Why I want to retire early-and my plan to achieve it

I know many people like their jobs (so I’ve heard),  and that  many feel they cannot afford to retire , and some –like me-were brought up to believe that the only way to justify your existence on this planet is by being a productive human being=going to work every day rain or sun and “being like everybody else”.

I used to like my job too. But now I am tired . I have seen everything there is to see in my field, and I’ve climbed up the ladder, I’ve dealt with the most difficult situations, I’m now a boss of people, and I’m tired.

I drive to work every day in the early hours (check my post on why I get up at 4 am) , put my beloved pink floyd-led zeppelin-deep purple and hope the day at the office goes fast so I can go back home.

My days are -from my point of view- a waste of time and energy,  which both I believe I can put to better use.

So I sat down and asked myself some difficult questions:

*Is working for 10 /more years a valid option?

*can I manage cutting down a big slice of my expenses?

*is there another way to save real money quickly?

I knew the answer to the first question, I wasn’t really sure about the other 2.

So I started researching online and reading books on the subject of early retirement, and the more I read the more I understood there was no magic involved , as always, only hard work will get me to where I want to be.

for some good reading online  I recommend mr money mustache, and early retirement extreme.

 I understood that if I wish to retire early and give my children the head start I want to give them, then I need to cut down my expenses drastically and invest the money in a “non risky but profitable enough to see some results way”.

But there was a caveat-a  basic rule of thumb I’ve found : with all due respect to my savings ratio –if I feel deprived in any way then this is not only not worth the whole deal but it will not hold on for a long time anyway so what’s the point?

I believe the main thing to remember is that wishing to retire early demands you not only get used to living on a moderate budget for a while– sort of clenching teeth for a year or two before you arrive at the gates of financial paradise. this way of thinking will leave you hanging dry 2-3 years after you’ve retired early and might even result in you having to go back to work after having retired.  I’m thinking this can take a  quite a tole on you both mentally (assuming you do not wish to work again) and monetarily speaking (the tax imposed on you will be significantly higher).

So the key here in my opinion -just like many other important and positive life changes you make -is to embrace the change acknowledging that this is a permanent change.

Just like a dietary change, fitness decisions, and other behavioural changes concerning you or your loved ones, a successful change is a gradual, mindful and consistent one.

please remember I am speaking here from my own experience only- I am not a specialist on physical/ mental/monetary issues .please look at my disclaimer post.

What I can share with you is my personal experience . I have now reached a level where I save most of my salary , and feel very happy –and even indulgent doing so.

more details next time- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 reasons why being an introvert is actually beneficial -and a useful tip

First of all-what is an introvert?

my definition: a person who prefers spending time at home, quietly doing what he/she likes to do-than going out and meeting people.

I can tell you i never get bored being by myself, but i get bored easily around people, I avoid parties,  eating out, going to office meetings, sport groups, or any kind group for that matter.

I read this article :23 signs you are an intovert  

and checked all 23 signs.

There were times I thought something was wrong with me- how come everybody loves going out and partying and I will -under peerpressure- go out, but feel exhausted and drained afterwards?

Now I understand there are different kinds of people and different kinds of personalities, and while some people enjoy chit-chatting with new people , having lunch with everyone and water-cooler conversations at the office-(extroverts)-some would much rather have their lunch alone, and while at my job I give speeches and lectures all the time- and never find it intimidating, the thought of making  small talk with anyone is a task i need to prepare fo.

So why is being an introvert such a good thing?

#1: you always get enough sleep– you don’t have to run around from place to place in fear of missing something (infamous FOMO) . you know that the best place for you is always being at home. preferably- alone.

#2: when you get enough sleep you  are more energized, your skin looks better, you can exercise easily and your overall performance- including at work- is better.

#3: It’s so much easier for you to maintain your frugal manner. when you prefer eating at home, entertaining friends at your place instead of going out, exercising alone instead of in a team , reading or listening to music at home instead of wandering around the mall or going to the movies-well then-your costs are much cheaper .

#4: you have only a few friends-but these are true and loyal friends that go way back with you. I have 3 friends. 2 of them have been my good friends for over 23 years and the third one for over a decade.

#5:You have more time to explore and find out what you really want -you- not anyone else around you or society or the internet . you. you can learn how to cook, read books, watch documentaries, learn new skills, find new exercises online -anything.

Ok but how do you manage to not insult people who invite you to their events?

Since I have always worked in an office, I found over the years that people don’t get offended if you avoid going to all events equally:  meaning the important thing is to be very consistent and not attend any event concerning anyone at the office- including boss related events.

Now the key is not to make any exceptions to the rule. never ever. you cannot attend your boss’s daughter’s wedding and then a few weeks later apologise to someone else (who is less able to affect your career) by saying that you don’t attend events as a principle. this is insulting and unfair and will do you much more damage socially.

