Frugal tip- taking care of your stuff+easy homemade pizza recipe!

For years I treated my stuff as replaceable.

I didn’t take very good care of it because I thought- ok- if it breaks -I’ll buy another.

I was under the impression that stuff is there to serve me while it lasts, and since buying new is always a nice thing (or so I thought) and since I work very hard and raise 3 kids and take care of the house- I don’t have the time to spare /waste on stuff maintenance.

After minimising my stuff , and understanding the importance of frugality combined with mindful minimalism in the environmental aspect, I understood that I would have to change my attitude towards my stuff.

The first thing I did was start reading the instruction manuals/labels/tags carefully before operating or using any device.

In the past, I bought something, took a look at it, and started using it instinctively, thinking why waste time and effort on reading useless manuals .

Turns out there are a ton of important things you can learn from reading the tags.

For instance-here is my calphalon pan. below are the using instructions.

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2. for better cooking results- preheat the pan without any oil.

3. after cooking allow to cool before washing.

ok- truth is I would never have done instructions 2+3 hadn’t i read the label.

Another tip is to take a photo of the instructions-labels-warranty and mail it to my gmail -to keep under the products name.

I always keep the receipts, the only thing is I can never remember a year or two later, when the receipt is needed, where I put it….

Sure- you can keep a binder -I did that too- but this leads to heaps of papers -and wasted time looking for the specific receipt when needed. not with gmail/

And no- I don’t have any shares in gmail sadly.

here is another example: my pizza pan.

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(Getting nothing from anyone here -so just buy or not- none of my business.)

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I would never have saved this warranty tag before- but this is a lifetime warranty and why not take a quick photo and save it? and why not read the using instructions carefully before making the first pizza?

Another tip is to remember to clean your vacuum cleaner and fully recharge it after every use. can’t count the times I began vacuuming the house only to find out it stopped working and needs a 2 hour charge ..

Same goes with the IRobot– to keep it running smoothly- clean it thoroughly at least once a month and change the necessary parts every 6 months- it will hold for much longer.

Your washing machine? definitely needs a full check up once a month.

I clean the filter let it run empty with only citric acid to keep from suds building up and clogging it.

*Do your own research -I have no idea if my tips are good for your stuff too- I do know that the basic principle of learning how to take better care of your stuff- can save you a lot of money and replacing time.

*These are all examples- I can think of many more as I am writing this- like pouring baking soda and vinegar with hot water down my kitchen sink once a month, not pouring my coffee to my sink  unless I threw the coffee grains residue to the compost before (seriously- this is a sure way to clog your sink!) , washing my my wooden floors only with a damp cloth and never leaving water spots on it, changing my dish scrubs every week and so on. 

Before I wrap up- I need to  mention laundry regulations..

#1:The obvious thing is to seperate whites from colours.

#2: separate towels and bed linens from clothes.why? because linens are big and have a tendency to wrap a loving hug around all the other clothes you put in the laundry, and the hugged clothes don’t get much of the laundry cycle besides that hug, which to you is pretty irrelevant I should think.

#3: get a mesh bag for your socks. this will save you time and effort gathering those socks – especially the ones that decided that laundry time is their chance to escape their sock spouse. this will also prolong your machine’s life since instead of the beach in Thailand the escaped socks usually find their way to the machine insides or pipes.

#4: read those labels before putting your precious shirts to the laundry machine…

I admit I never buy garments that need dry cleaning- This is too much of a hassle for me and I’ve read the fumes from dry cleaning are quite an ecological hazard- I am not 100% sure about that but since it is so easy to find great substitutes that are glad to be washed either by hand or in the laundry machine, why bother?

I believe I made my point.

Check your stuff for use and care instructions, take good care of it and save yourself a lot of time and money- all the while minimizing your carbon footprint . yay on all counts.

Now it’s time to learn how to make this great pizza at home.

The dough is from “food network”- here is the link- just click.  great pizza dough

By the way when he writes “dry yeast 1 envelope” I am using 1 tbsp of dry yeast .turns great indeed.

For the sauce- 1 canned tomatoes, tomato paste -small , 1/4 cup water, salt, pepper, a little sugar to contradict the acidity of the tomatoes, heat and stir for 10 minutes on low, add basil or oregano if you like, don’t (add) if you don’t (like), taste and cool a bit. this can freeze well too.

Since my household prefers thin based pizza, I had to learn how to stretch that dough to the maximum- I started with a rolling pin and that didn’t do the job one bit. so I started using my hands, and managed to get the dough to top the pan then quickly put the sauce on top.

Now here you have to be careful- since in my experience- thin dough+regular amount of rich sauce =disaster.

But: thin dough +thin layer of rich sauce=success.

Plus- don’t let the sauce wait on the pizza for too long before entering the oven-in my experience- the sauce tends to wet the thinly stretched dough- you don’t want to go there believe me.

About the cheese– well honestly I mixed the cheese I had in the freezer, (not cheap yet not mozzarella) but in my experience the trick is  to top all the leftovers with good mozzarella- it looks and tastes great -so my household members say. (about the looks you can judge for yourselves:)

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By the way- the picture above is one of my pizza’s as well

About toppings- go for it and use what you got- sweet potatoes, olives, whatever.

I always double the quantities, and use 1 kilo of flour -2 tbsp dry yeast and double the rest. it makes 6 medium sized pizzas and I slice and freeze them to be eaten in the next two weeks.

why slice?

Because sometimes my partner/son only want a slice (rarely but happens) and this way they can pop a slice out of the freezer and in the oven for a few minutes- and bam- yummy (or so they tell me) pizza at home for a fraction of the cost.

Really- fraction of the cost.

Try for yourselves.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to truly Simplify meal prepping

From time to time I glimpse at meal prepping videos on youtube , and 3 things never cease to amaze  me:

#1: meal prepping for 4-5 days- using the same food.

For example- a pot of rice , a pot of beans,nuts, fruit and greens, are used in different combinations for lunch throughout 4-5 days.

Am I the only one that gets bored so easily?

Sorry people- can’t have the same kind of food day .after day.after day. after day.

Even if it is combined differently.

#2: the food is supposed to last in top condition though stored combined with other food, and contain ingredients that -even on their own- are not super resilient for 5 days in the fridge. 

Did any of you actually try to eat beans or chickpeas after  they were 5 days in the refrigerator??no. way.

How are you expected to eat greens that were sliced 5 days ago, and spent those days next to anything that is even remotely damp?

