Inflation: Every Retiree’s Nightmare

It’s NOT your imagination. Prices really are creeping up. Things today are more expensive than they were yesterday. With no end in sight. The days of easy money are over. According to this article from CNN Money,

Both consumers and producers are feeling the squeeze from a healthy US economy. After years of low inflation, prices rose 1.9% in March from a year ago, according to the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation measuring stick.

Consumer prices were up 2.1% in April from a year ago, while suppliers paid 2.6% more.

Auto loans are getting more expensive because the Federal Reserve is gradually raising interest rates. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has moved to a seven-year high above 4.6%, according to Freddie Mac.

Dozens of companies in recent weeks have said they already hiked prices or plan to in the coming months to combat inflation.

Most retiree’s, such as myself, are on fixed incomes. When prices rise I have two choices: either go out to work and make more money or cut back on other expenses so that I can afford my priorities. OUCH! Both choices hurt. And sometimes, I can not do either. We’re all facing higher gas prices, higher food prices, higher oil prices to heat our homes and higher medical costs. Last week I had to renew an old prescription and a new prescription. The old RX was still $4 for a 30 day generic supply but the new inhaler my doc ordered cost me $51. Instead of paying my monthly fee of $12 for all my meds, my new bill was $63. Apparently, there is no generic formula for my new inhaler AND my Part D RX plan has a $400 deductible before they will cover my Tier 3 inhaler. Ouch again.

So, what did I do in order to afford my new inhaler? DH and I cancelled our plans to go out to a discount movie theater (we wanted to see Book Club). I also cancelled my pedicure appointment (I get one pedicure a year, at the beginning of summer) and I cancelled my appointment to get my eyebrows corrected (I have NEVER had this done professionally but I am getting a lot of gray hairs in my eyebrows and I can’t figure out how to shape my eyebrows anymore. I wanted professional help.)

pedicureI did my own pedicure but please be forewarned: my hands shake, I’m not that flexible anymore and doing my own pedicure has become more difficult for me. I ex-foliated my feet, clipped my nails as best as I could and applied my fave red nail polish as steady as I could. The result? A mess, of course, but it will have to do. The outdoor light gives me a better view of my eyebrows, so I plucked them and tried to shape them in the passenger side of my car using the light-up mirror on the visor. As for forgoing the movies, DH and I stayed home and watched several new (but unknown yet very good Hulu movies).

I haven’t divulged this yet, but I guess I’ll do it now. The 5+ months that I endured second-hand smoke back when I was living in my Florida condo did substantial damage to my lungs, thus the new RX for an inhaler. I’ve been coughing steadily since February 2018 with no end in sight. I’m currently seeing a pulmonologist but have now been scheduled to see an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist next month. My cough has changed over the past few months but nonetheless, it has not gone away. I find myself weaker, unable to walk and hike as I once did. I’m tired and constantly out of breath. At night, because of my constant nose drip and coughing, sleep has become more difficult. I’ve seen two doctors already and they both tried a series of treatments but to no avail. In other words, I’m going to be facing higher medical costs in the very near future. Oh well.

Inflation has reared its ugly head. We can either prepare for it or whither away. For us, going out and getting a job is totally out of the question. We’re retired and we’re sticking to it. In the interim, I’ll find ways to cut back and make do with what we already have. I’ve lessened our RV trips by one day each (6 days instead of a full week of 7 days) I’ve started substituting lesser grades for the more expensive grades we had become used to. DH has sharpened up his DIY talent and is out there mowing the lawn himself, changing the oil on both cars himself and doing the little home maintenance care needed in order to void costly repair bills in the future.

And thankfully, most people I meet are nearsighted so they can’t look down and see my tantalizing toes as good as they used to. They’ll just see little blobs of red and be none the wiser.

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

 

 

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20 comments

  1. You are so right Cindi, DH and I have slowly noticed a creep up in prices and are adjusting our budget to fit. Unfortunately but luckily caught in time, we discovered and error in our federal income tax deductions and our income of about 50K gross is now about 43K gross, AND we live in Miami.

    Oh well, thank goodness our home is paid for and I am slowly paying down debt, we have less than $1000 in debt on CC but we just purchased a new car and financed it ! OUCH ! But it was a necessary evil so we are biting the bullet and doing as well as we can.

    We don’t lack for anything but this first year of retirement (I retired April 2017) has definitely been a learning curve for us. Like you, we definitely DO NOT want to return to work unless absolutely necessary, I told DH I would rather eat rice and beans for the rest of my life LOL. Keep up the good work !

    Teri

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Teri. I hear ya on the Miami front. Florida is not so cheap as people are led to believe. I found that life in Sarasota was very expensive. I can only imagine what Miami must be like. Ola!
      Congratulations on your new car. Drive it in good health. If you can handle the debt, then handle the debt. Personally, we’ve stopped buying new cars and have switched to almost new. Now, we have to make them last.
      That’s also good on you low credit card debt. You’ll have that paid off in no time.
      That $7,000 difference, however, in your gross income must have hurt something awful. Double ouch!
      Life is full of adjustments. Like you, I realized pretty quickly that prices were going up and we had to adjust. Today was the first day we switched to a cash-only basis. I recognized instantly how my decisions changed when paying by cash came in to view. Instead of ordering an $11.95 entree, I had a small salad @$4 and an appetizer @$5. I spent $9 total instead of $12. Imagine that?
      Thank you so much for your comment.

