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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