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 planted my seedlings for the year! I planted Jimmy Nardello's Frying (sweet) pepper, Jalapeno pepper, San Marzano tomatoes, Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes (my favorites!). Depending on my mood, I may plant some other varieties. I have leftover seeds from last year and it might be worthwhile to start one or two of some fun varieties like Black From Tula tomatoes or Sheepnose Pimento peppers.
* Harvesting lots of green onions daily. This has been a fantastic success. I'll continue to replant stubs. I'm planning on growing some perennial green onions outside this year; I'll likely bring a few inside and plant in soil to continue to the harvest through the winter.
* Flowers are popping up all over the flower garden. The crocuses have naturalized throughout the front yard. It rocks my world.
* I made eggplant parmesan for lunch with my sister one day.
* I had some leftover pasta that I combined with leftover stir-fried vegetables and the last of a jar of alfredo sauce. It wasn't fine cuisine, to be sure, but it was satisfying and quick for a day that Trucker and I were only home together for an hour.
* For breakfast one morning, I made pancakes and breakfast sausage. The pancakes used yogurt (that I've been buying at fantastic prices lately) instead of buttermilk (that I am out of; I only buy it when it is at a fantastically low price). They turned out good. Not as good as buttermilk pancakes, but better than standard. The sausages were from the freezer (purchased on sale for $1/package); we saved 1/4 of them for pizza later in the week.
* I used the last of the hard boiled eggs to make egg gravy and toast, a family favorite. I served it over a bacon cheddar chive scone and bread-sliced bagel (both free from Trucker's job).
* One day after I already had the toaster oven warmed up from roasting veggies, I popped in one of the chicken half fryers to roast to use through the week. I used some on salad, some on pizza and the rest of the meat in BBQ sandwiches. The carcass will be made into stock.
* For π day, I had pie at each meal. I woke up early and made mini cherry pies for our breakfast, but didn't let Trucker start eating it until 9:26:53 AM just because I'm a dork like that. Then we made grilled pizza (pie) for lunch. I used leftover chicken with banana peppers for a BBQ chicken pizza and leftover sausage with banana peppers and black olives for a traditional pizza. I also grilled cabbage for a basic salad. Then I had dinner with my parents and brought apple galettes for dessert.
* Apple galettes are super easy and delicious. I make pie dough and roll out into small, rough circles. I spread a little caramel or maple syrup over the bottom, then swirl apple slices around the center. I fold up the edges and sprinkle with cinnamon. Sometimes I use an egg or milk wash, sometimes I sprinkle a large-grain sugar over the top. This time I didn't do either. I baked at 375 degrees in the toaster oven until they were golden.
* Found clementine's on sale: bag of 20 for $1.40. I bought two bags of them. I've been eating them constantly. Seriously. One day I had 4. I'm saving the peels to make syrup.
* Preserved another several pounds of peppers (banana and poblano).
* My sister was in town one afternoon. I thought about taking her out for lunch, but we are working at being more frugal. Instead, she came over and I made lunch. I made a nice lunch of eggplant parmesan with bread-sliced bagels (entire meal cost around $.60) and served chai tea lattes, which she loves (using clearance-priced milk and chai concentrate that was $.39/quart). If we'd gone out, I would have spent at least $15, and wouldn't have been able to afford to buy each of us two large chai tea lattes, so my total cost of around $2
at home was a bargain.
* Trucker's birthday was this week. I made him a big breakfast that morning. He wanted to catch a movie, so we got a Living Social deal for to movie tickets and two small orders of popcorn for $11. He picked out a movie he'd really wanted to see. I took him out for ice cream. The ice cream shop had a "happy hour special" for $3 shakes (usually $4.79). The worker gave us a larger size for no extra charge. Trucker's one birthday gift from me was an antique store find of a Victrola so he could listen to some old blues music (he was absolutely beaming when we got it). Not including the gift, our birthday outing cost $17. More than we'd spend on a regular date, but he had a wonderful time and it was a pretty affordable date.
* My parents took us out for dinner for Trucker's birthday. It was really sweet and we enjoyed getting to spend time with them. We took them out for $1 sundaes afterwards.
* We went out for a coffee date one day. Trucker had a free coffee on his card and got a free pastry for his birthday.
* One evening I went out to my parents' house for dinner with them, all three of my sisters and my Grandpa. It was a nice evening.
* Went for lots of walks. One evening Trucker had to go to a meeting later in the evening. I didn't want to stay home so I took a 5+ mile walk in the rain around the neighborhoods surrounding his job and he gave me a ride home afterwards.
