Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Togetherness-More or Less?

I tend to visit quite a few blogs on a regular basis. As one who blogs herself, I appreciate the perspective of other boomer and retirement blogs, as well as creative blogs, money saving blogs and travel sites. I enjoy almost all of them. Unfortunately I don't link to articles from other bloggers as often as I probably should, and I rarely comment on blogs. I say this even as I know that we all appreciate comments and input and emails (an I will try to be better on this). Occasionally though, I read a blog post that I need to comment on or share here. More rarely, although there are blogs that speak to me, are those times when I want to say "Yes, This", "I can so relate", or something along this vein. And so it is with Kathy Merlino's current blog post. I hope she'll forgive me for piggy-backing to her post on the topic!

When I was in Germany, my department chief was English. She was a joy to work with, and a lovely person. (as an intelligent woman who travels in Europe and works outside the UK regularly I know that she is totally distraught about current events, but that is a story for another time) I learned more than a few phrases that are now permanently in my personal dictionary, including stone the crows, and I'll come around and knock you up. Celia's husband is retired military and the Chief of Staff. They had no children. More importantly to this discussion, they did everything together. When he was getting his doctorate, she went to the library with him. They literally spent all of their free time together and much of their lunch  and mid-day time as well. 

I remember well one of the first times that my husband went on a four day ski trip via bus with the Frankfurt Ski Club. When she realized where he was, her first comment was "You have plenty of vacation and comp time, you and your son should have gone along".  When I let her know that I had never, ever gone on any of his ski trips, she was shocked. "Don't you want to be with your husband?" I reminded her that I had a damaged knee, and that skiing was not in my proverbial wheel box of skills and never would be. Spending three and a half days sitting in the ski lodge reading or doing whatever while John was skiing with his buddies from dawn to dusk was not my idea of quality time. This was something my friend never quite grasped. She was of the belief that our time should be spent together, always. And the idea that he might be officiating a basketball game on Saturday while I was doing quilting with my friends was equally foreign to her.

My husband and I married later in life than many do. We had both been in committed relationships, and I even had a young child. More importantly, we had both lived alone for years after college and had our own habits and quirks. More importantly we each had developed our own hobbies and interests-many of which we did not share. My husband skied. He officiated a variety of sports, both youth and adult. He was active in small community theater. I had no interest in the former, could not really participate in the officiating and while I occasionally filled in helping at the dinner theater, was not really involved. My son played many sports (the reason my husband started officiating), and helped with set design and other non acting jobs at the theater. He was always an avid golfer, a hobby which my son identified with and joined him.

I on the other hand loved all forms of quilting and crafting, long distance walking (usually alone), bike riding and Volksmarching. I played pinochle. I took college classes. I could go on, but you get the drift.

 Obviously, we had many, many interests together. We both loved to travel, both locally and far away. We had both lived in Germany for many years prior to marriage, and both had already been considering moving to Germany and even retiring there (that move took along time). We both loved film, although he, having attention span issues, preferred to watch at home so he could get up and put on pause. We both loved really good food and would eat almost anything you can name (my list of things I wont touch barely passes five fingers). We both loved the theater, classical music and classical rock and bluegrass and the blues. We would love to spend the day downtown in Washington DC going in all the museums. I could go on. The thing is though, that I never thought he should stop doing what he enjoyed just because it wasn't my thing, or because I had another commitment, any more than I would have cancelled my annual quilting expedition because he would have no interest.

This this extended to other areas of our relationship-including parenting. When there was a van tour with limited seating the first year we were in Germany to visit the Battle of the Bulge site and see Patton's grave, I passed. And they both had a wonderful time. On the other hand, since my husband had no leave when we first arrived in Germany, I took my son for a week's vacation in Normandy. Where I saw every single battle location, every one. My kids are ten years apart and for many years, I was the mom who drove the girls to the mall, where I then went and saw a movie by myself, while my husband stayed home with little bit and watched the sporting events of his choice.

