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.
* Soaked okra seeds overnight, then planted in a small reused container. They germinated well.
* I planted a gallon container in Little Finger carrots. Not sure if it's the best use of the container, but I was dying to start something else and I've never grown carrots in a container before, so I thought this would be a good experiment. The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardeners had a video on growing carrots in a repurposed soda bottle that ended up providing some smaller, but worthwhile carrots. I love trying new ways to grow veg in a severely limited space. Even though I have a fifth an acre to play with, I know that a lot of people have barely any space, so I'm always looking for a chance to try something new to share with you all.
* Trucker brought home another five gallon bucket of coffee grounds that I spread over a bed. I put the filters into the compost.
* I divided the peace lily we have in our bedroom that was starting to get sad looking. I divided it roughly in half, put half back in the original pot and half in another pot that goes well with the colors in the room.
* I potted all of the San Marzano tomatoes into their own, individual containers. These were all saved from yogurt, sour cream, etc.
* I harvested some parsley from the indoor garden and have it air drying. Trucker and I want to add more, ahem, spice to our culinary life, so he bought lots of seeds for herbs to dry to use year round.
* Mowed the lawn for the first time of the year. Wasn't there just snow everywhere?
* While Trucker was working late one day, I made fried tortilla pizzas for dinner. Oh my. How had I not tried this before? I used corn tortillas that we got for $.10/25 pack at the salvage grocer. I assembled my tomato sauce, dehydrated peppers, two pepperoni slices and some wild greens on each, and sprinkled with cheese. I fried them in a little old in the cast iron skillet, then put a lid on it for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt. WOW! Quick, easy, frugal and delicious.
* Continued to avoid grocery shopping at the regular grocery store. I needed one item for a meal we were making and drove by a discount grocer that I'd been afraid to check out. I stopped in and while I grabbed the item I needed, I looked at the items I commonly buy (but didn't buy this time). I was impressed. Butter was $2.50/lb (at Kroger, it's never cheaper than $3 and it's usually $4). Cream cheese was $.99 (it's $1.29 at Aldi). Eggs were $1.49 (it's almost never cheaper than $1.89/dozen around here). Maxwell House coffee 30.5 oz cans were $5.99 (we do buy cheap coffee sometimes if we run out before a trip to the salvage grocer where we get nicer coffee for the same price). Most other items were similar to Aldi, but this store is close enough to home that I can walk there with my pull cart and walk home. That means that I will be shopping there most of the summer and getting exercise while I'm at it! I got out with just what I needed for the recipe, but am glad I stopped.
* I made venison tacos on evening (I reserved half of the meat for another meal) cooked in the last of a can of enchilada sauce, with the last of a head of lettuce, onions, cheddar, the last of a tub of sour cream. They were fantastic. I could eat tacos every day. There's a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant I love (Best al pastor tacos ever), but we're trying to avoid eating out. I've found that by having tacos frequently at home, I can resist...because otherwise I'd be there twice a week.
* Grilled bacon pizzas (with leftover bacon) one day. I also sliced a pineapple and tossed in cinnamon sugar. I grilled it until it was caramelized. Oh my.
* I went over to my parent's house to have dinner with them, one of my sisters and my Grandpa.
* My mom, sister and I took a walk down to a pond near them at dusk. We talked and watched the wildlife.
* Trucker and I went for a walk outdoors.
* Coffee dates. Brought our travel mugs for reduced waste and a discount.
* I took Trucker to a free concert at a coffee house. It was a musician I used to go see a decade ago at my small town's coffee house, so it was fun to see him again. We got our drinks and one free refill each, so it was a frugal date.
* I got together with a friend of mine one day. Instead of going out to lunch and coffee, I suggested going yard saling. I brought my coffee from home so I wasn't tempted to buy it out. We went to three yard sales and a church rummage sale. I spent $4.50. At one yard sale, I saw a bunch of kitchen utensils and asked how much he said "$.10 each or $1 for the whole lot, including the crock." Everything was in this pretty little light yellow and green pottery crock that was perfect to use as a planter for my bedroom. I bought the whole lot. I am keeping several of the items, and giving away the rest.
* We went walking at a Metropark two miles from our house. The bluebells are just a day or two away from blooming!
* Spent time out in the yard working on a few nice days.
