Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Week...Beyond Money 10/6 - 10/12

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.
* Harvested a few beans, a few tomatoes, 2 cups of mixed greens (mixed with edible flowers-milkmaid nasturtium and male zucchini flowers since it's so late in the season), a tiny radish.
* The potted pepper plants I brought inside have gone nuts. I had thoroughly harvested it before bringing it in, but already harvested several full-sized jalapenos and there are more almost ready.

* Trucker brought home 3 bagels and 2 scones from his job that would otherwise have been thrown away.
* I had some leftover pie dough from making quiche last week. I used it to make two caramel apple galettes (using some goat's milk caramel I got on clearance for $1/bottle, marked down from $3.50/bottle) and two mini apple pies. I used apples from the orchard and in the pies I used some apple core sauce.
* I stopped at a grocery store that has fantastic produce prices. I got 16 lbs of pears for $.29/lb. Purple skinned garlic was $.50/head so I bought 8 for planting. While I was there, I bought several half pound packages of "ends and pieces" bacon. It is a decent quality bacon, but cheaper per pound than the store brand on sale. The half pound packages are perfect for our two-person household. It's the perfect amount for BLTs or to cook up to use throughout the week on salads, sandwiches, soups and omelets.

Food Preservation:
* I dehydrated 1.5 loads of apples one day. Another day I dehydrated tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, and apples (3 dehydrator loads total).
* I froze some apple core sauce.

* Went out with some friends for pizza. We all split a large pizza so it only cost a few dollars apiece instead of ordering a meal each.
* Trucker and I had a rare day off together so we took a day trip. We hopped on the highway and stopped whenever we saw something interesting. Lunch at a chinese buffet with a BOGO coupon=$8 lunch. We stopped at a pottery store (buying nothing but I was drooling over the mixing bowls) and several antique stores. Trucker and I both have certain things we look for at antique stores. Many antique items are still useful and will last a lifetime. We like to get tools and kitchen utensils from antique stores. I got a mixing bowl. It's a smaller mixing bowl and has a chip on the rim and some hairline cracks that don't affect it's ability to hold water (yet). I bought it because it was beautiful and cost $.99 because of the blemishes. It will work just fine for me for now and was much cheaper than the other bowls I was oogling.

* I got out into the garden a few days to just be. It's chilly now, so there isn't as much to do in the garden, but I still like looking at it.

* I avoided shopping as much as possible.
* We carpooled to work one day when our hours lined up to make it practical. Each time we do so, we save around $3 in gas since Trucker would otherwise be driving the gas guzzler truck.
* I drive the car to work and Trucker drives the truck (obviously...). His job is 5 miles from home and mine is 15 miles. Since mine is farther away, I take the car since it gets 30+ mpg versus the truck's 10-12.

Waste Reduction:
* When we made bacon, I refilled my bacon fat jar. Bacon fat is the most flavorful, delicious cooking fat I have ever used, and it's free (since it would otherwise be thrown away).
* Composted as much as possible.
* Used apple cores to make apple core sauce.

* I packed meals for work and drank free coffee in the break room.
* I just received my paperwork to sign up for benefits at the new job. There is a generous employer match for the 401k and I plan to put away as much as they will match. Free money.
* Trucker got free food from his job. When items are about to expire, he is allowed to take them home. We get sandwiches, scones, cookies, bagels and desserts this way. Rarely we'll get yogurt, juice or other items. His boss is fine with this and he shares with his coworkers.
* My new job involves a fair amount of heavy lifting-not so much that I'm in constant pain, but enough that I have noticed a lot more toning in my arms and stomach. Can't beat an active job to get you fit without the gym!
* Steve's boss allows me to drink free coffee when I stop in (it would be tossed out anyway). A couple of evenings I went in for writing or reading and drank a free cup of coffee. I bring my travel mug so I don't cost him the cup/sleeve/lid.

* Put a few jars of dehydrated food away for winter.

What did you do this week?

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The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

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