Monday, February 22, 2016

This Week...Beyond Money 2/15 - 2/21

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 have aphids in my indoor lettuce garden. I harvested what I could, then threw it outside since it is going to freeze later this week. I can't let them get to my overwintered pepper plants.
* I fed the bunnies dried carrot leaves from last year's garden. They loved them.

* Trucker made BLTs one evening when I got home from work.
* We made dinner together when I got off work one afternoon. We had roasted veggies (asparagus, carrots, onions, brussels sprouts, and peppers; polish sausage and a small portion of homemade mac n cheese.
* I bought asparagus at a loss leader sale for $1.25/lb.
* I bought a bag of clementines on managers special. They cost $.02 each. Can't beat that.
* I made goldenrod eggs one day. I chopped in a leftover half polish sausage to up the protein and use up leftovers. I served over mini bagels that I had in the freezer so I could avoid going to the grocery store another day.
* I bought a few basics at the grocery stores in the store brand: tortillas, bread, coffee. I got a pound of broccoli on sale for $.99/lb. I plan to make broccoli cheddar soup later this week. Milk was on sale for $2/gallon.
* I cooked the rest of the Brussels sprouts for my dinner one evening while Trucker was at work.

* We went out for a long coffee date one evening. $3.18 with our travel mugs. Another day we went out for coffee and got one coffee for free with our rewards card.
* I took my sister out one evening as a belated birthday celebration. There was a free Happy Hour at the local theatre downtown. We got all dolled up and ran out the door. We didn't have time for dinner, so we swung in the the local donut shoppe to get the best donuts in town. In hindsight, maybe we were too formal for the location. There were free light appetizers at the theatre and we got to catch up a bit. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra played three pieces. It was a wonderful show. Afterwards, we walked down to a coffee shop for more talking and cafe au lait. It was a lovely night, and, everything in, was around $10.
* My friend and her daughter had their birthday party at a restaurant nearby. I ate a little before I went so I wasn't ravenously hungry. I ordered a small appetizer for $5 instead of ordering a $15 meal.

* We went for a couple walks around the neighborhood to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

* We are decluttering in a major way. I keep going through closets and drawers and pulling out lots of clothes to get rid of. I am also wearing each pair of shoes I have. If they are unreasonably  uncomfortable by the end of the day, they go in the box. I have a problem with buying adorable shoes at thrift stores that fit okay, but aren't comfortable for real-life wearing. However, I have a hard time getting rid of items after I purchase them, so the closet has gotten full. I have 130 items so far. I plan to stop at a consignment store to try to pawn some off, then offer to friends and family, and then donate the rest. We are going through items on the Amazon store and deleting anything that has dropped in value. Those items we take up to the used book store. It pays terribly, but it is something. I am also planning on taking a load up to the household consignment stores. So far we have made $37 selling clutter.
* I have put all consignment money into savings. I also saved my writing check. We have been more mindful of spending the last few months and it has paid off. When I got my first check from the new job, I looked at my accounts. Despite working 50% less over the previous two weeks at the regular job, I had enough to cover all my bills for the period, so the entire check went into savings as well.
* I am concentrating my debt repayment on two debts in particular. One has a ridiculous interest rate (I'll call the bank to ask if they can drop the rate, as situations have changed in the 5 years since I got the card). The other was a promotion for buying tires and if I pay them off by the May, I don't pay any interest, so it will save $30. I only have $50 left on that card, so that is not an issue whatsoever. The other card I have made 5 payments in the last 3 weeks of various amounts, but each time higher than the minimum payment. It's nice to see the interest charge drop each month.

Waste Reduction:
* I composted weird things.

* Worked 1 hour overtime at my regular job.
* I packed lunch each day I worked. Steve ate for free at his job.
* I got a job offer at the place I temped last week. I get a decent hourly wage and a set schedule. This is really nice. I enjoy the work (it's kitchen work, but very pleasant) and the coworkers and manager are nice.

* I got my very first check for writing (First time getting paid for writing ever, except for a writing contest in high school, where I got $3 for a first place, $2 for a 2nd place and $1 for a 3rd place It was for $73. I was too excited. I took a photo before cashing it. They asked if I wanted to have a check mailed or a deposit into my Paypal account. Even though I would have gotten the money quicker by having a direct deposit, I wanted to physically hold that check in my hand. I'd been dreaming of that moment for a good 20 years.
* We went picking together one afternoon. We had $5 off $10 coupons, plus got some items that were half off. We did really well and got some good, fun items to bring up to the booth or list on Etsy.
* I focused on getting items listed on Etsy this week. I'm making good sales and it was nice to get the pile of to-list items knocked out. I only have a couple more items unlisted.