And buns-bread- focaccia- whatever -does it go stale and tasteless after 5 days only in my fridge?

#3: How are you supposed to heat your lunch when your container is combined with ingredients that are not supposed to be heated? 

Are you supposed to eat cold lunches all the time? by the way the same question is relevant to meals in jars- could never understand that concept. if you add quinoa to greens and something that even remotely resembles a gravy or a sauce- in my experience the next day- you will have a very interesting jar of porridge. and a cold one too, since you are not supposed to heat the greens and the sauce.

In my experience, especially after starting intermittent fasting a few weeks ago, eating the same  cold lunch for 5 days, as my main meal of the day- is going to make me feel super deprived and totally miserable.

No. way.

I love food. I love eating. I love thinking what I will eat on my next meal. I will not stick to any plan that will make me feel deprived.

So?

So simplify your meal prepping by batch cooking +freezing+labeling.

So simple. 3 steps only.

#1: batch cooking:

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yeah tham homemade buns freeze really well!
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bean stew. freezes well too

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baked sweet potatoes and apples (?!?!)

#2: freeze em:

 

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#3: defrost and assemble any combination you like from the variety you have in your freezer. 

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half&half: sweet potato&banana cream soup-with mujadara

 

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vegetable soup with brown rice
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salad with baked spicy chickpeas
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lentil soup with mejadra

Pack your lunch in different glass containers, cut your salad fresh at work- and add heated legumes on the side.

Think about it- this way the number of combinations is endless! green salad, vegetable salad, soups, stews, different kinds of grains, all kinds of legumes- each time you batch cook one of these -freeze and label separately -in  small quantities so you can mix and match later as desired.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

Simplify it: Organizing my online groceries- part 3

Before we begin- In case you wonder where and when happened parts 1+2 – I am more than happy to oblige: here it is: explaining my 3 weekly online grocery shopping, saving time and money .My online grocery shopping: saving money+big time!(and my quick bean stew recipe for no fresh produce situations)

Organizing your online groceries: preparing ahead and simplifying your cooking!(the sequel)

Ok- now that the mystery is solved, we can relax and wonder why parts 1+2 weren’t enough  to get the concept of buying food. what’s the big deal, you might be asking yourselves.

well- the deal is big. it is very big.

Getting the groceries in a frugal and efficient way and making sure you waste almost no food before you get fresh groceries- is great. it is.

but making sure you enjoy the fresh produce that had just arrived, so you waste 0 money, waste 0 time (ordering then throwing away?? what’s the point? surely you can do something better with your time) and most importantly- prompt yourself and your family members- to eat healthier.

#1: I know for a fact, that when fruits are displayed in my house, they don’t need excess prompting to be eaten, as opposed to fruit hiding somewhere.

I am aware this is not a valid option for summer days -but a few fruits can always be displayed in a bowl where everybody can just reach and enjoy.

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tomatoes are considered fruit FYI

#2: what about those vegetables? 

I know many times my groceries included all kinds of pretentious vegetables that ended in the compost bin after 2 weeks of being sadly neglected.

This is not only a money waster but also -in my case- made me develop an aversion to those poor vegetables – I constantly felt that they were staring at me from their exile in the fridge, thinking I am not worth their effort.

so -my tip is don’t make any plans the day your groceries arrive, and start dealing with them aspirational veggies you ordered – right. now.

for instance- I used to read all about the benefits of pickled veggies, and decide I am going to incorporate them pickled whatever in my diet the minute the groceries arrive. buy a big batch of beets, and turnips, and such, and time just went by and so did my aspirations.

If I take the time and prepare the pickled veggies on the same day they arrive- check on the quality of your pickles, check on the no waste, and check on the no guilt feelings towards them turnips.

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carrots- definitely underrated.

grated them in seconds in my Braun hand blender, added grapefruit juice (I have a grapefruit tree- not wasting that great juice) and dried cranberries.

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0nions- why not?

Pretty+ makes you want to cook.

#3: don’t be shy to display your beans. 

jarsyes it does take some time to get them in the jars but besides it being a feast for the eyes- this increases the chance of you making lentil stew by 79%! and the chances of you making bean burgers by 66%!

20181216_192213.jpg#4: buy minimum condiments- and store them in an airtight jar.

I get that people are taught that in order to cook favorable food you need to have a cabinet -even two- of very exotic condiments.

sorry – in my experience, this is totally untrue,

the fewer condiments you have- in my experience- the greater the chance that you will enjoy using them.

I think people are generally creatures of habit. sure you can go wild from time to time and experiment- but there are so many flavors to experiment with freshly ground black pepper and regular salt+adding paprika- or turmeric, or Morrocan mixed herbs- or soy sauce -vinegar, regular or rice vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil? lemon?curry paste? agave syrup? ginger? the possibilities with basic regular condiments are endless.

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Just don’t hide the condiments in a distant drawer out of laziness- or the chances of you making that spicy whatever- will decrease by 98%.present them proudly in tight jars and enjoy them.

speaking of which: ginger- increase the chances of you using it by cleaning -cutting -and freezing it the day it arrives.

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Any more tips?

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

Organizing your online groceries: preparing ahead and simplifying your cooking!(the sequel)

I buy my groceries online- once every 3 weeks. (with the exception of fresh soy milk and  we get at our local grocery shop ).here is a reminder of the previous episode of “conquering the art of online grocery shopping “: My online grocery shopping: saving money+big time!(and my quick bean stew recipe for no fresh produce situations)

Doing major grocery shopping efficiently is not an easy task, and needs a lot of preparation- bothwhile getting the delivery- and afterward. 

But-

Once you’ve mastered this – you get to enjoy the massive time+money saving skills you acquired, plus you raise your cooking skills+your healthy eating habits- to a higher level- simply because suddenly everything you need is visible and reachable.

*I know this preparing ahead is a pain in the ***. I am a full-time working mother of 3 (ok 2 are now grown up but I remember the days I had to manage to feed and take care of a 5 person household).  

But- at the end of the day- let alone at the end of the month- these tips are huge time savers, and the time and money you save because you are eating healthier- well it’s a triple win situation.

let’s get to part 2:( part one is getting the groceries online, as described so vividly in the previous post I linked above)

Preparing a few days before online groceries arrive:

#1: going through your fridge: emptying fruit and vegetable cabinets!

Got some leftover tomatoes? peppers?

Read here how to avoid this situation.

My zero food waste tips: part 1: vegetables.

