March Recap

Today, we made a major life-changing decision. We’re going to buy a house – and not just any house. It’s a 3,000 square-foot Colonial in the ‘burbs with a pool and a 3-car garage, on a full 3-acre lot. And guess what! It has a white picket fence! Sure, we know we’ll both have to go back to work full-time to pay for it but man, it will be sooo worth it to have our own piece of the American Dream. Who cares about travel anyway?? We can do that when we get this thing paid for in 30 years. After all, we’ll only be in our 70s.

Yeah, right!! April Fools!! 

March might have been a crazy month but we didn’t loose our minds completely LOL. We’re pretty content to live off one income in our nice-sized 750-square foot apartment, where our only debt is a rapidly dwindling student loan. So how crazy was March, you might wonder. Let me just tell you.

On the positive side…

  • We had two major goals for this month – renew my passport and pay off our car. I’m happy to say, we did both.
  • Angie and I both read 3 books. One of mine, The China Study, was a beast to get through and I thought for a while it might be the only book I read in March. If it had, it would have been worth it. We gained a lot of great information on the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet from the book.
  • Speaking of eating plants, we had 17 entirely vegetarian days this month (or 78 meatless meals, if you break it down that way). Every meal (but one) that we ate while on vacation was meatless and we even dined at 7 different restaurants. Our “new” food of the month was brussel sprouts.
  • On the topic of vacation, we made progress on a few things from our Happiness Project Bucket List during the week we spent in Georgia and Florida, including finding 11 letterboxes. Though we camped twice, I’m reluctant to mark that off our list since we were mostly just stopping for the night rather than camping for the sake of being outdoors. One of our overnights was quite the adventure though. You can read about it here.
  • We were able to log several great walks and hikes in March. We hiked 26.8 miles and walked 68.2. We even found two new trails in our area.
  • We watched 4 documentaries, including A Place at the Table (Amazon Prime) and Sustainable (Netflix).

On the other side…

  • I didn’t blog as much as I wanted to. I think I only had 5 posts for this month.
  • Our trip to Florida was wonderful but it made me a bit sad (which is not exactly what we were trying to accomplish). As much as I love my family here in TN, walking our beach and seeing our friends made me very homesick and I think the few weeks following our return were unnecessarily hard (ie. busy) because of that.

On the fence…

  • I can’t decide whether we had a good month financially or not. We had 11 no-spend days, which seems like a great accomplishment but we went over-budget on groceries/household goods by $180 and spent an extra $142 on miscellaneous stuff. However, we also saved $566. So…maybe I’m just being hard on myself for the added spending and it really was a decent month. Yeah, let’s go with that.
  • Side hustles were down. We only made $20.65, mostly off of Easy Shift, but I’m not ready to call this a complete negative. We spent more time doing other things besides side-hustling (some were good, like our vacation and hiking, and others just plain busyness).

If you’re keeping up with our food finds, here’s our March tally. Note – these finds represent only 10 visits to the dumpster. We shared this month’s food with 3 other people.

  • 3 pounds Fuji apples + 22 mixed apples
  • 11 plums
  • 6 limes
  • 40 navel oranges
  • 21 blood oranges
  • 7 Cara-Cara oranges
  • 4 – 5 oz. containers of mixed greens
  • 1.5 pints blueberries
  • 6 oz. raspberries
  • 6 zucchini
  • 3 heads of cabbage
  • 1 head brocolli
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 4 pounds grapes
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 8 red potatoes
  • 10 pounds Russet potatoes
  • 3 quarts strawberries
  • 1 bag brussel sprouts
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 2 bell peppers (red & yellow)
  • 3 dozen + 3 eggs

Here are a few of the highlights from March:

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How was your month?

February Recap

February was the month that couldn’t make up it’s mind. One minute it was freezing cold, the next, it was warm and pleasant; then just before you could get coordinated to go for a walk, it was pouring down rain. The weather wasn’t the only thing being wishy-washy though. All month long, I couldn’t seem to make up my mind on just what I wanted to do with my free time – declutter, organize the kitchen, sew curtains, plan the garden, play outside, read a book, write, try a new recipe, or just take a nap? They all sounded equally appealing and I wanted to do every one of them, so February became the month of scattered ideas.

On the upside…

  • We removed an additional 67 items from our home, bringing our grand total to 217 for the year. Most of these items were donated to charity. One item sold on Ebay for $5.60.
  • Angie read 3 books and I read 2. Check out my page or Angie’s page on Goodreads for more details.
  • I posted 6 articles to the blog and did a fair job of keeping up with our Instagram and Facebook pages.
  • We walked 35 miles and hiked 4.2 miles.
  • We enjoyed 11 completely vegetarian days. In March, I think I may count meatless meals instead of whole days because some days were counted out due to a slice of ham on a sandwich or a piece of turkey bacon for breakfast. If we were counting that way this month, we had 52 meatless meals (breakfast, lunches, and dinners).
  • On our quest to try new fruits and veggies, Angie ate blackberries for the first time (and has since eaten them several more times!) and I had a blood orange (well, more like a bag of them).
  • We watched 6 documentaries on Netflix, including two that we highly recommend, Sugar Coated and Salam Neighbor.
  • We made $298.98 in side hustles (which included rolling the change from our vacation jar).

We also participated in the Super Lean Spending Month Challenge. Here’s how we did:

febfinalspend

We managed 13 No Spend Days and stayed within budget for our groceries and household goods. Toward the end of the month, we decided to stock up on pantry items and purchase a vacuum sealer (for better food storage) and a new hair clipper set (after 3 years of monthly home haircuts, ours finally gave out). Even with the extra spending, I’d call this a successful super lean month. Our groceries and household spending was 3.8% of our income and discretionary spending was 6.9%. We also saved $2012 toward paying off our car early.

On the downside…

  • We still didn’t get outside as much as we wanted to. The crazy, uncooperative weather remains to blame.
  • I spent most of yesterday drafting a post that I ended up deleting. It was about an unfortunate bit of drama with our neighbor that happened last Thursday and my feelings on how chaos affects happiness. The post would probably have been okay to publish but after thinking about it, I decided doing so was not in keeping with my own happiness goals. One day when I read back over these posts, I want to remember the fun and the trials and errors of minimalist living, not those inconvenient things that make no real difference in the long run.

Here are some of the highlights of the month:

We picked up our new rain barrel from Cumberland River Compact.
We picked up our new rain barrel from Cumberland River Compact. It barely fit in the car LOL!
Finally made it to Centennial Park in Nashville, where took a nice long walk and discovered a "love locks" bridge.
Finally made it to Centennial Park in Nashville, where we took a nice long walk and discovered a “love locks” bridge.
Angie found 9 pounds of apples. We dried them for a road trip snack.
Angie found 9 pounds of apples. We dried them for a delicious road trip snack.
panera
We picked up 26 out of 28 bagels during our FREE Bagel Month from Panera. At an average cost of $1.39 each, we scored $36.14 in free food.

How was your February?