Friday is upon us!
For many retirees that means the opposite of our working years. Our weekend lifestyule has changed-especially when it comes to Saturdays. Errands are relegated to the weekdays. Saturday ballet, sports and birthday party events are long gone. If I leave my house on Saturday, its to socialize or attend a weekend only festival type thing. This weekend there are no local festivals but many art fairs. I expect I will wander out to one or two if only to compare with he competition.
Today I'm staying inside and mainly sewing. I'll venture out with lunch for our very small Habitat crew. I have two novels gotten for pennies and two free books on my kindle. Dinner will be soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and salad (since I dallied on that bean soup preparation). My evening recreation will (I can only hope) be a re watching of the film Prometheus. If red box is sold out, I'm sure I'll find another film. Add popcorn, wine and chocolate, and my day is complete-with no money spent. This weekend I'll cook something in the large slow cooker. I've adjusted my cooking style in such a way that Sunday is often leftover night rather than big cooking night-it works well for us, especially with all the football snacking. Other than the art fair mentioned above, I plan to explore a pumpkin patch (free), to go a get together at church on Sunday (free). At the beginning of the week I have my "a book and a bottle" book club (one needs to bring something-snack or wine. Lots of entertainment and socialization-low spend.
As I mentioned on this blog yesterday, most of my fall decor items were purchased for dollars and pennies, or made by me. Shopping this way is not something I have to do. I shop this way because it's fun,and it improves my lifestyle and bottom line. I shop this way out of habit. Yes, of course, occasionally I go into "real stores". As often as not, it's to get ideas as to shop. I have the kind of house (modern without being super contemporary with warm colors) that Pottery Barn style accessories were made for-but I prefer to make my own twist on things. I'm not above buying new-in the past few weeks I've paid $140 for a pair of Clark's Bostonian Unstructured shoes-and fourteen for the equivalent on sale with free shipping at sixpm.com. I guess I always think of used shopping as a creative challenge as opposed to a punishment.
Which leads me to a couple of recent conversations. Most of the time, I figure that I am overall an average "early retiree". Single and with less income, but still average. Sometimes I have cause to rethink that. Recently, I've had a couple folks (outside of blogging) share their opinions about frugality and lifestyle deprivation. Most of these conversations have compared "cutting back", "downsizing" and "sensible spending" as deprivation. In other words, I'm really miserable. Apparently I either simply don't know this, or refuse to admit it out loud (note that these are not people close to me or who "know me").
My answer to this one is twofold. First, that does a diservice to all the folks who are retired on fixed incomes and managing to live full loves. Second, I suspect it's a matter of perspective. I have always been a low spender in certain areas so that money would be available in other areas. Most people I know are the same. Very few of us have been able to spend what we want when we want. I've continued that general attitude even with a lowered income. There are some differences. There are longer periods of low spending with short bursts of major outlay (house costs, travel or expensive one time entertainment costs). It's certainly obvious to readers of this blog that I've made adjustments along the way. But I am certainly not miserable.
Don't get me wrong. I am not Little Mary Sunshine (any one remember that musical?). I do however, prefer to look on the positive side of things by nature. I tend to look at most financial challenges (especially with it comes to the purchase, repair, care or general use of "things") to be a creative challenge as well. If I can purchase nothing new and make my house a fall masterpiece (re purposing items I already have on hand) I consider that art instead of make do. For the most part, I enjoy being at home. Having to spend time at home is not a punishment. This surely does not mean I have no social life. It does mean that being at home for two or three days and only leaving to walk the dogs is a joy. Many of the non-travel, non-volunteer things I enjoy have to do with being at home-yard work, reading, cooking and the like.
Finally, I have always lived where free and discount entertainment abouts-and don't consider it deprivation to use those outlets. I have a local chamber music group, community theater and free concerts. In Washington I had the entire Smithsonian for entertainment. On occasion and when the mood hits, I may spend money for what someone called the "real thing". In this case next summer I will pay full price at the Dallas Summer Musicals showing of The Book Of Mormon. I know I will love it,. but I also loved the local mega church's performance of Oklahoma as well.
Life is, most of the time, what we make of it.