Frugal Living, The Beginning, Uncategorized, Zen Routines

Money Monday

Mondays are pretty pleasant. It took a lot to get here but I took baby steps. I don’t generally go to work on Mondays unless my home care company has a needed shift to fill. Most of my work is done on Friday and Saturday so when that dreaded Monday comes for everyone else, I can sit back and relax.

In the past, I didn’t structure my free time so my mind would take over and I would get everything from hyperactive projects to sadness to take up my time. I finally got smart and learned to structure my time a bit so that I get things done and yet rarely stress about any of it. Today, for example, is Money Monday.

Money Monday is pretty easy because we do these steps for a Zen Life 365:

1) Put everything possible on online autopay. Everything from the Mortgage, Credit Cards, Utilities, Solar, Car payment, and phone service is put on a payment schedule online so we plan well for our budget.

2) We don’t carry cash. This makes tracking easier and we are instantly accountable.

3) We use Google Drive (Linked to our family email) to build spreadsheets and store receipts so that each of us can view the expense record from anywhere.

4) Receipts are scanned with our TinyScanner app using our smartphones as soon as it’s in our hand. The rule is that we don’t leave the parking lot until it’s done.This work done right away means that we don’t have to worry about keeping physical receipts including the mess that goes with them.

5) Every Monday I sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon and enter our expenses into our monthly spreadsheet. This takes just a couple of minutes because we prepped well enough and because we don’t spend nearly as much as we used to.

This year we have goals to pay off our credit cards and one of our vehicles. We are saving money by eating frugal vegan meals and by avoiding needless little shopping trips where we would be tempted to buy more than we need. Instead, we stocked up on what we need and have more time to spend at home as a family together.en

Frugal Living

My Frugal September

So far this week jeans have been bleached in the laundry by accident and I realize that I am down to the last pair of my favorite eyeglasses. It was time to sit down and shop. I have been trying to limit spending not only for the budget sake but for the reasons of my becoming a minimalist. I am lucky that I have some favorite places that have been consistently reliable. So shopping was quick and painless. I bought only what I needed by shopping right before we  were paid. This makes me shop very frugally. If I shop on payday I tend to be more liberal with my spending because I think I have more money to spend. It makes sense in my world.

Jeans: I dislike extreme fashion trends so I buy jeans that are middle of the road classic and affordable. The ones that fit me well and meet all of that criteria are

Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda Jeans

I buy them at Costco online because they are never more than $14.99 and they carry the tall sizes as well. Sometimes they have them at my local warehouse but rarely the Tall sizes. I also want to shop as much as possible online so it worked well.  Today there was a $5.00 off coupon for each pair so final cost for two pairs jeans = $22.11 . Not bad.

I have bought my eyeglasses for years from Zennioptical.com . They have glasses starting at $6.95 a pair. If you get upgraded lenses, coatings, etc there is an additional cost. Even with add-ons ,these are much less than a local vision company. They charge one low-cost shipping fee of $4.95. I ordered three pairs of glasses at $6.95 each with no additional extras. These are prescription glasses that I use daily since I ditched the contacts. The Final cost for three pairs prescription eyeglasses = $25.80 Not bad there either. Done.

For the next 15 days:

My buying schedule for bulk items this month:
Black Turtle Beans 25 lbs = $19.00
Old Fashioned Oats 25 lbs = $15.20
I’ll buy these both on the 15th as planned.

Soy Milk 2 cases $26
Bulk Coffee 4 lbs $28
Pasta Sauce $4
Frozen Strawberries $10
Bananas $8
Carrots $4
Sweetener $8
Vegan “Meats” $50
Vegan Pizza $16
TOTAL= $154 ish

We have enough vegetables from the garden,pasta,and spices etc to make whatever dishes we dream up for the next two weeks.

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Growing Food

Growing Herbal Tea

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Who knew that you could make herbal tea and other beverages from Citronella Plants?

I did some investigating and it turns out that Citronella is not only in Lemon Grass but also in a Geranium, Pelargonium citrosum.  It’s commonly called the Mosquito Plant or Mosquito Geranium. Don’t confuse it with others called the Mosquito Plant as well though.

I bought these two last spring in the hopes of keeping the little bugs away from the patio. Although it seems to deter them when I crush a leaf in my hand and rub it on my arms, the plant itself just smells good and doesn’t really seem to make a difference on the patio.

While doing some investigating herbs to grow for tea I stumbled upon the fact that I can actually use the leaves either fresh or dried in tea or other beverages. Here I was thinking I would have to purchase Lemon Grass starts to get that fresh lemon taste all winter and behold I have something I can use already.

