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Hi all,

I founded this board in 2003. Since that time, I've returned to working full time and haven't got a chance to regurlarly contribute. Glad to see there is renewed interest in posting here.


Thought it might helpful to provide link to FAQ post which explains the board's original purpose.


http://boards.fool.com/retire-well-on-less-faq-19727509.aspx...
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I happen to believe that you don't buy a fulfilling retirement—you have to create it. And with some creativity it can be built just as well on a small budget as it can on a large one.

This seems to be the heart of the matter. Maybe the reason this board gets much less traffic than other retirement boards at TMF is because most retirees on TMF don't have a small budget. And BTW, what is a small budget?!

On one hand, I think of my budget as small because I am a penny-pincher about things that shock some people--they assume I must be poor indeed since I cut my own hair, don't eat out much, constrain my spending on utilities, rarely buy clothes/accessories/housewares since retiring, and share 1 car with my husband. But that's in part so I can shop at Whole Foods, host dinner parties, own an RV, and afford pricy nutritional supplements--and trips to visit my children/grandchildren.
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On one hand, I think of my budget as small because I am a penny-pincher about things that shock some people--they assume I must be poor indeed since I cut my own hair, don't eat out much, constrain my spending on utilities, rarely buy clothes/accessories/housewares since retiring, and share 1 car with my husband. But that's in part so I can shop at Whole Foods, host dinner parties, own an RV, and afford pricy nutritional supplements--and trips to visit my children/grandchildren.



Interesting. I also cut my own hair. But then, in another life far behind me, I was a hairdresser. Beautician? (What are they called these days?) We don't eat out at all. Well....I take that back. There is a little hole-in-the-wall Indian Restaurant in Petaluma that has really good vegetarian/vegan options. It's inexpensive. We eat there once in a blue moon.

I'm not sure what you mean by "constraing" your spending on utilities. Not sure how you even do that. It takes gas here to cook and heat. It take electricity to run the TV, computers, lights, A/C, fans. I'm not sure how we could "constrain" spending on that unless we sat here and shivered when it's cold and sweated when it's hot (neither of which I'm the least inclined to do).

We have two cars and an RV. We just replaced the Subaru (which I hated) with a "certified previously owned" (in other words: used) BMW (which I love). And we still have the 1992 Mercedes which still purrs comfortably down the road. We are the 3rd owners of the RV - and most of the time it's just parked in a space here that costs us all of $15 a month.

We shop at Whole Foods and other markets with fresh organic produce. And we probably spend a lot less on food than when we were coming home with bags of meat and cheese products.

We don't host dinner parties. Or travel very much. We mostly go to the library (which is basically free) and we read. Take walks. Bike rides. I sew some - into quilting - so ok...that's not cheap if you have priced the sewing machines and the fabrics and all the other stuff involved. But what the heck...it's a hobby, of sorts. :)

AM
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We have two cars and an RV. We just replaced the Subaru (which I hated) with a "certified previously owned" (in other words: used) BMW (which I love).




I miss my 1997 BMW most of all!!!!
We are now driving a new Subaru because we need AWD in New England.
We were snowed in for nearly two months this past winter but our car is very reliable and will get through the snow. Not sure my 1986 or 1997 BMW's would have made it in this type of snow. Of course now they have AWD on most cars.
I also don't worry about electricity or heat. I refuse to be cold ever again. We could not afford oil to heat our first tiny little house so we had to resort to a kerosene heater which smelled and was not considered very sale with two little girls and a dog around. I refuse to sweat now because we could not afford air conditioners when we were first married and I will never forget how hot it was in our little house.
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I miss my 1997 BMW most of all!!!!
We are now driving a new Subaru because we need AWD in New England.
We were snowed in for nearly two months this past winter but our car is very reliable and will get through the snow. Not sure my 1986 or 1997 BMW's would have made it in this type of snow. Of course now they have AWD on most cars.
I also don't worry about electricity or heat. I refuse to be cold ever again. We could not afford oil to heat our first tiny little house so we had to resort to a kerosene heater which smelled and was not considered very sale with two little girls and a dog around. I refuse to sweat now because we could not afford air conditioners when we were first married and I will never forget how hot it was in our little house.




LOL! I agree. Some things you just don't compromise on.
Our first BMW was a 1984 Baltic Blau 325e. We named him Wolfgang.
We bought him new. I think it was about the last car we ever bought new. He died in 2006 or 2007 (I forget) in Tacoma, WA. AngelSpouse told the guy with the tow truck that he could have him - and so Wolfgang was towed out of our lives.

Now we have a white 2011 328i. This one is female. But I've never found a name that suits her. So we just refer to her as AngelMay's Shiny New Car. :)

As for temperature controls - yep. No thermostat, no AngelMay. This means camping is out - unless we are in the RV. One thing I absolutely WILL be in my old age as long as I can afford it, is COMFORTABLE. So we don't worry about heating and A/C past the point of "does the A/C and heater work correctly and do the job needed?"