* My blood pressure and heart rate has stayed at a good level. I've lost 3.5 pounds in the last two months. I'm not actively trying to lose weight, exactly, just trying to be healthy. If I lose too quickly, it always comes back, so this slow and steady pace is good. I'm feeling so much better lately. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I need to get back into my regular running schedule and I'll be even better.
* We went for a few walks to enjoy the weather.
* I realized that I have improved my tastes over the last year. My new job involves dipping loads of fruit into chocolate all day long. I don't even crave the chocolate, whereas when I was a baker, I'd mindlessly nibble on baked sweets all day.
So maybe I am obsessed, but how could one not be?

How was your week?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This Week...Beyond Money 2/8 - 2/14

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 bag of rabbit feed for $16, bringing my total cost for the rabbits to $212. I need to try to breed them again. Maybe in the next couple of weeks, as my schedule winds down a bit.
* Harvested 1 1/2 cups of greens from the indoor garden.

* I came home from work one day and Trucker had made dinner. He made scrambled eggs with onions, black olives and peppers and we put them in wraps with strips of bacon. Delicious. So kind of him.
* Trucker had coffee ready for me every morning when I got up for work. Too sweet! He also made breakfast one day. Other days, I grabbed toast and Nutella or a protein bar.
* As I was gone most of the week, I didn't eat at home much. I'm not sure what Trucker ate while I was gone, but I know I keep a well-stocked pantry, so there were options.

* We printed off coupons for Einstein Bros Bagels for a free breakfast sandwich with any purchase. We each got a small coffee (in our travel mugs to save the cup) and got our sandwiches. It was a lovely little date and the cost, including tip was $5.
* We went to our local discount theater's discount day. We don't mind watching movies long after their initial release, which works in our favor. We saw the Martian which we loved and it only cost $2.50 total! Great frugal date, and I was geeking hard the entire time.
* Trucker got a great Groupon for our Valentine's date (we went on Friday since I worked 11 hours on Valentine's day). He found a local pizzaria we wanted to try offering $13 for a large one item pizza, an order of garlic bread and two sodas. He used Honey when ordering to get another $2.50 off, so it was $10.50 before tip. Great cheap date and very fun. I love that we enjoy our cheap dates just fine and don't need to spend $100 to have a good time.
* My friend came over one evening. I made dinner of bacon, lettuce and avocado sandwiches. We spent some time drawing. I'm a little rusty as it's been awhile. However, it was really fun.
* That night, the three of us went to the opening of a movie we were excited about. First time we paid full price for a movie in a long time.
* This week appears more spend-thrifty entertainment wise than usual (Two theater movies and two restaurant meals???). However, our average week is much less.  Some weeks we only spend $3 on a single coffee date out and the rest of the time we're reading library books and hiking. It's all about balance really.

* Trucker got a free full-sized deodorant trial in the mail.
* I went through the closet to get rid of a few more items. I'll take them to a consignment store to try to make a few bucks.
* I took another box of items to Half Price Books.
Waste Reduction:
* we composted lots of random things.

* Worked a half hour overtime one day at the regular pt job.
* I brought food with me each day I worked at the regular job.
* Trucker ate for free at his job.
* I worked a lot this week. I worked Monday and Wednesday at the regular part time job, then Thursday through Sunday at the temp job (followed by Monday at the regular job). Including commute, it was 75-80 hours. Tiring, but I made some good money to put towards our goals.
* I enjoyed the temp job. It was physically exhausting at times (I worked a couple 11 hour shifts), but not bad. The manager supplied breakfast, coffee and Starbucks since we were all crazy busy. Very nice.

* We got our largest paycheck yet from the booth.
* I've been selling lots of cake pans online.
* Trucker was offered an acting gig, but wasn't able to drive across the state in time for it. Still exciting that he got the offer.

* I came down with a cold. Ugh. I rested a lot and took vitamin C like crazy. It broke after 4 days, just in time to start the new job. Phew.  I looked back over the last several years and realized something. I rarely get sick, but every time I do, it is when I get a new job. Every time.

