Thank you for visiting. This blog is focused on saving money by being sensible, (and sometimes ridiculous), cooking delicious food for yourself, so you, too, can afford to live in paradise. Where ever that paradise may be for you. I was born and raised in Hawaii- a notoriously high cost of living area (HCOL), and had been trying to be able to move back home after years working in the Mainland. We achieved this by aggressive savings, conscious spending, and being more efficient. Do we spend money on useless crap? Of course! But we try to keep it to a minimum- and have fun making food, finding free things to do, and appreciating living in paradise.
A HCOL living area does NOT have to be prohibitive to early Financial Independence. Remember: it’s not what you make, but what you keep- cut out the unnecessary and unappreciated- and you will free up your wallet for more savings.
After offering some suggestions to a member of the Choose FI Facebook group about places to go that are frugal (and worth the trip) for someone that is visiting her son that’s stationed on Oahu- living in Mililani, I thought I’d write up my little love-letter to Central Oahu and North Shore.
Here’s my suggestions for things to do and restaurants or grocery stores to go to if you are in the area.
Yes. I admit it. I abuse my stove. I don’t wipe it down after every use. Stuff drips on the heating element…and gets burned to a crisp.
But once in a while, I show it some love, and give it a good cleaning.
If you are unsatisfied with the heating capabilities of yours- give it a good cleaning first, and see if that helps.
Psychologically, taking care of your stuff makes you keep it longer, too. (I mean, who would WANT a new stove when you’ve put plenty of time and effort into the one you have?! Plus, if you are maintaining it….it wont look grungy and dirty and crap out on you so early).
Witness— the progression of cruddy to sparkling (almost) brand new.
The mini dust pan shows how much junk was scraped up.
All you need is a scraper, and some of that glass stovetop cleaner with a mildly abrasive sponge.
Witness—-its practically new again!
Don’t throw crap out just cuz its scuzzy. Clean it up and make your life sparkly (for at least 10 minutes until your husband uses the stove again and doesn’t clean up after himself).
Yesterday, we attended a celebration of life for my skating coach’s mom. She was an accomplished figure skater in her day, and a long time resident of Waimanalo.
A sweet lady who loved to sit on her lanai and watch the ocean.
The memorial service was at their family home right on the beach.
It was the most laid-back, and touching, memorial service I have ever been to.
Much like weddings, memorial services can range from over the top hugely expensive extravaganzas to simple, meaningful gatherings.
This was the later.
The gathering started with a potluck lunch. Many kids from the rink came and were there playing in the ocean. Friends and family from the Waimanalo community came by.
They have a huge house with a wide lanai facing the ocean- her favorite view. We were treated to that as we sat and had lunch together and talked story.
A musician played slack key guitar and ukulele (not at the same time), playing Hawaiian music. One of her daughters and a friend danced hula out on the lawn.
A short service was held, her urn was placed on a table facing the ocean.
Then, we all went down to the beach to scatter flowers.
The musician and some of the local Waimanalo community sang songs.
“Hawaii Aloha” while the blessing was made and the flowers cast into the ocean. Which 2 of the bunch are missing, because my toddler didn’t want to let them go. I’ve put a link to the lyrics if you want to know what the meaning is.
Waves brought the flowers back to shore.
One of the other songs was a rendition of “White Sandy Beach”, replacing “of Hawaii” with “of Waimanalo”.
This certainly wasn’t the hugely orchestrated service with specific times or a long list of speakers.
But this memorial service was just as touching.
Even in death, life does not have to cost so much.
The financial burden on her family was small- much less than the ridiculous quotes of thousands of dollars for a ceremony touted by the commercials for “funeral insurance” plans.
Of course when I go, I want all the remaining money in my estate to be blown on an extravaganza- zipline me into the gold line casket. (have to have some levity here).
But, really, in many of life’s events, there is no “mandatory” way of doing things. Just the way you chose to do them.
This weekend I spent some time with my hanai Auntie that is my parent’s neighbor. Hanai means “adopted” in Hawaiian, in a loose sense of the word, and is used basically here in Hawaii to describe anyone that is close to the family, but not actually family.
She’s been financially independent since her 30s. In Hawaii. Which we all know is a “high cost of living”. Want to learn how she did it?
(and this is in direct response to the early FI nay sayers).
Using the French words for recipes makes food sound so much more fancy. This really is a slow-cooked red wine beef stew- but it’s so dang flavorful, and it’s pretty damn easy to make.
I usually do a slow cooker version, but this dinner, I had some time to make it from scratch. Even did some homemade baguettes to match, but those take a horribly long time for proofing and rising to get made!
Easy fancy dinner, that makes excellent starters for Shepherd’s pie the next day. Or just even better leftovers.
Not only that, the ingredients only use about $10 of stuff. No. Not even that. A chuck roast on sale will set you back about $10, and you only need half….add in veggies at about $3 total, and you are rocking a great dinner that will serve 4.
This week I’m sharing my grandma’s recipe for tempura. It’s hearty, tasty, and you can cook a variety of veggies with it. This ain’t no restaurant’s dainty airy fluffy version. This is down-home cooking meant to stick to your ribs!
Enjoy it with rice or noodles. Seriously- enjoy it.
You’ll need a deep wok or frying pan, and a colander lined with paper towels. I also recommend tongs and chopsticks for the frying part.