“I’ll start saving when I have serious money”.

*Before I start- the disclaimer thing- I am not a financial expert, banker or related in any way to Elon Musk.

I have done my research-go do yours.

Your money should matter to you- because it is the key to your financial freedom-AKA- your freedom.

If you happen to be one of those unicorns and actually love your job and see yourself applying to HR for a special permit to work after you reach 90, well then.

You are blessed.

And I’m not being a cynic bitc& here- I envy people that see purpose and meaning and love going to work every day, and are generally content with whatever life rains on them.

But-

If , like me, you are a class A introvert, that likes doing the work itself- but finds the whole workplace politics thing unnecessary(at best) and intimidating (or worst), then- learning how to well manage your money should become a top priority for you.

For 2 reasons, by the way-

The obvious one- saving money=earlier retirement +

The less obvious yet valid 2nd reason- in order to retire early you need to save, but you also need to learn how to adapt to a low budget -as a constant- not as a sporadic few months of enthusiasm thing.

Saving needs to become a true habit of yours, in order to maintain it for life. in other words- much like a healthy diet -saving needs to be sustainable.

Because there is a limit to how much a person can save before slamming the door and storming out of his-her cubicle, and the amount you save corelates directly to the monthly sum you need to sustain yourself in early retirement.

And please don’t say things like:”when I get to the bridge I’ll cross it” or whatever.

I can tell you early retirement can present multiple “justifications” for spending money- and on a daily basis too.

I find it hard to believe a person who is used to spending x when working all day , will adapt -and be content(!) with spending x/2 when you have all the time in the world to do whatever you want.

But-

This post is supposed to be on the topic of saving-even if the amount of money you can put aside looks minimal to you.

So back to the subject.

A few weeks ago I had this conversation with my 24 year old son (The cool one who won’t take the water bottle -read here how and why-

The water bottle dispute: how much does being cool cost?

He is renting a place with a roommate, and working as a courier on a motorcycle.

Even when he was a child, he had really good taste in food and clothes, and going shopping was- and still is- a hobby of his.

But- for the past year or so- I think my constant money lecturing got to him.

Or maybe he figured out by himself that spending money earned in sweat isn’t the same as money that just happened to reside in your wallet.

So?

So I was talking to him -again- about saving money – when I suddenly realized he must be thinking there isn’t much point in saving when he barely makes it to the end of the month.

So I told him that I was under the same impression until we moved from the big city -where our rent and other expenses left me with absolutely no extra money, To the distant village we live in, where I could afford buying our small house, and discovered I can put aside a little money in a savings account for my 3 kids.

Mind you I didn’t have much to put there- but I kept going and going. and the money was invested in the bank (I had absolutely no idea what the stock market was back then, therefore feared it immensely. ).

The thing is- the money was left there, untouched no matter what, for more than 10 years. and apparentley a miracle happens if you let your money sit tight in a savings account -even when initiallly the amount of money you can divert to that direction isn’t that huge- and even if it’s only a small amount.

The miracle is called compound interest.

I personally find that giving an example gets you to the point much quicker than any other way- many times quicker than the explanation itself.

so-

if, for example you can put aside 100$ each month, and the interest rate you can haggle is 4% a year , you would think that after 10 years you will end up with 12,480$ (100*4%*120 months)

But!

The correct answer would be 14,555$, which means that while you were working- your money wasn’t sleeping -it made you an extra 2000$, on a 100$ a month savings.

https://www.investor.gov/financial-tools-calculators/calculators/compound-interest-calculator

Here is the link to the calcultor.

If , by any chance, you can save even more- the more the merrier in this case- the compound interest will reward you with even greater benefits.

If -by any chance- you can manage to put 500$ aside each month-

then after 10 years -untouched- you will end up having 72,776 $.

And so on.

Another way to attack this would be to start saving early- and leave the money for 20 years– not 10.

Going back to our 100$-

After 20 years you will have 35,952$.

And with 500$, you will have -hold tight- 179,764$!!!

Now this is something to consider I believe.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Why bother making your bed every morning?

“Organized people always make their beds first thing in the morning!”

Well sure- I know that.

But why??

I mean-

Your’e going to mess it up again come evening, and assuming no one (such as, for instance- you mother in law) is coming for a (thorough) visit -and you don’t mind –

Then why not save those valuable morning 45 seconds?

