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Old 05-20-2009, 06:24 AM
 
Location: New England
11,724 posts, read 7,733,762 times
Reputation: 8215
Default Retiring on a literal shoestring: support group

Hi and welcome to a new thread devoted to those retiring without much money!!

I hope to hear from folks in the same boat who are not getting a pension or high investment, just a modest income SS income and maybe some savings.

Seeking a forum of supportive comments, suggestions for survival, tips on saving money, humor, philosophy, cultural finds, cheap trips, great reads, etc.

On this thread I would really like to stay on topic (so easy to go off!)

My first question is, for those who may have lost a job close to retirement or those who decided to chuck the job and take early SS, how are you making it? Are you glad you made the decision and why?

~~NewEnglandGirl
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,728,192 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Hi and welcome to a new thread devoted to those retiring without much money!!

I hope to hear from folks in the same boat who are not getting a pension or high investment, just a modest income SS income and maybe some savings.

Seeking a forum of supportive comments, suggestions for survival, tips on saving money, humor, philosophy, cultural finds, cheap trips, great reads, etc.

On this thread I would really like to stay on topic (so easy to go off!)

My first question is, for those who may have lost a job close to retirement or those who decided to chuck the job and take early SS, how are you making it? Are you glad you made the decision and why?

~~NewEnglandGirl
I have a small pension, but no savings, and social secruity and thats' it!

What I've learned is that unless you're a born spendthrift it takes little
money to live very comfortably by staying home to enjoy the peace of
the home you worked so long to pay for. You also have to re-learn a
great deal as to what is and isn't important to YOU and weither or not
it's worth the cost.

Retirement isn't going brain dead. It is an adventure in a new way to live
so make it a good one with money not being everything anymore.

Added to help with ideas on how to save........
Possum Living-How to Live Well Without a Job and With Almost No Money by Dolly Freed

Last edited by Grandpa Pipes; 05-20-2009 at 12:08 PM..
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:44 PM
 
Location: New England
11,724 posts, read 7,733,762 times
Reputation: 8215
Default Slowing down, taking the bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
I have a small pension, but no savings, and social secruity and thats' it!

What I've learned is that unless you're a born spendthrift it takes little
money to live very comfortably by staying home to enjoy the peace of
the home you worked so long to pay for. You also have to re-learn a
great deal as to what is and isn't important to YOU and weither or not
it's worth the cost.

Retirement isn't going brain dead. It is an adventure in a new way to live
so make it a good one with money not being everything anymore.

Added to help with ideas on how to save........
Possum Living-How to Live Well Without a Job and With Almost No Money by Dolly Freed
Tightwad, thanks for being the first responder! I'll look for that book at the library or see if I can get it used. Today, I did something very unusual for me...I took the free college-route bus to the next town about 10 miles from my house. What a great experience! It was a bit of a walk to the bus-stop, and I had to cross a mini-highway to get there, but walk it I did, even with my walking challenges. Once on the bus, I enjoyed riding w the students and older folks, felt like I was back in my college days. I plan to scrape together some $ for a used laptop. I do have a cell phone, so with those two things and an umbrella in a small backpack I plan to get plenty of exercise 3 x week by taking the bus to town and walking all over the place to the bank, the library, the bookstore, and treat myself to a coffee. If it works in the cold NE winters, I may decide to car share with someone. I think it can be done! A lot of my small budget is taken up w car insurance, gas, repairs. I have been living on a bus route for 10 years while working a job, but it's just now waking me up that I can take the free bus to several towns. of course it slows me down but it makes me enjoy my surroundings more. I have a digital camera somewhere that I might add to the pack. Maybe i'll lose weight too (?)

Thanks for the tip on the Possum Living book.

~~NewEnglGirl
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:42 PM
 
66 posts, read 156,780 times
Reputation: 107
What a great thread, newenglandgirl!!
I hope I can join this club. I'm a single public school teacher. I've lived on a shoestring all my life!
I will be retiring July 1st with a small pension- 42% of the avg. of the last 3 years. Talk about a paycut!
But I made up my mind- I am burnt out and will live on whatever pension I get. I'll be in heaven not going to work. Since I've been frugal all my life I won't be changing my lifestyle.
Not old enough for SS.
I wrote, in another thread, about senior coffee at McDonald's- $.45 a cup! And their caramel sundaes for $1. What a sweet treat once in a while.
Once retired I'll be looking for free things to do. Right now I'm too pooped.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:19 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW / CO / SA TX / Thailand
10,790 posts, read 17,551,869 times
Reputation: 7681
As previously mentioned in other threads, do volunteer work for cultural benefit; Usher at concerts / help arrange chairs... for special presentations, be a tour guide, volunteer in a soup kitchen or similar for an occasional free meal.

Read the weekly community calender to find events with free food. Glean at the local farms, or help folks with BIG gardens. The volunteer mileage ('paid' by some groups) is pretty generous, and will fill your car for a month (if you have a 50 mpg VW Rabbit )
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:56 PM
 
Location: New England
11,724 posts, read 7,733,762 times
Reputation: 8215
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluecrab View Post
What a great thread, newenglandgirl!!
I hope I can join this club. I'm a single public school teacher. I've lived on a shoestring all my life!
I will be retiring July 1st with a small pension- 42% of the avg. of the last 3 years. Talk about a paycut!
But I made up my mind- I am burnt out and will live on whatever pension I get. I'll be in heaven not going to work. Since I've been frugal all my life I won't be changing my lifestyle.
Not old enough for SS.
I wrote, in another thread, about senior coffee at McDonald's- $.45 a cup! And their caramel sundaes for $1. What a sweet treat once in a while.
Once retired I'll be looking for free things to do. Right now I'm too pooped.
Bluecrab,

Are you 60 or over? On top of your teachers pension, will you get SS?

