Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 6/15 - 6/21

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 weeded the garden bed in the rain one day. Why have I not been doing this all along? All I had to do was grab the entire above-ground part of the plant and give a gentle tug and the entire root system came up. I got two whole beds weeded in about 15 minutes (these were pretty bad too).
* Fed the bunnies weeds.
* Harvested about 8 cups of greens from various beds in the garden.
* Harvested another ten garlic scapes.
* Harvested 10 small, but worthwhile radishes. This is the first year that they have reliably bulbed up. They are small, but I'm thrilled. I think it's all the ash and coffee grounds we've been working in.
* Planted more radishes in the empty spaces in the garden.

Trucker's first time having Bojangles. Yes, I'm aware of how
bad this is. It is also very good. And rare.
* My grocery spending was $24 for the week; $10 at Kroger, $14 at Aldi. Milk was on clearance for $.99. I got a bag of 10 clementines for $.99 at Kroger's manager's special cart. I bought two bags of tortilla chips ($1.19 each) in prep for making taco dip later this week. $.99/8 oz container of grape tomatoes. $.99/celery. I spent $2 on a dozen eggs which I found outrageous. As egg prices increase, I may just plan ahead and buy them for $2.50-3.00/dozen from backyard chicken keepers out by my parents' house. The one splurge was two packages of cinnamon rolls from the bakery. My uncle drove out to fix our car for us when we couldn't get it to him. We wanted to say "Thank you" with a little something sweet. Cinnamon roll 4-packs were BOGO from the bakery, so I grabbed Trucker a little treat as well.
* Took out the 2 lb pork shoulder from the freezer and made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. I seared the shoulder on the stovetop until nice and brown, then tossed into the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. The meat was easily shredded and I added BBQ sauce, jalapenos, onions and garlic. I saved some of the shredded meat for other meals.
* I made grown-up slushies one evening. Packet of Kool-aid, some sugar and a cup of hot water. Dissolve sugar and kool-aid and then let cool. Blend with ice cubes and vodka until slushy.
* For snacks, we had popcorn. I made plain popcorn for Trucker and caramel corn for me.
* We made layered taco dip. We used two cans of refried beans, the last little bit of homemade sour cream, the rest of the pulled pork (unseasoned), the last bit of some jalapeno sour cream dip, loads of lettuce from the garden, pickled peppers, grape tomatoes, black olives, a little cheddar cheese, garlic scapes (since I had a surplus of those, but didn't have any bulb onions to add). We nibble on it for a few days, then the leftovers get mixed

Food Preservation:
* I frozen another pound of mulberries for winter. I freeze them loose on a cookie sheet, then dump them into a large freezer bag. This way, I'll be able to remove just what I need instead of having a huge clump of berries.

David Ramirez
* We went on one cheap coffee date.
* We took a spur of the moment, wild adventure. We found out that a musician we both love was going to be playing two states away (6 hours each way). We decided to go for it. We packed snacks, thermos and travel mugs of coffee, and lots of CDs. We headed out at 6 in the morning. We took lots of photos along the way, talked and sang with the radio. We stopped in an adorable little town and checked out a thrift store (I bought a pair of really nice shorts for $4 from the clearance rack. I only have one pair of shorts that still fits) and a book store (the bargain basement had $.50 hardcovers and $.25 paperbacks; I bought 2 cookbooks and 2 science books, one of which was on my wishlist). We got to the city and visited a couple thrift stores. We didn't get much, as the prices were much higher than any in our city. We walked around a fun neighborhood and talked then went to the concert. It was a free concert at a cute little bar. I found out that they had happy hour specials leading up to the concert so we made sure we got there at the end of Happy Hour so we could save a bit. I got a $4 whisky sour and Trucker got the BOGO craft beers (they let him have his second later in the evening), so it was $9+ tip. We did make sure to get some good, regional food ($13; by good, I mean Bojangles). All told, the entire trip, minus purchases for resale, cost $75. We had a blast. I love to travel, and day-trips are a great way to satisfy my wanderlust without huge cost.

* I've been running in the rain a lot. Nothing feels better than rainy day runs.

* My uncle fixed our car (details below) instead of taking it to a shop: $45 instead of hundreds.

Waste Reduction:
* Made stock from pork bones and corn cobs I'd had in the freezer.
* When I was on a walk one day, I found a wood pile where someone had throw a disassembled porch swing away. I found several pieces that I liked, so I carried them home. I'll use them to make jewelry boards for the bedroom. They were all chipped up with red and yellow paint which will work perfectly with the muted olive color in the bedroom.

* I worked overtime each day I worked, for a total of 1.25 hours.
* I packed my lunch each day.
* Trucker brought home day-old baked goods.

* Went picking a few days. Slow pickings lately.
* Listed more items on the store. Getting traffic, but slower this week.

