Adjusting Retirement Spending For 2018

We have new goals for 2018.  Last year was the year of de-cluttering. This year is the year we make things count. DH and I made the month of January the month of thinking and prioritizing. What really is important to us? How do we really want to live out the rest of our retirement lives?

Having a health scare in January played a significant roll in our coming to a mutual decision. We realized our time is short. DH and I both have health challenges coming up, mostly having to do with our hearts. DH will need open heart surgery within 4 to 5 years. I’m teeter-tottering on managing an inherited heart problem. My condition can be successfully managed by both medication AND lifestyle changes. Specifically, healthier eating WHICH I have been foolishly lacking. I seriously need to get both my weight and health under control or I’m going to prematurely meet my maker.

Up until now, I will admit that for the past two years (when I turned 65) I have been in a depressed funk. I wasn’t too happy getting older. Going on Medicare and collecting Social Security depressed me. That was until I came down with the flu this January and went to the ER Urgent Care Center, not once, not twice but three times before I found any semblance of proper feeling-good health. Instead of seeing these retirement benefits (Medicare & Social Security) as curses, I realized these two programs were helping me have a much better life! I know. I know. I’m an idiot. But now, I’m a grateful idiot.

The last doctor I had at the ER was a very kind soul. She sat down and explained to me what was going on with my declining health, the value of the medications I was prescribed but so foolishly stopped taking. She explained how eating low/fat free foods, more green leafy vegetables as well as more vegetarian meals will reverse my condition and give me a better quality of life. I can’t explain it but a light bulb switch went off in my brain and my future life suddenly became more focused and much clearer.

Nick promised me he was really going to retire this time. Maybe he might pick up a week’s worth or two every so often, but he was never returning to his taxi/airplane/motel shuffle. There’s ample local work if he wants it. I’m going to remain working for a cause I believe in (helping women undergoing chemotherapy cope with hair loss) for a modest monthly amount (fun spending money).

We can’t agree nor decide on where we want to live. I like Florida. He copes with it. He loves upstate New York. I cope with it. If we continue to live our frugal lifestyle we could probably hold onto both homes till we die (they’re both small). My kids would be happy with that (bigger inheritance)! In the interim, if we are to maintain two properties, that’ll mean we have to cut back on a lot of extremities. We canceled cable in NY and are using an antenna now plus a Hulu subscription at $5.99 a month. Both properties have slower internet (lower pricing). We really don’t need high speeds. I cancelled sanitation pick up in NY. Nick can bring the garbage weekly to the dump for $2.

One good thing about our Florida condo is that ALL utilities are included in our HOA fees (cable, water, sanitation, sewer etc.) There’s no extra. Electricity at the condo only runs $45 a month (we live near the fresh breezes of the Manatee River which translates into less air conditioning costs). Electricity at New York is $74 on a budget plan (we always get a refund at the end of the annual billing cycle). Heating costs are minimal because we’re not there most of the winter! DH does all the maintenance in New York. Our condo maintenance fees are covered in our HOA fees, including twice annual window washing! We are going to be just fine.

beansWe have to stick to our food budget of $75 per week and our gas budget of $25 per week. We’ve already started going more vegan and I have a cartload of beans in our panty. Plus I bought a rice cooker ($12 at WalMart) and the appliance is da bomb! Cooks our morning oatmeal too! We love it. We’ve cut out all memberships with clubs (I don’t need to go to the photography club anymore. I learn more off of YouTube plus I can choose my own field trips). There is no need for DH to be part of a sailing club because realistically, no pun intended, that ship has sailed. I still have my longing for concerts, plays, shows, musicals etc. I just have to learn how to limit the professional shows and attend more freebies.

We have our RV. We were supposed to start traveling across the US going to National, State and Local parks but we haven’t. We need to start prioritizing our travel and vacation time. We plan on doing at least two trips per year. We’re back on target with The Grand Canyon, Newport RI beaches in the summer, Acadia National Park after Labor Day and next October, on the way down to Florida, we’re spending a week in Nashville TN. We love Tennessee! Who knew?

polo3.jpg - 1
The Polo Grounds are a great place to take a walk

There are so many free things to do in Florida and upstate New York that sometimes I have a hard time deciding on which one we will do. Now that DH and I are feeling somewhat better, I can start making plans again and posting said plans to our shared calendar. I started using a free app, Fitness Pal, to track my calories, fat, sugar and carbohydrate intakes. My new mantra has become “I can do this!“……..and I can.

