I wouldn’t say that I’d gone off the rails, too too much. I think I would more categorize myself as simply enjoying the added income. Now, however, with the reality that DH has to delay his own retirement to a more realistic future date in time, the two of us had to rein in our spending habits, get back to our basics and start saving that income rather than spend it. I’ll admit that it took me a few weeks to adjust but I am happy to report, the old girl is back in the frugal saddle and I couldn’t be happier.
What can be better in this world than saving money?
The first thing I did was clear out the clutter in our food category. I cleared out our pantry and our fridge of foods we over bought and never will eat. There’s only room now for necessities. I also threw away outdated and expired foods. Bounty that I had purchased but never got around to actually eating it! Once I streamlined our food supply, I was able to shave off $25 a month from our $500 a month food bill. August’s bill was $476.28. September was $469.81 and October looks well on its way of staying under budget. We’re back to eating mindfully, healthfully and more meaningfully. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?
The second thing I did was clear out our clothes of unnecessary clutter. Whatever we were no longer using or needing went straight to Goodwill. Cleaning out the closets opened up a new path to newer, more needed clothing. I made sure DH and I both had new shoes for the upcoming winter, at least one pair of new jeans, a few warm tops, much-needed newer sleep ware and sweats to wear around the house to keep us warm.
The third thing I did was streamline our interior furnishings; made sure there was no clutter or redundancy. We also streamlined our garage and shed, making sure our equipment (riding mower, generator, snow blower etc) was in tip-top shape, completing any needed repair or maintenance upkeep as a way to properly prepare for the winter.
I looked over our monthly guaranteed financials and made sure our expenses matched our income. Our key here is NOT to touch our liquid cash supply above the alloted, calculated, annual withdrawals (geared strictly towards annual property taxes and travel) If we can adhere to that policy, we’ll be alright and our retirement will stay secured.
There’s not much we can do, other than move, to keep our property taxes low. We’re scheduled for our next increase in 2020 when the town does its second full evaluation. We had one in 2010 and another in 2019. As we all know, property values are going up almost everywhere. We’re no exception. I have no idea what the future will bring us. It’s more of a ‘wait and see’.
The last thing I did to get us back into our frugal mode was to substantially change and alter our travel agenda. We are going to continue to use our RV at least 3 to 4 times a year AND we have accumulated enough airline miles to score at least one travel vacation by plane annually (this year is Las Vegas. Next year we are going to Bermuda). The biggest reduction we made is under our RV travel. Instead of staying at private, expensive, commercial RV parks, we are going to either stay at State/National parks or learn to boondock. DH and I had been putting it off for years but now realize the error in our previous thinking. State and National Parks have come a long, long way from those creepy, crawly, icky parks of yesteryear. Many of them have been updated with level, shaded sites, have water and 20/30/50 amp electrical service and are situated on thousands of prime real estate, some with ocean/river/lake views. Many parks have scheduled activities, playgrounds, biking and hiking trails, canoe/kayack rentals, concession stands, fishing piers, horseback riding and many other activities, all under the guidance of park rangers. Many parks have updated their restroom facilities and showers. Some even have laundry services AND air conditioning!
The winters will be spent in Florida, hopefully at a spot along the ocean. Summers will be at nearby beaches (Maine, Connecticut) and fall will be spent up in the Catskill Mountains or the Adirondacks. I enjoy planning out our vacation time because it makes me look forward to so many adventures throughout the year. It also makes me realize that a frugal lifestyle can be an enjoyable and exciting one.
Money isn’t everything. But frugality is.
You can have it all, if you go small.