* We needed to buy fluids for the new-to-us car. We found a sale for "buy one get the second for 50% off" on store-brand oil and transmission fluid.
* I bought thick socks to wear under my new work shoes. They were on sale for "buy one get the second for 50% off" and I found two packages that had two extra pairs of socks in each.
* We found change on the ground every time we went for a walk.
* We received two coupons in the mail for $6.99 haircuts. Trucker needed to get his hair cut, but I decided not to get mine cut because I'm still growing it out and I just got a trim last month. He got his hair cut for $5.99 instead of $13. He threw the stylist a couple extra dollars tip, so he saved money and she got a good tip. Whenever we use coupons, we like to tip extra well so we don't hurt the workers who depend on tips for their livelihood.
* We sold our truck to my uncle. I needed to get the title notarized, so I went to the bank to get it done for free (since I was an account holder) instead of paying someone.
* A couple of tiles fell out of the shower wall. I re-adhered them to the wall and regrouted the area. I am waiting for it to dry completely so I can seal the grout.
* When we had coffee out one day, we found newspaper coupon inserts lying by the recycling so we took them.
* My uncle replaced our brake pads and rotors for $20 labor.
* Used up all leftovers by carefully planning to implement them into new meals.
* Composted weird stuff.
* Dried clementine peels to use to make syrup or add to teas or baked goods.
* At a meeting I had to attend at work, I got a goodie bag of: pasta, pasta sauce and a package of cookies. I also got a few pieces of candy for answering questions (yes, it was one of those meetings). They served breakfast and snacks. Most of the offerings were donuts, muffins, candy, soda etc, but I picked the healthy items like a couple of clementines.
* I packed my lunch every day.
* We both drank free coffee from our jobs.
* Trucker brought home a goodies bag of bagels and scones. I've been crumbling leftover pastries that we can't get to to use as crumb toppings for the baked goods I'm planning on making more frequently. The bagels that aren't eaten before they get hard are cut into cubes or processed into crumbs.
* I am switching jobs. After a lot of talking, planning, and math, we decided that we were in a position where I could quit my full time job to take a very good part time job. It is for the same company that my dad has worked for 30 years, and that two of my sisters work at (one is full time, one is part time, and the other just put in an application this week). I'll be working half the number of days I was previously working, but getting more than half the pay. I got to chose my schedule for two days a week and that schedule is now set so I can plan ahead. Also, I have the option to work some Saturdays and can decide each week. If I do work those days, I get paid time and a half. If I do work every other Saturday, I would make about the same amount I made at my last job working 5 days a week. There is a regular pay rate increase that means that I'll be getting a raise every 12 weeks (and my sisters can vouch for the fact that pay increases do happen on schedule). Although it is a bit scary, we decided it was time for this change. I have not been content with my life while working full-time, and want to pursue more home business opportunities. I also want time to dedicate to frugality and our food (production, preservation and cooking).
* Now that I have more free time, I have started helping Trucker with our business start-up. I listed items online, made phone calls to get replacement pieces to be able to sell some items for more, and did some more research.
* I have exercised regularly this week. Lots of walks. The weather is fantastic so I'm happy for an excuse to get outside.
* Job transitions are scary for me, so that has been rough. However, I do think I'm making a smart choice. I have used my extra time to get a lot of projects done, both around the house and with business.
* When my sister was over for lunch, I sent her home with a box of clothes from my closet clean-out and some of the clothes that my friend had given me when her daughter cleaned out her closet (there were a couple of t-shirts for a football team two of my sisters like).
* My sister had a spare pair of steel-toed shoes that fit with the uniform requirements for my new job (She bought a new pair that was more comfortable for her). She sent them along with my parents so that I wouldn't have to drop $150 right away as I transition jobs. So sweet.
* My other sister has a job interview for a new job; this one would require the use of slip-resistant shoes. I just quit my job that required the use of slip-resistant shoes, but had just bought a new pair a few weeks ago ($2 at a thrift store). I'm going to give her these shoes if she gets the job so she can save the $40+ on a new pair.
* While Trucker was getting his hair cut, an older man came in and asked about the $5.99 haircut sale. The stylist told him that was last week and no, she didn't know if they'd ever have the sale again. He was disappointed and left. I ran out after him to offer him the $6.99 coupon that I didn't use. He was so happy. The coupon would have expired before I could have used it, and he was able to get his hair cut at a price he could afford.
How was your week?