      Like

      • You’re right about almost new cars which we originally tried to purchase. However we brought our almost new car home from the used car dealership and within a day it started to give us trouble! They had a five day return. So we were very happy to take advantage of that and were able to get our money back. After that experience I was a little leery of purchasing from that particular dealership again and out of curiosity went to the new car dealership next door. The new car cost us only $1500 more than the like new car, so we’re ok. You’re right that $7000 cut in our budget hit me hard and I was rather shocked at how much less income we were receiving. What can you do!? We are continuing to use our Discover card for points back and cashback bonuses which we like but we pay it in full at the end of the month and budget it as if we were using cash. So far it is working well for us. Yes we have lived in Miami for almost 40 years and although every once in a while we toyed with the idea of moving elsewhere, all our children safe from my son lives locally including our three grandchildren so for now we are not considering a move else where.

        Liked by 1 person

      • When you or anyone buys a used car you have to be really careful. One of the main reasons why we’re lucky with our two used cars is because my husband has been working on cars since he was a kid. He knows cars. We won’t buy used RVs however regardless. Those have to be new. So I understand.
        40 years in Miami. Wow! You must have seen a lot of change in your hometown over the years. One of the things on my wish list is to go to South Miami Beach and sip a mojito. And have a Cuban sandwich! Lucky you.
        Thanks again for your comment. Good luck and enjoy your new car!!

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  2. Having a paid for home, 2 paid for vehicles, and no debt has made all the difference in our retirement. I retired 7 years ago and DH retired 2 years ago. I do a monthly budget so that I know what is coming in and what is going out. A solid emergency fund takes care of those inevitable unexpected expenses. We both have Medicare and Humana Medicare Gold HMO Insurance so even medical expenses are not too much of a financial worry.

    Like

    • Hi Florence. How have you been?
      Thank goodness for Medicare, right? At first I was a little fuzzy about it. Now? I love it! And my supplemental AARP insurance.
      I agree with you too that in retirement, a paid-for home is key. Nice to know we will always have a roof over our head. And paid-for cars are terrific also. Once those things are covered, it’s easier to worry about the little things that pop up.
      Thank you, as always for your kind comments.

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  3. Yes some prices are going up but I find ways to not feel the pinch quite so hard and not have to give up on my new fun lifestyle choices. I traded in low interest rate choices for much much higher ones. Learned about Preferred stocks paying 6% to 11% from a retired IBM executive who said he had increased his passive income to make more then he made when he was working. And only has a small amount in Cd’s. Moving money saved to better options paid for clearing my tornado damage trees. I am not going to go back to using cash instead of credit because I have always paid my balance in full each month and between the rewards and senior grocery days and sales and loss leader items I save on average 66% on my groceries. This is even with my switch to organic. Gas rewards good anywhere and choosing stations thirty cents cheaper then my hometown prices brings gas down by Fifty cents.
    I am surprise you are having to do such drastic measures with making so much monthly at Fidelity with your condo proceeds. Sometimes we have to evaluate our mindset and watch self imposed sacrifices and evaluate if they are really needed. sincerely, Lara

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    • Hi Lara. My switch to cash didn’t last very long. I need to write about it. But it’s a goal I’d like to aim for. We’ve spent so far over $6,000 just in house maintenance & upkeep. $2500 just for the new automatic generator. Plus we’ve been going out to eat a bit more than I’d like. I think with Nick not working anymore, I’ve gotten paranoid about having our money last for like forever.
      The other day I got a good deal on Broadway tix to see Alladin with the granddaughter & family. The cost for all of us: $520. Gulp. Then I saw this really great deal on a settee for my bedroom and out came that charge card. Big fail. But more realistic. I have to use both. No way around it.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  4. Like you, I find I spend more in the Spring on home improvements and maintenance, too. Perhaps it’s influence by all the advertising we are bombarded with daily.

    Reality check if you pay the balances in full each month credit cards are just a form of deferred cash payment. They provide convenience and backend discounts in the form of rewards.

    If you are staying within your monthly cash flow including the passive income from savings all is Good. Even better if you are increasing your savings a little each month by living below your total income. IMHO you are placing too heavy burden on yourself and lots of stress for both of you by letting fear of running out of money and constant flip flop of cash only or using credit cards for monthly expenditures to monopolize the precious time you have left to enjoy life. sincerely , Lara

    Like

    • Lara, I know, I know. Nick is telling me that also. It’s time for us to live and enjoy our lives. When I looked around my house, most of my furniture was hand-me-downs. In the last 17 years living here, I have bought virtually nothing new! I’m the only one who handles the money. Nick wants no part of it. So, it’s lonely and I’m so afraid of making a mistake. We have the money to make the purchases I’ve been making. It’s just been a little hard for me to let go. You’re right, however. Using the credit cards, as I have been doing, is just a deferred cash payment.
      Who’s a thunk?
      If I think of it that way, I’m AOK.

