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 bought another water bottle for the bunnies for $1.
* I bought more rabbit food. The feed shop was out of all kinds except Purina and Mana-Pro (which I don't need yet since neither of the girls has gotten knocked up yet). I paid $18 for the Purina, which is $3 more than the brand I got last time. However, this store is on the way home from my job and the nearest feed store otherwise would be a good 25 miles round trip out of my way, so it would cost around $3 in gas. Total cost for the bunnies: $146.
* I continue to feed weeds to the bunnies.
* I harvested 1.5 lbs of snap beans from the garden. Am I the only one who finds stringing beans to be one of the most pleasantly satisfying food preparations? Is it because I know the beans are super fresh? Do string beans taste better than stringless? Is it a meditation thing? I'm not sure, I just know that I am always happy while stringing beans.
* I harvested 4 cups of lettuce from the garden.
* I harvested a dozen or so cherry tomatoes. Not a huge harvest, but Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes are intensely flavored. Love it!
* I harvested edible flowers: day lilies, borage and nasturtiums.
* I stopped by Aldi one evening when I was next door running another errand. I spent $18.50 for the week's groceries. I got some great deals: 2 packs of tortillas ($1.20 each), 2 loaves of bread ($.50 each), 2 10-oz containers of grape tomatoes ($.69 each, since my tomato plants are sluggish this year), 1 lb mozzarella cheese ($3), 3 packs of taco seasoning ($.35 each), 10 lb bag of potatoes ($3), 2 cucumbers ($.25 each), 2 1-lb bags of baby carrots ($.69 each), 8 plums ($.19 each), 5 nectarines ($.19 each), and 10 peaches ($.19 each). I plan to do some baking and freezing with the fruit. The cukes, grape tomatoes and carrots are for healthy snacking.
* I made fried chicken for dinner one night, simply tossed in flour and Bojangles seasoning. I served it with steamed green beans from the garden.
* I made frozen mochas using some mocha mix I'd been given with frozen bananas, yogurt, milk and topped with some whipped cream I got for $.99.
* I enjoyed adding borage flowers to water for a faint cucumber flavor.
* My friend came over for lunch one afternoon. She is vegan, so I made TVP tacos. I simply rehydrated the TVP with a packet of taco seasoning, and served with lettuce from the garden, tomatoes from the yard sales, black olives from the salvage grocery, sour cream (for me), hot sauce from the salvage grocery, and salsa from the manager's special bin at the grocery store. It was much cheaper to provide lunch for two at home compared to going out for even a cheap lunch for one.
* Trucker and I took a day to go to the World's Longest Yard Sale. We had planned on taking a four-day trip, but with moving into the booth the weekend before, we were tired and didn't have a lot of extra cash to spend. However, we had saved coin for the yard sales all year. We looked over our finances and saw that everything was fine for the month, so we decided to use the $150 we'd saved to go for one day. By only going for one day, we saved money on gas, food, drinks and hotel stay. We had a blast together, like always. We got a few items for ourselves: 6 CB radio antennas for Trucker (He has almost everything he needs to set up now; he'll use one and sell the others), a huge pottery mixing bowl in blue and white ($.50; it matches both my kitchen and another bowl I got for a bargain), a ring tree ($.10), a dress from a free box and 2 beautiful reusable totes from a free box. Everything else we purchased was for our booth. I packed lunch, snacks and drinks from home, so we only had to buy coffee once on the way home ($2 since we used our travel mugs).
* My family had been planning on going on a fishing trip together during our July vacation, but we got rained out. We took the trip this week. My parents, all three sisters, one sister's fiance and I went out for the day. We brought drinks and food from home, so we didn't purchase anything other than coffee for the 3.5 hour drive home. We carpooled and saved money on gas. It was a wonderful time. It was so nice to be able to talk and hang out with them. I caught the first fish of the boat! The fish weren't biting much for anyone, but it was still a good time. We didn't have a lot of fish at the end of the night, not enough for everyone, so we sent it all home with my sister's fiance.
* I got to spend a whole day on a boat watching beautiful clouds and enjoying the fresh air while fishing.
* The one nice thing about having a really rainy summer is the wicked clouds. I've been loving evening runs when the sky is starting to get some color and watching the clouds as I run.
* I was in need of a new cell phone since mine hasn't been working properly. I discussed my options with the salesman and was able to save $120 over two years by buying my phone instead of getting a "free" phone.
* I combined three errands to one trip to save hassle and gas.
* Used swagbucks for all of my searching and filled out a few surveys to earn a little something.
* I composted lots of weird things.
* While crafting, I set aside scraps of fabric to use in other projects.
* I worked an hour over on Monday and a half hour on Wednesday.
* I packed my lunch each day that I worked.
* My friend and I have been talking about setting up a booth selling crafts at a local festival next summer. When she came over for lunch, we spent a couple hours crafting to get ready.
* I've continued to run regularly. I timed myself one day and I did a 9-minute mile. While this isn't fantastic, I'm stoked. This is the best time I've ever had. When I started, I was doing 15 minute miles, and my best time last year was 12 minutes. I'm so excited! Not only that, but I'm able to run farther without walk breaks. I may start doing some longer runs with planned walk breaks.
* I did eat some junky foods while on the fishing trip. When I woke up the next day, I felt like I had a hangover, despite not having any alcohol and drinking lots of water/tea that day. I think my body just wasn't used to those types of foods anymore.