Prior to my husband's illness, we had begun the discussions of where to retire, and what we both needed in terms of geography and and services. We also discussed what we didn't want. As many readers know, our choice was to remain overseas, and that is very likely the long term choice I may make eventually, but that is beside the point. We were excited to be able to do the things we enjoy together more often, and both looked forward to slower times together. We also took into consideration our individual interests, and how we would fit those into our retirement lifestyle.

I know that everyone has expectations of what marriage will be like in retirement, and sometimes both views mesh and sometimes they don't. Without picking on the men, it does sometimes seem to me that men who retire seem to have the post retirement "togetherness" need more than women-but maybe my perception is skewed. I do know that for us, our togetherness really needed to be balanced by both alone time and by individual time. It always worked for us and I somehow feel sure that would have been true in retirement.

And, while we don't plan as such for death or divorce, I do have to say that I believe our lifestyle was a big help in my post widowhood world. While I did have grief and loneliness, and still do on occasion, I did not have to wonder what to do with myself. Since I had hobbies I did alone, I was not someone who looked at everything I did and rejected it out of hand. It took me some time to appreciate the joys of single travel, and sleeping alone. I missed him cooking for me, and so very much more.

On the other hand, when I quilted, went to book group, went out to lunch with friends, and went to the morning matinee?  These were things that I had always done with other friends or alone, rather than with him. So every little thing, every single day, was not a reminder of him. I can only imagine how someone who literally does everything with their spouse survives those experiences. I also had many friends, separate from my husband, and he did the same, which was a great help, but probably a topic for another day.

The bottom line is that I appreciate the kind of marriage and independence we each had, and cannot image another. But that's just me, and others need their own level of togetherness. How about you?

Monday, June 27, 2016

How About That Supreme Court, Folks!

This morning as I sat down to write, I had two blog posts in mind that I had written last week and never gotten posted. Only, before I sat down to write, I glanced at the news of the day-and decided that for this morning at least, I needed to say something else.

I have made a commitment to stay away from politics on this blog except for rare occasions, and know full well that I posted something more than mildly political not to long ago. But as a woman, especially one of a certain age, this was one I could not ignore, so bear with me and the fun stuff will be back this afternoon.

For those non-newsreaders, this morning the Supreme Court upheld abortion rights in a huge way. They did so in such a manner, that even had their been a conservative judge as number nine, those rights still would have been upheld.  In other words, all the posturing about waiting to appoint a judge who would be conservative? All for naught.

For those unfamiliar with the state of Texas laws, Texas was requiring that abortions be performed in a hospital setting, with stricter rules than for any other outpatient procedure, including colonoscopies. Couched in terms of protecting women, this was to an easy way to close down abortion and reproductive clinics in Texas, or so they thought. They court also held up a gun ban for those convicted of any kind of domestic violence that was passed at a state level.

For my very conservative friends who read this blog (of which I have more than a few) I need to add this observation-and I say this as one who lives with and is close friends with those whose politics are much more conservative than mine, so here I go:

The bottom line is that the United States as a population has advanced on social issues, and the conservative portion of the Republican part not only has not advanced, they ignore the fact that the majority of Americans do not hold their views. The majority of people in this country are in favor of reproductive rights, marriage equality and the equal treatment of all including Muslims.

In other words, I don't think the 49 percent, or the one percent, has anything to do with why Republicans, especially conservatives, consistently lose at  the national level. It's not about the economy, it's about social issues. A party platform that wants to repeal Roe V Wade and return to Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act is probably not going to be successful. And while I may support a Republican at the local level, depending on his views, at the national level there is simply not a snowball's chance in hell.

In other words, Donald Trump is an idiot, a buffoon and an embarrassment. If he were to win, I expect the folks who voted for him would be like the folks in England right now. Dear God, what have we done. However, in the words of my very Republican son, "He's not freaking Ted Cruz". And there you have it. You reap what you sew.

