Frugal-retirement helps make our money last

Frugal-retirement will help us make our money last. It does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of things that you need. Frugal-retirement does mean that you budget and develop careful spending habits and sound financial planning. It also means that you learn to respect money. And your budget preparation must include a candid assessment of expenses. The following list are some things that have worked for us.

  • Grow your own vegetables. This will take a small upfront investment but will pay off in the long run.
  • Freeze or can your own vegetables. Frozen are better for your health but will require a freezer. A chest type freezer is good and less expensive.
  • Starting a back yard garden? Don’t buy a rototiller, rent one.
  • Bake your own bread. You can purchase a loaf of whole-grain bread for about $4 or a five-pound bag of flour for $3 and bake six to seven loaves. Automatic bread makers do all the work and are available for as little as $25 to $30.
  • Warehouse clubs such as Costco, Sam’s and BJ’s offer quality merchandise at discounted prices. One issue is that you often have to buy in quantities that are not practical. Our solution to this issue is to buy items such as an eight can package of canned tuna and split the cost and the package with our neighbor. Another issue is that these stores are skilled merchandisers so one has to be cautious to avoid impulse purchases that do not contribute to frugal-retirement.
  • Buy generic brands or store labeled products(remember your health and read the labels).
  • Eating at home is usually cheaper than eating out. There are some exceptions. For example, we eat at a local salad bar buffet that serves the same menu for lunch as they do for dinner and if you arrive before 4 p.m. the charge is at the lunch rate. Another exception is a local Mexican restaurant that serves excellent meals at very reasonable prices.
  • When you do eat out, remember that beverages are heavily marked up in restaurants. A glass of wine can cost nearly as much as a full bottle. Soft drinks and juices are also heavily marked up. Your best and healthiest choice is a glass of water.
  • Own two vehicles? Consider selling one and save on insurance, annual tax, and maintenance.
  • Do all your errands and shopping at one time. Keep a list and make the trip only when you have no less than three destinations. This will keep your road trips to the minimum to save on gas.
  • Eliminate impulse buying and don’t buy things simply because they are on sale or because you have a coupon. Make a list when you go to the store and stick to it.
  • Do use coupons but only for items that you would buy anyway. We are loyal to one grocery store because they are good at customer service but also because they have “two for one” sales and will honor coupons from their competitors.
  • We get coupons from the internet, store and merchant mailings, and the newspaper especially on Thursday and Monday. Occasionally there are some very good coupons in the newspaper with a total value significantly greater than the cost of the paper. On those days we may buy two newspapers.
  • If you have a yard, do your own yard work. It saves money and is good for your health.
  • If you are looking for a place to retire, considerations should include state and local taxes and other regional cost of living differences.
  • Poor ceiling insulation is a huge waste of energy and money. Reinsulate in the attic and check to see if you are wasting energy through the windows. Your utility company will probably conduct a free audit of your home.
  • Review the possibility of solar power even if it is for back-up.
  • Circulate air through the house with overhead or floor fans. You’re air conditioner will not run as long or often and it will feel cooler to you.
  • Shut off heater vents in rooms not being used

Frugal-retirement living got a big boost with the publication of “Living Large in Lean Times” by Clark Howard. It is a great guide to saving money, covering everything from cell phones and coupon websites to electric bills and cable television services. It is an easy read with more than 250 money saving ideas.

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