Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Living Richly In Retirement-Little Things Mean A Lot

Back in March, I wrote about using small changes to make a fairly big difference in freeing up income. More and more, I am finding that making small changes in an effective way to well.............make change.  I speak not only of finance (although with the economy and the cost of fuel, we have to be ever vigilant), but I'm speaking of all aspects of life.

There are some who figure that the small stuff isnt worth their time.  $30.00 saved here will eventually cost $30.00 somewhere else.  And you know what?  They are absolutely right.  Except that if I hadn't saved the original thirty bucks, where would I be now. These are the same folks that suggest big changes are what is needed to accomplish anything.  There's just one problem with that.  Opportunities for the big changes are rare, and often we cannot choose the time. Not only that, big changes sometimes take more effort (and finances) than we have available.  Small changes on the other hand, are more easily made.  Small changes are often less painful, and easy to work into our current routine.

Financially, downsizing will probably be my best choice.  Just one problem-there is no way my house will sell right now,and I have a hefty down payment invested. Other big changes are out of my control right now.  What IS in my control (mainly) are all those other day to day expenses. In that previous post I changed my prescription benefit, my car insurance, adjusted my cable bundle and cell phone bill, elminated magazines and promised myself I would only go to the three dollar movies or get discounted tickets on Groupon.  Two months later, I've experienced minimum pain, if any from these changes. My total savings was in the $200 to $250. That money is now disposable income pile and used as savings when possible.

It isnt only in the financal arena where making small changes reaps rewards. Last summer I lost 50 lbs (and have kept it off since then). I'm now starting on my second fifty. To do that, I started with some pretty minor changes. I moved to lowfat everything (except when serious cooking, then I need butter.  This included creamy salad dressing, sour cream, cheese, mayo and milk. Taste adjustment was overall minimal, and immediately made a huge difference in calories and fat.  The second thing I did was start eating large salads with my lunch and dinner. Again, this was no effort. Lastly, I cut my six pack (of coke habit) down to one or two.  That was still managable, although a tiny bit more painful.  Eventually, I started counting calories and doing other things.  But those three simple beginning changes were the catalyst that knocked off ten pounds in less than two weeks and really got me on my way.  Again, small changes.

When I decided that I might go into business for myself (more than once), I took baby steps again. I bought a few books to see how they sold and how good I was at judging value. I crafted a few items to see if my skill was beyond making quilts for family and other people would appreciate what I did. When my doctor told me I could start exercising again (should start exercising), I took slow walks with the dog.  And when I decided that I need to go out of my house, again, little changes. What began as an exploration into a church to see if I liked it turned into a full blown committment to chair two committees (what was I thinking), be the volunteer coordinator for a low income summer camp, and make a quilt for a resigning priest.

Small changes give us control over our environemnt. They can (for the most part) be easily changed or altered.  In many cases we can return to the way things were, if we need to. There are generally few costs, and many benefits, be they financial, emotional or otherwise. A much better way to make life decisions, be they large or small.


  1. This is a terrific article...really made me think and gave me some perspective. I lost some weight 2 years ago by counting calories, but I started by making very small changes. I need to go to a phase 2, so will look forward to any suggestions you have.

    I recently tried Great Clips for a haircut at 1/3 the price of my regular gal (she was on vacation). I was happy with the cut and even more happy about the price.

    One question I had about a previous
    article...how do you sell magazines on Amazon?

    Enjoying your blog.

  2. I've been making some small changes over the years. I find I'm more successful doing it this way instead of making big ones(though I keep trying to make big ones knowing they don't usually last!) I gave up cable over 3 yrs ago I think it was - I was fed up with Comcast cable- and figured if I missed it I'd go with dishnetwork - I still don't miss it! I bought some dvds and even those I dont' watch much unless I'm quilting and want some noise.
    I'm debating getting rid of my internet and internet phone and just using the 'hot spot' from the same provider(I wanted the hot spot but to get the phone service I needed the box for the internet as well) and tracfone. I seldom get calls - I prefer email - and the calls I do get wouldn't use up the minutes I have. That's an idea anyways but need to see if my tracfone has voicemail and set it up or buy another prepaid phone that does have it - or go for a smartphone though that's way too technical for my learning curve!

    I've been trying to eat healthier - fish or cut bait with Weight Watchers and I'm trying to fish. Otherwise I'm wastin $39.95mth for the monthly pass (work will reimburse me $20 per month at the end of the year) I do like the meetings for motivation but I'm considering going to the online only which work would completely reimburse since it's less than $20 per month.

    If I weren't so messy, didn't value my privacy, and didn't have my dad staying with me every 3 weeks or so for his chemo I'd consider getting a roommate to cut expenses even more.

    and you're right about cutting out $30 then needing it somewhere else! That happens to me a LOT!


  3. rsgtarte-you can sell mags on amazon two ways. You can type the issue in and see if there is already a listing for it, or if you are a proseller you can just create a listing under books. That said, my mags have done much worse than my books and I have deleted alot and just donated them,


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