Just as an aside, my son and his conservative friends, (all of whom are slowly drifting away from the Republican party) all agree that the greatest threat to their personal future is.........the environment, global warming, and the way we treat the planet. And this comes from millennials who are struggling financially, have huge school debt and very good reason to put financial security at the top of their lists. My son would couch it in scientific terms, to paraphrase him. They are intelligent young people who know that Global warming is a fact, just as they know that their gay friends were born that way, created by God if you will. These kids are the future folks, and they don't buy the non-financial stuff that conservatives are selling-with good reason.

As a woman of my generation, of a certain age if you will, I can never relax when it comes to reproductive rights, and occasionally worry that women my daughter's age forget how they got to be where they are. But today I am encouraged on many levels, and hoping that this will be a precedent and a guideline for other states in the future on this issue.

And to the NRA folks who wanted these two spouse abusers to be allowed to carry guns? I say Ha!!! and Ha!! again.

Back to frugal retirement spending and more.....this evening.




 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Those Movie Theaters, My How They Have Changed

For those of you who are kindle folk, if you had one 2012 or before, you could have a nice gift card in your Amazon account.  Please follow the link in this blurb at the bottom.(assuming you are logged into your account), or go to your my account and then on the overview look at the summary page at the top (where it says "Barbara's Amazon" and shows orders pending and such. Apple used to a co-owner of Kindle as I understand it, and in 2014 they lost a price fixing class action suit. Payout was two days ago. Supposedly you should have gotten an email (I did not).

I am a movie maven. Except for one person in the world, I know more about movies than anyone else in my world (which is a large one). I am the one who my daughter calls when driving back from the Outer Banks of North Carolina at two in the morning to ask about the full cast of the first Cape Fear movie, knowing that I can answer that down to the minor characters half asleep. I'm the girl who when someone mentions a movie with Clint Eastwood "walking in the mist with school girls" can tell you the name and the year, and knows all about that survivalist movie starring Sidney Poitier, Inger Stevens, and John Cassavettes in an empty New York.  

The same is true of modern movies. I've seen the AFI top 100  (the old and the new lists), the movies with the top fifty worst villains, and the top fifty good guys, international movies and more. With the exception of a couple silent films, baby I've seen them. I'm the person who tells everyone who has said in the past year "No, I won't see Mad Max" that YES, you should see the new Mad Max (especially if you saw the old, but still). It had a 98 percent for a reason and sometimes violence is necessary for and improves a film.

I tell ya, I don't just see the great movies, but also the not so great and the just okay. I can tell you about most of the movies that used to be late nite on Elvira show, and I'm unashamed to admit it. I rarely review movies on this blog, although I am trying to more regularly review TV shows and books. I believe that people should make up their own minds about movies, and there are some other bloggers, include Rosy, who do a wonderful job.

Believe me, I did not see all these movies in the theater!  I am a night owl at heart, and while current late night TV can be as much about home shopping and talk shows, there was a time when much of late night TV was movies. For many years, I worked the two to ten shift in the medical field and had to come home and wind down for a good three hours if not more before I could possibly sleep. Add that to parents who were huge movie fans, and there you have it.

That said, I am a movie goer. I am willing to pay for movies, though these days I tend to go in the morning and on the week unless it's a group event. I go to big theaters, little local theaters, and even brew house theaters.

Being the lazy retiree that I am though, my favorite theater is the one with the reclining seats. That's right, my neighborhood theater has huge, reclining seats-with enough space between the aisles that even with my seat reclined, people can walk in front of me with ease. It also let's me reserve my seat either online or in person. I never have to worry about finding an aisle seat on the bad leg days or one that is front and center on days like this morning, when I went to see Independence Day.

And if that were not enough, they bring me drinks. And food. They bring me food. Not like in a food and movie theater food, but they do fix it so I don't have to wait in line. Because I have a reserved seat, I can go ahead and order my food (M&Ms mixed in popcorn with soda) and have it waiting when I get there.

No lines, people. No lines. About that I am never going to complain.