My zero food waste tips-part 2: fruit

But- if you still have some veggies hidden in the corner of your vegetable drawer, this is the time to be creative!

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option #1: stuffed peppers: the stuffing: kinoa+bulgur. the sauce: tomato sauce with slow cooker all-night beans I just made

#2: going through your freezer- taking out long timers to see some sunshine!

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“breadsticks” -had some pieces of 2 months old whole wheat bread that was no longer appealing. cut them to stripes, mixed in a bowl with olive oil, dried oregano, salt and pepper- and while baking focaccia in the oven- these went in as well.

*Yes saving electricity as well. (READ HERE MORE TIPS ON THAT- ALWAYS USEFUL TO BE MINDFUL).

How I reduced 25% of my electricity and gas bills ( 5 tips and another V for enVironmentalism)

#3: going through my pantry- (wow I forgot I had that pasta!)

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an innovative way to use the above-forgotten pasta

Even the dry products in the pantry need some TLC.

Clearing and cleaning the fridge and freezer a few days ahead is important because:

  1. it makes room for the products you ordered-makes much more sense than standing in front of a full fridge and trying to manipulate the new products in.
  2. so much more environmental to use what you already have first…believe me 3 weeks is enough time for me to forget the treasures I have stacked in my fridge, let alone the freezer…(by the way the stuffed peppers you saw above- were filled with frozen quinoa and surrounded by tomato and bean sauce- matched together simply because I didn’t have enough space in the freezer for all the beans I cooked…turned out marvelous!)
  3. knowing what you already have at home- saves you a lot of precious money! one of the clear benefits of online grocery shopping is the ability to add and remove products from your list until the last minute. believe me, I change my list every 2-3 days- when I think of a new recipe , when I check the fridge and find my nooch is gone, when I find out walnuts are on 35% sale, or when I find a hidden treasure of oats in my pantry.
  4. Clearly, it is so much healthier to revisit your food items and check for unwanted visitors like ants and such. (dried dates attract ants in the summer like crazy! do yourself a big favor and keep them in the fridge during the hot months!)
  5. obviously, a clean and tidy fridge-freezer-pantry are nicer to use and to look at as a general rule of living. thus more appealing to look for new healthy meals to prepare!

#4: check your cabinets for empty jars :

No use standing in front of 200 grams of paprika and having nowhere to store it. (Just a random example I came up with).

Hope you enjoyed- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

Preparing for early retirement: last month at work

So,  early retirement is getting closer and closer.

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If nothing changes- my due date is at the end of this (short) month- February 28.

Being a walking irony that I am, the minute I wrote a mail to everyone at work announcing my retirement and inviting them to a modest toast on the 28th, someone at work told me he had heard that in 3-4 months a retirement plan is going to be published.

Now if this is true, this can potentially mean a lot of money I, of course, will not receive since my date is at the end of this month.

At first, I admit I got angry. then I got anxious, then I sat down and thought about it.

This is a lot of money we are talking about.

Should I try to postpone my retirement?

This rumor can be true- and it can be false too.

In the past two years, every 3-4 months a rumor similar to this one starts spreading among workers.

This could very possibly mean I would try to postpone my retirement in hope for a retirement plan to come along- and just sit there waiting for a year and maybe even more.

Of course, there is also the possibility that this rumor is absolutely true- which would definitely qualify me to be the next Alanis Morissette.

I have reached the point at work, where I simply cannot go on anymore.

I mean- if I had no choice, of course, I would go on, but working over 27  years in the same job- well that is a lot of time doing the same thing.

I have reached a point where I am so burned out, that my mind wonders everywhere but to the job I have to do- and this is not good. at all.

I am also very distracted all around, focus only on myself and my situation at work, I am anxious and snappy at home- and of course at work, and to put it mildly- this can’t go on any longer.

I decided that I am not going to change my plans due to this rumor.

Early retirement is a well thought about decision I made a few years ago, knowing fully well that I needed to frugalise my habits since my income will downsize to 60% of my current income.

I learned to be frugal, saved money, and although I have no specific plans for my retirement- I can’t wait for it.

I know that the common understanding is that early retirement should not be used to escape a job you dislike, and you should learn to deal with your situation until you conquer it.

And yet this is exactly what I am doing.

Another mistake I am making according to common knowledge is retiring with no plans. this- according to many people- is bound to drive me nuts.

While I totally respect that, and it might also be true; I simply cannot bring myself to make specific plans right now.

Mind you I am a very planned ahead person, I make lists all the time, I love having structure in my life and I am not scared of chores.

And yet- no plans.

I mean- I know I want to grow vegetables  in my garden; and I am seed growing for a few weeks now:

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And since I cook from scratch and clean all scratches- plus my exercise routine- and tending to the garden – not only the vegetables but all of it (I have a small house but quite a large garden – this will be time-consuming. And let’s not forget my beloved blog!

I am an introvert, and being alone has never bothered me- au contraire, and while I am not forgetting the possible void when leaving a management position after many years, I have been thinking about this ego downsizing a lot, read here:Early retirement Jitters-dealing with my ego.

I am spending a lot of time thinking about not being a big shot at work anymore, not getting a lot of urgent calls that need my immediate attention, not being needed at all,

This is not easy for me, certainly after almost all of my adult life after university, I spent at a job where I was always needed and busy.

But I am tired now, and cannot go on giving the way I used to.

It is definitely the time to retire early.

even without plans.

One thing I spent a lot of time contemplating was my cell phone.

I got my cell phone from work- including a plan, and now I need to return my phone -or buy it for 320$, and find a new plan.

So I started looking online. and found myself another phone.

A cheaper one, that has all I need- and is highly recommended for its price.

The cheaper phone is perfectly fine for my needs- I  don’t play games on the phone, I don’t write my posts or anything else for that matter on my phone, and I only need it for basic communication with a few close people, and to listen to music on Spotify while I run or work in the garden.

I also need to take good photos for this blog- but no selfies. I don’t like taking pictures of myself. at all.

So after a lot of searching, I decided on the xiaomi redmi note 6, and this is no advertisement since I haven’t bought it yet- and I get nothing from any company concerning this phone- or anything else.

This phone is going to cost me 227 $ including a 2-year warranty. I am taking the 32 GB and not the 64 GB since I looked online and the word was that only heavy users and gamers have an actual use for that 64 GB and regular users can do fine with only 32 GB.