My answer is-

Because it matters . not to your OCD self (or partner), and not to your inner MIL (or mother) criticizing your domestic skills.

Because some days are just not the best.

It happens,

Even in early retirement -you’ll be surprised to hear that I get stressed, and unhappy, and sometimes even go full on sad.

The amount of unhappy days I had back before retirement were too many to count, but those are over now so no need to stress about them.

Anyway-

My point is-

If you happen to have a bad day at work, then ,sure, you need to get over it, and challenge yourself, and be brave and confront your fears-

But when all this is done-

You can definitely spend and unproductive minute thinking about that blessed minute after your shower, when you get to crawl to bed and wrap yourself in your agony.

And if your bed isn’t made, and you haven’t changed your sheets in more than a week, and your whole closet is tossed on your douvet, and you don’t feel absolutely great about your mattress,

then- dreaming about that solitary comforting bed isn’t going to work that well.

Please don’t get the notion that I recommend staying in bed all day instead of dealing with whatever it is life decides to rain on you.

Au contraire- I totally believe in confronting situations heads on no delay and no fear.

But!

At the back of my head there’s always that comfortable bed I know is waiting for me when I finish my battles .

Because even a great warrior needs rest. and so do small warriors like me.

Plus- there’s always that mother in law/OCD partner option.

But the first person you need to think of- in my opinion- is YOU.

Yep- even if you have kids and a ton of responsibilities-

If you don’t take good care of yourself- you’ll have no energy for your kids, and by “taking good care” I mean getting enough rest- and enough “down time” for yourself.

This- naturally- is an advice more appreciated by introverts- seeing as extroverts thrive on going out and meeting people, not staying in bed contemplating situations, but-

even extroverts need rest, and in my experience a clean made bed , is a thousand times more inviting than a rumpled-messy- sweaty sheets one.

Enjoy-

The cooliflower.

The cheapest, greenest, most effective ant deterrent ever!

There’s a possibility I have invented this hack.

I mean-

I haven’t heard or read about this hack anywhere, and I am deliberately not checking online, fearing I am delusional and many people have been using this hack for ages.

Anyway-

You have nothing to lose by reading this post- except- of course your valuable time, but try digging those skimming skills from merry old school days, and get to the point of this

(The hack is in bold purple print-but if you have a minute-hear me out).

You know what- wait-

The reason I am so excited, is because I stopped using commercial strong ant deterrent spray years ago, and I must be honest and tell you that when we moved to our rural small village (with a garden) 16 years ago, we did have this professional insect destroyer guy spray the house with tons of (unnecessary ) chemicals- because we didn’t do our research , therefore- didn’t know better.

But- all this happened long ago, and for the past 7 years I’ve been battling with insects every friggin summer.

Sure- we have mosquito nets on all windows- and I use vinegar spray because I think ants are supposed to dislike the strong smell-

But either the ants are into vinegar, or they simply got more and more resilient as the years passed.

You might be thinking- so what if a few ants are parading your kitchen counter top? they are harmless little things!

I hear you-

But I have no wish to open any kind of food and find uninvited protein (in the form of a live ant) inside.

The best way- in my opinion- is always to deter in advance, not fight during the storm, add to that the fact that the hack is totally green and environmental, plus just about the cheapest thing ever, easy to implement and no strange smells involved-

Well then.

To the hack!

Take your index finger, and use it to smear a good amount of your kitchen dish soap around relevant windows-such as- kitchen, bathroom (our ants absolutely love the taste of out toothpaste- makes you wonder about sugar content in that thing, doesn’t it?), or any other window close to where you’ve last seen ants wandering about.

Don’t be shy and don’t skimp on the dish soap- this is what- in my experience- creates the invisible “firewall” between your precious toothpaste and those wannabe tooth-fairy ants.

That’s it.

Don’t wash it off later, don’t scrape it off- it’s invisible, and does no harm to anyone, keeps quiet, doesn’t require feeding or changing a diaper.

I hope this works for you as it did for me-if not- you might have some mighty ants around your house- go figure.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

How I handled the parsley situation.

Ok , I hear you- you’re thinking- this early retirement thing is getting to her, there is no such thing as a “parsley situation”.

