It's that time, and it comes (almost every year). You may know what I'm talking about-the annual (not so) great cost of living increase. Because I'm a federal pensioner, I get two of those little increases, one of which begins in April.
Don't get me wrong, extra money is extra money, no matter how small the amount. It's just that I have a difficulty finding something specific to do with it, if you know what I mean. Pre-retirement, the difference in income was usually bigger and it usually got assigned to a specific category. The difference might be put into savings, travel or towards another specific goal. At this point in my life, I'm not finding a specific category to put this very small slush fund into-meaning it will probably turn into what the financial experts call "blow money". Which of course, is not a bad thing as such.
This year, I have a slightly larger increase that the normal few dollars. Social Security increases my income by $28, and my federal pension will increase by a whole 17 bucks. No big spender am I, obviously, with that increase. However, another increase has also crossed my financial desk. You see, my college student has turned the magic age of 26. While he was paying all his other bills, I was still paying that fee because it came out of my federal pay-and because he is trying to start a business.
My son has now joined the ranks of folks signed up for the affordable care act. In the federal system, there is generally single health care and family health care. So the fee I was paying when my husband was living did not lower, as long as my son was on my insurance. That amount was $150, which means my health care deduction is now only $100 instead of $250. So there you are, Instant income. I certainly will not argue!
For those who might wonder, my very semi employed college student did not qualify for medicaid or any subsidies (probably because he is living in this house although completely emancipated). He qualified for the Colorado Co-op health insurance. He is paying the same amount I was paying before. Although his total deductible is much higher than my health insurance, there are many things that are completely free-including many prescriptions, all vaccinations, prenatal health care (no help to him but...) most so called well and preventative appointments. Since he is an overall healthy young person (albeit with a former history of asthma, leaving migraines and pneumonia as regular occurrences), this seems to be a realistic option for him both in terms of monthly costs and copays.
So what have I decided to do with the money? I've decided to spend it on me. As someone who has chronic pain, and is not good about doing things for herself, this money will be spend purely on luxuries. A regular massage, a couple expensive supplements to help naturally deal with pain, a more expensive hair stylist, I'm sure you get the picture. In truth, these are things that were often affordable before, I just simply chose to spend money on the house, or fabric, or something else. This is a way to remind myself to do these things, as well as it is a better way to fund them.
Meanwhile, my last few days of retirement have been full of those need to do, less than exciting tasks that occasionally come up in groups. I've helped my son design business cards, cost out landscape equipment and evaluate used trucks for his business. I spent time vacation plannig -booking hotels, printing out maps, looking at the (at least) three alternative ways to travel to Seattle.
Now that those chores are out of the way, it's time to return to designing that quilt, hitting at least one movie this weekend, and hitting at least one local seafood restaurant. No more retirement must do's-at least for a few days!