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To me, Retire Well on Less is well below upper middle class level. It means doing without some middle class amenities, too.

In our case, we have a nice house & furnishings (sunk costs!), but we do without some signifying middle class amenities:

- No cable or dish tv or landline phone. Just cable internet and cell phones.

- We share 1 car, even though it's sometimes inconvenient. It's 7 years old and I hope it lasts another 7 years.

- The hubster gets 2 or 3 haircuts/year at a cheap barbershop, and I cut my own hair and do my own nails.

- Small clothing/accessories/shoe budget. I don't know any other women with as few shoes/accessories as I have.

- No maid service, we clean our own house.

- Eat out/get takeout once a week (well under middle class norm).

- If I want to or have to go over budget in one area, I make it up in another area or do without the following month or two.

- We do as much for ourselves as we're capable of (clean gutters, do repairs).

- We conserve water and electricity.

- I still haven't been able to get myself to splurge on a big tv. We have a 32" flat screen I bought around 8 years ago.

But we do have our splurges:

- We have an RV (medium-size, and we rarely camp at RV resorts, just boondock and stay at less-expensive public campsites).

- We spend a little over the average amount for people our age on groceries. We don't restrict ourselves to the cheapest food. We don't grow our own except for rosemary and thyme that naturalized. We do entertain at home.

- We travel, but not expensively any more.

- We hire a yard service. That's expensive.

- We have iPads and pay for the cellular option ($30/month/apiece). So far DH never uses the cellular option so I think he should drop it. But I bought an iPad when they first came out (for internet access while RVing) and am grandfathered into unlimited data at $30/month, so…keeping it.

If you're rolling your eyes at people making such trade-offs, chances are you aren't retired on less ;-)
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