Wednesday, May 6, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 4/27 - 5/3

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.

* The radishes are starting to bulb up! YAY!
My transplant setup isn't perfect, but it's good enough.
* I need to thin out the garden bed. The carrots, chard and beets are a little crowded.
* The tomato transplants are doing great. All of the okra died (!!!) and the peppers are okay. I'll
 take my parents and sister their transplants next week.
* I put 10 gallons of coffee grounds (from Trucker's job) over the garden beds. I composted all of the filters. I love that he lugs those five gallon buckets to and from his job just because he found a way that he can help my soil texture. So sweet.

* Got in and out at the grocery store for less than $20! YAY! I got: Buttermilk $1.29/qt (1), soy milk $1.25/half gallon (making it cheaper than regular milk), goat's milk $1.99/quart (2, with the intention of making cheese or sour cream this week...maybe creme fraiche!), rosemary, $.79/package (with the intention of seeing if I can get the stems to root to grow), 2 packages of manager's special pork chops ($4.89, $3.08. One went in the freezer the other will be used this week), 2 packages of shredded cheese ($1.77 and cheaper than block).\
* I stopped by Aldi for their eggs: $.89/dozen. I bought five dozen to use as our main protein for a few weeks. Whenever the price is less than a dollar, I buy at least five dozen.  We use them for frying, scrambling, hard boiled, souffles, quiche and baking. Generally, we use them for all other uses and then when they are on the brink of expiry, I hard boil the rest of them. The older the eggs, the easier to peel and they keep longer. We use hard boiled eggs for packing lunches, deviled eggs, goldenrod eggs, egg salad, and chopped onto salad.
* I made buttermilk pancakes for breakfast one morning. Perfection.
* I made stir fry with the pork we had leftover from another meal. One smallish chop fed us both when chopped small. I also used peppers (banana and sweet), an entire onion, a head of garlic, baby carrots, and mandarin orange slices. I served it over rice cooked in pork stock. The stock makes it more filling and adds good nutrition. We've found that we feel satisfied even with no meat in the stir-fry if the rice is cooked in stock.

* We took a 7.5 mile hike one day at a park down the road from us. We used to enjoy going there for a 2 mile loop, but got a little bored. Over the last year, they opened a whole new section of the park that opened up about 10 more miles of hiking potential. It's absolutely beautiful. It's still a new park, so the trees are still small and some of the trails aren't marked well, but I loved it. They planted huge sections of trees that were loaded with flowers, a river ran along the trail and there were plenty of rugged farms surrounding it.
* We went yard saling together on Saturday. I got a suitcase full of old depression-era dolls, teddy bears and children's clothing. At the bottom of the suitcase were old love letters and homemade valentine's day cards. Too fun!
* We went for a couple coffee dates for $3.18. We used our travel mugs to save money and reduce waste.

* We got to walk in this awesome park together.
* Another day I went for a hike by myself at another nearby park. I went off-trailing along the river bed.

* I filled up the gas tank at work for a $.10-.20/gallon price savings.
* I made an effort to reduce utility usage by keeping lights off, opening blinds when practical, saving water for the plants, using cooking methods that are more efficient (stir-frying veggies instead of roasting, soaking rice for a few hours before cooking, etc).
* We finally cancelled our old internet (we waited to make sure the new one worked okay). They gave us the run around and we had to call a few times, but it finally got cancelled. We'll be paying $23 instead of $78 each month. This is $660/year or almost $13 a week. Since I'm only working 2-3 days a week, we are looking for ways to painlessly cut back our expenses as we wait for my raises to make up almost all of the difference between my current 2-3 days a week and my old full-time work. We've pretty much been able to cut back on a few utilities, we cancelled one weekly going-out (that was always more expensive than we wanted) and replaced it with getting together with friends in more frugal ways. We're pretty close to closing the gap. We will continue to reduce expenses as my income raises so that we are able to save money for our goals. When I was working full-time I made a little more, but I was so tired and stressed that my frugality slipped considerably.

Waste Reduction:
* Composted lots of random items.
* Added coffee grounds to the tomato seedling containers as a fertilizer.
* We reused packing materials for items that we shipped from home.

* Worked over 45 minutes one day, and an hour the other.
* Packed our lunches with leftovers and freebies from Trucker's job.
* Trucker brought home 10 gallons of coffee grounds for my garden.
* Our plant was shut down for one day, but I didn't realize it until I got there. So I wasted some gas, but did get an unexpected day off with Trucker that we enjoyed thoroughly.
* Trucker brought home goodies from his job: muffins, scones, bagels and cookies.

