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 had two planters at the end of the driveway that I grew tomatoes, nasturtiums and lettuce in. I didn't harvest lettuce seed this year, but they seeded themselves all around the planters. We've had a really warm autumn and I now have lettuce growing in my yard. I went out and dug up some of the lettuce and transplanted it into a container inside. Hopefully it will survive well and I can harvest it throughout winter.
* The peppers are doing quite well. They put on a lot of flowers, but I pick them off to allow the plants to grow stronger for spring.
* I cooked stuffed peppers that I'd frozen in season. It was a great easy meal for a day were had a lot going on.
* I got some mushrooms on sale $.50/8 oz. For dinner one nights that Trucker works, I've just been sauteing them in butter. Sometimes I'll add them to pasta, sometimes not. Is there anything better than sauteed mushrooms?
* Okay, one thing better: Trucker's fried potatoes. Oh my. He gets just the perfect ratio of fluffy center and crispy edge. Absolutely amazing. He treated me to these one evening when we got home late and were wanting comfort food.
* I made a bean and pork soup one day that we were going to be gone for the morning and early afternoon. I pulled some frozen pork stock from the freezer as well as some frozen shredded pork. I soaked black beans overnight. I sauteed three hot peppers (manager's special; $1/20 peppers), an onion ($.33/lb), half a head of garlic (from the garden) and a couple of carrots (free with $10 purchase at Meijer) in chicken fat (leftover from roasting chicken). I tossed all of it in the slow cooker and added a generous sprinkling of my veggie powder jar (comprised of last year's green beans, zucchini, tomato and peppers) to thicken slightly and add more nutrients. I left it on low while we were gone. When we returned I seasoned with some soup seasoning cubes and added a can of diced tomatoes (from the salvage grocer).
* I made chicken alfredo one day with leftover chicken and sauteed onions, garlic and carrots. I served it over fettuccine and made garlic bread with some rolls we had on hand.
* I went out to my Grandpa's house to have dinner with him, my parents and sisters. We put up his Christmas tree and enjoyed good conversations and laughter.
* We used the library for our reading and watching materials. We listened to Spotify or CDs we bought secondhand years ago for music.
* We went out for a coffee date, using our travel mugs and getting free refills.
* We had purchased a groupon deal awhile back to celebrate Trucker's new job. It was $13 for 2 entrees and a $5 gift certificate. We still had the gift certificate, so we went out for a cheap date with that. We went during happy hour, so appetizers were half off and our drinks were $2 each. I got sweet potato fries and Trucker got a combination app platter ($1.50 and $3.50 after the discount). So before tip, our date was $4. Not too shabby!
* We went out for a free movie screening. We did not buy any snacks or drinks.
* My sister came over for the afternoon. We went thrifting together. She got 4 pairs of jeans, a jean skirt and a hat for $15 total (some of the jeans were $.99). I got 4 pairs of jeans and 2 dress shirts for $14). We went home and made toffee (so easy) while sipping chai tea lattes (made from $.39/quart concentrate from the salvage grocer). Very fun day without spending much at all.
* I got gas at work and saved $.30/gallon.
* I returned all of the dog items that I could for a refund.
* Trucker got a coupon for BOGO free shoes with free shipping. He ordered two pairs and paid a total of $20.
* I went to a free yard sale at one of my regular sales. I was able to find some decent items for us, such as a stadium chair for when we go to plays in the park and a bag of golf balls for my dad.
* Composted weird things.
* I used some coffee grounds to revamp some potting soil in a planter.
* I worked one extra day at my regular job. We worked over, at least a little, each day.
* I packed my lunch each day I worked. Trucker got free meals from his job.
* I took out some items from the booth. I removed items that we placed when we first got started and had grossly overpriced for our market (we had priced much lower than online sources had them, but certain items go even lower in our mall), items that were out of season (I removed all summer and spring items, leaving room for winter items), or items that just aren't going to sell (We got some things when we first got started, but haven't sold anything of those types and no one has paid any attention to them. These will go into boxes for a flea market). I didn't bring any new items in. Instead, I spaced things out a bit more. Certain shelves had gotten somewhat clustered, so I wanted to give a little breathing room.
* With Trucker's encouragement, I submitted an article I wrote to a website I admire. Nervously awaiting a response.
* Trucker got 2 more articles accepted.
* I have been taking the loss of the dog harder than I anticipated. I was quite upset earlier in the week, but am starting to feel better. While I was at work one day, Trucker cleaned out the house of the dog stuff, swept up the dog hair, etc so when I came home I wasn't confronted with signs of him.
* My dad helped me fix the window in Trucker's car. It had fallen off track, so it wouldn't roll up all the way. It took us about twenty minutes to fix, but cost nothing. I worked with him and paid attention to what he did so next time it happens I can fix it myself.
* We had a lot of items for the dog that were opened/used, so we couldn't return them. I gave them to my parents for their dogs: dog food, treats, bones, toys and stuffed animals.