I also looked for a cheap cell plan and found one that costs 5.5 $ a month and gives 10 Giga of use and free interstate talking minutes.

Since my use is limited as I told you, and I have no love for talking on the phone, this should be enough.

Just to be safe I looked on my phone to see how many Giga I use currently so I have a benchmark- and found out I only use 3 Gb a month so 10 should be more than enough.

The last issue concerning my phone and the one that I hesitated about the most, was my phone number.

I have had the same phone number for a very long time. and my phone is 95% work related.

I sat down and went over my contact list, and hand-picked the few people I would like to keep in touch with after I retire. and the people I need to stay in touch with- plumbing, bank, doctor, etc. I don’t think the list holds more than 40 numbers. mind you I have hundreds currently on my phone.

So after a lot of thinking- I decided to change my phone number, and only notify the people who were on that hand-picked list.

This seems like a small and insignificant decision- but if you think about it – it’s like starting a new life completely.

I wonder how it will go.

3 weeks till retirement day.

wow.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

p.s thanks again pixels for a mood capturing photo.

 

How I cheer myself up every morning-11 useful tips!

I believe in depending on myself only.

I do everything in my power not to ask for help- any kind of help- from anybody, and aside from stuff like electricity and plumbing -and of course car repairs -I can think of a few more but trying not to let you zzzzzz away- I believe you got the drift.

I cook from scratch, clean my house, work in the garden and save the world.

*well, I haven’t gotten to the last one yet but I am definitely on it.

That is why I do not depend on anyone- or anything for that matter- to cheer me up every morning.

It is nobodies job to cheer me up -but mine.

I don’t expect my partner to do it, I don’t expect my kids to do it, and I most certainly don’t expect my work to pick me up-I have no expectations from my workplace none what so ever. (early retirement, anyone?)

So- the (legit) alternatives left were- not doing anything. meaning- let it be let it be and all that relaxed thing, which in my case means only one thing: sinking into misery-or- taking matters to my own hands!

Guess what- I chose the latter.

And I am here to tell you how this worked- because it did-and still does- so why not be generous and share the knowledge?

Also-

These tips are frugal, healthy, and environmental so.

#1: I keep a notepad on my nightstand, and first thing in the morning, every morning– I write something nice to myself.

something in the lines of “good morning love” -you get the drift. I also draw a heart in different markers. I know this sounds silly, but In the past, I used to think of myself all kinds of things, none of them nice and reassuring. none of the words I spoke to myself (in my head) were kind and loving. most of them were scolding and at times- hard times- even insulting.

I finally realized a few months ago that this has to change, and I promised myself to give myself a break.

One of the measures I took to train myself to be kinder to me- was the notepad.

The notepad you see in the picture below- hiding under the Ipad, is my second one already.

I found out I start scribbling notes to myself once I reach the pad, and this has become somewhat of a journal- unintentionally.

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#2: listen to good music.

Sure- music is a matter of taste – but some bands are considered classics because there was something clean and pure in the sound they made, which made it timeless.

My go to’s are Pink Floyd (all albums except for “animals” -what happened there??) Deep purple, led zeppelin, rainbow, Metallica, and women music writers like Kate Bush, Alanis Morisette, Tracy Chapman, and Chrissie Hynde. and many more.

Find music that gets you going and a pair of good headphones and simply enjoy yourself.

life is good (at least it is when you listen to music).

#3: cleaning the house:

Ok, I know what you’re thinking- but just try it. combined naturally with tip #2. full volume.

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Clean green / V for vinegar

click for reading more on my green and simple cleaning routine.

#4: Talk with my partner.

he has a way of looking at complicated things in a unique way that simplifies them.

#5: when #4 is no help- I talk to my daughter. 

I am proud glad to say this girl ( now almost 27) has turned out to be one of my “go to” people. she is smart and super funny and I like the way she thinks.

#6: read a good book

I am aware I sound like an introvert nerd. and I am proud to be one.

#7: cook ( and eat )something good.

I love food. I love eating. and I love cooking. and eating tasting the food while making it.

planning my next meal is one of my favorite pastimes. I make a big deal of food I know. I tell myself it’s a matter of respecting myself and my body. this is true- but I also really like to eat.

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#8: working out

naturally located right after #7.

But I work out not to “get rid” of anything, because I don’t look  at good food as something you need to “get rid of”, not to mention that many times working out makes me twice as hungry, but because I understand how important working out consistently is crucial for everyone- and when you get to 50+ -you understand the tremendous benefits of the years you worked out- so you keep going. this is my experience anyway.

#9: meditating

simple and effective.

#10. having only meaningful conversations

I am an introvert, and small talk is a task I have great difficulty with. so I stopped having meaningless conversations- I avoid crowded places and meeting places, and when someone at work starts a conversation with me- If I am up to it- I make a true effort to turn the conversation to a meaningful one. I do that by looking at the person speaking to me, I mean really looking. and listening to the tone of his words. many times I simply ask about something meaningful to the speaker that is about to happen or has happened already, and dig under the surface of “it was great!”. turns out people are anxious to have this kind of conversations and leave my room thanking me -when most times I just listened -but not to the usual chit-chat- I can’t relate to this in any way- but to people’s real feelings and emotions that I can. sometimes.

#11: saying kind words

Turns out people -all people- need to hear kind words- if they are true and not fake compliments. I know that if I decide to put the effort in it- I can find something kind to say to almost all the people I work with. and saying it to them- not all the time let’s not exaggerate here- makes both parties feel good . for free.

These were my tips. love to hear more. enjoy- the cooliflower.( thanks pixels for that really good mood photo for free).

 

 

12 running tips for beginners

  •   I have been running for many years, and for a  couple of years even participated in a few races (half marathons, 10k, nothing fancy) until I decided my introvert self overcomes my competitive self. I am by no way an expert on running, I am not a “running doctor” ( ok I am aware there is no such thing just wanted to emphasize) but I believe that the fact that I still struggle with some runs, I don’t have trillions of ultra’s hanging from (the belt) my running shorts and the most important thing- after many years I still love running and find it one of the most liberating things a person can do- is qualification enough to be connected to beginners- and hand out my simple yet effective tips- in a way perhaps a truly qualified expert- might not be.

*And the last word on races: I admit that training for a race is a great way to get yourself going in the morning, but I am now in a good place of self-discipline and until this phase goes away- I’m letting that introvert in me enjoy its victory.