Well-

If you’ve ever grown parsley from seeds- you know there most definitely is a thing called a “parsley situation”.

Here you are, chirping and hopping in your garden wearing a blue sun dress and a red ribbon ( yes, Walt Disney- I have a L O T to say about the way he narrated the lives of millions throughout the years- frankly- still does), sowing parsley seeds generously ( they come in 300 seeds pack- you can “save for later” but they are so tiny- you seem to think – oh- I have to sow some more, no way this will be enough!”).

Come spring-

And the parsley thrives – and thrives-and thrives-

This is when I was skimping on parsley, thinking- oh- is this going to be enough?

a

You can see that there is a thing called “over abundance” when parsley is concerned.

You might ask yourselves-what is she going on about? just live and let live- meaning- “let it grow let it grow, let it blossom let it flow, in the sun the rain the snow, love is lovely, let it grow” (Clapton, Eric. great song. really).

But!

The thing is- you can’t really do that.

I mean- if Eric says you can when love is concerned- then he knows, but not when trying to grow parsley.

Because-

Parsley needs constant trimming, or the stems will harden and the leaves will weaken. (AKA the parsley trade off).

Oh and the result of that trade off will be foul tasting parsley.

So??

So I started “harvesting ” as much as I could.

And?

And using it- of course.

Parsley is just about the healthiest thing out there-(answers here in the link)

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/parsley

For people out there watching their calorie intake or sugar intake -wow is this the first prize winner for you.

For people looking to live forever- also relevant. (antioxidants).

For people who have turtles as pets- also relevant.

So I made various salads:

I actually posted these 2 salads before- this is re-using my own material, and there needs to be a valid excuse for it- and there is! the reason is reference-because I am getting to a point here-

My point being- if you are in a parsley abundance situation- start every salad on the parsley premises-and build from there.

Add anything -green apples-red apples-tomatoes-cucumbers- onions-chickpeas-lentils-beans-corn- avocado- buckwheat (as for all beans and legumes- do yourselves a favor and cook them before adding them. I believe no explanation is in order).

Today- for instance- I felt I needed to take a break from my usual breakfast-lunch-snacks , due to overload (one of the huge benefits of early retirement is being -for the first time in my life- a bit more tuned to my body. doesn’t mean I always follow through though…)so I ate 4 bowls of parsley-green-red apple with a drizzle of lemon and a bit of Himalayan salt+ a teeny tiny bowl of bulgur. (how tiny? so tiny you can barely see it!)

But I still had a lot of parsley left….

So- I diced it up in my Braun hand mixer (one of my absolutely best friends in the kitchen . I mean it)and put it in the my silicone ice cube mold to freeze a few hours-then transferred the cubes to keep for whenever I need parsley in my cooking.

Now- fair warning- frozen parsley cannot be used in salads!!!

Because it comes out soggy .

Very soggy.

But-no problems using it in cooked dishes- after frying in a pan with diced onions and garlic, for instance- it would upgrade any savory dish.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Fitbit Inspire2 : was it worth buying?

Before I start- you need to know I have no shares in Fitbit- or in any other fitness devices for that matter, and neither do I get anything for free from any store -online or otherwise.

I also do not review anything for a living-nor am I a tech whiz (oh-so far far from it, almost embarrassing to tell) so this isn’t going to be a professional review, just an honest frugal person’s review, reflecting my own personal unbiased opinion.

There- now we can start.

First- who cares?

Well- this is a good question if you happen to be frugal.

Actually- if you are frugal, you are probably used to asking yourself -“do I need this?”-instead of “do I want this”.

This is actually a very good question , because this device -in my opinion- is definitely something you can live happily ever after without having (or even knowing it exists-as was my case), but– if you are a health enthusiast, and your workout goals are a priority to you- then this is a great device to have- provided you get it when it’s on sale.

I think I first need to tell you the pros and cons -and then sum it up , and- as usual- do your own research, don’t buy anything you won’t use+enjoy, and if you happen to have this device- or another one from a different company- please comment!

Ok-

#1. It measures a variety of workouts: (though not all!)

The Fitbit Inspire 2 measures walks, runs, swimming (yes- laps included! ) , biking (haven’t tried it -can’t tell you how accurate it is) and it says it measures yoga too- though I haven’t tried this either.

