Sunday, November 26, 2017

This Week...Beyond Money ???-11/24

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.

Sorry, yet again for late/missing posts. The work schedule has been rough and the DST blues hit me particularly strong this year. I think I've made it through the worst of it.
* We got our first snow. The garden is done for the year.
* I took clippings from my golden pothos plant and rooted them in a vase of water. The house is turning into a jungle, and I like it. We are getting some great health benefits from all the greenery and it definitely helps make me feel more alive while I'm cooped up indoors.
* I dug up a lavender plant from the garden and brought it inside. It was accidentally left in the garden over last winter and not only survived, but thrived. It is huge compared to the potted lavender I remembered to bring in last fall. I put it in a fairly large pot. Hopefully I didn't kill it. It's root system was a lot larger than I expected and I think I ripped up some of it.
* Lavender update: It seems to be doing fine. No new growth, but it hasn't shriveled up and died. I had some shells left from when we bought stuffed clams (I cleaned them really well) and used those to cover the soil to retain moisture. It looks nice.
* I had a couple decent sized heads of red cabbage so for my after-work meal/snack, I have often sauteed them in a little butter and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Easy and delicious.
* We made tacos one night with the last of the $.75/lb ground pork from the freezer.
* We had baked potatoes often.
* We got a ton of eggs. Like, 10 dozen. We gave some away, but then I had a coupon from Meijer for $.35/off a dozen eggs and they were on sale for $.49/dozen. How could I pass up $.14/dozen eggs? That's right. I couldn't. So, we have hard boiled them by the dozen. Trucker eats them while I'm at work. I struggle to get him to make meals for himself, so this is an easy way to make sure he is getting some nutrition while I'm away. We also used several to make goldenrod eggs.
* I made fried cheesy eggs with some gorgonzola.
* I made stock with frozen scraps. It was delicious.
* I used the stock and some leftovers to make a taco soup: ground pork, poblano and jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic. I also added a jar of salsa and a can of creamed corn. Out-of-pocket cost was around $.75 for a dozen meals.

* We went out with my parents a few times. Once, we took them out for pizza at a local pizzeria. Another time we took them out for coffee at Panera (and used our rewards card) and then Dad took us all out for Steak n Shake. We had a coupon in our entertainment book for BOGO entree salads, so that is what Mom and I did.
* Mom and I met up one day before work for lunch. Afterwards, we went shopping for a trip she had coming up. I had a coupon for 10% off at a thrift store where she found a couple pairs of jeans. I didn't buy anything.
* We went to the gallery hop. I do so love the whole affair: the street performers, the art, the bustle. It is the only time of the month that I am glad that I live in the city.
* We went to my family's one evening. My parents are out of town, so we and my siblings (and significant others) had a movie night. Batman Begins and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I brought snacks. I made popcorn (buttered, BBQ and Nacho). I also brought crackers with manager's special cheese (garlic ginseng jack and ranch cheddar and chipotle cheddar spreads). We made mocktails with orange juice and 7up (surprisingly good). It was one of the nicest evenings I can remember. We got to play with their dogs (3-year-old and 6-month-old Goldendoodles).
* I went out with coworkers a couple times after work. It is the closest to socialization I get most of the time, since my free waking hours after from 1-5 AM. I don't drink and just get a cheap appetizer or a lemonade.
* I got to go out with Daisy one afternoon before work. We went out for Panera. It was so wonderful to spend time with her and her adorable little. She gave me a hysterical gag gift.

My coworker spotted this lil friend when we
were going into Roosters. How cool!
* We went out for a walk at the audobon one day before work on a rare warm and dry day. We did another day for a couple hours. It is on the way to work, and is great to get a little outdoors time since I am indoors pretty much all the time I'm not driving these days.

* We completed our wellness checklist to get the maximum discount on insurance.
* I redeemed points to pay down a credit card. I am carefully using the credit card. I make payments every few days to pay off whatever I spent and a little extra. Those points are helping to knock down the balance.
* I get to check my credit score for free through one of my banks. Over the last couple of months I have been working hard to knock down the credit card debt we incurred after the accident. Just in the last two months, I have raised my credit score by 33 points, raising from the fair to the good range. I intend to keep going strong.
* I checked my retirement account and it looks pretty good. Not factoring in my other retirement accounts (at some point I do plan on consolidating them), at my current contributions (I also have it set up for contributions to increase by 1% every January for my entire career and have some good sized raises coming over the next several years), I will have about the same income level as I have now, assuming the market performs average. I do plan to save more, because you never know, but it is nice to see that I'm catching up from my rough years. I had saved a considerable amount for the first several years that I was on my own, but saved nothing during the recession and the few years after.
* I had a certain percentage of my paycheck put into savings and  401k each week.

House and Home:
* Steve got more vent deflectors to keep the warm air from going right against the windows. This definitely makes the house feel warmer at the same thermostat setting.

* We got our biometric screenings done.
* Trucker got a phone call from the dental school. He had an appointment for next week to get some dental work done, but the students are starting to panic because they need their hours in to graduate. Three different students offered to do a quarter of deep gum cleaning for free (He has the other quarter getting done next week). He also gets a few more free visits and cleanings.
* We switched to 90 mail-order prescriptions for our maintenance meds. That reduces our cost from $5/month (plus an up-charge of 10% penalty after 3 refills) to $10/3 months.
* Our coupon book is expiring soon, so I brought it in to share with my coworkers. I noticed a stack of coupons on my boss's desk. Another coworker said that he is taking his little girl out bowling over the weekend with one of the coupons.
How was your week?

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