Just a nip and a tuck


I can feel my belt tightening already

Most of you will know that OH retired at the end of November and now we are finally getting to see what this will mean for our finances. We opted to draw down as little as possible from his annuity for the next five years while I am still working in order to preserve as much capital as possible.

The reality of this decision, whilst financially sound, is going to put a bit of a spoke in our wheels. The coming year will be a learning curve in that every purchase will have to be justified if we are to keep within our reduced budget.

It won’t be all frugality though; one has to find the balance between living in the present and preparing for the future which could be months, 5 years, twenty years or more. I think I’m pretty good at saving money when it comes to food shopping. I can make a little go a long way and OH is not a fussy eater. We don’t buy many luxuries in the food department and never any processed or prepared foods. Winter is much easier than summer in that regard as healthy soups, stews and casseroles can be made in bulk and frozen in portion sizes and I already do a lot of that. Summer is more difficult as we both love salads and salad ingredients have a short shelf life as does summer fruit.

Eating out will definitely have to be one of the pleasures that we enjoy less of although we don’t go crazy there either. Our theatre season tickets will definitely stay as half-price shows are a pensioner’s friend and it’s normally a great night out.  We will make more use of our Discovery movie benefit and watch out for specials and deals that we can enjoy without a guilty conscience.

I’ve had some experience in belt tightening in my lifetime and I’m hoping that the things I learnt in the past will come back to me now that I need to budget more carefully again.  I would love to hear from others at this stage of life what adjustments they have made and what advice they can offer.

Obviously if OH should be offered some contract / consultant work he would seriously consider it but I do think that having reached 65 and having survived both leukaemia and a heart attack he deserves to take it easy now.

I’d better get back to work since I’m now the main breadwinner 😉


17 thoughts on “Just a nip and a tuck

  1. I will retire in 18 months. What you have described is exactly what we would have to go through to survive. No more eating out a couple of time a month, no more just going for a long drive….

    This is the sad fact of life but we will survive through it and be all the better for it.
    Best wishes for you and OH.

    • I don’t worry about what others have Col, when I look at what we have achieved compared to our parents it is more than I could ever have dreamt of. The Nouveau Riche still have to discover that conspicuous consumption does not equal wealth.

  2. my hubby is about to retire and we had the fright of our lives when we discovered what his pension would be. Yes, he will still receive his dividends as shareholder of a company, but if that business should go belly up we will be stuffed! The only light for us is me! I’m 20 years younger than my hubby and he reminds me I shall have to work and take care of him. We have a joke about it, but our plan was for him to retire and me to have a very long sabbatical, seems as if said sabbatical will be on hold!

    • Oh dear Ruth perhaps we should have chosen men younger than us – OH is 9 years older than me that’s why I will continue to work for another 5 years but then I hope to be able to afford to stop and enjoy a change of lifestyle. I enjoy my work and am very blessed to be able to work from home but sitting behind a computer all day is not doing my body much good.

  3. We both retired at the same time so it was twice as hard to decide between frugal and comfort. Things have worked out very well for over ten years so we can`t complain.

    • Thankfully he has been in complete remission from the leukaemia for 11 years now and the heart attack was a mild one but it all takes its toll on the body.

    • I try to be organised AD, I’d rather understand our position and live accordingly that find ourselves dependent on our son in later years. As long as you keep travelling to exotic places and blogging I’ll still get to see more of the world than otherwise would be possible.

  4. Things are tough everywhere now, I see so many families around me affected by the economy…I have my grownup son who graduated from university with a degree in economics living back at home with me because the only job he could find is as a server in a restaurant and that took over a year to find..we just get through everything day by day….

    • I feel so for your son annie, and hope that things will turn around soon so that he can find work that suits his qualifications. TBH things are not that bad here in SA, although Affirmative Action makes it difficult for young white people to find jobs. Those who are entrepreneuring are doing well for now. Our future is uncertain not because of our economy but because of our politics against which we have no protection.

  5. Definitely picnics enjoying nature rather than restaurants. Do you live anywhere near a college or a university? Renting out the spare room can be rewarding in more ways than one 🙂

    • Picnics are great and sometimes you can take the dogs too. We do live near a university but our spare room is not well situated in the house and with OH being such a light sleeper there is no way I would want to go back to the days of being woken up by kids coming home at all hours.

  6. I’m sure you’ll be very good at planning everything, optie. I find it very difficult to live on my pension, although the boys now help me out. I also make a lot of frozen meals as cooking for one meal seems so pointless.

    • Thanks pussycat, I hope you’re right. We might be able to survive ok for the next five years but after that when I also retire it will be much more of a challenge so I’d better get some practice in now 😉

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