Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life in the Retired Lane-

About a year ago I made this my 'new' motto...

I saw it cross stitched and in a little frame at a junk shop and adopted the phrase as my own.

I knew when Honey retired it was going to be so different. Honestly, I was a little scared too, with the turn the economy had taken in the year before (2008) I thought it was going to be
hard at times .   We were going to have to adapt our lifestyle a to live a little differently. Fortunately for me I had begun practicing frugality years ago. While Honey was off at work I would be here implementing ideas and strategies I had learned from reading books like  The Tightwad Gazette, Living on a Dime Cookbook;  as well as  articles from Laine's Letters and anything online I could find about living frugally. 

We had already learned to do without some things --mainly a second income. Being married to an old-fashioned guy at heart, he's never wanted me to work in all the years we've been married.  So we've been a single income family for 27 years now. 
I've learned to stretch what's in the pantry.  I've learned how to make homemade mixes and cook from scratch instead of buying boxed items in the store.   On his income alone we were always able to feed our family 8 and at times dinner guests-- we've never been hungry.

I guess its been the hardest on Honey.  He's never paid much attention to how things have gotten done around here.  He just faithfully went to work everyday and came home to a clean house, hot shower and supper on the table.  He's had to find ways to stay busy.  He is also learning ways to make something from nothing.   My Granny calls it 'doing wonders with rotten cucumbers' .  

So, this year when our income dropped a considerable amount-- and we still had a mortgage to pay and some other debt to payoff, I knew some of life's luxuries or little pleasures were going to have to go.  

We got rid of our house phone, cable, and internet.  We paid off credit card debt and currently are working on paying down a collateral loan.  We kept our cell phones and only use these now.   We made strides in these areas enough so that now we're able to return to internet service. We were also able to shop around for internet and  found it at a cheaper price.  It just so happened that around the time we were checking internet prices, this company was running a special on installation-- my favorite part was there is no contract!   To replace cable we went back to our HD converter box and purchased an outside HD antenna to mount on our aerial antenna. This works so much better now and we don't have to pay for programming.  

I learned a lot from this experience.  The main thing is that you can live without the internet and you can live without cable.   I make no excuse; I must admit, I justify the internet by saying I am able to sell things online to supplement our income on occasion, for example, I was able to sell some homeschooling books online last spring and buy parts for our mower through eBay and pay for them using my pay-pal account.   I also use the internet to pay bills and reach out to friends and family. 

Overall-- the last 5 months to almost a year now, I've enjoyed the challenges in continuing to make our house a happy home.  I look forward to seeing what challenges the next year brings our way! 

Have you made changes in the last few years? Cut backs in your home or lifestyle? 
Maybe you have tips or ideas on this topic... I hope you share them in the comments. 

God Bless you 
Thanks for reading! 


Kolein said...

Pat. This is a wonderful read.

We,too, are a one income family. By choice. A hard one. But all sacrifice is hard on some level. Also, my husband is retired and we have a young family. That may sound odd. Like there's lots of $$$. No he's a bit older than me. And I ain't no spring chicken either. We're late bloomers!!!

This is what I've learned recently:

1. Can I go without (fill in blank)? If the answer is YES. Than I do.

2. I can make a decision ahead of time and it has a lasting effect on me and my purchasing behavior.
ex. I told my sons (ages 10 and 6) a few months ago that we are not spending any extra money. We are only using our $ for things we need. Food, bills, etc. Since making that declaration out loud it has become our motto here. Crazy? It's true. My sons will both say at different times, "well I want this, but I don't really need it, and since we're not spending any extra money...I won't get it."

I do the same.

So just stating out loud that I will do this or will do that has had a great impact on our living!

3. NO more magazine buying - unless it's a subscription. Much cheaper than buying them at the checkout.


4. I go to the library and spend an hour or so perusing the mags there for inspiration (I bring a notebook with me to write down any inspiration or ideas or websites - also a lot of what's in the mags can be found on line at their sites. Or I'll check out some books on decorating!

5. I try to make all our cleaning products. (except for the neutralizer stuff for animal issues!

6. Trying to get rid of paper towel. This is the hardest one for me!!!!!!!!! I have been using a lot more rags, though!!

Next, I'm trying to convince EC that cell phones are the way to go!

Got any suggestions for me on that one???


Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog last night. If you noticed someone on here for a very, very long time....that would be me. I read through your entire blog and enjoyed every bit of it.:)

I would love to see some of the every day things you are doing to save money. Even if its a little thing here or there. I love to save money too but at times need motivation!

It was so fun to find a new blog I haven't read before that I connected with. I have you saved in favorites now. :)


Cindy said...

I don't know why I have never been here for a visit yet, but here I am.
Sounds like you are doing very well, we also live on one income and trust God with the end of each month. I bake my own bread, it costs SO much less and don't have cable, or a television even. I watch DVD's occasionally on my computer and borrow them from the library.
That's all I can add. I will be back.
Hugs, Cindy

Anonymous said...

What a great post. Yes, money -- or lack thereof-- does have an effect! As we've talked before, I've been laid off now for over a year and I was making a good salary. All that aside, there have also been some blessings that have come with having this time. Mom had a mastectomy and I've had the opportunity to take care of her, and that's been a blessing.

I find that we really take advantage of coupons more. Not the grocery store coupons necessarily, but the restaurant coupons. Gosh--sometimes you can end up with two very nice meals at Ruby Tuesdays for $10.00 plus tip, and then enough to take home for another meal. I never use to pay attention to those things.

I also DO NOT just go to the mall or store to have something to do; and that has saved a TON. I wait until I have a list, and then see if I really need what is on that list before I go shopping.

Love seeing you on the blog again!