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've been harvesting small amounts of kale from the indoor garden. So far, it hasn't been enough for a salad, but I've been getting enough to go on our sandwiches. I've also been craving good bitter greens, so I've taken to nibbling on leaves randomly throughout the day.
* I started my pepper plants. I am using old seed, so I'm not sure how the germination rate will be. I plated heavy and after awhile, if I've had too poor of germination, I'll buy a single packet at the box store. I used salvaged plastic containers to start them. I had some salad green clam shells that were perfect. I closed the lid to hold the moisture in and will remove it after germination. I also planted two types of tomatoes. I'll plant more tomatoes later. I ran out of potting mix.
* My overwintered pepper plants are putting on a lot of fresh growth.
* If I can get decent enough germination, I hope to use almost entirely old seed to use it up and cut costs this year. I was planning on buying one pack of zucchini or summer squash seeds since I didn't have any. At a thrift store, I found a packet for $.29. I'm expecting a pretty busy summer, so I'm scaling back my plans. I am planning on growing mainly tomatoes, peppers, okra, beans and squash. I figured these things would be a good thing to plant and get a good yield without quite as much fuss as I usually have with carrots, lettuce, radishes, etc. I'm hoping to get them established, then mulch them well to reduce weeding. Usually, I interplant heavily, so I can't mulch the beds. Weeding becomes a nightmare. This year will be way too busy for intensive weeding. I definitely want to garden, but with different goals than previous years.
* The garlic is growing well. There were some that volunteered in last year's garlic bed. They were in clumps, so this week I divided the clumps and spaced them out. I have maybe 8-10 volunteers.
* We had spaghetti with sausage one evening. We had some sausages leftover that I used for breakfast wraps later in the week.
* We had grilled cheese and soup a few times. It was a busy week, so quick and easy was just the reality of our cooking.
* I made a huge batch of Trash Chili. I added 10 jars of random leftovers/tomato sauce jar rinse water/fond from cooking meat, a jar of dehydrated peppers, 2 small jars of dehydrated tomatoes, 1/4 jar of dehydrated squash (because I had it and wanted to use it up), half an onion leftover from another meal, a huge jar of black turtle beans (had been in storage a long while; soaked overnight), a small jar of TVP granules, a sprinkling of veggie powder and a packet of chili seasoning (got in a HUGE bag from the salvage grocer for around $.02). It was tasty and provided several meals.
* I made chili dogs one evening using leftover chili and a bit of cheddar cheese.
* I made Colcannon twice with the bargain potatoes ($.20/lb) and cabbage ($.15/lb) I got for St. Patrick's Day sales.
* I froze a tray full of strawberries, cantaloupe, grapes and pineapple I got for free from my job. In summer, these will go into slushies, smoothies and margaritas. I can also use them for pies, quick breads and desserts.
* We went out with our friends for our monthly pizza outings. We spent a little more than we intended, but it wasn't too bad. We split a pizza with one friend to cut costs a bit.
* We went to Rita's Italian Ice on Sunday. They had free small ices for the first day of spring. It was a perfect little date. We threw a dollar in the tip jar, so it was $.50 each. Not too bad.
* The bank I have my mortgage through changed their website. Now I can pay my mortgage on their website with my debit card from another bank without a fee (previously you could pay on their website by transferring from an account through them which I didn't have, on the phone with a $10 fee or by check in the mail). Not only is this more convenient, but it it will save me the cost of a stamp. Also, since it takes a few days for a check to get through the mail, then perhaps a day or two until it gets processed, but paying online, I can save a tiny amount of interest for those 5 days. While these are small savings, over a 30 year loan, it will add up.
* Saved the bread crumbs from the bottom of the bag to air dry. Will use them for topping casseroles or for coating when pan frying meats or veggies.
* I composted lots of weird things.
*I reused plastic food containers to start seedlings.
* I worked two days at my regular job and two days at the supplemental job. I worked 1.5 hours overtime at the regular job.
* I packed a lunch each day I worked the regular job and ate free fruit on days I worked the second.
* I brought home a 1.5 quart container of fruit scraps.
* I took a free class through the sheriff's department in my county. CRASE (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event) teaches you stats on active shooter events in the U.S., how to be prepared for such an event mentally and what to do when you are in an event. If your county sheriff's department offers a class, I would highly suggest signing up (and bring your family too). The things I learned are applicable in situations other than just an active shooter event.
* We got a printout of our sales for the pay period that just ended. We almost doubled sales! So exciting!
* During a particularly bad storm, our house flooded a bit. Fortunately, Trucker found it before it got too bad and was able to move our belongings away from the flooded area and got the incoming water under control. We have a few minor repairs to make, but it could have been much worse.
* During the storm, I was reminded again how wonderful Trucker is. Whenever we have setbacks, he is quick to step up and take care of things. I was at work when the flooding started, but by the time I got home, he had everything under control and had already cleaned the first floor. No matter what happens, it isn't insurmountable with such a lovely partner.