My current weekly workout plan includes :

#1 : Saturday at 06:45-07:55am- swimming– 2.25 km . (you can read here why I believe investing in a water-friendly music player is a great idea if you are committed to swimming: How Metallica stepped up my game at the pool this morning

#2: yoga: Sunday, Monday and Thursday: I’m using the down-dog app. just used the new year discount (60% off!) to upgrade to premium, after 6 months of using the free version. I do 35-45 minutes of intermediate 2 level- still can’t hack the da** crow pose or lolasana- and now they have this “elephant trunk” thing. come on.but- great workout -I absolutely love them. no affiliated anything.

#3: running: 2-3 times a week.16-20 k weekly total.  this is finally evolving- after a long time of easy 2 mile jogs- (I Have tons of excuses, none of them are interesting or valid in any way)-I am back on track so to speak. only I don’t run tracks, or competitive, or in a group. I run alone. I have been running alone all my running life, can’t do it any other way. I know people swear by their running teams and coaches and mates -and say that they motivate them and get the best out of them etc.

No .way.

For those of you who are introverts- no explanation is in order. for those of you who aren’t -well enjoy the group thing-and live happily ever after.

Over the years- being a very practical person -and one that dislikes making the same mistake 3 times (yes- two times does happen to me. a lot, sadly), I gathered 12 tips that work for me every time. basic, simple, frugal, environmental. and mental. check on everything a person might want.

#1: prepare a good playlist- and change it every week or two:

yes, I am aware that some people run without music- I simply can’t believe it. I love music and combine classic rock (Pink Floyd, led zeppelin, deep purple, rainbow, Metallica, with lighter stuff- queen, Alanis Morissette, Tracy Chapman, ELO, and when in need of energy boost- pet shop boys will get me going. spotify does a good job and the sound is great- plus very little ad disturbance- and I didn’t go premium. I also listen to podcasts on Spotify.

#2: prepare ahead – find a good trail or running location

check it out for potential dangers /water breaks/restroom breaks. also, measure it so you know how much you ran even if you wish to leave your phone at home -(I know I just wrote something crazy).

make sure your trail is not too crowded – takes all the fun out of running if you are stuck in runners traffic- and on the other hand- not too distant: if like me you like to run early in the morning- well then it’s a bit scary not to mention totally unsafe to start running at 05:30 in a distant place, all alone, in the dark.

Plus- having more than 10-15 minutes drive to your location in the early hours -is quite a turnoff – but- try to make sure you run somewhere pretty. feast your eyes and soul, why don’t you. if you can. try to find a park or river or majestic urban scenery. this takes some preparing ahead but It’s important. if you can find a trail that has some hills -even better.

the picture above is sunrise in my running location.

#3: find the best time to run.

I prefer morning time- by prefer I mean I always run in the morning- because I am a morning person and love the post-workout sensation and endorphins +the sense of doing something good for and with myself.

check out the hours at your preferred trail- for reasons of a crowd or creepy solitude- check above why.

#4: prepare your pre-workout snack ahead:

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I love drizzling raw tahini on them Medjool dates. double yum

Something light yet nourishing- don’t stuff your face or you’ll regret it soon enough…

There are rumors about drinking a cup of black coffee 20 minutes before a run being beneficial- do your research. it’s fun.

#5: get your self a pair of good running shoes, and while you’re at it- a pair of running socks:

I have been running for years only with Saucony, good and solid shoes, I used to buy new ones every 9-12 months when I ran half marathons, but I have been running in the same pair for almost 3 years now- since there was only light jogging that didn’t impact the shoes so much. now that I’m back -I’m getting a new pair- and the previous ones are going to be used as working in the garden walking around- shoes.

#6: speaking of gear: don’t forget sunglasses and a cap when it’s hot- and gloves and a cap if its super cold.

it is no fun to forget how it feels to have fingers, or having earaches- or headaches- because your ears are frozen. it isn’t any fun either to squint because of the blinding sun the whole run -or worse- not see where you are going…

#7: dress appropriately: not too much- not too little!

When I run in the winter (early, very early in the morning)  I see people dressed in heavy fleeces -almost coats. the temperature here is around 5-15 Celsius in the morning, (that’s 40 -60 Fahrenheit ) and while I agree this is cold- I believe going on a run overdressed- is not only killing the fun- it’s an obstruction of justice.

I mean- what you need to realize is while you may be cold at first- once you start running the body produces heat -and when you’ll be hot- you will have no one to carry your gear *that is assuming you are not the queen of England reading my post now. in case you are- you may skip this tip, your highness.

On the other hand- please don’t go being a hero: wear 2 layers when it’s cold, and remember tip #6.

*speaking of clothingrunning in the rain can be pure fun- something we did as children and don’t do anymore- try it! but- be prepared: meaning- if you are in a trail a bit distant from home- have a bag with a change of clothes waiting for you in your car. don’t drive home soaking wet! and please- if its cold outside- check the forecast before starting a long run exactly when it starts raining. I find it exciting and fun to finish a run in the rain- knowing I prepared ahead and have hot water in the shower. otherwise- just do a long yoga session instead of running and next time remember to prepare ahead.

#8: this is a super important tip! -if running alongside a road- with headphones and some good music- run facing traffic meaning- you can see every car/bus/truck aiming at you!

this is not always possible-  happened to me today- the sides of the road weren’t equal- one was considerably narrower than the other so I had to run looking backward every 3 minutes – pain in the a**!! try to find a trail where you can make sure you can see traffic before it sees you.

By the way- this can happen in the park too- if running in traffic hours- cyclists and other runners- perhaps (?!?) faster than you -are around, with the sole intention of bumping into you. try to be aware -in spite of good music+ the famous zone you might get into when having a good run.

#9: Emmmm keys? 

If you are asking yourself “what about them keys?” than you need to get out of the house all happy and inspired, only to find out you have shorts with no zippers or pockets to put your house or car keys in, and you listened to advise #7 and only wore necessary light clothes with no pockets- and so you are now destined to run your whole run with the keys in your hands like some kind of idiot/burglar.

Well no you don’t!

An old trick is to untie one of your shoelaces, and tie it again – with your key ring -then tuck the connected keys- under the tied laces. next time you buy running shorts- remember to check if they have a key pocket, it’s a tad easier.

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if you happen to be a prison warden- then just find another solution.