I did notice that my band workouts cannot be measured, although I can call it “weights”- but it isn’t- and when I do a 30 minutes free weights workout- it measures it as a mere 80-90 calories worth- when this is -in my opinion- not the point of working out with weights.

It doesn’t have a built in GPS -or a music streamer- but I run with my phone anyway- and swim with my Syryn waterproof MP3 -now this– is a must have for swimmers in my opinion- it is a definite need(!) if you love swimming -here is a link to a previous posts I wrote on this-

How Metallica stepped up my game at the pool this morning

Revisiting Pollyanna: a test case in positive psychology.

(Again- no shares or affiliated nothing).

Why do I need to measure my workouts?

Well- again- this isn’t exactly a question of “need” but of “want”.

I am a reatired health enthusiast, my workouts are a priority for me- and I love collecting analyzing the correct data concerning my workouts, instead of guessing -or relying on my phone’s GPS.

#2. Can’t escape it- the psychological effect.

This is a huge one, no doubt.

The extroverts can enjoy the “share activity “button, and the variety of communities to be part of, and discuss interval intensity and calorie intake , and even share how many hours of sleep you got last night . (!).

But even an introvert like me, has to admit there is something challenging in knowing your information is gathered somewhere- and you can better yourself every day.

As pathetic as it may sound ( and it does sound), I noticed I stopped slacking at the end of runs, I make an effort to swim faster, not to mention the calorie intake feature…..

#3. The calorie intake feature.

I used MyfitnessPal until I had enough of loading my foods, though I knew this is just sheer laziness and pure shame, because guessing gets you only this far- and this- is not very far.

Apparently the Inspire 2 has the same features- you load your food choices, lie about the quantities (sorry- you don’t lie- you “guess” how big that huge bowl was), and the Inspire tells you how many calories you still have left for the day- according to your weight goal -and the amount of calories you burned during your exercising that day.

This is really nice-

No need to calculate- you can see exactly how your day is looking currently- and decide like the responsible person that you are (…..) if your planned trip to the cupboard is happening or not.

*Again- the psychological game is the real challenge – you get the feeling that your information is out there- and although I choose to never share anything with anyone ( introvert, told you)- I still feel I need to “behave”.

#4. heart rate measuring:

This is really nice- if you don’t mind wearing the Inspire when you go to sleep, then you can enjoy this super important information gathering- your resting heart rate-

This is super important if you want to know your fitness level and adjust accordingly.

I can tell you that for the past two weeks I was stressing over an issue concerning my kids, and sure enough I could see the change in my resting heart rate. ( if this is of any importance to you- from 57-58 to 63).

#5. heart rate measurements -while active:

this- obviously- is an important feature- you can check your heart rate while running or boxing or whatever- and the Inspire calculates your fat burning zone- your cardio zone- and your peak zone- according to your personal information- age-weight- resting heart rate and exercise level.

This is what my run this morning looked like:

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#6. It is easy to use- even for relics from the ice age like me. also easy to charge.

#7. The looks and feel of it– this device is slim, hardly noticeable, but at the same time stylish.

#8. the price tag: I bought mine on Amazon for 68$ +1 year free premium membership- the regular price for premium membership is 80$ a year.

SO??

So- in my opinion- (which now- as an owner of the device- is biased by the need to justify the purchase to myself)- I can tell you I did just fine without it for 52 years of my life- but the past 2 months of checking my data constantly and trying to better my results so as not to embarrass myself in front of the fitbit – I can say that if you are an avid health and sports lover, and you actually care what your heart rate variability is+ you are able to consistently load your food intake -and check to see how many calories you consumed and how many you used- than check if the sale on this device is still on, because you will enjoy this.

If you couldn’t care less about all those parameters- don’t bother.

Either way-

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

The lessons I learned from a cat…

All my life, I avoided cats.

Simply had nothing to do with them.

I was sure I was a dog person- and I was also sure that this is an either/ or situation.

Cats do have that distancing spoiled self sureness about them- they always look as if they are doing you a favor by eating the food you give them .

Where as dogs- well- they are just about the greatest thing alive in my opinion- they are giving, and sensitive , and smart, and loving, and loyal-well- in my opinion -dogs are the absolute best there is.

