Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week...Beyond Money 09/15-9/21

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.

* I had a large planter that was empty after I removed the spent tomato plant that had been growing in there. I planted it heavily with red sails lettuce, spinach and tendergreen mustard. I'll allow it to grow outside for awhile, until the frosts come, then it'll come indoors to supply our winter salads. They germinated well and it should fill out nicely.
* Harvested a baby radish and one turnip.
* Foraged 1 lb crab apples.
* Harvested 2 1/2 c Dean's Purple Podded Pole beans, 34 hot peppers, 2 Jimmy Nardello's peppers, 2 Crystal Apple cucumbers, 1 Casper eggplant, 2 Jubilee tomatoes.

* At the grocery store, I found grape and cherry tomatoes on sale for $.50/8 oz container. These usually sell for $3 each. I bought 7. I will use some in cooking and salads this week and the rest will be halved and dehydrated for winter.
* Yuban coffee was on sale at Meijer for $2/11 oz container. That makes it the same price per ounce as buying the Aldi brand. We bought 8 containers. This should last us until the next sale or whenever we get to the salvage grocer (There, we get specialty coffee for $2.50/12 oz container).
* New job gives me 10% discount on groceries. Not huge, but it's something, and it all counts towards fuel discounts.
* One day that we both worked, I knew we'd be too tired to want to mess with cooking. I pulled a container of chili out of the freezer and we had chili and rolls for dinner. It was ready within 5 minutes and was still frugal and healthy.

Food Preservation:
* Dehydrated 4 lbs of cherry tomatoes (Clearance rack for $.50/8 oz container), 2 lbs of tomatoes from the garden, 1 small eggplant, 1 okra pod (just to fill in I the only one weird enough that I have to make the best use of every square inch of the tray space?).

We are having a mini vacation. This week I have 4 days off in between jobs, and Trucker had 5 days off in between his old store location closing and the new store location opening. We decided to make it fun and enjoy our extra time together, since this is such a rare treat. Usually we wouldn't spend as much on entertainment, but since this is a mini vacation, spending $6 on mini golf isn't expensive. I love to travel, so was kind of wanting to take the four days to get out of the state, but with us both having job transitions, we thought it more prudent to have a staycation. Staycations really are the bomb though. You don't have as much transportation costs, no lodging costs, and you can bring food from home and save a bundle. Our entertainment book expires at the end of the year, so we decided this would be a good excuse to use some of them up. All told, we're looking at a staycation that costs less than $50 all in.
* Mini golf with Trucker. BOGO coupon from the entertainment book, so it was $6 for our outing. I told him that I wasn't bad at it, I was just trying to get my money's worth. He didn't believe me.
* Went to a living historical farm and took so many photos that the camera died. Walked through the garden, orchard, barns, house, smokehouse, root cellar and pastures. Beautiful. I don't want everything about my life to be exactly like the 1880s, however, there were more than a few things that I definitely want to implement. There were several sets of piglets that were really just too cute for words. A calf had been born 2 weeks prior, and when I scratched him on the head, he leaned into my hand, just like my cat. Too cute. They had bacon curing and leather breeches drying from the rafters.
* We went out for coffee at a little cafe we like that was on the way home from the park where we walked. I had a BOGO latte coupon from the entertainment book. Total cost for two: $4. He read a book from the library. I read a book I bought at the world's longest yard sale.

* Went for a walk around a nature preserve wetland 20 minutes from home. Beautiful. Loads of frogs to watch.
* Went for a 2 mile walk to a crab apple tree on public land. I harvested 1 lb of crab apples. They were a smidge underripe, but I have an experiment I want to try with crab apples. If it goes well, I'll go back and harvest the rest of them (as well as begging everyone in the neighborhood for permission to harvest their crab apples!).
* Trucker and I went for a walk around the neighborhood to talk and scout for apple trees to forage.

* Trucker and I had a lot of errands to run and fun to be had on Monday. We planned our route to reduce our mileage/gas consumption. I knew that we would be tempted to have lunch out since we'd be gone so long. I packed a lunch for us to eat instead: sandwiches on bread from work with leftover bacon and tomatoes from the garden, apple chips, a couple of baked goods, and a bottle of juice that his boss had given him for free.
* Trucker cleaned out the furnace and replaced the filter.

Waste Reduction:
* I found a great deal on cherry tomatoes and bought a ton. I dehydrated them before they had a chance to go bad.

 * As I mentioned earlier, my new job gives me a 10% discount on all groceries/wares that are store brand or not labelled. So...All store brand hygiene/cleaning products/food, bakery items, meat (except for certain sea food items), prepared foods, cheese/dairy, produce, etc. I discovered a store brand that is the "bargain" brand, but still gets the 10% discount. This makes the price lower (very slightly) than the grocery store I used to shop at. Also, every dollar spent earns a point and those points add up to cents off per gallon of gas.
* I've started writing during my second 15 minute break. There are computers for us to use in the break room, so I've taken the opportunity to work towards my goals. I have averaged 350 words per day, which if I continue this habit, will be 1750 words a week or 91000 a year.
* Trucker's boss sent him home with a giant can of pineapple juice that they didn't need at the new store. I love pineapple juice but never buy it. This will be fantastic.
* My boss at my new job insisted that I had to try one of the pumpkin donuts that was too small to sell. Darn it.

* 2 jars of dehydrated tomatoes went into the pantry.

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From The Farm Blog Hop


  1. No you're not the only one to use up every tiny space on the dehydrator tray! Do you dehydrate eggplant and okra without blanching first? I can't wait to hear what you're doing with the crabapples. All your posts are wonderful thank you so much. Don't earn more..... be happy with less! You go girl <3

    1. I don't blanch it beforehand and I've never had a problem. It could possibly limit shelf life, but I've kept it up to a year with no issues or noticeable deterioration.

      Thank you! It means a lot to hear that! :)

  2. Great deal on the tomatoes and your staycation proves you can have a great time on little money. I live not far from a popular large city. My dad is visiting and we did some free sight seeing. We were talking about staycations and how this nearby city is a popular tourist area. If we thought of ourselves as tourists in our own communities what fun we could have. I love eating at outdoor cafe's when on vacation so, this summer, we ate ice cream and pizza (different nights, different places) and sat at sidewalk tables I mentioned to hubby that I felt like we were on vacation. A normal frugal week for me. Nothing new came out of the garden, but calla lilies my brother sent down will go in. All the blankets/quilts were hung on the line to air out and lay to the foot of the beds. We had some Birds and Blooms magazines donated at work and I grabbed a pile to read, great little magazine. I'll take my pile back and exchange for some others. 99cent a pound whole chickens at the market so I grabbed 3. My pantry is full as is my freezer so no other shopping. We are at a good time of year were it is cool in the mornings and evenings but warm in the afternoons. By opening and closing curtains and shades we have kept the house very comfortable without turning on a/c or heater. Daughter collected leaves, grasses and branches and added some silk flowers she had and made a pretty fall centerpiece. Not a bad week.

    1. I love being touristy in my city. There are a lot of cool thing here or within an hour's drive. A lot of them are free or cheap too!

      Sounds like you had a wonderful week too!


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