#10: this is the best tip of them all: prepare your post-workout snack before you head out!

this is a precious tip people- because it touches the very essence of human nature: we need meaning. we need a goal. we need foooooooooood!

by preparing ahead you will achieve setting that goal- (“this treat is waiting for me in the kitchen..I can finish this run …I have something to look forward to”) that is , of course- just until you get to that famous runners zone- then you can live on air and nothing else.

Plus- when you get back home tired and hungry- this is not the best time to start looking for something to eat. chances are you will end up eating something less than super healthy, chances are- mostly carbs. sometimes not of the best quality even.

This is not only bad for your health-(post workout fuel is super important for building muscle- check this out!) but also for your mood.

You just finished a great run, had a great time with your body- connected you might even say. respected- for sure. now what? just because you neglected to think of post-workout fuel- you go back to disrespecting your body (and yourself?)

no. way.

*Plus- if you are anything like me- thinking about food- specifically my next meal- is one of my favorite hobbies- so.

If this is summer and you fancy a smoothy- please don’t make it ahead. sorry- unless you freeze it- it turns disgusting sitting idly in the fridge.

Prepare everything you need for that smoothy- bananas, soy milk, dates, greens, apples, chia seeds, etc- cut and organized so you just have to pop it in the Vitamix and bam.

Fancy soy yogurt with oats and bananas? great idea! make sure everything is waiting for you to cut and organized it- I wouldn’t mix them ahead- but this is a matter of taste.

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If you feel like a proper meal- vegan omelet style- go ahead and cut your adding -I would dare suggest even to fry your adding ahead- and have them waiting for the batter in the pan. make sure you have whole wheat bread or focaccia, and avocado or tahini or hummus -some good protein to spread on.

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homemade Foccacia with rosemary

add a salad- make sure the veggies are washed and ready to cut.

Want to go wild? eat a hearty bowl of beans. add quinoa.

have a salad with quinoa. crazy. wow.

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#11: please please don’t over do it!

search and consult and find a good plan that fits your health and fitness level. many beginners burn themselves in the first month or two- it is easy to burn out your unused muscles and end up doing more damage than good. take it easy- you have a whole lifetime to enjoy the beauty of running!

#12: Don’t give up! 

It takes time to build a running habit and to get the famous high everyone is raving about. don’t worry- be persistent and take good care of yourself, eat well and rest when needed, don’t overdo it- and enjoy! running is healthy, frugal, exciting and fun!

The cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you ever stop caring what your parents thinks of you? (heavy personal issues here- beware!)

A  week ago I drove almost 2 hours (each way)  in early morning hours, to visit my mother.

My mother and I have an “interesting relationship”..

I think many women have an “interesting relationship” with their mothers. I am not a psychologist but I know this relationship is a naturally complex one, and research proves it.

read here an interesting article from “psychology today”: mother -daughter relationship

So a few minutes after arriving, I suggested we go for a walk towards the nearby park. my mother is 75 and after surgery, and I strongly believe that physical exercise is crucial for her health.

She looked at me and bluntly said: “i am not going anywhere with you until you put on makeup”. 

At first I thought she was joking. (she has a great sense of humor by the way). when she repeated it – still no smile on her face, and added a  demanding tone to her voice, I realized this was no joke.

This was my mother telling me I wasn’t pretty enough for her without the mask and camouflage of make up. 

(I  stopped wearing makeup since my 50th birthday, (read here why –Why (and how) I stopped wearing any makeup-and a frugal tip!)

Up until that moment, I felt gorgeous .I look at the mirror and smile at my reflection, I go to work feeling good about my appearance, and the whole issue -has stopped being an issue for me for-until those remarks.

I  am 50, for crying out loud -(if you are wondering- I did cry out loud later in my car on the way to work) – and I still care so much what my mother thinks of my personal choices. wow. does this ever stop??

When I was 18 I left home- at first came on weekends, then came on holidays -and since I moved up north- almost 14 years ago- I don’t make the trip that often.

For years I had difficulties enjoying family dinners- although my mother puts a lot of effort and money into the fancy side of hosting: she has expensive cookware and makes many gourmet dishes -but I have genuine difficulties enjoying that food , and for years I didn’t understand why.

Looking back, I realize that my difficulties had/have a lot to do with my unresolved issues with her, issues that led her to say something so offensive- in my opinion- to me.

That got me thinking about my relationship with my kids: am I guilty of the same behaviour? am I letting any of my children believe they are anything short of marvelous?

Should we tell our children our honest opinion about how they look -what they wear- their choice of friends- their school skills?

I mean- should we give them our honest opinion if  they never asked for it to begin with?

Is this our “obligation as parents”?

“If we don’t tell them the truth- how will they improve? ”

It’s been over a week since that visit- and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

I can’t ask my children a direct question -obviously- I can only try to reflect on my relationship with them, and hope that the fact that I honestly think they are the most wonderful human beings to walk the face of this earth– is a good sign that I probably didn’t base my relationship with them on criticism instead of reassuring them that they are wonderful and capable- and therefore can do whatever they wish- even if they sometimes fail.

I have no idea if this is the right way to go – and don’t get me wrong- I’ve had my share of arguments with my children- harsh things were said, and I regret saying 99% of them.

I wish I were a perfect parent, I wish I was that laid back mother earth always calm and relaxed waiting at any hour to feed them with their favourite food and listen to their troubles. I most definitely am not that kind of mother- and honestly I never was.

I work full-time at a very demanding job- lame excuse I know and yet- I almost never waited for them when they came back from school, most of the time I was so tired my eyes closed while they were ranting about their teachers, and I can only say to my defense that I did the best I could.

I hope so.

I hope I never offended them in a way that made them question their choices, their appearance, their partners: themselves.

If you are wondering whether I confronted  talked to my mother about the way I felt -well, no. I didn’t.

I know some may think avoiding difficult conversations such as this one is the wrong way to go, and that you cannot build a healthy relationship when one party has unsolved issues that are repressed .

I am a strong believer in this exact attitude as a general rule .

But in this case-I am hesitating.

I understand some people believe it is ok to give their opinion- harsh as it may be- without sugar-coating it in any way.

Truth is something I value highly, and it seems to be very double-standard of me to be a strong advocate of truth when it suits me- and to deny it and call it unfair and cruel criticism when I am being told something I find offensive. 

Plus- I tend to think that trying to change your parent’s behaviour at a certain age- has a less than 5% chance of succeeding, while more than 100% chance of turning into a major argument involving buried issues from both sides.

