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.
First real snow of the year this week. Got a nice workout clearing the driveway.
* Harvested a half cup of greens from the indoor garden. The green onions are puttering out.
* Fried up a pound of spicy sausage. Used 1/3 of it for tacos. I rehydrated about a half cup or so of Hungarian Wax peppers, Jalapenos and tomatoes. A small onion had sprouted in the pantry, so I cut the green sprouts to top the tacos and sauteed the bulb in the sausage fat. I also heated a bit of leftover rice and mixed it with the sausage and vegetables. We topped our tacos with sour cream, tomatoes from the garden (that had just ripened on the counter...two left!), green onion (from the sprouted onion), greens from the indoor garden and salsa (gift from my mum). Delicious. The next day, I used 1/3 lb of sausage to make sausage gravy (using a bit of buttermilk for added flavor) and biscuits (I just made those canned things I got for $.25/can. I judge myself, but they were cheap and it made dinner happen quick on a day I wasn't feeling like cooking).
* I used the remaining 1/3 lb later in the week for making homemade hot pockets (using the same method as my homemade pop tarts). I scrambled an egg, tossed in some Hungarian Wax peppers and the sausage. I spread a very thin layer of mayo on one half of the pie pastry, filled with the sausage/pepper/egg mixture, folded over the top half, crimped the edges with a fork and baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Wonderful!
* I stopped at a bargain grocery store and stocked up on a lot of things that I can't get affordably elsewhere: flour, sugar, baking cocoa, Trucker's cereal.
* Stuffed peppers one night. I had some bargain rack poblanos and bell peppers. I made a mix of: the last of a jar of salsa, the last of a container of buffalo sour cream dip (on clearance cheaper than sour cream), some leftover rice, leftover beans and rehydrated tomatoes. I stuffed the peppers, then covered them with enchilada sauce (purchased at the salvage grocer) and added a little shredded cheese. Perfect. We had enough leftovers to use later this coming week.
* I got off work earlier than normal one day on a day Trucker had to work late. I went to his job for free coffee and wifi. It was really slow so I got to talk with him and his coworkers a little. I'm such a geek that this is my idea of fun.
* Free coffee date at a cafe nearby. During the holiday season, they had an offer: buy $25 in gift certificates, get a free $5 gift certificate. Since we go there often, I bought $25 worth for future dates. We bring travel mugs (and get a discount) for our regular coffee (instead of more expensive drinks and with free refills). Our coffee dates cost $3.18, so we got one free date and another date for a little over $1.
* Met with a good friend over coffee. Frugal and great conversation.
* We went out with friends one evening to a pizza place. I planned ahead and brought a packed dinner. That way we just had a couple drinks instead of a couple drinks and dinner (plus tip). We saved a good $20 by doing that.
* We came to a settlement from our car accident this past summer. We plan to put the money into savings to replace our half-century-old furnace.
* I used my fuel perks from my grocery store card to fill up the tank. I got $.40/per gallon, so it only cost $1.36/gallon. I saved $5.
* Still putting away tip money towards savings. We also save all of our change for an annual trip at the end of the summer. It adds up quickly.
* When I rehydrated veggies, I saved the extra liquid in my Trash Chili containers. I also rinsed out jars of salsa, dipping oil and enchilada sauce to add to the container. Lots of "rinse water" makes for a thin chili, but I toss in loads of dehydrated tomatoes and peppers and it thickens perfectly with lots of extra flavor (instead of using plain water to rehydrate the veggies, plus more nutrition).
* I used up the last of a bottle of lotion and the last of a bottle of body spray. In the past, I had a bad habit about buying both frequently and amassing a collection of 1/2 full bottles. I decided I can't buy any more of either until I use all of the stuff I have.
* I used the last of a bottle of hand soap for a bubble bath.
* Sometimes at work, certain departments will have extras or something that is going out of date and will put it in the break room for everyone to enjoy. Twice this week I was able to get my lunch this way instead of eating my packed lunch (which I saved for the next day). Once it was a garlic white pizza (2 small slices). The other day it was stuffed chicken breasts, asparagus, mushrooms, and hot chocolate. I take my lunch really late in the day, and they are usually throwing away whatever is left by the end of my lunch break, so I'm not taking anything that anyone else would eat.
* Put three quarts of dehydrated foods into the pantry (I allow foods to sit on the counter for a few days after dehydrating to see if any condensation occurs in the jar. If it does, I can dry it further; if not it goes up into the stores).
* Still focusing my writing on the one particular project. This is working better for me than just choosing each day what to write, since then I would be a bit more flaky about it.
* I've started doing jumping jacks regularly throughout my day to burn calories and hopefully keep my metabolism higher for more of the day.
* Still doing well on my water and water kefir drinking. I'm not having constant low-grade headaches this week.
* My friend's daughter was getting rid of some clothing. My friend offered them to me to look through. I got a dress, a few shirts, a couple sweaters, a pair of skinny jeans and a scarf. I was so thankful both for the clothes and her thoughtfulness. She also found me this incredible book of poetry at a thrift store. It's from 1904! I love gifts like this!
What did you do this week?