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.
* The small containers of greens are doing great! They germinated at a higher rate than I expected. They actually lifted the soil out of the containers! The basil is still a bit sparse, but I have more seeds if I need to plant more. All of the others are wild and have completely filled out the containers so I'll need to thin them out.
* I bought some green onions from the store for $.50/bunch and as I use them I've been putting the white parts in water in a sunny windowsill. They are regrowing nicely. I'll only get a few batches before they get a little wimpy, but still, it's free and saves a buck or so. I keep them in a little jar that I use to water the other containers in that room, leaving just a little bit of water in the bottom for the roots. In this way, it takes me no extra time to rinse and rewater the green onions since I have to water the lettuce anyway.
* I found a pound of beef marked down to $3.25. While not the best price I've ever seen, I've been wanting to make beef stew for a few weeks, and this is a fair price. This bit of meat will stretch into several meals, along with loads of veggies from the frig and pantry (dehydrated).
* My employee discount saves us a fair amount of money on our groceries, if I shop smart. Store brand toilet paper is $1 on sale, or $.90 after my discount compared to the usual price of $1.25 I used to pay at my old grocery store. Milk is the same price after my discount as the regular price elsewhere, but buying it at work saves me gas money. I buy milk, eggs, and any incidentals at work, and once a month take a big trip to a grocery store with lower prices and stock up on the items that aren't as cheap at my job. I get the best of both worlds.
* After Thanksgiving, my mum sent me home with tons of leftovers: ham, turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, brownies, rolls, salad, raw veggies. We left most of the bread we brought with my parents and grandfather. We have been eating on leftovers since then. Turkey fried rice with some of the leftover vegetables. Turkey tacos (with some of the leftover salad and some of the tomatoes I harvested green from the garden that have now ripened). Black-eyed pea soup with the leftover ham and leftover vegetables, in homemade pork stock (so the only cost was a can of black-eyed peas I got at the salvage grocer for $.30). The turkey and rolls made sandwiches for Trucker's lunches.
* Put up 3 dehydrators worth of apple slices.
* The water kefir is doing wonderfully. It's reproducing like mad.
* Went to the family Thanksgiving dinner. We were a little late since I had to work, but we got to see everyone.
* My mum gave me the sweetest gift. My grandma died last year. All of the daughters and granddaughters split up some of her jewelry and clothes. I was the last to go through things before they went to the thrift store. In one of the bags, I found her mink-trimmed wool coat. It had a hole in the back, so no one else had wanted it. Mum had it cut and rehemmed higher, so instead of being ankle length, it comes to mid thigh. It fits me perfectly and is in a style I love (huge buttons!). I've seen photos of her wearing this coat 50 years ago, and she looked so elegant. I'll think of her every time I wear it. It was perfect timing also, because I have been looking for a nice winter coat to wear when we go to the symphony and other nice dates.
* Went for a couple short walks with Trucker.
* Went for a late night 3 mile walk out of the neighborhood into the surrounding country-like areas.
* Went to our favorite thrift store for their monthly half off day. I bought two crocks for fermenting/pickling at...get this...$2 and $1.50. They are a pretty blue that goes well in my kitchen (I try to limit the colors to grey and blue). I also found some pretty cloth napkins for $.15-.20 apiece (marked down 50-75%). I bought 8. Two have a really pretty flower embroidered on them. These are much nicer and cheaper than anything I could find at a dollar store. I also found a pair of boy's winter boots that fit me perfectly. They were in like new condition. Regular price $18, half off, so $9. The most similar pair on their website is going for $69. I needed a new pair for this year and have been shopping casually for a few months.
* When we moved in to this house, a friend gave us some beautiful tall and short drinking glasses. When the first one broke I was frustrated. However, a couple weeks later I found one at a thrift store for $.50. Now, every time I am at a thrift store, I quickly browse the glasses. I've found both tall and short ones, and I never pay more than $.60.
* I used my fuel perks for my grocery store card to fill up my gas tank. I saved $.60/gallon, or $7 to fill up the tank. Not too shabby.
* Used a coupon from the back of grocery receipt to get an oil change and 21 point inspection for $17. Regular price around here is $30.
* More apple core vinegar in the makings.
* Planned to use up all leftovers. No food waste!
* Still composting everything I can. With a streak of warmer weather, the compost is continuing to cook down. Hoping to have another batch ready to dump on the beds in spring.
* I worked a tiny bit of overtime one day. This money will go towards visiting sick family out of town. I want to have enough saved for gas and spending while we go, with only the hotel coming out of the general fund.
* We packed lunches every day, usually bringing leftovers.
* Got info on signing up for my 401k. There's a generous match, so I'm contributing enough to get the full match. Especially since it is pretax, it won't be a huge cut to my paycheck, but will earn a huge return on investment. When there's a dollar for dollar match, your money instantly doubles, so you are shielded from a lot of risk. The market would have to do really, really poorly before you'd lose the money you put in.
* Since I worked on the holiday, the boss gave me a voucher for $7 off my next purchase. I'll combine this with sales and coupons to get a decent amount of free food. :)
* Put several more jars of dehydrated food into the stores.
* Learning seed saving. Have only saved a few types of seeds, but it is definitely a skill I wanted to learn. Next year I'll do more.
* Worked on my book every day during lunch break.
What did you do this week?