Wondering if you will be staying where you are now living once you retire? Is it expensive to live where you are now? (house buying, prop taxes, etc). What's it like there for seniors?

There's a lot of talk on other threads about moving to cheaper areas in retirement. I am so torn about this, being a New Englander at heart who cannot afford to live my elderly years here (mostly b/c of property taxes). I've even considered giving up my car. But I don't want to move to a place for lower prop taxes and be stuck out in the country and have to depend on a car to get everywhere.

Some states apparently freeze (or ease) prop taxes at 65. Here, I face an $800+ increase in the next year. What will it be when I'm 65 or 70??

Anyone else have info on the prop tax issue?
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: New England
11,724 posts, read 7,733,762 times
Reputation: 8215
Default Volunteering for mileage, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
As previously mentioned in other threads, do volunteer work for cultural benefit; Usher at concerts / help arrange chairs... for special presentations, be a tour guide, volunteer in a soup kitchen or similar for an occasional free meal.

Read the weekly community calender to find events with free food. Glean at the local farms, or help folks with BIG gardens. The volunteer mileage ('paid' by some groups) is pretty generous, and will fill your car for a month (if you have a 50 mpg VW Rabbit )
Great ideas, StealthRabbit. I remember your name from other posts. What's your situation in general? Do you like where you're living, esp cost-wise?
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,173 posts, read 4,841,582 times
Reputation: 1409
I'm on disability with SS and a small pension. Life in Knoxville is relatively cheap so I'm able to afford a nice condo and a car.
I do pick up odd jobs when I can. SS Disability does allow for some earnings. I make daily trips to the courthouse to do criminal records searches for a company in New York and I've added some probate record searches from a company I found on Craigslist.
Craigslist is a good source for odd jobs if you approach with great caution. I found a great one there checking for burned out lights at local fast food places. Weird, but good pay for minimum effort. But there are also a lot of scams. You've got to read them with a dose of skepticism.
I've got a standing mystery shop at Drive thru Arby's in the area. Get paid $5 and the cost of a meal. Mystery shopping is like Craigslist, they can be rewarding but approach with caution. Some places want a ton of work for little pay.
I plan to start selling some of my stained glass work on consignment in stores or at craft fairs this summer. I really enjoy doing it and it would be nice to get some cash for it.
I'm active in organizing a local Plant Swap. I get lots of great free plants for my garden there.
It's tough sometimes and I battle depression, especially with the hearing loss, but I try to double up on things I enjoy when that happens.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:28 PM
 
Location: New England
11,724 posts, read 7,733,762 times
Reputation: 8215
Quote:
Originally Posted by knoxgarden View Post
I'm on disability with SS and a small pension. Life in Knoxville is relatively cheap so I'm able to afford a nice condo and a car.
I do pick up odd jobs when I can. SS Disability does allow for some earnings. I make daily trips to the courthouse to do criminal records searches for a company in New York and I've added some probate record searches from a company I found on Craigslist.
Craigslist is a good source for odd jobs if you approach with great caution. I found a great one there checking for burned out lights at local fast food places. Weird, but good pay for minimum effort. But there are also a lot of scams. You've got to read them with a dose of skepticism.
I've got a standing mystery shop at Drive thru Arby's in the area. Get paid $5 and the cost of a meal. Mystery shopping is like Craigslist, they can be rewarding but approach with caution. Some places want a ton of work for little pay.
I plan to start selling some of my stained glass work on consignment in stores or at craft fairs this summer. I really enjoy doing it and it would be nice to get some cash for it.
I'm active in organizing a local Plant Swap. I get lots of great free plants for my garden there.
It's tough sometimes and I battle depression, especially with the hearing loss, but I try to double up on things I enjoy when that happens.
Hi Knox, whom I know from another thread. Thanks for responding!

I will definitely check out Craigslist. I actually think it's a positive challenge to live on so little, not to sound too pollyannaish...and of course in many respects I wish it were otherwise. I've never been a materialist but am soooooo grateful to own a home w/o a mortgage. My only stroke of luck. My big big dilemma is whether to stay here and possibly give up my car so I can afford prop taxes, or relocate far from my grown kids and then figure out a way for paying for airfare to get back to see them (grandkids someday) at least once a year. I shudder at the prospect of flying these days, too, so I may require that they come to me. But will that happen, as they are so busy w making a living and getting settled in life??

It's inspiring that some seem to be finding creative ways of surviving on such a limited income past the age of 6-0. Keep the ideas coming!
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,728,192 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Thanks for the tip on the Possum Living book.

~~NewEnglGirl
Don't bother with the library for this book. It was printed in small numbers
and is really old which is why I included the link to the complete book that
can be downloaded/read for......free!


edit to add......
Seriously consider adding a decent bike (NOT an xmart bike) to your methods of travel.
Way,way to many American's think bikes are toys for kids but they without a doubt the
most efficient, cheap way to move people ,and material you need, from place to
place. I use bikes & adult trikes everyday to keep my 63 yr old body both in shape
and save huge money doing all my intown errands. Once you get past a little sorness
and ride a properly fitted to you bike you'll fall in love with the new found freedom
of cycling as an adult!!!

The only time is use one of our well kept older car/pu is when we have to leave town to go
the city for supplies or medical. I put under 3,000 a year on them COMBINED now that I
don't need them for work. It's just GREAT!!!!!!!! NO new cars in my future!!

Last edited by Grandpa Pipes; 05-20-2009 at 06:26 PM..
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