      Like

  5. Oh by the way, a way around not using the credit card was to forego purchasing the settee which was a want not a need, it’s all about choices and priorities. Lara

    Like

    • HI Lara. I didn’t order the settee right away. Nick and I discussed it for at least 24 hours. I put it in my ‘wish list’ so I wouldn’t lose the price. In reality, it was a need because I just couldn’t sit on the new recliner for too long at a time. I needed to lay down and the only place now was the bed, which I did NOT want to do. Nick said this is our last hurrah and I should buy the settee and be happy. It wasn’t an impulse buy. We really discussed it.
      I even thought about buying the tickets to see ‘Aladdin’. To spend an afternoon with my granddaughter and my daughter, after all we’ve been through, is priceless. No amount of money would have been too good enough. It’s going to be a day I shall cherish forever.
      Thanks, as always, for your comment.
      Note: the Japanese meal, however, was an impulse and one we should have planned for and thought about more. Oh well. It’s done. We enjoyed it immensely. This is what happens when you reside near the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) Each year, recent graduates go out and open up amazing restaurants. Next stop is a new Italian trattoria that just opened up. Got a five star rating! But this time, we’re planning for it. LOL!

      Like

  6. Oh I can so relate to the fear of making a mistake too on so so many levels. But we are just a bit different in that you want to die broke and my DH wish was for me to leave a legacy for our children. My children on the other hand want me to not worry about that and enjoy whatever makes me happy. I really think you should decide that it’s OK to spend some of the Fidelity money for more everyday fun money and give the gift of joy in your retirement days together. Merely a change in your mindset. No,BIG deal, right!Ha!Ha! Sincerely, Lara

    Like

    • Well Lara, I already “bought” my oldest daughter a condo in Brooklyn Heights a few years ago, by “giving” her the down payment. That $234,000 investment is already worth a half million dollars ($500,000). She rents it out now and earns a nice monthly income. So, I think I did enough for my oldest daughter. As for my youngest, she will either inherit our upstate NY home for free but if our financial resources should change, she can buy it from us at a very good price. All of us have already discussed this, so it will be no secret. So, technically, I gave both my daughters a home each. I think we have done enough for them. Every Xmas and birthday, I give my grandchildren money for their college funds. I also think we have done enough for the grandkids too. Plus, all our ROTH IRA’s have the adult kids as the beneficiary should Nick and I both perish together.
      As to the Fidelity account, we do plan on using the interest. That money is specifically earmarked for travel. This year it is for 3 months in Arizona ($3300 RV resort & $3000 in gas money! UGH). Next year we are going to Barcelona with it. And the year after that we are going to Greece.
      You never have to worry about me spending money. That’s my weakness. I can always think up something to spend it on. LOL. It’s holding on to it that is a problem. For me. And Nick is no help whatsoever.

      Like

  7. Guess we are alike -giving to the generations below us after all. Guess your post on having the check bounce to the undertaker is just a Dream because they will go after payment from your estate.

    Like

    • Really? Even if the money goes directly to the heirs? Who will they know to sue? Everyone? Isn’t that a bit expensive?
      Well, anyway, you get the gist of what I meant. I have planned to spend almost every cent. I planned also to be cremated. I do not want an expensive funeral at all. And I want my ashes to be spread in the Adriatic Sea, just outside of the little town where my dad was born, in Italy on the Italian Riviera. Hopefully there will be enough of my money left over for one round trip airline ticket. LOL!

      Like

  8. I cam never onderstand why people want to pollute water With their ashes when what remains are the ingredients of soil, and what about the beach goingers being exposed to the ash? Lara

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    • Human ashes don’t pollute. Where did you get that idea? I’m not going to be embalmed. Funeral directors now remove the mercury out of people’s teeth before cremation. Odds are when you fling a person’s ashes, much of it goes up in the wind anyway. The human body doesn’t contain any toxins.
      I think people who are buried in the ground in graves, full of embalming fluids pollute way more than cremation. But it is a good point to consider and I do believe ‘green’ cremation is now being offered. I’ll choose that one.

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  9. I have attended a spreading of ash on Lake Erie close to the shore and watch them lay on the surface and spread on the surface and slowly start to go down. And this was close to a public beach. Why do you think this is not water pollution? Green cremation is adding the ashes directly in the soil where the ashes enrichthe soil.

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    • They’re not supposed to do that….near a beach where people swim. That’s the fault of an uninformed person, not the funeral director. As of now, spreading one’s ashes isn’t regulated. Perhaps that will change in the near future. Bodies have been burned for thousands of years. Especially by Indians.
      But you do bring up valuable points. Certainly ones that have never been thought of. I’m going to check out green cremation much more vigorously. Whatever happens, however, I do not want to be buried and placed in the ground. Nor do I want a wake.
      I think this is enough talk about death for now. 😦

      Like

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