Retirement is not a constant. For us, I’ve noticed that it has its ups and downs. We need to moderate, change and adjust in order to remain successful. We need to associate more, listen more with our fellow retirees, exchange ‘war’ stories and support each other. When I mentioned to a neighbor that it takes us 20 to 30 minutes to go to Aldi for our weekly shopping, she turned us on to a new route that cut our travel time down to only 7 minutes! If it weren’t for her advice, we never would have known! Time is a valuable commodity right now most retirees shouldn’t squander. Cutting travel shopping time down to 14 minutes vs an hour gave us more time to take a walk in the sun at the Polo Grounds. And pack a lunch! Thank you.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

 

 

 

 

12 comments

  1. Love, love your blog! So glad you’re back to writing. We are at least a decade away from retiring and you offer sound, good advice. Thanks for keeping it real.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. IMHO, I would consider with your RV that you’re actually maintaining three residences one being mobile. And it seems like to have them all you are sacrificing a great deal of fun in your daily retirement life and placing a great burden to finance keeping them besides the work and upkeep. The stress to figure out how to make it financially work must be exhausting! Lara

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Lara. The eventual goal is to sell both houses (condo & NY) and buy one house but we don’t know where. That’s the big problem. No one place can give us what we want. Plus DH’s health insurance is very affordable. If we were to move him the rates would go sky high and negate any goodness. So we wait it out. And yes! The stress for me to manage all of this is exhausting. DH wants to hear none of it.
      Anyway, today we started house hunting and I think we found an area we both can agree on. It’s right on/near the beach, in a beach community, affordable AND it has a two car garage so DH can leave me alone. I think we are going to make this happen. I have to run the numbers. All I can say is UGH. It never ends.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Our goal is: One house. One RV. One car.

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  3. Oh my goodness Cindi you’re really going out of your way to accommodate your hubby! More power to you but you seemed so happy in your condo community. I live in S Fl and living in a house is fine but honestly from your description of the amenities in your condo community it will be hard to replicate that in a house. Kudos to you for bending over backwards to compromise and keep him happy. You are a better woman than I . Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Teri. Well, it’s his life too, right? We all deserve to be happy. And life is a bunch of compromises. On both our parts.
      We were both very happy here at the condo BUT there is one major problem which we have been trying to solve for over one year. I should write a post about it. Apparently when you live in an apartment complex (our building has 30 families) There’s always that somebody who ruins it for everyone. We had not one, but two smokers living beneath us, on either side and the 2nd hand smoke has been unbearable. Especially for the both of us since we have heart problems. NOT good. We have tried to rectify the situation with the board and getting common areas banned from smokers but those two dudes are still smoking away. One of them starts 5 o’clock in the morning and doesn’t stop till 2AM. It is a nightmare. The smoke comes up through our bedroom walls, right where we keep our headboard. And during prime time, it comes up through the wall behind the couch. OUCH! We have fans, smoke eaters, we leave most of the windows open, even with the a/c or the heat on but to no avail. Houston, we have a problem!
      This is our first experience with an apartment complex. We always lived in single family homes. Our only recourse now is to hire an attorney and sue. or move. We don’t want to waste money so we are going to move. Probably in 6 months. We are going to buy a single family home, by the same builder with similar amenities BUT in a different, less congested area. A beach town to be exact. It’s all good. We’ll make a bit of profit on the condo sale, and the sale of the NY home has been speeded up by a few years.
      Never in a million years did we calculate for 2nd hand smoke. Live and learn. And it really is always something!

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    • Believe me, Teri. I don’t want to go but my husband and I have exhausted all avenues to get this resolved. We don’t want the stress of a lawsuit, so we will move. Thank God we found another great and happy neighborhood. It’s all good. Things happen for a reason. Thank you for your comment. I’m going to write a post about this. Just another thing in retirement to think abut and plan for. Who (the heck) knew?

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  4. Wow! I am so sorry that you have second hand smoke issues coming up through the ventilation system. I had never heard of this. This surprised me that their smoke becomes yours. I am not a fan of condos or apartment living. I prefer free standing homes with some space between dwellings. Looked at two senior communities and one was very close together and the realtor mentioned most of the owners respected each other’s space and the levels of their noise. I have started to hire lawn service and snow plowing and it is really not as much as the HOA fees charged in these communities. I prefer selecting services and contracting any maintenance problems after getting competitive bids. I am glad you have found a single family community that will solve your garage problem. Is it air condition too? Sincerely. Lara

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    • The garages aren’t air conditioned BUT can be added in afterwards. Things happen for a reason Lara. I guess the only way to propel me to move my butt was thanks to cigarette butts! No pun intended. Mostly all my neighbors now are wonderful but smoking is an addiction. The people who smoke beneath me are addicts. They can’t control themselves. You can’t reason with them. They are also vindictive. Sad. Very very sad.
      70% of ALL air in a multiple unit residence is shared. There is no way around it. The units can not be built to be air tight. In all our calculations, this was never even a brain thought. That’s because in NY it is against the law to smoke inside your unit in a multiple family residence. Stupid us. We thought everyone lives like New Yorkers. Florida does have a law prohibiting smoking in state-owned low income residences. But no law in privately owned multi-family residences. But they are working on it.
      Trust me…..I’ve been involved in every aspect of this for the past year. Been working with The Department Of Health. I know all the laws and rules and regulations.
      Just another fact of retirement life. Something else we retirees have to think about and plan for. UGH!

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    • I would think so. Smokers have no rights anywhere BUT people do have the right to live how they choose within their own home. That’s the catch. If I want anything done I have to hire an attorney and Lara I just may reconsider that. I’m guaranteed to win. Well see

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