And as for Independence Day?  Let's just say it was worth the entrance fee and more, but could have used Will Smith's repartee.

And so it goes, on another lazy Friday in retirement.


 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lazy Summer Friday

 Summer is here and the living is easy-sort of!

In the past week, most of my activities and groups have taken a summer break. No classes, no regular meetings. Other than a day of volunteering, and my regular knitting group, my summer is mainly free, and I am loving every hot and lazy minute of it. While I may travel in July, right now I am enjoying my yard and taking the "do what I feel like" thing to the extreme. Today was a lazy day, although as I look back at the end of the day, I did more than I thought.

Being the slow riser that i am, of course I got up, sat by the window and allowed myself to wake up at leisure, after which I made breakfast and picked up the house, or at least picked it up as much as I ever do.  Then, still in my long sundress lounger (I dressed for the day I expected to have, which was completely at home), I took the dogs outside and relaxed for an hour. Not reading, not writing, just swinging-and deciding how best to upgrade my poor pergola and cover it for year around use.




I had to get at least something "constructive" done with my day, so I sat down and put this quilt together for about an hour. What can I say, my niece likes ponies and pink-and purple.




After taking the dogs out in the yard for another half an hour (do you see a trend here?), I grabbed lunch and an ice cream bar and sat down to watch TV. In the daytime. Because I could. I watched an episode or so of the second season of Bloodline on Netflix, knitting when I was done eating.





After deciding not to walk or do aerobics (I move unevenly so I have straining on one side, and I smashed my foot purple and it hurts) until I can do them in a pool, I sat down to one of my many boxes of photos and started pulling. I'm not sure how to organize them, but I have  two free Shutterfly albums to make, so I figured one would be my parents. I just work on these as the mood hits me. And the gendarme with the mustache in the terrible picture on top?  That's my darling husband-in the only non-singing role in all of Fiddler on The Roof. What else is a guy who loves theater and cant sing to do when there's a musical in the works? 




My son came home from his job, we talked about his job searching and landscaping clients-in the back yard of course-and then we both looked at each other when the subject of food came up. That blank look was the notice that I had to come up with something, so I finally threw on some shorts and ran to the store to get brats, beer and salads. And then back into my lounger.

After watching the news and having grilled brats, I chilled for an hour with a book and my laptop, and then I set things out to make more of these Americana crafts when I get to them. Last but not least, I stared and my closet-for a good long while, before I got into bed with laptop and book.






Why was I staring? Well, weight loss is a double edged sword folks. After throwing out everything that did not fit me (much of which was purchased last year after I had to do the same purge), what I have left at least in the bottom department sounds like a chorus of a George Thoroughgood song. One shorts, one pant, and one skirt. I do believe it's time to try and shorten some pants or hit a thrift store or sale, if I want go out in public daily this summer. 




And so it goes, this Friday in retirement. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, so I'll be enjoying my shaded yard, my air conditioning, a good book and some soccer.

And so it goes this Friday in retirement!



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lessons From Orlando?

Today is a difficult day. Yesterday at least 49 people were killed in a gay bar in Orlando. I have had no words for a day, and still have no worlds to express my grief and frustration. This was an act of domestic terrorism and most importantly a hate crime against gays and Latinos, above all else. 

Unfortunately as we share our grief, the posturing and the name pointing and the yelling and the generalizations have begun.  While I am not an expert on much of anything, I do have some stream of conscious thoughts as the days have progressed:

The evidence at this point shows that this was a hate crime first. There appears to be absolutely no evidence that this was ISIS driven. Did the person involved have sympathies? You bet. But he was also raised by a reactionary, religious father who told him that all gays should go to hell, and has said so since then publicly. Sound familiar? There have been over 200 statements or legal actions by conservatives with similar themes in the last six months. Politicians insult and threaten Hispanics, implying that they are all criminals. Muslims are all radicals. Gays are going to hell, but "We love them anyway".  We have leaders in this country that are, in my opinion instigating hate and violence. Why should we be surprised when that's just what happens?

