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 1/4 cup of greens from the indoor garden twice.
* I went to the salvage grocery store. I spent $90, but stocked up on a lot for the next few months. I usually find that I save about 60% over what I would usually pay at a regular store. Our toilet paper was back in stock, so I bought ten packs ($.99/4 pk; it's been out of stock the last two times I've gone). I found cartons of soup for $.10-.39 (these are for Trucker when I'm at work; I make better soup, but I like to have these around for times when we get too busy to cook; these are $6 apiece at the store where I work). They had my chai concentrate for $.39/box (I bought 4). I found lots of pasta for $.59-.69/lb. I found large cans of Chock Full o Nuts coffee for $3.99 and a 3 lb bag of whole bean Eight O'Clock coffee for $6.99. I found a fancy brand of chocolate hazelnut spread for $1.49. At the grocery store it cost $12.99! While I would never pay that much, I love when I am able to get food that I'd usually never be able to afford. Other random items that were a better deal than at the grocery stores here. I combined this trip with visiting my mother who lives ten minutes away (it's over an hour drive to the store) to save gas.
* I had some leftover butternut squash and made soup. It was beautiful.
* I pulled a pork butt out of the freezer. I cooked it in the slow cooker and reserved the cooking water as a broth for soup making. We used the meat for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (one of my favorite meals) with caramelized onions (I caramelized 3 large onions at once), pork tacos, and pizza. I made stock from the bones.
* Other than the salvage grocery store, I didn't buy any groceries. Since I work at a grocery store, it's easy to get in the habit of grabbing a couple things one day, then a couple things another day. Usually these things are a bit more costly than I'd usually spring for, but it's an easy mistake to make because "It's just $5 extra". However, just spending $5 more than I need to three times a week is $780 a year.
* We had an incredible date. We woke up early and I packed a breakfast: egg sandwiches, granola bars, mason jars of orange juice, and coffee. We drove to the airport and sat and watched planes take off/land while the sun rose. Absolutely perfect. This is a great date to do in winter because you can keep the car running for warmth, and the shorter days mean that you don't have to wake up crazy early.
* We had a coffee date ($3.18 total since we brought out refill mugs) and had a free bagel on our rewards card.
* I went to my mother's house one day that I was off work. She said if I wanted to stop and get subway for lunch, she'd split the cost with me. However, I try not to eat fast food ever, and even if we got a footlong for $6, it was still $3 for a meal I wasn't crazy about. Instead, I suggested we make a basic lunch. I had already hit the salvage grocery, so I brought in several types of soup and let her pick the one she liked best. Then we made a couple grilled cheese sandwiches. The cost was about $.40 each, and I was as satisfied with the meal as I would have with the fast food sandwiches. This also meant than instead of driving 15 minutes out of my way and waiting 5 minutes for the sandwich, I got an extra 20 minutes talking with her.
* We have used the library a lot lately. A few movies and lots of books. I've been checking out cookbooks instead of buying new-to-me ones.
* I got outside for little bits of time to get some fresh air and sunlight. It has been fairly chilly, so I didn't stay out long, but it was lovely.
* Trucker hung up one of the birdhouses we painted to match the house. The other needs another coat of paint, so we have to wait on that one. Hopefully having some houses up will keep them from breaking into our shake siding this year (like they did the last 2 winters). He put this one within view of the living room window for our and Ray-cat's viewing pleasure.
* Since we moved to this city (5 years ago) we haven't been able to find anyone local we can trust to work on our car. My mother's cousin has a shop about an hour away and whenever we need work done, as long as the car can be driven, we take it to him. He charges us the family rate and has really taken care of all of us really well. This week the starter in our car went out. We couldn't get it to start just one more time so we could take it to him. He came out to replace it for us. It only took him a half hour, so he was only going to charge us $20, but we threw him $40 as a thank you.
* I have been wanting a stand mixer for a long time, but would never break down and spend the big bucks to get one. Trucker found one for sale on a Facebook yard sale group. He got it for $25 with lots of goodies. I'm very excited to try it out! It was such a thoughtful gift and so practical. I love making souffle, but rarely do since my wrists would ache for days after making it (yes, I would beat the whites by hand!). Now I'll get to make it much more often!
* At an antique store I found a lovely pottery plate for $5; I bought it. It goes really well with my kitchen, and I'm trying to slowly build up a nice, beautiful kitchen filled with antiques and high-quality pieces, rather than cheap plastic stuff. Usually, I don't find any pieces I like for less than $20 (so I only had one piece, a large yellow bowl that I got for $1 because it had a chip out of the lip). I found a stack of Fiesta plates in my pattern for a $15, however upon closer inspection I realized that only the top plate was Fiesta and the rest were nameless pieces of the same color, but not the exact size. It would have been an incredible price for 8 Fiesta plates, but for 1, hardly. I'm glad I gave a closer look before I walked out with a bad deal. Reminder to check everything because not all dealers are ethical.
pieces to use as stuffing mix/croutons/bread crumbs/savory bread pudding. I also cut up the lone heel from a loaf of bread.
* I used lots of veggie scraps along with pork bones to make stock.
* Drank free coffee in the break room instead of bringing my own. I didn't eat lunches from home most days because freebies were put out daily in the break room. Since I eat a big breakfast, a small bit of nourishment gets me through the workday.
* Worked on a book during my lunch breaks each day.
* Trucker brought home a bag of goodies from his job.
* Someone left a Sunday newspaper in the break room. After I asked the attendant to make sure it didn't belong to anyone, I took out the coupon inserts.
* On one of our days off together we went out to do some research for this new business idea. I absolutely love working together towards a goal we're both excited about! We're still doing a lot of reading and online research. Trucker started designing a website.
* During one of our days off, we did a coffee date and worked on our books.
* We went for a couple of walks around the neighborhood together.
* I went running one day when it was chilly but not snowy.
* We've been concentrating on drinking extra water each day. I've also gotten away from drinking high-calorie drinks, so I've pretty much been sticking to black coffee (no sugar), water and mint tea.
* We've been paying extra attention to getting lots of veggies into our diet. We have a lot of dehydrated produce, so we're making sure to rehydrate some to throw in almost every meal.
* I helped my mom babysit a couple of her friend's children. She gave me some vitamin C supplements that they bought but didn't like (they didn't realize they were chewable; I don't have a preference).
What did you do this week?