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.

25.  Compost!

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?


Anonymous said...

What a great list, Terri. You have been thinking! Thanks for sharing it. Good things for me to think about too.

I'm so glad we own our home too. We would never have made it with a house payment!!! My hubby was a hard worker and saver before we ever married, so he had enough in the bank to buy a used car and our home. We bought a home that his money would pay for. It isn't fancy or big but has been perfect for us to raise our family and enjoy now. We've slowly been making improvements over the past year as money has become available. God has been so good to us. We have one more set of improvements slated for April, and then we'll be done with all we want to do.

I've been on a declutter kick lately and am now enjoying a much lighter, cleaner house. I've let my daughter sell or give away all I cleaned out. I like letting her have the proceeds so she can make improvements to her home too. Helps both of us. Pam

Rhonda said...

once the line of credit on our home is paid, we will be debt free too, and our goal is have it done by Dec 2015 or close to that. It might be a bit longer

John could also use Veteran discounts for companies that offer them.

Anonymous said...

I agree. We are glad we paid off the house too. Also we did not buy a larger one when this one seemed small. Now with the two of us it is fine! :) I like what Brenda of coffeeteabooks and me does. She and her husband each keep a list of the things they need/really want and when they get a bonus or can manage to save up for they go to their lists to see what they can buy. A list of big things like a porch fix or a smaller one like a new small appliance or tool. They can check off the one they need/want the most.
Number 12 is something I have to think about too. I buy most things used but still... I love the thought of being Susie Homemaker and look at cook books and things I really do not need. Oh I love the recipes but I have enough. And after cooking for almost 45 years I already have a lot of good recipes! I also have enough pretty linens and things for the house. It will be fine if I don't buy another thing! I do not have to have the cutest home ever. Even doing it on the cheap is doing it too much! Too much stuff of anything is too much. Also I am now not able to do some of the things I used to be able to do. Age does that to us. :) I need to forget what I cannot do and embrace fully what I still can do I love. God is so good. I made a list yesterday similar to yours. I also made a list of people or places my family can donate the things I do have to when they have to. In the mean time I am working on making less they will someday have to get rid of!! Sarah

vickie morgan said...

This is how we survive being retired also. Although we paid down every month on our mortgage too, it wasn't until he received some extra money for retiring did we pay off our home. Not sure how we would make it with paying our traveling maybe! Have a great day!

Colleen said...

Terri I loved your list!. I copied it to use as a reminder. Our home & car are apid for & it makes our retirement so much easier but your list is a great way to continue to save & more important to me to use what we have first. Thanks & have a great day Colleen

Grammy Goodwill said...

Great list.

JoAnn Baker said...

I really like your list... especially #12! Need to always remember that. Paying off our mortgage before retirement was the smartest thing that we ever did as well...

Kathy said...

Great list! Thank you!
Feeling discouraged today though...dishwasher broke last was 9 years old, so almost as expensive to repair as to replace. Last night the washing machine isn't pumping the water out; it is only 3 years old or so. Doesn't anyone make good appliances anymore?

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...