* Trucker got some gifts for my dad at auction to help him start his business when he retires he is saving it for his birthday and plans to give them all to him at once.
* A friend gave me a couple of books that were falling apart for me to use in a craft project I want to do. I love books too much to tear apart a good book, but wanted to try some crafts with book pages.

How was your week?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This Week...Beyond Money 2/1 - 2/7

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 harvested 1 1/2 cups of greens from the garden.

* We made chicken tortellini one evening for dinner. We used up a bag of tortellini from the salvage grocer, some cheddar cheese powder, onions, garlic, and leftover chicken.
* I found eggs on sale for $.99/dozen. I bought 6 dozen.
* I made quiche one day. I used a container of leftover ham from the freezer, caramelized onions, some leftover mixed greens, and the last of a bag of cheddar cheese.
* I tried something different for our snack. I made chocolate chip cookie dough pop tarts based on the recipe for cookie dough hand pies from the Magpie cookbook. They were fantastic. Trucker loves cookie dough ice cream, so I was excited to surprise him with these. I'll definitely put them into the rotation.

* Dad took me out for dinner one evening. We went to a pizza buffet and ordered water. He used a BOGO coupon from the coupon book they buy every year for their county. Total cost: $7.
* We went on a couple coffee dates using our travel mugs, $3.18.
* I went to my grandpa's house one evening to catch up.
* We took a long walk in a fancy neighborhood one nice afternoon.

* We went on a lovely hike at a state nature preserve. It was a gorgeous day for February, in the mid 60s and there had been no rain for awhile, so it wasn't soggy. This was one of the nicest places I've hiked in the state. I've shared some of my favorite photos, but it was hard to narrow it down!

* I took a box of books, magazines, DVDs and CDs to Half Price Books. While they don't pay a lot, it was good to clear out some space. The money will go into savings for
travelling to visit family.
* I spent an evening cleaning out the spare room. We will be using it for something else.

Waste Reduction:
* I had a towel that had torn. Rather than throw it away after I bought new towels a couple months ago, I put it in the scrap bag.This week I pulled it out of the bag and cut it into 12 squares. I sewed the raw edges on three of them. These will be used for rags. We use a lot of rags for cleaning items to sell at the booth and around the house/garden/cars. I don't use paper towels at all. When they start to get really rough, I'll use them for cleaning a really gross mess and just throw them away without guilt since they've been used scores of times already.

* I worked 2 days at my regular part time job.
* Trucker ate for free each day he worked. I brought food from home each day I worked.

* We went on a really good hike one day. It was 3 miles, but steep so we got a good workout in.
* We went on a few walks around the neighborhood.
* I've been better about eating less lately. I also drink mostly calorie-free or almost calorie-free beverages: water, coffee, hot tea.

* More exciting things on the horizon. It's a delicate situation right now, but I'm excited to share it with you all just as soon as I can!
How was your week?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This Week....Beyond Money 1/25 - 1/31

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 harvested 1 cup of mixed greens from the indoor garden. Nothing is better than fresh greens in January.
* On a particularly nice day, I worked out in the front garden. I pruned a lot of trees and shrubs. I didn't prune the Rose of Sharon shrubs or rose bushes because we probably have some cold coming and I don't want them to put on new growth and then get damaged. However, I cut back a lot of terrible, invasive shrubs we've been trying to eradicate for 3 years. I figure anything I can do to stress these plants might help me get them under control (some of these will get pruned severely in spring, but grow 5+ feet by autumn). I also pulled up dead flowers and cleared branches from the yard. It was such a lovely day, I was glad for the excuse to get outside.
* Trucker was a dear and removed some poison ivy from the front garden so I wouldn't break out horribly.

* I made twice baked potatoes to use up the last of the potatoes, plus some leftover bacon. I swished a bit of milk in two almost empty salad dressing bottles and used that to moisten the mix. I topped with a little bit of cheese.
* I used up the leftover potatoes to make Colcannon with some manager's special greens and half a leftover pepper (from manager's special)
* We had a quick dinner one night of grilled cheese and soup.
* Trucker made dinner for us one evening when I got home from work. He made spaghetti with leftover polish sausage. Served with garlic bread. Super frugal meal.
* I woke up one morning to hear Trucker in the kitchen. He'd made me french toast for breakfast. He also made enough extra for me to toss in the toaster for a quick breakfast. I love that thoughtfulness.
* I made sandwiches for our road trip.
* I baked some cookies from frozen dough. I'd gotten it for $.75/package on the after-Christmas sales. I baked off 6 of the 24.
* I baked off a bag of biscotti we'd gotten from Trucker's old job. It was baked the first time and then frozen. I sliced it and baked it off. I saved the crumbs for using in other dishes.
* We had popcorn as a snack one evening.

