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 a few cherry and medium-sized tomatoes and a few Christmas Tree peppers.
* I planted more mustard micros.
* I harvested some micros.
* I made a strawberry apple crisp pie. I used a boxed pie crust (again, bleck) to use it up. The apples were from my parent's trees and the strawberries were just a few left from snacking that needed to be used soon. I made a crumble topping. I didn't add any sugar other than to the topping, so it wasn't overly sweet, but made for nice breakfasts.
* I made a cheesy pasta using up a box of elbow macaroni (store brand on manager's special, $.50/lb), the rest of the cheese and milk (to use up before our trip), two onion halves (I had previously cut into one not realizing I already had a half in the refrigerator), sweet peppers, hot peppers, cherry tomatoes (sauteed) and carrots. We used it for lunches for a couple days.
* I froze several medium-sized tomatoes. We were leaving on a weekend trip and they were going to turn before we had a chance to use them. I tossed them, skin and all into the freezer.
* I froze portions of the pasta dish to use later.
* I froze some shishito peppers (sauteed) for later.
* We had a long coffee date one day before work. Trucker had to run errands afterwards and I had to go to work, so when we got hungry we decided to order food there. I had a coupon that if I placed my order online I got $5 off. We ordered online and just walked up to the counter to pick it up. After the coupon and taxes, the meal was $2.75. Not too shabby for a pretty filling meal for two. We used our travel mugs to get a discount on the coffee.
* I loved spending time on the beach. Letting the water crash in around my legs. Climbing rocks. Watching that awesome sunset. I got a cold from getting wet but it was totally worth it.
* Trucker has opened a couple of micro-investment accounts. One he has a small portion invested each week. The other rounds up his purchases to the next dollar and invests that money. He also has a Roth IRA that he has money transferred automatically each month. I ran the numbers and just at those three accounts, he is putting away 10% of his after-tax income. He also saves a variable amount into a savings account. I make more than he does, and he does more around the house than I do (especially important as we are working at getting the house sale-ready). However, between the two of us, we are saving a good percentage of our income and making progress.
* Between debt repayments and savings, including retirement, I saved 30.3% of my after-tax income in September.
* I worked a bit of overtime most days.
* Trucker filmed for a new movie this week. He played a villain and got shot!
* He also had another audition.
* We ate way too much during our weekend trip. Back to the diet now!
* My blood pressure is decent.
* Trucker is running a lot at softball. I am really proud of him.
* One day while organizing we found a paper that was supposed to be sent to the insurance company for our new house insurance policy. I called to let them know what had happened and that I'd be sending it out that day. It was a good thing I called. Apparently, they did an inspection, saw the unused dog kennel out back that I hadn't gotten around to dismantling ("evidence of a dog"). Since my application didn't state we had a dog (since we don't), they didn't know whether the breed was on the restricted breed list or not, so they assumed it was and cancelled my policy (but had never contacted me for clarification and I hadn't gotten the cancellation notice). I explained the situation and am waiting to find out if my policy is going to be reinstated. The woman I talked to said that time was of the essence, but seemed to think that it would be reinstated.
* Two of our dear friends got married this weekend. We took a weekend trip so we could be there. Originally, I was supposed to work the day of the wedding and wouldn't have been able to get there until the reception was wrapping up. Thankfully, work was cancelled the day before. As his gift to them, Trucker was the officiant for the wedding (He got ordained online and paid a $10 fee to be licensed in our state) so he went up the night before for the reception. I got off work at midnight and drove 2.5 hours to the hotel (Used hotel.com and earned two nights towards a free one). The next day we went to the wedding. It was a brilliant affair. Their friends let them borrow their beach-front house and the neighbors let them set up the dinner tent on their yard. We ate tacos (taco bar) and pizza (they got a pizza truck with mobile wood-fired oven!). The ceremony was beautiful. Trucker did a great job. Afterwards, we stayed for several hours playing Cards Against Humanity, nibbling leftovers, and I ran out into the water and climbed rocks along the water front (despite the fact that it was frigid!). They are two of the most lovely people I know and I was so glad they each found such a perfect person to spend their lives with. I couldn't be happier.
* I wanted to share a sweet thing I witnessed. It was the birthday of one of my coworkers this week. His family is all in Puerto Rico and he is really worried. So one of my other coworkers (the amazing woman who is always taking care of everyone) decided to make it the best birthday she could. She brought in homemade salsa and chips and birthday cake (she had the boss sneakily chat with the guy to find out what kind of cake was his favorite). It meant so much to him. It was beautiful to see her do something to bring some joy to a stressful birthday. There is good in the world.
* That coworker and I brought snacks for each other. I gave her some Israeli snacks that I got at a salvage grocer (Which she liked until her daughter's friend told her the texture reminded her of fried mealworms!) and another day brought her more Korean crackers since she said her grandson adored them. She brought me Rice Krispie Treats the next day. The snacks I bring don't cost a lot, but she feels appreciated and we are building a friendly sharing relationship.
* Her grandson went into the hospital while we were at work one day and she mentioned that her husband had taken him to the hospital in her car. I offered to drive her there after work, but her daughter's boyfriend picked her up.
How was your week?