AM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "constraing" your spending on utilities. Not sure how you even do that.

I heat to 65 day and night in winter--and dress warmly. Money no object, I'd heat to a more comfortable 70-72. And I set the digital thermostat to "economy" mode rather than "comfort"--that means it doesn't heat/cool the house quickly when it comes on, which makes a big difference in electricity use and therefore cost. We have electric heat--it's expensive if you use a lot. My mother spends $250-300 more per month on electricity in the winter--in a smaller house next door--because she doesn't do these things.

I tried to set the A/C to 78, then 76, and finally 74. It's humid in South Carolina--I know you;re aware of that ;-) Most people and businesses here set their A/C to about 70. Money no object, I;'d set to 72, but with ceiling fans running also, 74 is not bad. Sure beats the outside! [ASIDE At the moment I'm a bit overheated because I hung half the gentle load on the rack in the tub and then ate a bowl of hot potato-kale soup. The tomato salad I'm about to eat should cool me down a bit--along with a glass of ice water!]

We run the shortest cycle on the dishwasher (light cycle, no drying) and washing machine (omit first wash for whichever cycle, omit extra rinse), wash laundry in cold water, wash full loads only, washer is front-loader.

I don't do much about saving energy while cooking, but I don't use the oven very often (not a baker/casserole person, don;t roast things that often--vegetables once a week, though, and occasional homemade granola). I sometimes use the thermal cooker (like a crock pot without electricity) that I bought for the RV. I try not to open the fridge/freezer too much.

We take very short showers. No more shaving in the shower or even washing hair twice. 5-6 minutes.

We're gradually replacing lightbulbs with the energy-saving kind. We run lights very little. We read/watch stuff online in a dark room probably 6 hours a day.

If it weren't for my allergies and the bugs, I'd dry clothes on a clothesline even though it's against the HOA rules. I keep a rack in the tub and dry lightweight items there. When I lived in NYC I had 2 racks in front of a sunny window & radiator and dried everything on them. But I don't have a good place to do that in my much larger house(!). I'd have to get rid of the kitchen table. Or use the (slow-drying) north-facing window in the master BR--which would humidify the BR, so no go.

When we have cable, I think cable tv sux and is a waste of money, and when we don't, I miss having more stuff to watch(!). Money no object, I'd have cable tv with some premium channels. When other expenses increased, cable was one of the sacrifices.

No landline phones, just cell. Also a sacrifice to other expenses.

RV - and most of the time it's just parked in a space here that costs us all of $15 a month.

I have the jealous! Our RV storage lot costs $110/month--with a 13th month free if you pay the year in advance, which we do (it cost $75/month when we first got the RV 8 years ago…some things have more inflation than others!). I called around a couple of years ago to try to save, but there's nowhere close that's any better. I should try a more rural county.
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We run the shortest cycle on the dishwasher (light cycle, no drying) and washing machine (omit first wash for whichever cycle, omit extra rinse), wash laundry in cold water, wash full loads only, washer is front-loader.



Ha! We use our dishwasher to store the various parts to the food processor, the mandolin, the rice rinsing bowl, the colander, the salad spinner, a grater, and the poker thingy for the Vitamix. :)

We just wash the dishes by hand in the sink. Just two of us. Don't really need a dishwasher.

:)

AM
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Oh! Of course when we DID use the dishwasher - back in our Alabama dream house (which I designed) - we had a Bosch. So quiet. And it didn't use electricity for the drying. And we also used the shortest cycle on it because the regular cycle was just tremendous overkill I thought.

AM
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We just wash the dishes by hand in the sink. Just two of us. Don't really need a dishwasher.

Dishwashing is the hubster's job, and he prefers a dishwasher. Studies show that less water is used by a dishwasher than used by hand washing.
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Maybe I should give up if we're gonna talk about luxury cars ;-)
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Maybe I should give up if we're gonna talk about luxury cars ;-)


So, you want to dictate what other people are allowed to talk about?
If this board turns into something that resembles "bashing the rich" then I won't be participating.
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Maybe I should give up if we're gonna talk about luxury cars ;-)

I think the smiley face at the end of the comment that you quoted meant that she was just teasing. At least that was how I took it.
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I think the smiley face at the end of the comment that you quoted meant that she was just teasing. At least that was how I took it.



If you've been following all her posts you might think otherwise.
This is not the LBYM board. People here should be able to talk about anything they want with regard to "retiring well with less".
We retired well with less just two years ago. We moved to a much more affordable town, shop at stores that are much cheaper than where we lived before, don't go to Broadway shows anymore but to the local theatre. And on and on and on. Oh, and we bought a house that was half the price of the apartment we sold in Brooklyn Heights and the house is a little bigger by a few hundred square feet.
As a matter of fact, our retirement income is half of what it was when hubby was working.
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<< Studies show that less water is used by a dishwasher than used by hand washing.
>>



"Studies show" very often a huge lie.