* We went on a coffee date at our regular spot, $3.18 with our travel mugs. We also got a free bagel with our rewards card, with butter instead of cream cheese, as that was free.
* Trucker took me out for a date one afternoon. We love our frugal dates, and I think enjoy them far more than expensive dates. We went to Steak n Shake during their Happy Hour for 1/2 off shakes. He got a regular size and I got a kid's size (which is still half off). Our entire date cost around $5.
* Went over to my friends house for stove top popcorn and talking.
* We went to a city a couple hours away to take care of something exciting (see below). While we were there, we wanted to have a little fun. After we took care of business, we took a long walk around downtown and to the lake. Then we met up with a friend of ours who had moved away a few years ago. We got to meet his better half and had a wonderful double date. Dinner was around $25, but that was our only cost for the day trip, other than the cost of gas. We loved talking and singing together in the car as we drove.

* We got to walk around Lake Erie for a bit. The weather has been ridiculous around here this week, mid 60s! Perfect for walking!

* I used the library for books, movies and audiobooks. The library is really an awesome resource. I can't imagine how much I must save each year.

Waste Reduction:
* I saved water from thawing rabbit water bottles to use to water plants once it was at room temperature. I saved other water from rinsing items or while waiting for dish water to get hot. While the water bill isn't super expensive, I think it is important to get in the habit of being responsible with my resources. It may save just a few dollars a year, but small practices become habits and take no real effort after learning. Just because I live in an area that has ample access to good water (for now!), doesn't mean that water will always be readily available. When I was growing up, our town's water would routinely be contaminated. We would have to use bottled water for weeks. Especially given what is going on in Flint right now, I feel it is even more important to be mindful.
* I used the last of a jar of pickles. I used the leftover pickle juice to make mock pickled peppers using dehydrated Hungarian Wax peppers.

* I packed lunch each day I worked.
* Trucker planned to eat light on days he worked and eat that evening. He had a hard time finishing and meal and hated throwing away part of the meal. So no more is being made, but we save a little money on his food 3 days a week.
* I worked a half hour overtime.

* Our sales have been fantastic. We did more in the first 9 days of this pay period than we usually do in 15-16 days.
* Trucker published ANOTHER kindle book. I'm overwhelmed by his productivity, passion and dedication. What an awesome partner to have on my team (I am so sappy this post...hehe).
* I listed some more items on my Etsy store.
* Trucker got an audition for a movie! We drove a few hours away so he could audition. Definite bucket list type thing! We are still waiting to hear back.

* I went for a run one day.
* Trucker and I went for a few nice long walks around the neighborhood.
* I have been getting my appetite under control better for the last few weeks. I don't have the urge to nibble like I used to. It hasn't resulted in a massive weight loss, but I feel better.

* I've been picking up 2-3 days a week at my factory for the last 5 months. This week I came in and found out that effective that day, I was cut back to 2 days. This cut my income by 50-60%. I had a mild freak out for a minute, but then pulled myself together. However, it has worked out okay. I put in a couple applications and found a place hiring a temp for the 4 days before Valentine's Day. I walked in and filed out an application. They offered me the job on the spot and said if it goes well, there will be a part time job for me. The owner is perfectly willing to work with my factory schedule.

* I had meet someone from the neighborhood who is heading up a fantastic project right down the road from my house. I'll provide more details once I know exactly what is happening, but sufficed to say, I'm beyond thrilled.
* The common theme in my life has always been the library. When I was a kid, one of my best friends was the 90+ year old librarian who always hooked me up with the best reads. Flash forward a couple decades and I still have to plan at least a half hour when stopping in at the library to talk with everyone. Well, when I was in this week, we got to talking about foreign films. One of the women was telling me about a movie that I had to watch and she said that the system had it. Then she said, "Wait. You know, I have a copy here. I'll be right back." She let me borrow her personal copy. That is a great sign of community building and I can't wait to build it further.
* Basically, this week did a lot of good for me. I feel very optimistic about my place here.

How was your week?
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