Being retired means a huge change in you financial status. Now I’m not a financial guru or an investment counsellor, but I did have to learn to change my habits. Hubby and I decided we didn’t need to cash in our investments yet, saving those for a lovely trip, but we certainly did have to change some things that, before, we didn’t even think about and no one prepared me for this one big thing. I Get Paid When? We get our pension monies, public and private, once a month. What?!? That’s crazy but true. When I started working in my early twenties, we did get paid once a month but that was soon replaced by bi-monthly pay periods and quickly followed by bi-weekly. So for decades I’ve been paid every two weeks and so was the hubby and his pay was on alternate weeks to mine, so every week was a pay week and budgeting was a breeze. Now we are paid once a month and I really have to stretch this old brain and plan a budget for a month at a time. That’s really hard when you’re not used to it.and there were months when I wondered if we were going to starve those final few days. That’s a bit dramatic but I was used to a constant flow that had just dried up. Not only that but the monthly income of a retirement pension is considerably lower than a working income, and it requires a lot of work until you’re used to it.
How have I survived? One of the benefits of aging is a decreased appetite. Not that you’ll lose weight, it doesn’t seem to work that way, but you will eat less thus saving on the grocery bill. I learned that food from the no name stores is every bit as good as from the expensive mainstream stores. I scan the sales flyers and have the app on my phone because I now have the time to price match and I use coupons. I buy in bulk and if it’s meat, chicken, or fish, I divide and freeze. We don’t seem to need as much in the way of clothing either and no, we don’t belong to a nudist colony. It’s just that I’ve realized I can wear the same thing twice without laundering and if I dress up for something I can’t wait to change into more comfortable clothing when I get home. So those good clothes get worn for only a couple of hours, not for the whole workday plus commute. I have a very strict budget for birthdays and Christmas gifts but try to tuck in a little something extra every so often for no reason.
Our biggest outlay has been for travel but I’ll tell you more about that in a later blog. I did at one time, think I should try to bring in a little extra with a home business, yet another blog subject, but it’s really hard to succeed without putting in a huge number of hours. I decided it wasn’t for me and, after several failed attempts, gave it up as not my thing. I guess the final word is be prepared for a tight budget and remember – I Get Paid When? – is usually once a month.