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 went to Whole Foods to buy dried beans from the bulk foods section. I found a variety of beans that I'd wanted to grow, and they were much cheaper there than through seed catalogs. The beans were $4-6/lb compared to $11-40/lb. Sure, they aren't germination tested, but I figure at those prices, even if they have half the germination rate, I'm ahead. I love growing scarlet runner beans, but they are $40/lb when purchased through a catalog (they come in tiny packages of just a few beans, so you have to buy multiple packets to have enough for a reasonable harvest), but were $6/lb at Whole Foods. If this works, I'll likely never buy bean seeds through a catalog again.
* The flowers are popping up all over. It's so beautiful! And the grape hyacinths, my favorite flower, are naturalizing throughout the yard. Every year I find them farther and farther from the flower beds. I fantasize about one day having an entire yard of them. Hehe.
* I stopped at the "natural foods store" on Wednesday for their double-ad day. The sales ads overlap on Wednesdays. I watch the ads weekly and only go on a Wednesday when both weeks have a fantastic sale. This time I got: a head of red-leaf romaine for $.99, 5 6-oz containers of blackberries for $1 each, and 4 avocados priced at $.50 each.
* We made taco dip to use up some leftovers: rice from stir-fry night, the last of the venison leftover from taco night, the last of a bag of cheese, the last of the sour cream, the last of a package of cream cheese, olives from the pantry, refried beans from the pantry, tomatoes ($.90/lb at Meijer sale), lettuce, salsa ($.90/jar, third of jar used), one avocado. It was fantastic.
* I shopped at Meijer, but kept my spending in check. I bought a couple gifts for Trucker's family, but otherwise spent $25 on our groceries. I got a lot of chocolate because it was $1.20 (marked down from $4-5). I also got some manager's special produce: 3 lbs of green beans for $1.50, 3 lbs summer squash for $1.50, 20 oranges for $2, lemons and limes for $.10 each (I needed some lemons for making dandelion wine...).
* When we grilled out one day, I made bacon-wrapped, stuffed hot dogs again. They are so yummy. I also grilled summer squash and potatoes. I steamed some green beans as a side dish. For dessert, I made apple-pear crisp (to use the last pear that needed to be used up and apples from storage) and a blackberry crisp (using up the last of the blackberries I scored earlier in the week). I used baked goods from Trucker's job as the crumb topping.
* I made apple/pear sauce with some pears that were getting soft and apples from storage.
* We had my parents, grandpa and one of my sisters over for a cookout one day. It rained towards the end (we were sitting inside), but we had a blast.
* One day we walked 3.5 miles round trip to get ice cream cones. It was a fun, cheap date (less than $3) and we enjoyed talking together.
* We went for a couple of coffee dates together. We brought our travel mugs, as usual.
* I ran two days this week and we went for a few walks together on nice days.
* Trucker talked with someone from a rival internet company and was able to get the roughly the same internet speed we already have, but for a third the price! That will save us $52 each month. It would have cost us $5 a month to rent a router, but Trucker ordered one on Amazon. It cost $14.95 and $5 shipping, so after 4 months, it will have paid for itself.
* I earned several dollars doing quick surveys on Swagbucks.
* I saved scraps in the freezer to use for stock.
* I rinsed out a bottle of soap to use as bubble bath.
* Composted all the weird stuff we could.
* I started a jar of vinegar from the apple and pear scraps leftover from making applesauce.
* I'm still enjoying my new job and the exercise I get from it. My coworkers are pretty fun too. I'm pretty happy with my decision to switch jobs.
* I worked over 1.25 hours for a bit of overtime pay. It's mandatory to work overtime if it's scheduled. I'm always happy when we have overtime. Days that I work, I'm gone for 11.5 hours (working time, driving time and extra time before the shift just in case), so staying an extra hour doesn't make that much difference time wise. If I worked every day, I'd likely be frustrated with staying an extra hour, but when it's 2-3 days a week, I don't mind it at all. This is the only part-time job I've ever had where I get paid overtime once I hit 8 hours in a day, not when I hit 40 hours for the week.. Therefore, the last hour of the day, I'm making time and a half.
* I voluntarily came in on Saturday to work. Since I'm part time, it is not mandatory like it is for full-timers. However, I get paid overtime pay the entire day, so it's definitely worthwhile.
* I packed leftovers for my lunch each day.
* I started an online store and got some items listed. I'm starting slow and small, but hope to grow it to help bring in some income.
* I went for my first barefoot run of the year. In the rain. It was perfect. I ran two days this week. I also went for a few walks.
* I packed my lunch instead of eating junk food.
* We sent gifts to Trucker's grandma and aunt for their birthdays. We wrapped them with some pretty tissue paper that we saved from some antiques we bought at an auction (the hosts supplied tissue paper for wrapping everything) and used salvaged packaging materials from things we've received in the mail. We saved over $6 by sending them in our own boxes instead of the boxes supplied by the post office.
* My parents brought the washing machine over one day and Dad helped Trucker set it up. The hose had a leak, but Dad had left us with the hose from the old one. Trucker swapped the out and it works fine. While the washer is a little older and not as heavy duty as our old one (the old one was a commercial washer that was here when we bought the house), it's great. It has been maintained yearly and has lots of settings, including a "hang dry" setting that does an extra spin cycle to get the clothes extra dry. We'll use that setting even if we are using the dryer so that we won't have to set it as long. This was such a wonderful situation and we are so thankful for the family friend that gave us the washer and to my parents for lugging it out here since we don't have a pickup anymore.
How was your week?