Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 10/19 - 10/25

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 fed the bunnies tree trimmings. Nurse Ratched is still snorting up a storm when I give her fresh greens. It's really too cute and has made me forgive her for the scars she's left me.
* I planted some swiss chard, kale and lettuce in an indoor container. I don't know how much it'll do this year, but it can't hurt to try.
* The greens have germinated. They are still small, but hopefully I'll get something out of it.
* I planted "cat grass" for Ray-cat. Hopefully she'll nibble it when it's grown. Last time I tried to grow plants for her, she played with them but continued to eat my houseplants.

* I found some random small items on the manager's special cart at the grocery. $.10 for crackers and cheese (those little stick crackers and fake cheese that I loved as a kid) and a $.20 package of shortbread. While these items are not something I would usually buy, for that price they are great to have and throw into my lunch box. I found a bottle of hot sauce for $.29 and 6 cans of pop and bake biscuits (I use these for busy nights when we don't have much time for making dinner).
* I went to Aldi first thing in the morning (I was the first customer in the doors) and boy am I glad I did! In addition to my regular items ($1.89 eggs, $.99 bread, $5.49 coffee, 3-lb bag of onions for $.69 and snacks for a party coming up), I got some ridiculously good deals. Acorn squash were marked down to $.25 each and I bought four. I found a 2-lb sirloin steak regularly priced at $11.25, but with a $7 off sticker. Sirloin for just over $2/lb? Yes, please! As I was checked out, the manager brought up a huge box of bagels that she was going to mark down. I got 3 dozen small wheat bagels and 1 dozen small white bagels for a grand total of $1! I put three bags in the freezer and kept one out. These will be great for breakfast or as our bread for meals.
* I have been making milk from our powdered milk storage. It's getting a little old and I'll need to replace it soon and this keeps us from needing to pay for it now.
* One evening for dinner we fried up a package of pork chops, reserving half for another day. We mashed all of the potatoes we had that needed used up and made gravy. I also steamed all of the green beans we had left from the garden.
* We had very nontraditional colcannon for dinner one evening. We had leftover mashed potatoes and gravy from dinner a couple nights before. I sauteed turnip greens, onions, garlic, and a diced poblano pepper in bacon fat. I added the mashed potatoes and gravy. We also chopped in some sausage links for protein. It was weird, but oh so good.
* We used the leftover pork chops from earlier in the week to make pork tacos with sour cream, lettuce from the garden (the last of the last), salsa, black olives and cheese.
* Trucker made breakfast for us one morning. He made his incredible french toast with the leftover sausage links from dinner the night before.

* We went out for a coffee date at a local coffee house. They don't do free refills on coffee (and I don't like t abuse the free refill policy at local shops), so I got a hot tea and was able to just refill with hot water.
* We had a beer tasting party on Saturday night. We'd been saving a beer from each six-pack we got over the last few months to build up a nice variety. I bought some snacks from Aldi (crackers, chips, pretzels). I made a batch of Trash Chili (last little bits of tomato sauce in each jar, saved in the freezer until I had enough, bell peppers, dehydrated tomatoes and peppers, onion, garlic, TVP for my vegan friends, and two cans of kidney beans; total cost $2.50). It was a great evening.
* We went to the grand reopening of the local art museum. It was free to visit (as it is every Sunday) and there were musicians performing. It was a lovely afternoon.
Lots of carrot greens are drying in the kitchen
for the bunnies' winter snacking.
* We went out for our regular coffee date. We split the free meal I had available as our lunch.

* I got gas at work where it was $.25 cheaper than in my city.

Waste Reduction:
* There were 4 boxes of cereal we bought at the salvage grocery awhile back that had gotten stale before Trucker had gotten to them. Rather than throw them away, I tossed them into the dehydrator for 45 minutes on low. They came out better than fresh from the regular grocery. I put them in air-tight jars. Considering that it saved us from buying $2.50/box cereal at the regular store, I essentially saved $10.
* Trucker cut down cereal and other boxes to use in shipping items we sell online.

* I worked over an hour over the course of the week. I also picked up two extra shifts.
* I packed my lunch each day I worked.
* I  worked at the farmers market on Saturday. I was able to snag some trash produce: bell peppers with bad spots and a butternut squash with a crack.

* We took more items up to the booth. It is a fun hobby/job and there's always something new to learn.
* I've become a personal shopper for a coworker. She has given me a list of vintage items she wants. I look out for them while I'm picking. Once a week or so, I bring a personalized trunk sale to her. I show her everything I think she'll like. She buys what she likes and I take the rest to the booth. It's fun for both of. I make a quick sale, and I give her a generous discount over the prices I'd charge elsewhere. We both win!

* Trucker and I continue to go for daily walks together.
* I went on a couple short runs.
* One of my readers sent me a gift in the mail, all the way from Australia! She sent me a really nice note and a pair of earrings she thought I'd like. Aren't they adorable? Thanks, Vicki! I love them!

How was your week?


  1. Am enjoying your blog. Have you ever tried growing hardy greens in fall/winter using DIY low tunnels? I've had good luck with them in Chicago for the past few years.

    1. I haven't tried it yet, but want to. What greens do you grow?

    2. I've tried this, too, with much success. Chard, kale, and cold hardy spinach can be grown in low tunnels with plastic cover and landscape blanket through January in Chicago, most winters. Plus, you can get a huge jump on growing season in very early April. Find videos on Seed Savers Exchange or Mother Earth News for inexpensive, DIY low tunnels. Good luck!

  2. I am so glad you like the gift. You are so very welcome. I love reading your progress and the way you manage life through the week.

    1. It meant so much to me, Vicki! I love them!

  3. I love your blog and keep "losing" it. Then I get to do a little catch up reading of a few posts. I don't know why I cannot remember the name of the blog. (old age:) Anyway, I wanted to post so that you'd know you have people who really appreciate you!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Patty! I am so glad you like it. :)


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