Why bother?

look at this. 20180601_083445.jpg

this is how one of my oven trays looked like this morning.

I admit I looked at it with actual contempt, and decided to quickly go online shopping for a new tray.

Than i remembered just yesterday i took my car to the shop for its checkup and besides the checkup itself which cost me 200$, i was told to S.O.S go get new front tires, and i did , because you know safety above all- and there went another 400$.

Now I did expect the checkup cost-after all i did make the appointment at the car shop and as much as they like me- they do tend to charge me for the checkups -so I included the cost in my monthly planned expenses  (and btw in my yearly expected  expense report as well) .

But the tire changing is a totally different story.

My car is almost 3 years old, and to be honest, in the past decade, every time the 3 year guaranty expired, I was at the dealers buying a new car.

looking back I can’t say im very proud of myself, but instead of looking back in anger- I am looking forward in anticipation to see how things will look .

So you understand that 1. I had to change the tires, and 2. i wasnt expecting that.

Now you may wonder what the big deal is, well I am working really hard on my savings rate, and attempting to reach 75% savings rate per month.

This is definitely not an easy task to accomplish, but next month some 500$ a month i have been putting into a savings account will finally cease to come off my monthly expenses and I hope I will be close to reaching my destination.

the goal is to be able to retire early next year , as I have understood that spending most of my waking hours sitting under neon lights is not beneficial for my skin.

Now let’s get back to the oven tray.

I ended up not even checking how much it will cost to buy a new one, instead checking if baking soda ans some dish soap with hot water will do the job without having to sacrifice my nails .

So I poured a generous amount of baking soda and added a few cups of boiling hot water and some dish soap to the tray- and let it sit for a few hours. then I put on my cleaning gloves and started scrubbing with a scouring pad.

Can’t say it was easy , it took time, and the result is not perfect- but as bon jovi said- “we’re half way there” (just love that song -livin’ on a prayer).

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on sunday my monthly online groceries arrive, including my synthetic vinegar- and this time i will try soaking the tray with baking soda and vinegar and maybe the rest of the dirt will come off.

I must say i’m proud of myself for not giving up and not opting for the quick and easy solution -just buying a new tray.

the experience taught me a little about saving, a little about respecting the stuff I have already at my house, gave me a little arm exercise , and a chance to enjoy the green cleaning method as well.

I could have easily excused myself with saying “I work all week, no way i’m spending my free day cleaning this thing instead of spending just a few $. my free time is worth more than that”.

This is absolutely true- free time is much more important than money, but I actually saw this as a challenge , and ended up enjoying it- wondering if I could beat the scum and rescue the poor tray- and as you can see I won round 1 and everyone is waiting to see what will happen in round 2. ( maybe “everyone” is a bit of an exaggeration ).

cheers- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

joyful frugal apps and channels

here is a list of my favorite apps and u tube channels, actual life changers, and for free!

*yes i am aware that some of them have an option to upgrade for a few bucks, but these apps are great as they are.

working out:

sean vigue .

this man is not only a  professional but also hilarious.  his dog Addie is a guest star in his workouts and he makes funny references to movies and operas which makes you laugh throughout the workout.

music:

spotify. wow the sounds of the music on this app . do yourself a favor and download it.

money managing app:

money manager

quick and easy to monitor your expenses. but you do have to remember to log in your expenses since the app does not have a 6th  sense . yet.

vegan cooking: check the 2 links here:

1.minimalist baker

2.a virtual vegan

easy to follow and non expensive ingredients.  

learning a new language:

duolingo. friendly and educational.

podcast:

philosophy podcast  -philosophise this.

this is a great podcast that discusses serious philosophical questions in an interesting humoristic way, while addressing other subjects concerning well-being in the same matter.

u tube educational :

school of life

alain de  botton is a gifted writer and  philosopher , who understood that people are in desperate need of the kind of “practical” education that will help them better understand and cope with the art/task of living.  the subject dealt with are love, marriage, sex, expectations, success, envy, fear, anxiety, media, etc.

