We live on less than $40k a year, but with all the traveling, hobbies, and awesome food, I feel like we’re living a six-figure lifestyle. We got to this point by maximizing the value we get out of every dollar we spend. This isn’t always easy with tech toys. But a few months ago, for the cost of a textbook, I found a little piece of technology that changed the way I compute – the Acer Chromebook 11. This is a rare occasion where I paid retail price, and still feel like I got more than I paid for.
Surfing is probably my favorite new hobby/addiction. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been learning to bomb some tasty waves in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica – locations known for their sun and surf. However, we do live close to the ocean here in CT, and while the east coast doesn’t get much press for our waves, they do exist. In fact, we get some pretty big surf, you just have to be a bit more diligent about finding it.
As a kid, I tried to make my own solar ovens. I fashioned old windows together, and put pans of water inside to heat. They usually sucked, but these experiments spurred my fascination with greenhouses. Like my grandfather, I love growing things, and would imagine creating an endless summer indoors where I could grow exotic plants. Last year, my childhood fixation was revived when we visited the earth-ships in Taos, New Mexico. This summer, I finally decided to design and build my own greenhouse.
I used to think I needed over an acre of land to have a decent farm, and our retirement ideas included starting a homestead. In the meantime, I began with a small garden on our 1/4 acre plot. A few years later, we also started raising chickens. We now grow more vegetables than we can eat, and get fresh eggs everyday from our little urban farm. It turns out that I didn’t need acres of land, I just needed to sharpen my skills and get creative.
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.
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.
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.
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.