There are other solutions- such as arriving at the event and disappearing after a short while- no good in my opinion since the hassle of getting dressed up and doing your makeup and driving to the event -and mainly the mental preparation that is needed for me to go out- is too big a task .

there is always the other option- like most people- go to some events- preferably of people they like and people they need in order to promote their own career- and make up excuses for all the others.

I believe strongly in the old and true saying :”you can fool some of the people some of the time-but not all people all the time”.

If you think people at your workplace don’t notice your lame excuses and don’t get offended by both your not attending their event and your belief that they can take your lame excuse than you are wrong.

Here is where my trick is so tricky- not only you don’t have to go to any event- assuming that you desperately don’t like events like me, but people dont get offended because they know that you are an equal non-arriver to everyone’s events. at some point they stop inviting you altogether which is great because it saves you the explaining part.

try it- the cooliflower.

Why I believe in seperate accounts

Having enough Money =having  freedom.

Having enough Money =having power.

Having enough Money means having the freedom  to decide what your life is going to look like and the power to make a change when you no longer enjoy the way you are leading your life.

This is true not only for changing careers , but also for staying with a partner that not only do you no longer have anything in common with , but you feel that staying with is causing you actual harm-be it emotional or physical.

*Please remember i am not an expert on these subject and consult someone who is- before doing anything rash. this is my disclaimer.

I believe anyone-man or woman – should have the option to decide whether  his or her  life is good for them and changing that requires money.

Not a lot of money, but access to money nonetheless.

This is only possible if you have separate accounts -no hard feelings dear spouse of every one of you- even once married or living with a partner.

now this is how we do it in our household:and i know it is much easier when you and your partner earn or bring home the same amount of money.I shall try to suggest a variation for when this is not the situation.

How does this work?

when you and your partner bring home more or less the same amount of money-you divide the house keeping bills so that each of you pay -in total- the same amount of money. for example if you pay for electricity -water-and wifi a sum of 400$ a month than your partner should pay the same amount for other bills concerning both of you- such as house bills -groceries etc.

this division method does not include paying for things that are a matter of personal choice – such as toiletries, apparel, sport related stuff, education related payments and restaurants or ordering in( if you do this kind of  thing).

all of the latter mentioned expenses are a matter of “to each his own”.

I am a frugal person whereas my partner is not. this means he buys all kinds of stuff – mainly jeans (he has about 30 pairs of Levi’s) and electronic gadgets . If our accounts were joint there would be endless fighting about this- and none now. he can do whatever he pleases with his money and so can i. this means i save around 70-75% of my income and I have a feeling that he- on the other hand  doesn’t even know how much money he has.

Some couples are on the same page monetary speaking. that’s great, i truly envy them- but we are not, and this doesn’t make me love and respect my partner any less. I wish he was more mindful to money, I wish he were frugal like me, vegan like me and an environmentalist like me.

But he isn’t , so no use to try to “convert” him.

I am a big believer in personal choice – even when the choices made are not similar to mine.

what about the 2 other options to consider- If you bring home more money -significantly- than your partner/ he brings more than you?

I believe the answer is complicated and depends on many variables-such as- is it a short-term situation- such as -you just had a baby and decided to take a long maternity leave , or one of you is between jobs or studying towards a degree or other educational step  that will increase his/her earning ability? or maybe this is going to be a permanent difference- you or your partner have a specific skill that allows you/him to earn a significant amount of money.

If this is a short-term situation I  believe this is something you and your partner should discuss -and try to reach an understanding. maybe the partner that earns more will cover the other sides house related bills for that short period of time, or any other arrangement you reach in mutual consent.

But what if this difference in salaries is not going to change in the foreseeable future?

I think that this-again- is a matter of a mutual decision made by the two of you- but please bear in mind that if you are the side that earns less, than you need to find a source of income that at least allows you to have minimal financial independence, and try to adapt  a state of mind that doesn’t take your partner’s larger income for granted.

Relying on your partner to supply all your needs might be real treat for the short-term, but hazardous for the long-term.

hazardous for your wellbeing-as an independent person it is imperative that you don’t find yourself asking your partner for permission to take out money -and in the worst case situation you need to be in a constant place of freedom to decide whether or not you wish to stay with this partner.

this could also be hazardous for your relationship- differences in views about money and consumerism may lead to unnecessary quarrels when one side has the power over money.

I believe a key component in a good partnership is both sides understanding that it is not duty / lack of financial strength that keeps you together. you are choosing each other every morning all over again. every day. and although you have the power and the ability to leave- you decide not to– because you love and respect your partner.

the cooliflower.

I

 

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.