* Took walks around the neighborhood on nice days.
* I called the Healthcare Exchange about getting insurance. Since I'm no longer offered decent health insurance through my job, we needed to get individual coverage. The only plan offered was a preventative care plan that wouldn't do a thing towards Trucker's asthma medication. We qualified for a subsidy that makes the plan affordable. We got the cheapest plan that gives us what we need. I played with the numbers for a variety of plans. By getting separate dental insurance rather than paying extra for a health insurance plan that had dental included, we saved $4 a month and it provides $500/each extra benefit. All told, it was $40 less than the preventative plan that wouldn't offer much benefit to either of us. I don't want this to turn into a nasty debate about the AHA, but one should always research options to take care of their health.
* Trucker had signed up for a premium Spotify account to avoid commercials, and then he added me. Then he realized that he was paying $360 a year just to avoid hearing some commercials. He cancelled the premium plan so we'll go back to listening to the occasional commercial and save big. We use Spotify to listen to music only and avoid purchasing CDs. We're both enjoying it a lot and are planning on browsing our CD collections to see if there are any CDs that we can part with. There are several bands I loved when I was a teen, but now only really enjoy a song or two from each CD. Maybe I can make a few bucks from the sale, declutter and still get to enjoy the songs I like, filed into a playlist of "Nostalgia".
* It got chilly a couple of nights, but instead of turning on the furnace, we put an extra blanket on the bed.
* Used swagbucks for my searches/researching. Also answered the daily poll and filled out a few surveys. It's not a lot of money, but it just takes up some of my "fooling about on the interwebs" time, so it's better use of time than looking at more cat videos.
* Filed our taxes using an online program. This saves us a lot of money over having it done (it only cost $21) but makes it a much easier process for me to work through than doing it all myself.
* I signed up for a Super Shopper Savings club at a discount grocery. I also filled out the survey at the bottom of my receipt to be entered into a weekly drawing for $100.
* I line dried a load of clothing.
* I reused plastic food containers for starting seedlings. I try to limit the amount of packaging in the food I eat, and usually have a travel mug with me to avoid a coffee cup. However, there are still some times that I'll eat/drink something from a plastic or paper container. When that happens, I try to reuse the container. During the seedling-starting season, these are perfect! I collect an assortment of sour cream tubs, yogurt containers, coffee cups, etc, keeping the lids if they've got them. If I'm starting seeds in the container, I pop the lid on it after planting the seeds to keep them moist, removing the lid (and recycling) once the seeds germinate. These individual planters are free and perfectly sized for a single seedling. After I plant them in the garden, I toss the container into the recycling.
* Composted lots of random things.
* I worked two days this week and worked an hour overtime each day.
* Trucker brought home bagels from his job.
* I put protein bars in each of the cars for emergencies or just in case we forget to pack a lunch for work.
* I started an etsy store and listed a few items.
* I've kept up with stretching out my arms and hands every day. The job can really cause some aches and pains if you don't keep up on stretching, so I'm being proactive about this.
* I've been trying to remember to do some calisthenics each day when I've got a few minutes: waiting for food to cook, bath water to fill up, etc. I'm sure it's not a huge benefit, but every little bit has to help.
* We opened the windows every day we could to air out the house.
* Trucker and I went for a couple walks together. Another day, I had Trucker drop me off at the library on his way to work so I could return some items. I walked the 1.5 miles home. It's a short walk, but it's something. I foraged some wild greens on the way home, and the sunshine was perfect.
* I tried to fix the washing machine and...yeah. I can't figure it out. However, when I went to my parent's house, as I was walking in the door Mom got a text message from a friend of hers asking if anyone she knew needed a washing machine or dryer because they were giving a set away. My parents are bringing it over later this week.
* When I went to my parents house, I brought all of the bagels we had from Trucker's job. I sliced them all. I gave them all to my parents and Grandpa so they could have a little breakfast treat. I can never eat all of the bagels he brings home, and they really love them. My mom sent me home with an apple pie since Trucker was at work and couldn't have dinner with us.
* When my friend and I were yard saling, I gave her several of the utensils that she wanted. I also put aside several for my sister who is planning on moving out for the first time this summer.
* Well, I couldn't fix the washing machine, but that worked itself out.
How was your week?