Monday, November 17, 2014
Retirement Remedies: Fighting Back From the Home Front
We are so blessed to have our home fully paid for. And thank goodness! I cannot imagine how we would make it through our retirement years if we were still paying off our mortgage and though it was a small mortgage compared to many it was a costly one with a high interest rate. We had the best going rate at the time we financed (at 9.75%!!). I'm not ashamed to admit that while we consistently paid extra on our mortgage amount we paid it off because I was left a small inheritance. It was just enough to cover what we owed on our mortgage and despite all the financial advice given by those lovely financial planners telling us that the worst thing we could do was pay off our mortgage, we paid off the mortgage rather than invest the money. We thought it a pretty good return on our 'investment' to finally realize our dream of being debt free.
Well being debt free is not the end of the game...staying debt free is a balancing act of figuring out what works, what doesn't and why. I've made a reminder list of thoughts I've had over the past three weeks. I'm putting them in my notebook and reviewing them a couple of times a month, just so I keep aware of my purpose.
1. Repair, paint, maintain, recover, clean. Read instruction booklets and follow a routine maintenance schedule for all appliances, vehicles, painted surfaces, fabrics, etc. If we don't have a manual can I find one online? Is there a Youtube video to show me what I need to know?
2. If something no longer works for it's intended purpose figure out a re-purpose, just like that island that moved from kitchen to porch to kitchen desk.
3. Ask the right questions:
Can I use something else to serve the same purpose?
Can I buy it used?
Can I get the same look for less?
Can I upgrade quality and get better results? I did just that when replacing our last sets of mini blinds. I opted to upgrade to a 2 inch wide pvc blind that looks like wood slats. The overall improvement in
appearance, light control and temperature regulation has made them well worth the extra cost. I'm slowly replacing blinds at all the windows. I'm halfway to the pair for the living room windows at present.
Can I do it myself?
4. Be vigilant with electric/propane use.
(a) Use daylight to work by.
(b) decide on thermostat settings and stick to them. No more adjusting up and down to suit the moment.
(c) Be certain to wash a full load of dishes or clothes. Use the shortest cycle setting for both.
(d) Control running water. Turn off when brushing teeth. Rinse dishes over dish pan and use that to water plants.
(e) Turn off tv when no one is watching. It's not company. It's an energy user!
(f) Put computer to sleep when not in use.
(g) Hang clothes to dry
(h) Decrease flushes. This one bothers John. I don't mind going to the bathroom a time or three without flushing. I will decrease flushes when he's not home.
5. Remember Jim Bob Duggar's motto: Buy used, save the difference.
6. Buy the best quality we can afford if there is a notable difference from one to the other. Clothes, furnishings, vehicles, lawn equipment, etc.
7. Research before buying. Look for reviews and comparisons online.
8. Shop sales.
9. Saves towards a purchase. I know I will need to replace our large suitcase. I will save towards that purchase now, research brands and models and look for sales.
10. Be generous. Give/donate what is not needed to those who have a need.
11. Use fashion math approach to clothes. Does it go with something I have? Will it create a new outfit when put with other pieces? Does it fit my current wardrobe well?
12. Buy for the life I HAVE, not the life I wish I had.
13. Always be willing to accept anything offered to us. Use, sell, donate, but always accept.
14. Be creative. Use every need as an opportunity to explore different ideas to fill the need.
15. Buy an antenna for the tv.
16. Call satellite company and see if we can put our package on hold for a time following football season.
17. Call local phone service to price satellite internet service. Will it save enough to make the swap and lose the land line?
18. Look for a cell phone plan that seriously reduces current fees.
19. Ask for senior discounts. We're at the age and it's time to start to take advantage of them. Know the store schedule, policy before shopping.
20. Take advantage of price adjustments when we buy an item goes on sale within 30 days. Be sure I know store policies.
21: Save cardboard boxes and newspapers for mulching.
22. Plant bulbs in berry baskets to prevent moles and squirrels digging/eating.
23. Accept free plants.
24. Get manure from cow pasture to use for fertilizer.
26. Purchase gift cards for travel to spread out the costs.
27. Buy gas gift cards when in store and spending the amount required anyway. $50 of gas for $40 is a savings anyway you look at it.
28. Institute the new family giving plan. Each family will receive a gift card for a certain amount. Each grandchild's birthday is a card with a $5 inside.
29. Bake a gift for grown children. Katie gave me this idea when she asked for my homemade oatmeal cookies. It's a service type gift which I love giving to my children and something that cannot be purchased.
30. Are we getting the best return on our money? Would credit union be better? Does our credit union have debit card and checking services? Better rates on savings? On Ira based Cd's?