In fact, this is looking more and more like a young man with gender issues who flipped, and decided calling praising ISIS at the last minute might get him some more glory.  Personally, I find it convincing that the person in question was a regular at said bar, and that he chose a night that would target both gays and Hispanics (it was Latin night). When you teach people to hate gays, or Hispanics or anything else, you reap what you sow. And frankly a "but God still loves them" at the end of a diatribe is not good enough.

The NRA has this on it's head. The NRA does not believe in more advanced or deeper background checks and has fought them at every turn. A single enhanced background check would have shown that this person had been investigated by the FBI, and he would have failed, miserably. The NRA needs to get it's head out of it's proverbial ass (and yes, I know many of my readers are pro gun). Banning psychos from having assault rifles does not infringe on your right to protect yourself, hunt and kill animals or anything else you want to do.

Assault rifles are instruments of mass destruction. Period. People who are not active duty military do not need them, and very few military people carry assault rifles.  People who buy or sell them should be considered as terrorists until proven otherwise. Again, this has nothing to do with the right to protect oneself, shoot at targets or hunt. I am not anti-gun as such. 

Although I am pro gun, the truth is that single shooters do not generally stop mass attacks. This is for a variety of reasons, and I'm sure someone will remind me that many are in school zones which are gun free. In fact, the chance of hitting someone else, or being mistaken as a shooter by SWAT is so high, that although there were two armed soldiers at the Oregon tragedy, neither attempted to shoot. One thought he would hit a civilian, the other was afraid of being hit by responders-and these were trained reactors.

 The majority of shootings, even mass shootings and bombings in this country are NOT committed by Muslims-homegrown or otherwise. Since 1970, approximately two and a half percent of all such incidents have been committed by Muslims-yet we want to spy on our citizens, stop them from emigrating and bomb ISIS, just because. Even Jewish extremists have committed more terrorists acts than Muslims. In fact, Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism and military attacks in the world.

For those who are not familiar, as a country, the US supports one of the most radical forms of Islam (Sunni) over other sects who are less reactionary, and even over so called Arab secularists. Easy to look up. That's right, in Iraq we support the most conservative, least moderate group of Muslims, even to the point of arming them.

Last year, a young, southern, right wing reactionary good old boy shot at a church full of people, just because he could. He was a terrorist. Period. And yet, the stars and bars is not a symbol of hate, and no one is tearing down flags, spying on, or hunting down all the other conservative white boys who might have similar views. No one thinks he should have been denied use of a gun.

I live in Colorado. Not so many years ago, a red haired, wild looking young man walked into a movie theater and killed and permanently maimed untold numbers of people. That was an act of terrorism. Created and carried out here. Awhile back, a group of men took a town hostage because one of their friends had been arrested. That was terrorism. Period. Most American terrorist are home grown, created by their environment, and use the Christian Bible and the second amendment as their justification. Not the Koran.

Terrorism is terrible, and public, and scary. Really scary. Refusing to go out is not a solution.  We do not need to hide in fear. In America, we have a higher chance of dying from alcoholism, obesity, medical mistakes, sexual promiscuity, a car accident or brain eating diseases. In other words, the only way to be completely safe is to wrap ourselves in batting. Terrorism accounts for one or two percent of the deaths in the US, with gun accidents alone counting for a much higher percentage. There are thousands more children killed in gun violence than people who die from bombings or mass shootings. So while we grieve, let's not moan about how it's not safe to go out, the world is ending, or any other platitudes. On the other hand, lets pay more attention to what's going on around is, and the crazy guy in the room down the hall. Get past our hesitation to intervene, and mind someone else's business.

And finally, this: The US has fifteen percent of the world's population, and well over thirty percent of it's mass shootings. The only country that comes close in the western world for even one year that I'm aware of is Norway-and that's because one man killed many more than fifty people-and the population is minute. We even have a higher per capita rate of mass shootings and gun violence than some third world countries.

