemployment. We could have been better off financially, but we always had a home in my grandfather’s house, and never went hungry. The worst I suffered was the embarrassment of wearing my sister’s old clothes to school. Kids can be mean, especially to a smart ass wearing bad girl’s clothes – my sister didn’t exactly get to pick them either. While the 8 year-old me was pretty miserable, now I appreciate having learned the importance of money early in life.

Checking out the Meow Wolf exhibit in Santa Fe a few weeks after quitting my job.

Continue reading

Cheap Hobbies: Growing Fig Trees

If you’ve never had a fresh fig, then you’ve never really tasted fig. Trying to compare fig newtons to fresh figs is like trying to compare grapes to raisin bran. The processed version has nothing to do with the fresh juicy fruit. They are rarely found in grocery stores because they don’t keep long enough to reach the shelves. The best way to get them is picked straight from a tree. While they don’t grow naturally in freezing climates, so long as you have a nice sunny spot, you can grow them in pots almost anywhere.

One of our homegrown juicy figs.

Continue reading

Reprogramming the Mind with Hedonic Adaptation

I don’t have many boring friends. With my closest friends, there are no topics off the table – finance, politics, and sometimes this blog. When I tell them that we spend less than $40k a year and still get to do everything we want, they believe that’s how I feel. The most common response I get is, “That’s great for you, and I might be a little jealous, but living like that isn’t something I could do.”

Some people love stinky cheese, but it’s an acquired taste.

We are all being honest, and I can understand when they say “I like being able to walk into a restaurant or bar and order anything I want.” I’ve heard this same phrase from several friends, and I used to be the same way. I remember when happy hours were my reward, and I spent money without additional consideration. Now I consider the value of any purchase I make, and I’m happier for it, even if it seems like a pain to some friends.

I tell them to chalk it up to hedonic adaption – more money doesn’t make you happier. But after studying a bit more about hedonic adaptation, I realized there is more to it than just the part about money. Continue reading

A Simple Trick that Benefits Your Wallet and Our Oceans

April showers bring May flowers. But every time one of us showers, we just create sewage. We allow all that fresh clean water to flow over us right into a drain where it becomes unholy wastewater. Each time we take a leak, we contaminate anywhere from 1-6 gallons of drinkable water. It’s a huge waste of our natural resources, and I’d like to share a few tips on how you can help save our planet while saving money on utilities.

I did my part to conserve water out west.

Continue reading

Time to Supercharge Your New Year’s Resolution

Every new year, hordes of new members flood our gym. New sneakers, yoga pants, and track suits adorning the tender bodies that have been shaped by fast food and ergonomic cubicle chairs. They wander aimlessly, resolute to make changes, and yet beyond how to dress, they are clueless. I’m always happy to see new people wanting to make changes, but most of them give up before even learning a routine.

I hope you aren’t giving up on your resolutions.

Continue reading

Our Free Adventures in Jamaica

If I ever was on an airplane that had lost both engines after ingesting some large birds, I’d want to go down in the warm blue waters of the Caribbean. Maybe I could get some snorkeling in while waiting for the rescue boats. The airport at Montego Bay has a beach side airstrip. One minute it looks like you are going to land in the ocean, and a moment later you touch down on the beach. We had to deplane at the gate rather than evacuating straight into the Caribbean, but I was eager to don my board shorts and start enjoying some sun, surf, and sand.

I love the warm blue waters of the Caribbean

Continue reading

The Ultimate List of Awesome Cheap Hobbies

Two weeks ago, I had an old work friend over for some home brews. After putting a few hoppy brews back, he decided to hit me with a question, “I’m not going to ask if you’re coming back to work, but what are you going to do with yourself this summer?” I told him I’d caught up with a lot of our renovation projects, but I don’t need a ton of work to keep me occupied. There are dozens of cheap fun hobbies that I enjoy. As long as I have free time, I can practice them as much as I want. In fact, there are so many awesome cheap hobbies I want to do, that even without a job, I don’t have enough time to practice them all.

Do you need a 4x4 in Costa Rica

I don’t think I’ll get bored.

Continue reading