Life is meant to be lived richly. For those of us on fixed incomes, or who have less retirement savings than we had hoped, this can be a challenge. In the long term, there are three things we can do to reach our goals. The first is to cut those expenses that are less than important to us. The second thing that can be done is to increase income, if we are able. The final thing that we can do is find a way to do and purchase those things we need and love for much less.
I had originally meant to write about time versus money in retirement. However, my experiences the last couple of days have me writing in a slightly different direction. An advantage of living a“competitive” economy is that deals and discounts about, from all sources. The advantage of living in the age of technology is the ability to know about and take advantage of those offers, because we are aware of them almost instantly.
Christmas is upon us, and along with it a few minor financial challenges for many. I fully appreciate the “reason for the season” as the saying goes. I also appreciate the food, exchanging presents with sixteen family members and other close friends, holiday travel, and the concerts and festivals that are part of the season. Imagine if I had grandchildren to spoil as well! Because of my limited budget, I need to have a plan, or I would be unable to do afford those things. One part of my plan is to take advantages of discounts, freebies, deals and favored customer offers that are available to me. This is an area that so many people simply ignore. By spending just a little bit of time (of which I have an abundance), I save money in large amounts.
This past weekend was just one excellent example of using discounts to afford things that might not be in my budget. Frugality does not have to be deprivation. Last weekend, in between quilting and college football, I made a brief trip to my local shopping plaza. In the space of about an hour and a half, I managed to get a group of Christmas gifts for more than fifty percent off. I purchased two fifty dollar ITunes cards for $35.00. Then I bought five Hasbro games ($35.00 value) for about a dollar and a half a game. Finally, I bought $50.00 in borders gift certificates and received an extra $20.00 in gift cards. The total value of my purchases was approximately $205.00 and my out of pocket expenses were a little over $100. All that for about an hour of shopping time and another fifteen minutes of perusing a couple online sites to check on deals available (done while watching LSU and Alabama).
Deals like this abound. I may allow only $20.00 a month for eating out, and a few dollars for so called entertainment. But because I find discounts and specials online, I’m able to do all the things that I like to do at little or no cost. It’s not the whole solution for living on a fixed income, but it makes the difference between deprivation and enjoyment, on a regular basis.