Badass frugality:

money mustache

pete adeney is mr money mustache, who retired at thirty something, and his blog explains how to save most of your income -and achieve early retirement in good shape.

these are my go to’s, they help me get my act together . enjoy – the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

frugal kitchen hacks

I seem to have (or seem to think i have) many frugal hacks in general and specifically in the kitchen- which is one of my favorite places to be. yes i just wrote that. I find it to be a place of creativity and fun, and I find that time flies by when i cook and dice and mix and use my practical skills- along with my artistic aspirations. I listen to music and sometimes dance by myself, and when everything is ready i am so pleased with myself it’s not even that bad to do the cleaning up.

But- I am a strong believer in hacks- both from the frugal time-saving point, and the frugal money- and waste reducing point.

A good recipe that is a sure winner and allows for modifications as needed is by my standarts- a kitchen hack to be shared .

Tofu, as you fellow vegans know very well, is not a cheap ingredient, so finding the best way to use tofu -and not have it’s naturally bland taste take over your food, is crucial.

#1 hack- freeze your tofu block first. I usually buy a few blocks anyway (which ever brand is on sale) -and instead of letting them hide and  in the fridge, I stick them all in the freezer, and a day before intended use i move it to the fridge. (I batch cook on Fridays so there is  massive immigration going on from freezer to fridge early thursday mornings).

this hack serves a double purpose, and I particularly like double purposes.

It prevents the tofu from going to waste on account of fridge forgetfulness, and It allows the tofu to drain most of its water as soon as it thaws. 

This means it only takes 15-20 min of pressing the tofu- to get it ready for use.

*To those who believe they can save the time and use tofu with just a little patting with paper towels- well-i got nothing to say to you.

Hack #2: the pressing of the above mentioned tofu.

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yes you saw that kettlebell doubling as weights -and , well, as weights.

no need for a special tool -this or anything like it will work just fine but be careful to make sure it doesn’t lose its balance and fall over .

tofu hack #3: make riccota cheese with it! this is a link to a great and simple recipe, it does not involve frying or baking or whatever which is great for summer time, and the other hack is the different ways you can incorporate this riccota with so many things!

first -this is the link to the great recipe from allrecipes:   tofu ricotta

Tofu hack #4: I added my own basil-wallnuts pesto to it– turned great!

*wallnut-basil  pesto: in a food processor / hand blender mix lots of stemless basil leaves , nutritional yeast, walnuts , olive oil, lemon and salt-to taste. i put it in the freezer right away- it freezes very well and so can keep for a long time.

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this is what it looked like on my lunch plate today.(at the right corner of the plate). pure indulgence!

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(Not a) tofu hack #5: before using the hand blender, and since I knew this riccota is going to make a mess , I used the blender -and the blender bowl, to grind coriander seeds i preheated on a pan . i have been meaning to grind those seeds for some time, and waited for the double use affect i adore so much.

this is it for now- the cooliflower.

Being frugal : Learning to do my own nails

Being frugal, I try my best to minimize my outsourcing.

This means: I clean the house (IRobot-love u!), do my own facials, tend to my garden, cook and bake, and do my mani-pedi, and more.

For years I  only put clear nail polish, telling myself “I  look european” but actually trying to avoid the extra work around the manicure issue- and remember I do my own gardening and house cleaning.

But then I decided to change things a bit. since I don’t wear a lot of make up, and I like the look of old-fashioned red nails, I gave it a go- and here is the result.

  • I am definitely not recommending putting on nail polish . there is research that indicates health hazards connected to putting on nail polish- please do your resurch before any thing you do in life. and look at my disclaimer

 

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I know it doesn’t look professional, and it’s not perfectly done, but I am here to tell you that I .dont.care.

 The frugal advantages trumped any strange thoughts of perfectionism. 

what are the frugal advantages?

#1: saving a huge amount of time: i don’t have a nail salon close to where i live + leaving work in the middle of the day to get pampered is not ok, this means that in order to get my nails professionally done I need to drive for 20 min to town, wait at least 10 min for my turn, do the manicure and wait for it to properly dry- at least 40 min- and drive back home. total of 90 minutes. sorry- not for moi.