Perhaps it's time for a change? 



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Foto Friday-Punch Drunk Canines and More

Well, actually it's Foto Saturday I suppose. As often happens, I am behind on the proverbial ball. Please bear with me. I'm determined to get better at using my phone for picture taking and if the pics are blurry, it is due to the operator or the train website below!

A couple weeks ago, my coon hound went to the doctor for his annual visit.  The normal stuff; vaccines, heart worm check and so on. After the vet looked into his adorable ears, she checked out his mouth-and informed me that he had two very broken molars in the back that were infected. We all know that there is no such thing as a free pet, and that's when his cost for the month went from fifty bucks to a good seven hundred. What can I say, he's family.
 
Barely upright, that's Wilson!


This past week we had a three hour surgery, and said dog has been moved to really really soft food for awhile because of stitches in his mouth. The really fun part was bringing him home and the few days afterwords. On top of being put under for three hours, he was also taking serious drugs, and the anesthetic took a few days to wear off completely. Meanwhile good old Wilson walked around the house punch drunk, looking light he might have eaten one of my pot cookies. I should have taken a video to share the real hilarity.  For those dog owners who may be interested, I thought the broken teeth were from the occasional ice cube that hits the floor from the ice maker. Vet is absolutely sure that it was caused by his Nylabone, so he has now been moved to soft squeaky toys that he tears apart in a week and a Kong toy full of peanut butter! 

After staying home with him for a few days, on Sunday we left the pup alone in order to go to the silent auction at our church. Brunch, games, fun, a bake sale (for which I made key lime tarts) and of course the silent auction. I was very good and bid on nothing this year. I did however, do my share of donations. I put up for auction five trays of various holiday trays, which of course went quickly and for a good amount of money. I also offered up a guest certificate for a wine and chocolate tasting from a local chocolate shop. My new philosophy when it comes to gifts (except for needs of my two kids) is experience, consumable and/or handmade and my donations were in this vein.
 
Chocolate and wine-both their own food groups

The auction was the beginning of the end in terms of activities on account of summer break. My class ends on Monday, and most of my other classes and groups either slow down for the summer or take a hiatus-the exceptions being volunteering and knitting. This means I'll have more time for using my yard, the swing and using these two adult toys. Summer has come with a vengeance and as of now I'm thinking that cooking will be cold or deli food, slow cooked, or grilled for the next month or so at least.
  
I will be learning how to use a smoker this weekend, first time ever!



I've been doing much better at walking, at least on the good days (some days my degenerating leg is normal, some days it's a mass of pain). I'm using the pool as exercise, but I am also walking the path-with my cane. My cane, because although they are generally hidden until night, I know that coyotes are living in the dry canal bed next to the bath. I know that they are not interested in people, but I'll carry it anyway-better safe than sorry.


I do love having a walking trail almost right behind my house


Speaking of volunteering, I have had fun this week in between quilting and writing by making decorations for my two shelters. I figure patriotic decor can stay until labor day, and it's pretty cheery, no?  I also managed to get a few summery and 4th of July type decorations out in the old homestead as well. And then, I made some doll quilts and pillows (just because they looked fun), which I'll take over to the family shelter next week. 






Unfortunately my joy was short lived, and I am now seething. As an unfitting end to my week, I discovered that one of the two shelters I volunteer in will close on the the first of July for lack of funding. This particular shelter gets no federal funds and was unable to remain viable. So thirty women, most of whom have chronic physical conditions and wear oxygen or use wheel chairs or walkers (and some who have cancer and are on chemo) will be back on the streets unless an alternative is found. Right now I have no words to express my frustration with the lack of federal funding, and the spending priorities that our government makes. 
 
The top of Royal Gorge, where you could not pay me to explore a thing.