I have already taken a few sprigs to make new starts and as all Geraniums, it’s easy to grow new plants from clippings.  I’ll make a tutorial if anyone is interested. This plant is also easy to grow in pots in the house over the winter or to pull from the dirt and hang upside down in a place like a basement or a garage to overwinter. In the spring you just trim the dead leaves, repot the plant, and water.

Here are the articles I found for reference:

Three Incredible, Edible Scented Geraniums

Organic Scented Geraniums

Edible Landscaping- Scented Geraniums

As fall grows near I will prune my plants and dry the clippings, then place in a sealed glass jar for lemon tea this winter.

This adds to my stock of Mint and Basil that I grow and use now for herbal tea. My goal is to be able to grow most of what we consume. This includes beverages. We buy beans, rice, pasta, whole grains, spices, and nuts in bulk to fill in what we can’t feasibly grow.

More later….

 

Uncategorized

My Minimalism

Becoming a Minimalist has been an adventure and I look forward to even more learning. I’ve swayed my spouse a bit towards owning less. He likes it just because we spend less money. Nothing wrong with that. Because I live with a spouse and a child I have had to relinquish some of the things that I aspire to for now. There won’t be a Tiny House just yet or owning just 100 things but I have made some pretty good choices and accomplishments such as wasting less, eating a plant-based diet, and getting rid of the unnecessary.

I’ve met some really good people along the way too.

zero waste

Zero Waste: Beverages

While we aspire to be more aware of our consumption and waste we are taking a hard look at the details of our life. Convenience beverages such as bottled drinks, single serve coffee, and individually wrapped tea bags are just a few things that made us sit up and take notice.

We still use our Keurig coffee station but we buy coffee in bulk and use our cloth bags to bring it home. Then we store it in glad jars ready for use. We have to wash and pack the brewer with coffee each time which is really the only hassle with the change. We save the environment from over 100 plastic pods a month. It’s worth it.

Bulk tea is expensive. We are using up the rest of our tea bags. Grated fresh ginger will be one healthy replacement with no waste. The peeling goes into the compost bin. The other option we find is drying the fresh mint that I buy in bulk at the local market and using that for tea with the knowledge that it has medicinal qualities such as aiding in digestion. I have found a bulk hibiscus tea that we can replace our zinger teas with and it’s on the list to order. The problem with that is the packing that comes with online ordering. I’m not sure that we are truly saving anything there.

Water: I stopped buying bottled water. My husband has yet to completely wean himself from his Smart Water addiction. He does only
use it on the job. Baby steps there.

Soy Milk: We still use soy milk and although the containers are recyclable I cringe. Its not worth the time and energy to make it myself. We agreed to only use it for cereal and occasional baking. Smoothies with be made with hibiscus.

Juice: We stopped using drink mixes, bottled juice, and canned tomato juice. Now we use fresh lemons or limes and a little something to sweeten it. We buy citrus in bulk at the local market. Peels go in the compost bin.

We’ve made some positive choices and have less trash and recycling to show for it. As we examine each aspect of our consumption and make changes where we can it feels good to know that we are at least making an effort and every little bit counts for the greater good.

Weekly Projects

Week Two Projects

Food: Using the discarded starter from my sourdough, I’ll be making whole wheat sourdough pizza crust tonight as well as using the same recipe for making little round flat breads for sandwiches Saturday and lunches this week. I will also be making more whole wheat crackers and trying two new variations.

Needlework: I made a cotton dishcloth and I’m working on a set of potholders for my own kitchen. I picked up some great yarn for the potholders at the thrift store. It was a steal.

Gardening: Hopefully I can work on the garden this weekend and get some things planted.

Social: This last week was a lesson learned on social media. I reposted what I thought was something sweet about getting along with diversity. It turned into a tongue lashing from someone I barely know that took it much differently than it was intended. I have no need for unnecessary drama. I’m done with social media.

Family: We went to see the play Mary Poppins at the local highschool last Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed it. This Saturday it’s the boy’s turn to take me to Cabela’s new store near us. It’s only fair.

Exercise: We’ll be moving the treadmill back to the master bedroom next to his new elliptical. No more sitting on our butts watching TV. If we are watching we are going to be moving too. It’s been rainy all week so Melvin is still waiting for his walk. 😉

Zero Waste: I felt that I was very successful shipping this week with less than 5 packaged items purchased. Everything else was in bulk. It makes me very happy.

Going Green: We should hear something this week on our solar bid. If it works we plan to put solar on our house as our major improvement this year.

Meditation: My mind had been challenged by constant running thoughts and some anger that was over silly things. I’m disengaging from the unnecessary and going to work on staying in the present moment along with my projects that make me happy.