* Continue to focus on getting enough water every day.
* I run most days. Every day I go for a walk, at least a short one, but usually a few a day. One day I walked 3.5 miles to go to the library. I carried a load of wood home halfway.

* My water kefir died. Family concerns kept me occupied for a couple of weeks and I completely forgot about it. I tried to revive it to no avail.

* My uncle came out to fix the car since we couldn't get it to him. When we told him what was wrong with it, he knew we couldn't get it out to him so he immediately decided to come out to us. He said he had to take care of family. He and his girlfriend came out and we had a few beers while he worked on the car. It only took him a little while to fix. He charged us $30, but we gave him $40. I also sent him home with a 4-pack of cinnamon rolls and a big jar of apple chips.
* While I was out in the front garden, a neighbor and her son stopped by to introduce themselves and ask about my garden. We sat and talked for awhile. They were lovely. She used to garden, but doesn't anymore. She invited me over for coffee. I'll make sure to bring her some salad fixins from the garden. There are several people on the block I want to share produce with, so I may need to plant some more lettuce!
How was your week?


  1. Another productive week I see :) I'm really thinking about a lot of your ways to save money and food. I'm at that stage in my life where I'm still working but close to retirement (husband is already retired). I'm starting to get rid of things ) and simplify our home.

  2. I love that you do not let things like travel 6 hours away deter you from pursuing fun. This week some of my frugal highlights have been getting a "special rate" for a night in a hotel for hubby and I for our wedding anniversary. It is still pricey at 175 AUSD however it has a spa bath!!!! This may seem like no big deal but we do not have a bath at our house which makes us all very sad. Hubby and I never go out so I feel one special night a year is pretty good and I have been pretty successful in reselling items I buy cheap of late. We get free family babysitting so no complaints. Other highlights have been getting 3 free tubes of toothpaste and samples from a company who we like. I am traveling next month and I wrote to two companies asking for samples. Both sent me samples and today I got a big box with the 3 actual tubes. What a bonus! Oranges from a neighbour, a found $10 bill and lots and lots of produce from hubby's job make it a pretty stellar week. :)

    1. Your wedding trip sounds lovely! I think it's good to balance being frugal with having a good life.

      Sounds like a wonderful week, Vicki!

  3. Holiday: It was a girls week at my house. Several family members came into town to stay 5 days to a week to celebrate my daughters upcoming wedding. I asked everyone to bring their favorite wine to share in the evenings. This was a planned holiday so I stayed within (actually below) what I budgeted. The days were filled with local site seeing, lunches and a little shopping. The winery we visited charged $3 or $5 for wine tasting I chose the $3. one and stretched it out as I am familiar with most of the wines. We ate out 3 times and I paid for 2 of my meals. The ladies enjoyed the local shops and almost filled the trunk of the car. I picked up some turmeric for hubby's arthritis at the health food store, a bird house that was on clearance for $4.49 and a folding outdoor lounge chair ($14.99 clearance) for a birthday gift for future son in law. All other site seeing was free and lots of fun. I live in a great area. We spent our evenings around the pool or campfire. Hubby was a dear he made us our morning coffees and one morning made omelets for everyone. He made sure the pool was taken care of and built the campfire and joined us making sure our wine glasses were full. He worked nights 3 of the days and slept while we were out. I think he enjoyed having everyone as much as I did. Community: Some of the money I budgeted and did not use I placed in the baby bottle campaign for needy mothers. Food Prep: I thinned the garden carrots and saved the tops to put in last nights salads (thanks for the tip). My tomatoes are crowding so I trimmed the bottom leaves and put in the compost. There are so many zucchini blossoms that I snitched 2 and stuffed with chicken salad for dinner. The raspberries are in abundance and I started to freeze some. My blueberries will not be as good. Strawberries and blackberries were on sale for $1.00 a container and I bought several made berry salad and froze the rest. I made too much berry salad (we have been eating it for several days) so before it goes bad I will fill ice cube trays and freeze to use later in the year in smoothies. Frugal Home: I changed all the sheets on the beds and hung the wash out to dry. Next week is a long road trip. Hubby is changing the oil, checking fluids and belts and rotating the tires in preparation. He is a wonderful mechanic and we save a fortune on car repairs. Future: This is a busy summer for us. Staying in budget really needs to be thought about as it is so easy to splurge when on holidays. I take cash so it is easier to see my spending. On our road trip the gas will go on the points credit card but the rest will be cash so we don't over spend. We will stay with family. Hubby wants fireworks so he has cash just for that. He could and would go crazy buying if it was not cash. We LOVE fireworks. He has so much fun with the nephews on 4th of July. Everyone gets together and sets off what they have. It makes for a great show.

    1. Wow! Your girls week sounds amazing! Glad you all had a blast! Hubby sounds wonderful!

      Your garden sounds great. I love eating my thinnings.

      Have fun on your trip, bizeeme!


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