The train has a viewing platform, and that's where I'll be sitting

Meanwhile, I'll try and think positive and come up with solutions.  Since my mental computer functions best when crafting or walking alone, and I have the house to myself for a couple days, I will try and put it to work.  I have a birthday gift to make, cooking to do for an end of year pot luck, and a day trip coming up. I'm taking a train trip at the Royal Gorge-but in the gorge, not across the top!!!!!

And so it goes this week in retirement.


 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Real Ways to Save Money in Retirement-An Unscientific List

 This is a re post of a something I wrote a year or so ago, and has been a popular post. I have made a couple of edits. Enjoy!!

The lists abound over the blogging world, and on money management sites.  Ten ways to save money in retirement, 25 money saving tips for retirees.  Bullet lists at their best. While the list may vary in tone and content, most of them are very similar. Cook from scratch and stop eating out to save money. Review your expenses. Look for discounts. Simplistic in the extreme, another blogger called this kind of post an "Eat Your Vegetables" article, and I tend to agree.

While I'm sure these folks mean well, he is correct these articles often seem to be written by thirty somethings.  Writers, mind you, who seem to think we've forgotten everything we learned.  I'm not sure about you, but sometime after college (at the latest), I realized that menu planning and eating at home saved money, and that it was a smart move at least every year to see if another insurance company could beat my rate.  After all, most of us lived on budgets most of our pre-retirement lives, if you get my drift.  These kind of budget cuts are what another blogger refers to as low hanging fruit.  They've been cut already very often.  As a non retirement non-financial expert example, that advise to cut out the latte was useless, since I never stopped and got one to begin with. In other words, as an intelligent woman I know the basics of belt tightening-as do we all.

The other problem I have with these kind of articles is that they are very much one size fits all-and retirees have all kinds of incomes, all kinds of interests and all kinds of lifestyles.  What retirees need (in my non-financial expert humble  opinion), are new ways to look at spending and the big picture. 

And so, with little ado, these are my own personal thoughts on saving money in retirement. I am not an expert on finance, but I do know at least a little bit about budget living in retirement, as well as knowing other retirees from a variety of lifestyles and incomes, many who are on fixed incomes and living on much less than they had hoped.  With that out of the way, here we go:


  1. Know where you are and where you are going. As someone who was not financially savvy, experienced a shocking life event and had to make large changes quickly, I failed at this one. Because I had to sell a home, buy another, and move across the world, for example, I never had the chance to follow advise. I did not "change nothing" for a year, I did not do the math, I did not ask for help and I certainly did not think about where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. My choices were driven by necessity and depression.  At some point I did sit down and take that step, better late than never.  Face the realities, however good or bad they are, and go from there. If possible, make those adjustments once, rather than cutting and cutting and cutting again.
  2. Cut from the top down, or overhead, overhead, overhead!! I spend a lot of time on this blog discussing small frugal changes that can be part of a rewarding lifestyle.  But those changes are secondary to the big one. Make sure that food, transportation, health premiums and co-pays and housing (and the attendant taxes and insurance) are less than what you make each month or are willing to withdraw each month. Period.  How we do that is different. Some folks will choose to give up one car. Some will downsize.  How we get there is different, but these are decisions and changes that need to be made earlier rather than later. Moving and making friends is much easier at fifty and sixty than at seventy, no matter your personality.
  3. Recognize that your time and money continuum have changed and use it to your advantage. Retirees have, while not an infinite amount of time, certainly large amounts. Spending some of that new time to save (or make) money in order to be able to fully enjoy those other chunks of time should not be considered a sacrifice. While spending a few minutes looking at sales, cleaning your own home or painting a wall may take some time, for most people most of the time that is a small price for a large reward. Just as many retirees are still investing money, invest some of that time as well.
  4. Know your personal comfort level (or "ick factor" as one person calls it)-but be willing to stretch yourself to find what works-and consider why that's a comfort level issue.  I am unwilling to keep my home lower than sixty seven degrees and it goes as high as seventy two in the winter. On the other hand I have absolutely no problem going to a thrift shop and purchasing an LL Bean sweater for three dollars.
  5. Consider spending to save if you are at the beginning of retirement or if you are not yet retired-if you are sure you are spending on a long term value.  I'm sure many of those financial wizards would disagree.  If however, you are spending on what you are SURE are so called "investment items", that can be a good thing. Prior to retirement my husband and I were prepared to invest in good ski equipment, and I purchased my three thousand dollar sewing machine. Our goal was to have a life that required "replacement and repair costs" rather than big expense costs. My father and mother in law spent money improving their windows and making their home handicapped accessible, figuring that when they were done, their only expenses would be for the basics and someone to come in and help them.
  6.  Stay healthy and explore healthy self care options.  Not talking pseudo medicine here, just looking at all the options for staying healthy.   Medical expenses for retirees are the proverbial elephant in the room, if you will. Exercise, eat right and look at the various self care options for minor and chronic ills. While my marijuana use in retirement may seem a poor example, it is much cheaper than either prescription meds or opoids-and less dangerous to my health. Treat what you can your self, exercise, follow medical advice and time lines, and eat well.  All things that can be done on a frugal budget
  7. Find ways to do the things that argete important to you for less. The fact that you cannot afford the symphony doesn't mean you can't afford the symphony.  Music fans among my readers may be familiar with the Voices of Light-a concert and chorale set to the remastered classic film the Passion of Joan of Arc. Symphony tickets over the US have ranged from fifty dollars and much higher.  I'll be attending this performed by a local symphony and a cathedral chorale in a large cathedral next weekend. Before saying, but I can't, check again. Almost any thing can be done more cheaply or in a different way. 
  8. Working in retirement can be fun and rewarding and is not necessarily a punishment.  However.... I don't work for the essentials of life.  If you are working to pay the bills in retirement, look again. No job is secure, as many older retirees know.  When I work (which is on and off), it's because I want something, and don't want to take money away elsewhere to get it.
  9. Be willing to step out of the box (this probably falls along with your comfort level).  Learning new things in retirement is essential.  Spend a little bit of that learning time taking savings to the next step.  While we all know that menu planning and cooking at home save you money, taking the next step can save double.  Learning how to get real food cheaply, cook and freeze and eliminate waste can lower grocery bills by thirty percent.  Learning to new home improvement skills are good for our health, brain, and bottom line
  10. Give yourself a break.  I don't drink coffee. If I did, Starbucks would probably be my best friend. I do however have a Starbucks hot chocolate and a glazed lemon pound cake once week-without regard to calories or money (well, I do have the Starbucks reward card)
  11.  Saving money and cutting expenses increase your bottom line.  You can have what you want, just not everything you want.  You can afford anything, just not everything. Every dollar saved through frugality is money to either be spent elsewhere or saved and invested for future spending.  And, you don't spend taxes on what you save!
  12. And last but not least, live with joy and and look at your personal finances within the greater picture. Buying clothing at thrift and consignments stores should not be a chore, it should be free-ing and creative, allowing you to spend funds elsewhere. Think of financial decisions as choices rather sacrifices. I CHOOSE to share a home, and cook cheap meals from scratch so that I can afford to get in my car and hit the road for a long period of time. 
  13. And really, really last, one final thought: The word poor and poorer get tossed around an awful lot on some frugal and retirement blogs. While many of us live on less than we thought, and some of us are true fixed income retirees, the people I know who blog and write and talk on this topic are not broke. If you can afford to go to a thrift shop or consignment store,  you are not poor. Poor seniors cannot afford clothing except that which is given to them. The fact that you have to eat at home does not make you poor. Poor retirees go to the senior center at for free lunch, realizing that may be their only meal. If that person is not you, then you are not "poor". Simple, yes?
And there you have it. My unscientific, one size does not fit all, advise for saving money in retirement.  These are not rules, but rather (as they say in Pirates of the Caribbean), just general guidelines.  Use them or not, as you see fit!

What about you, do you have any out of the box tips for saving money (in retirement, or any other time)???