* We spent most of the week working on our new ventures.
* I made my first sale! I was really excited.
* I sorted through materials for some crafts that I was wanting to make and sell. I got everything organized so when I sit down to start working, it's ready to go.

* I exercised regularly through the week, mainly hiking/walking/running and lifting hand weights in little snippets of time. Trucker exercised a few days also.
* Focused more on eating produce and whole grains and less meat and snack foods.
* I need to focus more in the coming weeks on drinking water. I'm a little on the dehydrated side, and the temps are supposed to be up in the 80s this coming week.
* We helped remind each other to take our supplements. We both do better when we are taking them on a regular basis, but have a hard time remembering them.

* My dad hooked me up with a supplement that's helped him with his aches and pains. Mom drove it out and dropped it off to me at work one day. So sweet and thoughtful.
* Two of my friends were moving this weekend, so I went over one afternoon to help unpack. We talked, laughed and drank wine. All told, it was the most fun I've ever had unpacking.
* Trucker's anniversary present arrived! It was a little late, but he was still excited. The Prudent Homemaker had an offer of a free $5 Etsy gift card towards your first purchase. I used it to buy a Punisher cookie stamp as this is Trucker's favorite comic book hero. While he was working late one night, I made a batch of shortbread and chocolate shortbread cookies with the stamp. He loved them! Now that I'm not baking as a profession anymore, I'm really enjoying baking at home more.
* I was on my way home one evening and saw a feral crab apple tree heavy with flowers. I clipped a stem and brought them home. I put them in a small vase on Trucker's nightstand.
* When I was at Aldi, I left my quarter in the cart for the next person.

* There was a massive, 4-alarm fire near our house this week. It took three days to extinguish. We were without power for a few hours as they battled the blaze. During this time, the air was toxic from the large amount of burning rubber. Area residents had to stay inside and close all windows and doors. The air was very smoggy the second day. We found it best to leave the area for most of the day. The first night, we drove out of the city and got pizza ($12) and talked for awhile. When we got home, we were still without power. We watched a movie on my laptop until we went to bed for the evening. The next day, we left the neighborhood for the entire day just to escape the worst of the smog. By the third day it was significantly better, although we both still went to other neighborhoods.
*The one thing we learned from this was about being better prepared. When our power went out, we decided that we'd grill out for dinner. Unfortunately, we ran out of propane, so we didn't have that option. Not only do we need to refill this one, but I want to get a second one and have it waiting so we don't have that problem. Otherwise, we did well. We had an hour or so of sunlight left when we lost power and we ran around the house with our stash of flashlights and candles (that we had stored all together in an easily accessible location) to put them in places we'd need them the next morning. I put all of my work clothes/needs together. I set an alarm on my phone since the power was out (since I thought I had to work the next morning). We kept the freezer and frig closed.
How was your week?


  1. I love your posts! So much fun to read. This week I composted dryer lint and torn up toilet paper tubes. Volunteered to bring a salad to our church potluck because I knew I had the ingredients - usually I volunteer something and then buy the groceries, costing me way more. I sold some antiques that I had to an antique store. I'm auctioning more this month. I used hotel shampoo to make foaming hand soap in one of those foaming soap bottles that I got as a gift. I planted clover where my lawn is too shaded to grow grass - we usually pay someone a lot of money to seed it every year, but this works just as well and cost a few dollars. Lost my credit card, so haven't been tempted to spend anything online, 'cause I couldn't. Watched the Ken Burns Dust Bowl series on PBS as a date with the husband.

    All in all, a frugal and fun week.

    1. Wow! Your week sounds wonderful! I really enjoyed reading about it. :)

      I need to watch that Dust Bowl series. I'm fascinated by that whole thing.

      Thank you for sharing about you week!

  2. There was lots going on in my world this week. Highlights were picking up a record player ( with the needle working) and 8 records for 10 bucks at a yard sale. New and cheap entertainment. My hubby is now working in a store where he gets the last of the produce before it goes out.So much good stuff this week we have had many meals and juices and been able to share as well :) Sounds like you had a good week!

    1. Nice score on the records and player! That's fantastic! I think being willing to have more "old-school" technology means that you get the best discounts. When everyone switched from DVD to blue-ray, DVDs were suddenly selling for pennies. If you're willing to give up on the latest-greatest (for now), you can really do things quite cheaply.

      Good for hubby with the produce score! That's wonderful! And it's great that his boss lets him have the excess. It always broke my heart to see food that was a little past it's prime but still perfectly edible get thrown straight into the garbage.


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