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.
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 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 rivals the best beers in New England. I’m going to share the cheapest all grain brewing setup that I’ve found.
We used to go to our favorite pizzeria once a week. For a small pie and a salad to split, our bill was usually less than $20. At the time, this seemed like a decent deal. I thought you needed a commercial pizza oven and special ingredients to make a pizzeria quality pie. But over the last few years, I’ve uncovered the secrets to making pizzeria quality pizza. These techniques do require some planning, but not much time. And pizza ingredients are very cheap – we can make better pizza than our local pizzeria for $2 a pie.
If there’s one place I get the best deals, it’s Craigslist. When I’m looking for new toy, I always check there first. In most cases, you can get stuff for half of what they cost new. Not only that, it’s also a great place to get rid of your junk. After creating an ultra efficient fridge to house my beer, I was able to unload my old kegerators for $1000 – pretty close to what I paid for them. These were just a couple of the items I’ve sold. Over the past few months, I’ve made over $2000 selling stuff I wasn’t using anymore.
The first morning in Costa Rica, I got up before Mrs. CK and grabbed my board to go catch the good surf. I had been anticipating this day for months and was full of excitement. I headed to the beach making my way down the narrow trail through the forest, watching the small lizards dart out of my path. As I got closer to the beach, I started to hear the roar of the waves. On a quiet morning with nobody in sight, the sound was deafening. It echoed deep in my gut, but I had my board in tow and there was no turning back – I was there to surf.
Having more time to think has allowed me to realize how distracting our possessions can be. A few weeks ago, I sold my moped which had been with me since high school. For both myself and Mrs. CK, it was a catalyst to a selling spree. I have especially been working on clearing out larger items that are taking up a lot of space. One of these items was an old second-hand chest freezer. We had used if for storing meat at one point, as a chest fridge for home-brewing more recently, then it sat idle. Chest freezers are designed for optimal efficiency, so I decided to clean it up and compare it against my Energy Star kegerator. The losing appliance would be listed and sold on Craigslist. Continue reading
Lately I’ve felt like a dog that’s just been let out of his cage, over-excited by the total and sudden freedom running like a maniac until he can no longer stand. Having a desk job where you sit for 8 hours a day, week after week, for 14 years straight does not prepare you physically for spending all day everyday active and on your feet. Not a day of my freedom has been wasted and I have been sleeping well to say the least. As we settle into this new lifestyle, we still break up our week with varying activities. This includes one or two days a week getting away from the homestead. So far, we have had no trouble occupying ourselves with cheap hobbies including trout fishing.
Yesterday, we got a wild ride out on the Long Island Sound. The weather forecast had predicted some stiff winds blowing at 20 knots, but the sound was much angrier that day. The water seemed calm enough as we headed down wind out of the harbor then just as we went to jibe, the wind picked up. A strong gust threw the main sail across so hard it tore off of the mast.
That was the end of our racing day, but we hoisted the genoa and continued on for a pleasure sail. Winds were blowing at 36 knots and even with only one sail, we were booking it at 6.5 knots. While the salty waves flew off our bow, some nice local craft brews were enjoyed without a worry. As much as I felt for our skipper and the damage incurred to his mainsail, this wasn’t my yacht. I was just the crew, and was sailing for free. Continue reading