Somewhere along my retirement journey, I forgot the importance of saving money. I had gotten so used to just constantly pulling money out of my savings account that I had totally forgotten that I also had to put some money back in. Duh?
No worries. It took my thick skull a bit of reminding, but I am happy to say that I am back on track to refreshing my savings accounts rather than the other way around. Even though we are retired, we still need that $1000 Emergency Fund. We also need goal-centered savings accounts. For me, I needed to set up a ‘gas’ account for when we RV travel on vacation. I never realized that round trip gas for us to Florida, based on today’s fuel costs, came to around $900. With DH not working as much, we can no longer rely on his paycheck to cover extraordinary expenses. We need to plan for it. Thus, the start of our ‘gas’ account.
So, how do you set up a savings account in retirement when all your income is geared towards spending? We did it by looking over all our expenses and seeing what we could cut back on. Whatever we could cut back on or simply eliminate became the extra money we needed to put into a savings account. For us, it was cutting back on groceries, doing more menu planning, more cooking at home from scratch, totally eliminating meals out (what was more important? eating in a restaurant or lounging on a beach in Florida during the cold winter months?)
We cut out entertainment costs by only going to freebies. There’s a plethora of free things to do in our neck of the woods. The secret is to be vigilant and search social media for free things to do. I also scoured the local libraries around me and found a lot of free activities to keep me happy, occupied and solvent.
In other words, DH and I started to prioritize what was important to us and what wasn’t. We also started brainstorming on how we could earn more money to put towards a savings account. One idea was to eliminate frequent flyer charge cards and replace them with cash back reward cards (paying at least 2%). We quickly starting coming up with extra cash (in $25 increments) that we transferred over into our newly formed savings account. DH put in some extra hours at work. I monetized my blog and also took on more computer work.
Once I made the mental switch from spending to saving, it became an obsession with me. I’m starting to enjoy seeing my savings account increase rather than see my original savings account decrease. I hadn’t realized that you can save money in retirement! What a concept!
I set up a budget account with my propane (heating) supplier. Rather than try to cough up $500 to $600 per delivery, we evened out the billing to $180 a month for 10 months. This will help out our monthly budget tremendously. I also had two CDs come due (@ a measly 1.25% and rolled them over to a CD paying 2.70%) DH and I are going to need expensive dental work soon (ah! old age! you gotta love it!). So, I enrolled us into a great, low cost ($43 a month for the two of us) dental plan that covers all preventative treatments, cleanings and routine work 100% (no deductible). The interest earned on the two rollover CD’s will fund our monthly dental insurance expense.
I started watching YouTube videos of other people, who were living on less and saving more. One of my favorites is this lady called Kate (Coffee With Kate). She and her husband (who earns minimum wage) along with their two young sons, live on about $30,000 a year. Kate does this by moving out of an expensive California neighborhood and buying a 1000 sq foot home (built in 1941 and a pure fixer-upper) in a seedy neighborhood and revamping the whole place. She and her husband worked tirelessly to bring the smallish home back to life, set up a garden, plant fruit trees, vegetable gardens and gorgeous flower beds. Once Kate revamped her home, so did her neighbors. Her seedy neighborhood is seedy no more. Kate makes money from vlogging and writing books. Her husband, despite earning a minimum wage, works long hours BUT his job is right down the block. Kate cooks from scratch, buys organic whenever she can, does her best to keep a clean and orderly home AND makes a mean cup of coffee!
Here’s a video of Kate’s before and after home remodeling, sure to inspire. Enjoy:
PS: Side Note. I did get a little slack about those hydrangeas I bought last week. Please be advised that I bought those plants at Aldi’s. I was food shopping that day and my weekly budget is $100. When I put those two plants in my shopping cart (value @$11.99 each X 2= $23.98) I had to take food items OUT of my cart to balance the budget back to the $100 limit. I put back meat, and other expensive food items to make room for the hydrangeas. My husband and I discussed the purchase right there in the grocery food isles. I had always wanted hydrangeas in my garden but we could never afford them. The Aldi sale price was within reason for me, finally, so I made the leap and purchased them. Flowers bring me happiness. That’s what I figured out from watching Kate’s vlogs. She may be financially challenged, but she so enjoys sitting out in her garden every day and drinking a cup of really good coffee. Sometimes people, life doesn’t get any better than that.