Frugal Retirement

For this update, let's focus on recycling. A commitment to throw less into the trash has several important benefits: landfills release harmful chemicals into the air and can leach into the water table below. If you have ever seen a flame coming from a pipe at a municipal landfill, that is visible evidence of the methane gas that rotting waste produces.

Recycling reduces the need for raw materials. Over a ton of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled. The most recent figures available show Americans recycled enough paper products to save well over 100 million cubic yards of landfill space.

How about electronic recycling? What becomes of an old computer, cell phone or tablet? A United Nations study reported that 44.7 million tons of such waste was discarded in 2016. Unfortunately, less than 20 percent of it was disposed of properly. 

Taking old, gently used clothes to an organization that resells them or having a garage sale helps your clutter and allows others to find new life in something that has already been produced.

Ok, so how can we be more proactive and diligent in our recycling habits?

Here are some links to several websites that have ideas that can save money as well as help protect our environment and community.

A frugal retirement is the result of a decision to live in a way that reduces expenses, patterns of consumption, clutter, or even stress caused by being overly committed, whether that means too much volunteer work or saying yes every time a friend asks for help or you. 

Then, it becomes a lifestyle, one that focused on owning things that contribute to your well being and happiness, reduces or eliminates activities that are done out of a sense of obligation, and managing your finances in a way that leaves more money for things and experiences you really care about.

I found an excellent summary why choosing a frugal lifestyle might be right for you on the website, Making Sense of Cents. It said, deciding to become frugal is wise if:

You want to avoid debt.

You want a simpler life.

You know that you can still have fun while being frugal.

You want to appreciate everything and anything around you.

You want to stop trying to impress others.

If adopting a frugal lifestyle appeals to you but you are not sure where to start, here are a few ways to begin:

1) Take advantage of senior discounts. There are thousands of establishments that reward you for making it to this age. Not just restaurants, but car rental companies, hotel and motel chains, travel sites, movie theaters, grocery stores, even retail places, like Ross. For a starter list, click here

AARP has arranged for senior discounts at more places than I could possible list. See a partial rundown here.

2) Eliminate unnecessary insurance. Do you still have disability insurance? When you stop working, that is an unneeded expense. How about life insurance? If you are retired and your spouse, partner, or offspring will control what you own when you die, do you need it? For most of us, the answer is no.

3) Freeze property taxes. Several states allow those over 65 to stop the yearly increase in property taxes. Usually all that is required is to file an application. Check to see your state's rules.

3) Get rid of credit card debt. The average American starting retirement has $6,000 in credit card debt. At interest rates that range from 15-28%, you are throwing away money that no combination of investments can recover. Make it a priority to pay down your card debt, transfer balances to cards with lower rates, and then try to pay off the balance on each card, in full, every month. Then, the financial world is giving you an interest-free loan.

4) Can you reduce utility costs? Turning the thermostat down a degree or two in the winter and up in the summer can save substantially on your monthly bills. Likewise, we tend to forget about water costs. A leaking toilet, over-watering your landscape and lawn, or taking a 20 minute shower every day doesn't come cheap. Can you be more careful without becoming uncomfortable?

Whoever owns the HGTV network has become very rich in telling us all we can do to fix up our living space. Their goal is to make us dissatisfied with our present environment so we will hire contractors to rebuild our kitchens, baths, and closets.

Often using a professional is the best choice. Anything that involves substantial changes to plumbing, electricity, roofing, extensions, or foundation work had best be delegated.

At the same time, DIY can save loads of money and be a tremendously creative outlet. Here is just a starter list of some of the ways you may be able to do-it-yourself, save money, and have fun:

1) Candles

2) Soap

3) Gift wrapping supplies

4) Gardening supplies, like compost and organic pest control

5) Canning your own produce

6) Your own baked goods, like bread, muffins, and the like.

7) Home cleaning supplies

For more ideas, check out these Homemade products.

Look for fresh additions to Frugal Retirement every few weeks. And, please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion, or something you have done to live more frugally. 

Frugal living is simple: don't waste money on things that don't enhance your life, are thrown away before being used, add to a feeling of clutter and stress, or are non-stop maintenance hassles. Frugal living means avoiding instant gratification or impulse purchases.

Frugal living is not the same of living on as little money or possessions as possible. It doesn't mean denying yourself some of the pleasures of life. It is being a thoughtful, aware manager of whatever resources you have available to you.

As a kickoff to this new section of Satisfying Retirement, let's start with a list of some of the more popular frugal living-oriented blogs and websites. I have avoided what are commonly called "mommy blogs," those that focus on saving money and living more simply with a young, growing family. While these folks have excellent ideas, it is hard for most of us to relate to saving money on baby formula or sewing clothes for the 5 year old before she heads off to kindergarten.

I ask you to tell me about any sites you have found that are helpful to your frugal living journey. 

Frugal & Simple Living Inspirational Sites: A Starter List

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