A few months ago, our beloved dog passed away, and I’ve been walking around with a huge hole in my heart.

I pet every dog I see, I smile to dogs when I run, I miss him a lot.

My partner isn’t ready to bring another dog, he says parting with Sirius was so difficult that he needs more time to get over it, and this has to be a unanimous decision in a household-since a dog is a family member.

So a year ago- a pregnant cat came into our yard and gave birth to 3 kittens in our tree house.

One ended his life tragically by wandering off the tree house (too young to have full cat skills probably), and one of them- the white one- was such a curious funny little thing- that we got used to him, and he got used to us.

So much so- that when his mother decided it was time to move on- he stayed with us.

And this was lesson #1:

Sometimes. it’s OK to trust people.

(key word being “sometimes”).

This cat is a combination of curiosity and laziness.

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He follows me around the garden (but not outside it), gets all excited when I water the plants (here I was thinking cats are deterred by water), can’t relax when I dig and plant new plants (he actually starts digging himself. he is funny), but when I sit and relax- he is the first to be there and chill out too.

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And these are lessons 2+3- taught by a cat:

#2: curiosity is essential for personal development and happiness.

#3. give yourself the privilege of relaxing in fresh air. it’s priceless.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Getting to know your Bran new friend.

Bran?? you kidding me? Isn’t that for , like, 70+ yer old people? in a small box next to prunes? and multivitamin pills?

Well- if that is the case, then it is one more example as to why you do get wiser as you get older. (more mature, OK).

Because- the fact is that bran is just about one of the most beneficial foods you can get- and for a reasonable price, too.

oat bran: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oat-bran

wheat bran: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/wheat-bran

I started adding 1 tbsp of bran to my protein oats in the morning, and whereas in my experience, bran can taste like saw dust when scattered about over yogurt or swallowed as is (perhaps because it does resemble sawdust?), when joined by other components of the protein oat porridge- and cooked with them- you can hardly tell the difference.

In my opinion, that is.

Mind you that overdoing it fiber wise- can be troublesome too- so tread lightly, and try checking how your body feels .

Just thought I should share my latest “discovery”.

The cooliflower.

Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin- in the movies.

I was about 16 when I saw “Amadeus”.

Wasn’t a big fan of classical music back then, although coming from a polish-Russian heritage, I was forced to “play” the piano for a few years -until I got the courage to say- “No” , but the movie left such an impression on me -that I began going to concerts.

I have to be honest and tell you I didn’t exactly understand what was going on, and many times just fell asleep during the concert, which -looking back- is a real shame, although I am a firm believer in the importance of good sleep.

Director Milos Forman (One flew over the cuckoo’s nest, Hair, the people v. Larry Flint) and the super impressive crew won 8 Oscars , and deserved-in my opinion- each and every one of them.

The music that accompanies the film was recorded by Sir Neville Marriner and the academy of st martin in the fields- the sound track- by the way -is available ( for free!) on You tube.

I don’t like going to the movies(told you- introvert), so I ordered the movie- along with the 2 following ones, on Amazon.

All together they cost me less than 30$ which is quite nice for the chance to watch them over and over- not that I did that-but I could- If I wanted to. (…)

Anyway-

If you haven’t seen the movie/ you’ve seen it- but have a teenager that suggesting this kind of movie to him/her would not result in a dismissing snort ( or- in my case- a condescending look from my 16 year old, and a dry reply in the lines of “oh- I don’t think so”)- then this is the perfect introductory to classical music in my opinion.

Because it’s engaging, and interesting, and colorful, and once you understand that classical music composers weren’t dry boring genius nerds-but exciting -complicated- full of emotions -genius nerds, then listening to the music they composed, is much more exciting.

Anyway- that’s my experience.

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While we are on the subject- 2 other great examples of tormented full of emotions and tragedy genius composers that were depicted in movies (because there are so many other composers that led a life fit for Hollywood ( Tchaikovsky, for one, and I know a movie was made about the trio-Brahms-Clara Schumann and Robert Schumann , but I haven’t seen it), are Beethoven and Chopin.

Here are the CD’s I got-

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I know music, like food , is a matter of taste, but- like food- widening your taste pallet can be fascinating. 