I am still thinking about it.I would love to hear your take on this.

the cooliflower.

p.s. thank pexels free photos for a good photo that captured my intention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My online grocery shopping: saving money+big time!(and my quick bean stew recipe for no fresh produce situations)

Being an avid frugal person, I used to avoid online grocery shopping, thinking the produce will not be as good as the produce I hand pick , the prices will be considerably higher, and I will not get that “vibe” you get when strolling along the supermarket aisles -that “vibe” that sends you to the kitchen raving with new ideas and recipes. 

Well- turns out I was wrong- I mean totally wrong- on all 3 counts.

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#1: turns out my online supermarket declared that they hand pick the best produce for their online customers, and that turned out to be true. on the rare occasions that I discovered a few over ripe bananas or something like that- Immediately wrote to the customer service online- and they reimbursed me that instant.

#2: The online prices are a bit higher than shopping at the cheapest supermarket, but: at the end of the day- the cost is lower. let me explain:

A.Let’s all admit– when we go to the store- specially a supermarket- we tend to buy more than we planned. the carefully made list turns after a few minutes to a mere guideline- at best. I know for a fact that there wasn’t even once that I managed  walking down the vegetable and fruit aisles without suddenly remembering “I had to get strawberries or a specific brand of these lovely mushrooms”. this does still happen to me while shopping online- but not as frequently as it did while going to the store .

B. “oops- I forgot (this or that)!“…this happened to me soooooo many times…it is embarrassing to even admit that there were times I went to the store to get something and left with a huge grocery bag- that had nothing to do with the original things I needed to buy….this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me anymore: I start making my online list when I see I need something, and keep adding and changing throughout the 3 weeks between each delivery.

C. Items on sale and wise shopping: stores have their ways to get rid of certain items by presenting them as a “great deal!!” when actually- if you were to browse through the other companies selling the same product- or even the same brand selling this product in a bigger bag -you would have realised the deal provided wasn’t such a big deal. i found out that I was much more frugal when shopping online- looking- and finding-items I actually needed to buy- and were on actual sale- than my go to the store days.

D. When I shop online I am not tired or hungry – I have the time to ask myself if really need that product- or am I deluding myself about that 3 layer meringue “I am definitely going to make”. I also have the time to actually go to the pantry and check if I have the product at home or not.

E. What about that cost of fuel?

#3: The “vibe” issue- that is true- my ipad /phone can’t transfer the  smell of fresh organic produce. but luckily I learned to use my imagination and get thinking about recipes while assembling my online shopping list- mind you the gap between each online order at our house is between 3 to 4 weeks.

No downsides?

Of course there are downsides.but the upsides in my opinion- outweigh them considerably.

I can’t avoid the fact that after 2 weeks- most of the fresh produce isn’t fresh anymore.

although I have great tips for keeping my fruit and veggies fresh, I am not superman- and cannot turn time backwards.

So- I look at this as an opportunity to be creative: I am out of tomatoes and cucumbers? no big deal- I will sprout a fresh batch of sprouts and add walnuts and quinoa instead! I am out of tofu? I will soak beans instead.

I look at  every situation of food items  shortage as an opportunity to go through my pantry and find forgotten treasures-or be innovative with what I have left. this is also a great opportunity to make sure groceries aren’t piling and expiring. 

for example- make a bean stew: (with lots of garlic!!super healthy!)

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Quick fix no fresh produce situation bean stew:

1/2 bag- about a cup before soaking- dried beans -soaked at least overnight then cook until tender (but not mushy). I usually have cooked beans waiting in my freezer . saves time.

1 can -canned tomatoes

1 garlic head -at least!peeled

2 large onions-diced

4-5 potatoes- regular or- even better– sweet potatoes.

frozen turmeric (I peel and dice  fresh tumeric and freeze it in ice cubes on the very day my groceries arrive. this ensures I have fresh tumeric for at least a month.

My frozen vegetable stock- I batch cook and freeze ahead

condiments- salt&pepper, paprika and friends- to taste.

Start by pan frying onions in some vegetable oil, add the potatoes, then the garlic, let simmer for a few minutes then add boiling water to cover, add the canned tomatoes, let simmer a few minutes, add the pre cooked beans and condiments +tumeric, and let simmer until you taste and fall over with delight.

*Last tip- add a little bit of brown sugar -I mean a tiny bit- like 1/8 of tsp -the canned tomatoes are a little acidic and the tiny amount of sugar helps balance the overall taste.

I believe I cut up to 30% on my grocery bills since shopping only online, not to mention tons of time.

Try it-maybe it will work for you as well. the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analyzing my everyday expenses: reflecting on 2018- part 2

Aspiring towards early retirement , for me, meant adjusting to a different life style- and a  different spending regime- but- and this is the important point I am emphasizing- the change needed to be permanent- not “only until I reach early retirement- and then- the sky’s the limit “.

And why is that, pray tell?

Because if there is one important thing I’ve learned , although by not being a financial wizard of any kind- is that  the power of saving money, is sometimes even greater than any stock-real estate- bank investment. 

Give me 5 seconds I’ll convince you:

#1: Learning to save , and implementing it on your everyday household spendings- is entirely up to you. as opposed to investments of any kind- where you many times need to trust the impossible combination between other people (owning the business or establishment you are investing in) and luck (which , for me; has been a very discomforting thing to trust)

2: The state agents– such as taxes of any kind or shape- that are usually a “good friend” when you try to invest your money  and make a few $, cannot interfere with your intentions to cut back on your expenses, actually- learning to cut back on your expenses has many tax deterrent benefits- for one thing- no VAT …

#3: learning to save is a skill  that can improve your whole conduct– not only your bank account. think about polishing  your decision -making process, your self confidence (as a direct result of gaining control over such an important aspect of our lives- the monetary aspect), and as a side effect- improving your math skills- and brushing the dust off some of your brain cells!

#4: well naturally- it’s cheaper – all investments cost money. you pay the investment company- the bank-the lawyer who writes the cotract etc’. besides the money invested-you almmost never avoid paying for the chance to make more money from your investment. and yes, a lot can be done to minimise these charges- compare and double check before making any investments- you worked hard to earn this money!

learning to save money, on the other hand- is free as a bird. 

#5: and this is the most important aspect , I believe- is that rare are the people that their financial situation improves once retiring early. I am aware that some people pursue other careers, go viral on youtube or get a bazillion subscribers on their blog- but many of us ordinary people will need to adjust to 60% -70% of our previous income, and without making major life style changes, you might end up not managing at all.