*Yes I can do it after work but I shall miss the whole point of minimizing traffic by getting out of work early -as a result of getting to work early -see link to another post of mine-why i get up at 4.

#2: saving a nice amount of money:  the average price for a regular manicure is around 15$ where i live , and when adding  a pedicure it can get as high as 25$.to this you need to add the price of gas and parking -and there you go . a bottle of my non-cruelty nail polish is 3$ -I use 2 bottles -one for the clear base and upper coat and the other is the old fashioned red color you see in the picture. the bottles last for 2 months at least -so doing the math will get you to these results:

2 months*4 times a month * 15$+1$ gas and parking= 128$. if you add in diy pedicure like I do- then the math is 2*4*26=208$ and in a year- 1248 $.

and instead I spend 2*3=6$+1/2$ for nail polish remover. and for the whole year- 39 $.

1248:39 -that’s a big difference in my book.

A difference that justifies learning to do my own nails, and spending those extra 10 minutes a week to do them.

look online for instructions, it’s simple once you do it a few times, and you even get to practice ambidexterity. yes that’s a word. (for being able to use both hands in an equal manner).

*how long does it last? well from my experience- between 4-5 days, and sure- it’s not a whole week, I know, but when at home, doing house chores and gardening – I am perfectly content with only clear nail color .

I do have a habit of rubbing any residual  facial cream/body cream I put on -on my hands-that makes at least 3 times a day , but sadly this has only been a habit of mine in the last few years, which explains the wrinkles I have now. please remember to put sunscreen and moisturisers on your hands too. many people look at your hands even before they listen to what you have to say, which is definitely something that I hope will change someday, but sadly is currently the situation.

*please remember to use cruelty free products.

that’s it for now- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Metallica stepped up my game at the pool this morning

As you might remember, i believe in hard work- and in indulging yourself from time to time to keep you on the path to achieving your goals-be it saving money, eating healthy, or working out.

Since i believe being consistent is key for almost everything in life, occasional indulgence is imperative to keep us going. (being only human and all that).

So after a few years of running I decided it’s time for more core work, Pilates , yoga and some moderate weight lifting ( up to 6 kilo’s in each hand let’s not get excited here) .

A few months ago i felt i needed a change. something fresh to get me to workout with joy and excitement. (yes i did just write that).

So i decided to indulge myself and get a multiple entry ticket to the pool near my work. it costs me 10$ for 10 entries, i get there as soon as they open (05:30 am) -and swim for 45 min- 1.5 kilometers. then i shower there and get to work by 06:30.

The advantages of swimming are many: swimming is therapeutic and you can take pressure off your back and knees while working your whole body .

But- it can be monotonous. some might even say -boring.

So i searched on line and found this.

 

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syryn waterproof mp3

i am not sponsored by this company, i payed full price for my syryn and i am enjoying it so much i had to share.

Listening to powerful music underwater is definitely a different experience.

If you are a music lover and are used to listening to music while working out, then these   60$ are not a  “spend” but an  “investment” you should seriously consider making.

this device can be used both underwater and on regular ground, it comes with these great quality goggles, and changeable earplugs.

it has 8 giga of storage and i put about 10 pink floyd/deep purple/metallica/led zeppelin/pearl jam/bob dylan albums on it -and i still have a lot of extra space.

So this morning Metallica’s “black” album was my choice du jour. time just flew by and i ended up doing 2 kilometers in 60 minutes, and enjoying every minute of it.

This for me- is the essence of frugality: saving so you can spend your money on things that contribute to your well-being. and wow Metallica contributed greatly to my well-being this morning.

have a great day! the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

Why veganism and frugality are like 2 peas in a pod

*I am fully aware that not all vegans are frugal (and most definitely not all frugalls are vegan…) but i do believe there are striking similarities between the two- that suggest that if you belong to 0ne of the groups- than you should consider joining the other, too. 