Personally I wash dishes without using ANY city water, and when I washed dishes this morning I used zeros gas or electricity to heat the small amount of water I did use.


Seattle Pioneer
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<<This is not the LBYM board. People here should be able to talk about anything they want with regard to "retiring well with less".
We retired well with less just two years ago. We moved to a much more affordable town, shop at stores that are much cheaper than where we lived before, don't go to Broadway shows anymore but to the local theatre. And on and on and on. Oh, and we bought a house that was half the price of the apartment we sold in Brooklyn Heights and the house is a little bigger by a few hundred square feet.>>



Living frugally is a hobby for me. My experience in retirement is that you can live quite cheaply if you want to do so, and live a good life.


My biggest expenses are insurance and taxes. Nothing else really amounts to very much.



Seattle Pioneer
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I think the smiley face at the end of the comment that you quoted meant that she was just teasing. At least that was how I took it.

This.

But.

I've been trying to get the board better defined...Retire Well on Less--than what? Almost everybody retires on less than they made while working. For one thing, when you're no longer paying FICA taxes, saving for retirement, or (possibly) supporting children or paying a mortgage, your expenses go down.

If it's just a random retirement board, there's already Retired Fools and Retire eEarly liberal and conservative editions. There's already LBYM. What should we be discussing here?
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If this board turns into something that resembles "bashing the rich" then I won't be participating.

Don't worry--I only do that on other boards ;-)

Srsly, Brooklyn, I'm not trying to prevent anyone from speaking out on whatever, I just want a place to discuss frugal retirement. Maybe there is no place on TMF for that and I should be looking elsewhere.
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Living frugally is a hobby for me. My experience in retirement is that you can live quite cheaply if you want to do so, and live a good life.



My husband went over our expenses for the month and as usual it was much more than we expected. Puppy went to the vet. Decided to get the new anti tick pill at $55 for one pill that lasts 3 months.
If we were forced to cut back we have a lot of room to do that in the grocery bills. We eat a lot!!!!
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I've been trying to get the board better defined...


Why?
There's been more traffic on the board this week alone than there has been in the prior year!
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My biggest expenses are insurance and taxes. Nothing else really amounts to very much.

Mine are insurance, the house and its related utilities & services, and health care (for two). Food is creeping up, too. I feed 2 additional people often and a houseful a few times a year.

Our income and property taxes are a pittance compared to most budget categories, especially since my county gives a prop tax discount starting at age 65. I've never added up every sales tax, phone tax, etc. Have you?
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There's been more traffic on the board this week alone than there has been in the prior year!

I started 4 of the last 6 threads, and have another in mind.
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I started 4 of the last 6 threads, and have another in mind.


Way to go!

Anyway, today I finally did something frugal. I cooked chicken thighs in the crockpot with a whole jar of salsa. I served it over brown rice. And, there was leftover so I got off my lazy patootie and actually found a container and put the leftovers in the freezer for hubby to eat on the weekend. We are big meat eaters and I rarely have anything left over so this was a big deal. Of course, it went much further (or is it farther) because it was on a bed of rice and was quite filling.
When we were first married I could get blood out of a stone. We had no money. Seriously. I used to shop with change in my purse. Not one single dollar bill. I used to be so embarrassed that I would go to several stores with change so that I didn't have to give too much change at one store.
Fast forward a few decades and I can afford to eat what I want but I will never never forget the days when money was so tight that there wasn't any money at all except for change!
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I can afford to eat what I want but I will never never forget the days when money was so tight that there wasn't any money at all except for change!

I've also been working poor and went to the store with the cash (bills, luckily) that I planned to spend on food for the week, mentally toting up each item as I went. I tried not to use it up so that if I needed milk or something before a week was up, I could buy it. Just in case, I kept powdered milk and a few cans of evaporated milk on hand. I can recall needing to hit that stash. But now…yeah, I be spoiled… even though I know how to cook frugally… I want shiitake mushrooms, wild salmon, organic tofu… It's the most spendthrifty part of my budget, but I do budget for it.

chicken thighs in the crockpot with a whole jar of salsa. I served it over brown rice.

Sounds delish.

Today, we had…

BR
taleggio (expensive, delicious Italian cheese) melted onto Ezekial sprouted grain toast
fruit salad w/walnuts
coffee, almond milk

LU
had-to-be-used-up-today tomato salad
some leftover potato-kale soup that needed to be finished

DN
grilled salmon steak
grilled zucchini
1/2 glass chardonnay leftover from weekend company
OK, OK, 2 gluten-free oatmeal-raisin cookies :-)
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Of course, it went much further (or is it farther)

Further. :)

AM
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