Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 11/30 - 12/6

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 lettuce has germinated, but not really grown much.

* We used some of the shredded pork for fantastic tacos with lettuce (manager's special), sour cream (sale), cheese (store brand on sale), bell pepper (manager's special), and salsa (salvage grocer).
* I made a buffalo chicken casserole using a can of buffalo chicken ($.49/8 oz at the salvage grocer). I cooked penne al dente. I made a cheese sauce using dehydrated cheddar powder (Amish grocer), flour, butter and milk (used to rinse out the chicken can). I mixed in the chicken and pasta and packed in all in a casserole dish. I topped with a light coating of cheddar (on sale) and a heavy coating of seasoned breadcrumbs (made from leftover bread that would otherwise have gone to waste).
* One night while we were reminiscing about our early years together, Trucker reminded me of a snack we used to have. We had barely any money at that time; life was hard. We did our best to make a good life for ourselves regardless. One of our favorite snacks was not healthy by any means, but it was special for us. We would get Aldi brand Nutty Bars and spread some peanut butter or icing and maybe a few chocolate chips if we had them. It was such a cheap dessert, and more than a little trashy, but we loved it. So this week, we bought a box of store brand nutty bars (on sale) and I made a simple peanut butter cream cheese icing. It was amazing. While I won't put them in regular rotation, it was fun to relive an old memory. What were some of your favorite super cheap dishes that you made when first getting established? Feel free to share in the comments!
* We had my parents, sister and Grandpa over for dinner one evening. Trucker grilled out. I made English toffee for dessert.
* We ate popcorn as our snack. It's so easy to make on the stove top and super cheap.

* We've been playing board games at home lately and enjoying those quiet evenings.
* We went out for coffee at our regular place. Free refills, used our travel mugs and I'd earned $1 off a drink, so it was $2.18.

* I used last month's grocery store gas points before they expired to get $.10 off per gallon.
* I needed two new tires on the front of my car. I reserved two cheaper tires, but when I got there, they said they weren't in stock. So they ended up giving me better tires with the warranty on them, for just $15 more (instead of $37 more). Then I told them how recently I'd bought new tires. They were still under warranty, so that cut my price in half.
* We used a coupon for our oil change and saved $7.
*Got all new towels on sale/discount. I got 2 brown super fluffy towels at a thrift store for $4.99 each. At Kohl's I got 4 towels. Set of 2 cream colored ones were $2.99 each. Set of two tan ones were $4.99 each and much nicer than the cream ones. I used a $5 off coupon and a 15% off discount. So total, I paid $19.35 for 6 towels, 4 of them really nice ones. We had been using the same set of towels since we got married 9 years ago. We were down to 3 towels; 2 were frayed and one was tearing badly. Now the old towels will go for washing the dog or get made into toys for him.

Waste Reduction:
* I went through my massive cookbook collection. I have way too many cookbooks. Like, hundreds. So I went through my collection and knocked it back by about 40%. This freed up some shelves. I may do another purge again soon, but this was good. I will sell these at the booth.

* I worked an extra shift at my regular job.
* I packed lunch each day I worked. Trucker ate for free at his jobs.

* Ran/walked 20 miles with the dog. Went on even more walks.
* I went to my medical office at work and made note of my weight (in my uniform for consistency in future measurements), blood pressure and heart rate.
* Unfortunately, the dog situation did not work out. He was very aggressive with my dad and Trucker, to the point where it wasn't safe. I'm heartbroken about the situation, but am not in a position to quit my job to rehabilitate the dog. Given his unknown history, we can't know what had happened to him before, but for some reason, he was wonderful with women and very aggressive towards men.

How was your week?

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