#1. Vegan cooking Is based on cheap ingredients. Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, grains- all cheap and accessible.

#2.no more looking for “genuine leather” expensive stuff! Shoes, bags, belts, wallets- you can be that unique person with the melissa shoes (again- i am not sponsored by them or anybody else, just like their shoes) –melissa shoes or original non leather tote-vegan totes.

#3. All vegan food products can be composted , great for the gardeners pocket and for the environment.

#4.Vegan food is so exciting you tend to want to learn to cook and experiment -so obviously less eating out=less spending.

#5. growing vegan food takes  significantly less water and if you go organic- doesn’t contaminate the soil at all-unlike you know what….

#6.both veganism and frugality rely on planning ahead. if you don’t plan ahead as a vegan, you might find your self either hungry or eating unhealthy nutrient empty food, which leads to being weak- and perhaps giving up . frugality -in my opinion- demands careful planning in order to know where you stand and how to achieve your goals. in that sense, both approaches demand:

#7: being mindful.  both  approaches that are pursued after much thought and contemplation. in both approaches you are fully aware of your choices- and decisions -every step of the way.

#8. both are ethical approaches- that believe in minimizing harm done to the planet.

#9. both were (in the past) not very popular but are on the sure path for world success. this is more true currently about veganism but the early retirement idea has many followers , and i believe that as soon as people understand the strong connection between saving most of their salary and retiring at younger age- frugality will have the same hype as veganism does.

#10. come on- aren’t you convinced yet??i believe that once you follow an ethical path you believe in, you are bound to be more confident, relaxed, and content. 

 

the cooliflower.

 

 

go salads

 baked chickpeas- 

Click the link above.

because the picture below is the lovely result of following yet another great recipe from the ” minimalist baker” food blog i follow-and i love. great simple vegan recipes. try them out!

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If you remember my fondness for constant indulgence specially when it concerns food- then you won’t be surprised to find more tips on how to make every meal of yours a feast for your eyes and taste buds.

When you think salads- think about the endless possibilities of making colorful and tasty salads:

at least 10 kinds of greens at every store*at lest 10 kinds of vegetables*10 kinds of beans/lentils* 10 kinds of grains*10 kinds of nuts/seeds*10 kinds of sauces*10 kinds of fruit= 10 million possibilities and i’m just getting started!

the basic idea is to try, to dare, to get fresh seasonal produce and play with it. serve it on a nice plate and don’t be afraid to use hot &cold ingredients together, vegetables and fruit together, nuts and beans, whatever!

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parsley, homemade baked beans , homemade kimchi, and homemade olives with homemade flax crackers.

 

enjoy-the cooliflower.

Indulging yourself #2

I am staying on this topic since i believe it is so important.

I believe that the difference between feeling deprived /punished -and feeling that your actions were the product of a decision you made after carefully assessing the pros and cons of the issue, cannot be underestimated.

I believe it goes to the core of your self perception.

I believe each and every one of us has the right -and the obligation to make decisions about what their life is going to look like.

This constant decision-making is both a privilege and a huge responsibility -not to be taken lightly.

I also believe that being frugal is a means to an end- not a goal per se. this means that a person should decide what his/her goals are for the long-term, and then decide how they are going to achieve those goals and that way he /she can determine short-term goals.

be it reaching early retirement, buying a house, helping your children buy a house, saving for college education, living a debt free life -or any other goal you set as a long-term goal- you need to have an action plan to achieve it.

I will share my thoughts on living frugally -and saving most of your salary- in another post. now i want to talk about not forgetting that we are all humane and fallible and need a break from time to time- otherwise chances are that after a while- the feeling of deprivation will prevent us from continuing, and when quitting-there comes that notion of being a failure -then shame and the rest of those negative feelings.

#and i remind you these are my own thoughts- i am not a specialist on these subjects. disclaimer

so? I believe that careful and smart budgeting always makes room for some indulgence here and there.

