Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ongoing thriftiness

Often I don't think about the things we do that help us build our retirement nest egg while enjoying eating out, travel, Pilates, movies & theater, and other pricier things. Instead I have mostly focused on our pre-tax retirement accounts from work and the money I inherited. We are very fortunate that at this point we are able to plan and spend on what we enjoy while still saving for the future. Of course it helps that we aren't into buying the latest cars, décor, etc.

I think once we are retired, that these small thrifty things along with our use it a long time & keep it in good repair philosophy is what is going to keep the money going for the rest of our lives especially since we are moving to a more expensive housing, insurance and general cost of living area. As I've mentioned we come from long living families and hopefully have a lot of years ahead of us to finance and enjoy!

Some of the things we do routinely are listed below. What do you do that I could add to our habits? Where do you get your inspiration for living a full life while managing your assets?

- Wash laundry in cold water, buy inexpensive laundry soap on sale and use white vinegar as softener
- When shopping for new clothes for myself I start with consignment/thrift store, then discount store (Tuesday Morning, Marshalls, etc.), then lower cost department stores and finally higher cost ones but watching for sales.
- Mending/alterations are done by me

- Hubby takes lunch to work almost every day and I eat lunch at home now that I am retired unless I am having lunch out with a friends
- We cook dinner together most nights going out about once every week or 10 days
- Make bread crumbs out of bread ends, freeze overripe bananas for banana bread later, make chicken stock from carcass and generally minimize food waste
- Use coupons and/or shop sales for items I would buy anyway

Utilities including phones:
- Turn off lights when not being used
- Keep thermostat setting as high/low as possible in summer/winter
- I keep a spreadsheet of our electricity, gas and water usage which enabled me to see a few years ago that there was a leak in the water main. It was costly to fix but we were able to get a partial refund.
- Right now we have very low cell phone costs - Hubby has a work phone and I use a Tracfone. Not a help when we travel and wish we had all the lovely iphone features but work for day to day. We will switch when he retires.

- Do all yard work and housework ourselves; we do hire out tree trimming and heavy landscaping
- Do home repairs ourselves if possible
- Use linens, furniture, decorative items, etc. as long as possible and then replace through consignment stores or sale items if possible

- Pay all the bills I can online to save on stamps and checks
- Track and monitor our spending
- Review bills and accounts routinely; contest or change providers as needed

- Keep vaccinations current and take medications as prescribed
- Keep up on routine preventative medical and dental care services
- Plan meals to meet our low salt, non-dairy, gout appropriate diet needs

- We keep our cars a very long time and follow the preventive maintenance guidelines
- Combine errands to save on driving
- Get insurance discount for completing a safe driving course online

Recreation & Hobbies:
- I check online listings for free musical performances at a nearby college, outdoor activities, etc.
- We purchase an annual membership at the art museum which enables us to see all exhibits including the special ones at a much reduced cost
- Most books read are from the library

- Use scrap paper for notes/lists and print on back of sheets
- Buy note cards at thrift store
- Reuse plastic shopping bags and newspaper wrappers for dog pickup and trash
- Wash dog in bathtub between grooming appointments. Keep up with her ear and eye cleaning and medications to avoid further vet costs.




  1. All good ideas. We try to do alot of those too. I have found I buy fewer convenience foods since I retired. I also stock up when there is a sale. I used to look at store ads and see that pork chops are on sale so we would eat pork chops that week. Now I plan a menu for the week based on what I already have in the freezer/pantry. If pork or chicken thighs are on sale this week then they will turn up in menus next week and after. I buy as much as I can afford. My store also has 10 for $10 sales periodically. I stock up on things like spaghetti sauce and ranch dressing and salsa for $1. I also only shop every 2 weeks and that has helped save $ too.

    1. Great tips! I'd love to shop only every 2 weeks as we shop three different grocery stores to get items we prefer so I feel like I'm always shopping.

  2. I'm glad I'm already hip to a lot of those frugal habits! Hopefully getting them all into my system in my 20s and 30s will have lots of longterm benefits.

    1. You are so right! I had very little money during those decades & so was frugal by necessity and have tried to continue those habits now that there is more room in our budget.

  3. I am always surprised by how many of my neighbours with moderate incomes pay to get their yard work done. I think staying healthy enough to do it ourselves is part of the picture.

    1. Exercise courtesy of Mother Nature. I need to get a fitbit like you have and increase my exercise even more.


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