Tuesday, December 22, 2015

This Week...Beyond Money 12/14 - 12/20

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 planted some cilantro last week. It has germinated.
* The lettuce is doing okay, but is slow growing.

* Trucker made fajitas with some manager's special steak, onions (Aldi, $.20/lb) and red bell pepper (with asparagus in a manager's special package, $2/lb). We served on on-sale tortillas ($.91/12 pk), with on-sale store brand sour cream and hot sauce ($.50/bottle from the salvage grocer).
* I started reading James Beard's How to Eat Well on Less Money, the 1970 edition. I would highly recommend this book. Generally, cookbooks published after the 50s have convenience/packaged foods in them, or are overly "foodie" (In general, a lot of them that are scratch-based tend to use more expensive ingredients as opposed to more basic ones). This book is incredible. Very down to earth, very frugal and focused on skills building and reducing waste. Highly recommended (and it's currently a penny listing on Amazon, so there's no excuse!)
* I bought a ham at Aldi. They had a coupon for $3 off a ham with a $25 purchase. I purchased items such as cheese, produce and eggs that we needed for the week, then met the $25 minimum by buying non-perishables that we would need soon, like vanilla extract, cooking oil, and fruit juice concentrate. I dug around through the hams until I found a ~6 lb one for $6, which was $3 after the coupon, so a little less than $.50/lb.

How would you feel if you
unexpectedly saw this guy watching
you in the dark?
* We went out for pizza with our friends for our once-a-month pizza outing. We tried a place I've been wanting to try for a couple years. We got the $2 drinks that were on special and split a small pizza. It was one of the more expensive pizza places we've tried (thus why it's been years until we tried it). We got to hang out with 3 good friends and catch up. It was a lovely night.
* We went out for a coffee date. $3.18 with free refills.
* Trucker checked out an old TV series from the library. It was a classic that I'd never seen, so I enjoyed watching some of it while baking in the kitchen.
* I don't know really where to put this, but thought it needed to be shared. I'm a little....iffy...on clowns. Pennywise is pretty much the scariest thing ever to me. So, of course, I sell clown figurines at the antique booth as sort of a morbid obsession (and wonder of all wonders, they sell!). So Trucker bought some clowns at auction to sell, including a very horrible clown puppet. He propped it up so when I walked into the living room after work one day, I found that horrible face staring at me. When my sister came over, she thought it was horrible and said she could never live in a house that the clown was in (I've been sending her texts from him along with photos). Since then Trucker (or at least I hope it's him!) has been moving the clown doll around the house, like my own Elf on a Shelf, only it's a soul-eating clown. This has been one of the best uses of $2 ever. If we ever get bored of this joke, I'm sure we can sell him.

* I just finished the Tightwad Gazette trilogy for the year. I read them every year. It helps me renew my determination to be frugal, excites me about reaching our goals, and gets me thinking creatively about ways to trim expenses. At this point, relatively few of the tips apply to me that I do not at least occasionally implement (since we don't have kids, a good majority of the tips do not directly apply), but reading even those articles helps me think on expenses differently. While I don't have multiple children to clothe and stockpile yard sale items for their growing years, the tip still gets me thinking. Knowing that his feet will stay the same size, I am always shopping passively for great bargains on Trucker's tennis shoes, work shoes and hiking boots. I buy them whenever I find them for $15 or less for a decent pair. In this way, we never have to go out to buy $50 shoes. If he has a decent pair that he is wearing and one pair in storage, I will only buy shoes if I find them for $10 or less since the need is less pressing.

Waste Reduction:
* I messed up a batch of toffee by over-stirring after it boiled so it ended up really grainy. It wasn't good enough to give as a gift, but I couldn't stand the idea of wasting $8 worth of butter, brown sugar and chocolate. Instead, I tried an experiment. I broke up the grainy toffee and added a little water. I cooked it down until the sugar dissolved, then cooked it down into a syrup. I poured it over our ice cream where it solidified. It ended up being a mix of a toffee-like candy and a magic shell type thing. It was still slightly grainy, but not too bad and tasted great. While I wouldn't make this intentionally, it was good to make use of something that would otherwise get thrown away.

* I worked two extra days this week. We worked overtime one day.
* We had a pizza party at work one day. Management bought pizza for all of us to thank us for a good year.
* We had a potluck at work. I brought in my homemade pop tarts in Nutella (manager's special, $2.25/jar), mixed berry ($.99/jar preserves from the salvage grocer) and PBJ ($1.49/jar peanut butter with coconut oil from salvage grocer; $1/huge jar grape jelly in store brand on sale). Everyone loved them.
* Because of this, I only had to pack a lunch twice last week.
* Trucker got free meals from his job.
* We went to a Christmas party at Trucker's job. We brought his incredible taco dip (his mother's specialty). It was a fun afternoon and the food was good. There was a gift exchange. We brought a set of Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters and got a coffee house gift certificate (free dates!). We were also sent home with a large container of leftover sushi!

* I got my first publication on The Good Men Project. It is on how to reduce spending on the holidays.

* I was careful at the Christmas parties about what and how much I ate. At each, I chose one dessert and took a small portion.
* I went running one day and we went on a couple short walks around the neighborhood.

* We don't exchange gifts in our household, but if someone gives me a gift, I look for a way to do something sweet for them also. We each had a gift exchange we were a part of (his was at his new job and mine was with a group of online friends). We were very creative in how we sourced the items we gave, whether by making them from scratch (in the form of candy and baked goods), scouted items while picking or looking online for bargains.
I love this tan and blue bowl. Trucker and I have filled it
with pine cones, needles and milkweed pods that we
collect when we go for our walks.

How was your week?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...