I can share that for about 4 years i have been enjoying the cleaning power of an IRobot, that did cost me $$$ -but has since then served me well -and saved me precious time preparing the house for cleaning twice a week. (if you do the math- 52*2*4=416 times of use- and still going).

I am not sponsored by anyone -i bought my IRobot a long time ago and had to pay full price and every time i set it to clean the house and leave for work- i bless it’s inventors.

I know it cost quite a lot of money, but many times cleaning the house (twice a week) after a full day at the office, is too big a task on a person.

that’s all for now- the cooliflower.

Why it’s so important to keep indulging yourself

If there is one thing i have learned , it’s that if you want to succeed in a long-term life style change- be it a change of diet, adding exercise, frugality or whatever you must always remember not to fall into the “restrictive” state of mind-au contraire- you must keep indulging your self every day.

This is a crucial rule of thumb, and in my experience once you have this covered- your total mindset will change and make it easier for you not only to make changes – but to maintain them .

I have heard  many people complain about their diet plans   and the main complaint is “how much longer can i keep going on like this? ”

The response is even more loud &clear when it comes to exercising not to mention money-saving issues.

“why should i live like that? what have i done wrong to be punished and not be able to enjoy life?” ”

well you really shouldn’t be punished , and you shouldn’t even feel that you are being punished, because the distance between feeling like that and terminating whatever change you began to make is very short.

So how can you have it all?

I believe that being vegan- and being frugal -are both about making choices every step of the way-not about restrictions. 

the choice not to eat animal derived products does not mean you need to sit in the corner with the lights off and restrict yourself to tasteless lettuce and pasta sans the sauce.

#1: learn to cook-learn to enjoy mixing beans , legumes, fruit, seeds and nuts-  in your salads20180508_124014.jpg

this is a simple example of yesterday’s lunch at work. I had some parsley and tomatoes so i took one of my ziplock freezer bags full of roasted chickpeas (recipe in the next post) and heated them at work and voila- i just upgraded my salad to a lovely protein+flavour indulging plate. vegan+frugal+indulgent.

#2:make your own flavoured nice-cream.here is a link to my post- start from scratch.

the link has 25 wonderful different flavours to choose from, and since they involve mainly bananas well then -frugal as well.

#3: buy all kinds of fruit- in every color-shape and taste. you can never go wrong with fruit. they are always tasty and even if you buy exotic &expensive fruit from time to time it’s ok. because litchi or pineapple or unique berries -are a wonderful addition to your plate, and cost less than all the junk food people turn to when in need of “something good to indulge myself”.

i have more to say on this important subject- in the next post.

the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to get up early

Assuming you were impressed with my previous post and thought it’s a good idea to start getting up early than here is how I do it.

*This is not  advice to change your habits- do as you please and fits you, I am not a coach/ therapist /any kind of doctor .just in case- here is my disclaimer:.discla

#1: I go to sleep early. as early as I want/can. this can mean 20:00 or even 19:00 sometimes, if i am extra tired and every one at home is good and happy and doesn’t need me.

#2: i don’t watch tv. well except for “the good fight” for professional reasons (and because i like Iuka ). this means i  don’t spend my evenings like most  people i know watching endless episodes of total s***.

#3: i put down my electronic devices at 18:00 -18:30, put them on “silent” and get a nice shower and ready for bed.

*I know some of the ideas  on this post are of no use at all for parents of toddlers, but my youngest is a teen ager so this works for me. I do remember that even when  my kids were young,  getting them to bed at 20:00 on week days was a goal achieved many times.yes it did mean that they got up early but so did i so fine by me.

#4: I get to bed early and read a book.this calms me down and let’s me sleep quietly and easily.

I  don’t mind people having all sorts of remarks on my sleeping habits, and  I  always tell them that unless they save a life/invent something useful/ create something unique / are having quality time with their spouse or children between 20:00 and 23:00 or whenever they go to sleep, they can keep their remarks to themselves.

When i ask people who comment on my sleeping hours what they do after 20:00 the answer 99% of the time the answer  is “i watch tv/ i’m on social media”. well-i’m not, and i feel fine .

the cooliflower.