The miracle YouTube enables us to watch trailers of almost everything -so why not give a look. 

You might even get caught -who knows? 

Enjoy- the cooliflower.  

Enjoy.

The cooliflower.

I

When life gives you organic lemons-make “cheese” cake with them!

If there’s one thing everyone agrees on it’s that lemons are good for you.

I mean-

you can squeeze them over fresh salads.

you can squeeze them over boiled or pan fried veggies.

you can squeeze them into sauces (my simplest most effective salad dressing includes half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt(pink Himalayan) and fresh ground black pepper- you don’t really need anything else). also tahini sauce, tahini’s friend-the hummus, you can even swap the vinegar in vinaigrette for lemons.

In the vegan kitchen lemons are a staple since they add (totally necessary) taste to good old tofu, but chefs and cooks around the world have been using this treasure long before veganism arrived .

Lemon tarts , lemony pasta (!), avocado with lemon- that’s just to name a few known staples.

Continue reading “When life gives you organic lemons-make “cheese” cake with them!”

While your’e waiting….

So I was standing in my kitchen waiting for the water to heat ( winter time- instead of forcing myself to swallow cold water , I pour 2 cups of hot water into my water bottle and add a cup of cold water-in case I need to drink right then and there- and a slice of ginger (pre-cut and stored in freezer for this exact use) and no cold water if I intend to sip slowly “enjoying the moment and being aware”. (!)

*Oh before I forget -I have this great tip for those of you who have to have their coffee boiling hot or otherwise they won’t drink it like spoiled bra&^-

Before pouring the coffee to your mug/cup- pour a cup of boiling water into the said cup-glass, and let it warm the cup for 30 seconds.

Then- and only then- pour your coffee into said cup. you can’t believe the difference this little trick makes in the temperature of the coffee! instead of meeting a cold cup -the coffee is glad to meet a warm and welcoming cup, thus feeling more relaxed and letting all its coffee qualities out .

(The water from the first cup can be poured to your sink- along with a little dish soap- to help unclog whatever is thinking of clogging your sink. )

Yes well that may have been a bit too poetic but the tip is worth it.

This of course is only necessary in winter time, and provided you don’t over heat your house at night .

If, by any chance- you are one of those people that can pour a cup of coffee, join a meeting, let the coffee just stand there on the table for 40 minutes, and then drink it as if nothing’s wrong- well then.

I guess this tip isn’t exactly useful for you.

I mean- to each his own. I have a lot of strange food related behaviors too, so who am I to judge?( and yet- seriously? either boiling hot or freezing cold- I can’t stand the “middle way ” coffee temperature).

So I was waiting in my kitchen, and out of nothing- started doing squats.

Squats in the middle of nothing!

This got me thinking-

I can tell you that while waiting for the water to heat I managed to get in 3 sets of 10 squats- and even a few leg raises, and felt really good about myself afterwards.

Next time I waited for my pasta water to boil- I started doing the dishes in the sink -thinking that the hot pasta water will help get rid of any sticky oily residue in the sink.

I also managed to clean the counters.

That way- while waiting for pasta water- a wait I can’t control or hurry- I made my kitchen environment more pleasant .

I know- there will be those dishes after the pasta is eaten- but I don’t mind- instead of going back and forth to check on the boiling water while trying to do something else half halfheartedly (your heart is invested in the pasta, naturally!) I stay in the kitchen and finish whatever it is I need to do there.

That could include making the pasta sauce, making salad, checking your pantry for future references, or taking that da@# broom and swiping the floor.

I mean- your’e up and moving in the kitchen- what’s the point of another phone screen scroll?

By the way the squats thing is a solid option since it needs no props and can be done properly standing up.

If you happen to be a warrior- get down and do 30 push ups too.

Can’t get any better than that.

This method can be applied outside the kitchen too, mind you.

Waiting for an app to download? squat.

Brushing your teeth? get in 43 squats. (tried it).

Waiting for a representative to answer the phone( in the rare instance you can’t use the best ever “gmail them and have everything on record too” method- squat again.

I think you get the picture.

Double using your time+getting in some exercise? amazing.

Thank you Pixels and Cottonbro for the beautiful image I used .

Enjoy- the cooliflower.