I automatically think of another major lifestyle change- that needs to be permanent : change of eating habits towards healthier eating.

Many people get blood test results and listen to their doctor advising  “cut back  on fats/sweets/processed food etc- for a while“.

Many other gain weight and decide immediately to lose 5 pounds pronto by restricting something from their diet for a while.

Same goes to “12 week exercise routine” ‘ and other short term ways to deal with life changing situations.

What happens afterwards?

If you understand that your whole life is going to change- whether it is your income- your health or your diet, then please please take a moment to contemplate the moment after.

Why bother ahead? because understanding the change is about to become permanent and not “until I reach a certain point”- be it early retirement or a certain weight or a particular race- is a huge factor in preparing towards that change cognitively- and emotionally.

Ok- now that I laid my humble opinion on lifelong major changes, it is time to revisit my household 2018 expenses -so as to learn a thing or two- or three- about my spending habits, for better or for worse.

*I went through my other expenses (Amazon and EBAY) in my previous post- Reflecting on my 2018 expenses-read here. 

*Last thing- the advantages of reflecting back on the past year of household expenses are obvious in terms of learning about your decision making, but also- we all tend to calculate certain obvious expenses into our monthly expenses sheet: food, gas, electricity, water, phone, cable, internet etc. when looking back at the whole year -you get to revisit other yearly expected expenses we tend to forget about: such as school fees, car shop , presents for the kids -etc. these are considerable expenses that need to be taken into consideration even on our monthly finance sheet- divided into 12, ofcourse. 

*One last thing- my partner and I divide the household expenses equally- we don’t have a joint account because he doesn’t mind spending money (YOLO and all that s***) -read here how this works for us: Why I believe in seperate accounts.  

So what you see here is not a basic household full  expense sheet: I pay the electricity +internet bill  and he pays an equal amount for water and property taxes. we split the food expenses equally. I pay for my pool entrance by myself (it’s my thing) and he pays for his cable tv ( I don’t watch any television- read here why I believe this is a great decision I made :How to get up early).

We each pay for our apparel, books, etc- and split our youngest’s education fees and aikido classes expenses between us.

You will notice a difference throughout the year- my second kid was home for a few months before going off abroad- and he is an avid carnivore so..also add to this my annual birthday +holiday presents for the kids- 1500$ total.

Let’s start:

January 2018: 830$:

internet- 50$

food-350$

health insurance- 75$

fuel- 200$

phone- 35$

pool entrance card (10 entrance )- 120$

(at this point the electricity bill was once every two months this changes soon)

February 2018:1865$

electricity : 200$ (for 2 months)

fuel- 120$

gas- 30$+20$ toll road (this stopped throughout the year)

food- 350$

surgical procedure – 1000$

internet- 50$

health- 75$(in a few months I will learn that I had to stop paying so much and began taking off some of the insurances)

phone- 20$(soon this bill will shrink considerably- wait and see)

March 2018: 963$

fuel -200$

phone- 42$

food-400$

martial arts- for my youngest- 200$

internet- 46$

health- 75$

April 2018: 4935$

pool entrance- 125$(I will be reimbursed 125$ at the end of the year so )

fuel- 200$

electricity- 125$

food- 400$

health- 75$

vaccinations for guatemala- 15$

internet- 45$

*car for my oldest child- my share- 4000$

May 2018: 767$

food- 500$

internet-45$

fuel- 125$

health-80$

phone- 22$

June 2018:1585$

fuel- 200$

the machanic alarmed: I had to change the tire- 350$

car shop- 200$

health- 85$

internet- 45$

pool entrance- 125$

food-450

electricity-130$

July 2018:557$

fuel-125$

food-600$

electricity- 75$

restaurant- my mothers birthday- I treated- 100$

IRobot parts- 60$ (will be good for another 2 years!)

gas- 35$

phone- 32$

health-85$

internet- 45$

August 2018:672$

electricity- 110$

food- 450$

internet- 60$

phone- 22$

*health- managed to let go finally of some of the insurances- 15$

coffee shop- my middle son insisted on eating something- he is not a frugal person to say the least of it! 15$

September 2018:3967$

food-500$

fuel-125$

new baking oven- the previous one lasted for 6 years and collapsed- 300$- my half

sealing the roof before winter- 500$- my half

Guatemala – 2200$(flights +ninos de guatemala)

school books- 30$

pool entrance-240$

internet- 45$

vet- 12$

health- 15$

October 2018:1370$

food-355$

school payments- 300$

internet-35$ (told you- managed to haggle with the company and lowered the price)

vipassana donation- 350$

martial arts for the youngest- 205$

fuel- 125$

November 2018:650$

food-350$

fuel-120$

internet-35$

electricity-130$

health- 15$

December 2018:946$

food-300$

electricity-100$

health insurance for guatemala- 90$

train ticket to the airport- 6$ (instead of paying a bundle for long term parking and waiting for 45 minutes for the shuttle to the parking lot!)

new entrance door- the previous one almost fell apart…- 400$ -my half

health-15$

internet- 35$

Ok- now for some conclusions:

#1: the expenses are definitely not consistent: some months ended with a total of 557 $ and then there was that month with nearly 5000$. We (OK-I ) tend to forget unexpected expenses happen all the time– this year I pitched in financing a part of my oldest kid’s car,  we had to buy a new baking oven, seal the roof and buy a new door. I also payed for a surgical procedure and had to pay for a new car tire.  when you calculate your monthly spendings- remember those unexpected always come at a bad time and put some money aside ahead. reflecting on my expenses helped me realise that throwing a number based on usual everyday expenses is accountable only for half the actual expenses…(to be real with myself I summed the total amount (11,507$) and divided it by 12 (months)- 959$. this is my bench mark for next year. not my expected 600$ -this is the number I had in mind when going over my everyday expenses in my head.

#2: haggle -haggle-haggle! I haggled with both health supplier and internet supplier and lowered my bills.

#3: money is there to serve us- not the other way round.this year I gave 4000$ so as to buy my daughter’s car. sure- she could go on riding 4 buses (from home to work to university and back home)- but I managed to help make her hectic life a bit easier-and I am very glad I could do that.

#4: buying grocery online saves money! 

#5: Driving On early hours allows you to save money on fuel! (read here how- How I reduced 25% of my electricity and gas bills ( 5 tips and another V for enVironmentalism)

Hope I encouraged you to make your own lists and reflect on 2018- in order to make 2019 even better.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.