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How did you "downsize" or reduce living costs in other ways before retirement?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by kittylion, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I was just wondering how people planned for their very much reduced income in retirement.

    I have heard of people selling up and others who radically changed their shopping habits.

    How did you plan to save - and have you any top tips?
  2. Well first of all some costs automatically reduce. You no longer have daily travel costs, nor do you need work clothes.
    Then once you're retired you have time to shop around and find bargains. You have time to cook cheaper cuts of meat slowly. You have time to grow your own veg.
    You can take holidays out of term time which cuts costs drastically. You have time to shop for bargains and to plan for all events through the year. You don't need gyms because you can go for endless walks. You don't need to go out and spend a fortune on meals out because you have time to meet your friends or to cook at home.
    Essentially more time to do things frees up an awful lot of things. But less stress means you need less, you want less, you appreciate more. You have time to find all the cheaper or free things going on in your area.
    We have some rental properties which suplement our income but we are managing well and still have a number of years before we get a state pension. I am still doing some supply though but we do have a son who we are supporting through university. He gets no financial help as it's all based on our income before retirement.
    I also took a 20% drop in my pension because I took it early but still manage ok. My husband's pension is less than mine. I was only ever a classroom teacher with no TLR or anything at the end so my pension is not great - but retirement, or semi-retirement in my case, IS!
    Good luck. It is not as difficult as you may think.
  3. Record every penny you spend. It's amazing (in my case anyway) how money is just frittered away. Writing down your expenditure makes you seriously consider the cost of everything, look for the cheaper options or consider whether you need the item, go on the trip, whatever. It also helps you budget efficiently for the things you do want.
  4. All the ideas given so far are good- I was also really concerned about fuel costs so we did not put our heating on all day until Christmas time as it was mild, wore more jumpers and stayed in the room where our PCs are they give off loads of heat- we are running a part time business still and this helps a bit. I read the meter at the end of every month too and checked what we used on on EON website- not more than last year in fact less as turned it down too. Not prepared to be cold though so think body has adjusted a bit. I get up later do emails and messages on laptop in bed as cosy!
    I make loads of soups in slo cooker and not buying lunch out saves my OH £30 plus a week.
  5. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We began to cut back a year or two before retirement so felt confident we could manage. We don't buy many new clothes, cars are modest and we walk a lot. We have time to seek out bargains, print off voucher codes, chase up price reductions (AA and car insurance both reduced after a phone call) and we also recorded everything for a year or two. When we were working we just didn't try to be economical but now we love Moneysavingsexpert.co.uk. A treat is lunch out rather than dinner (much cheaper) and we pile on the jumpers rather than switch on the heating. This gives us enough to pay for fun!! We are very fortunate.
  6. Something else we do is go for national trust days out- using our membership which sounds expensive unless you use it once a month. We take a picnic and enjoy these places as they are less busy in the week (except for PLUs!)
  7. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Thanks for all your ideas guys and please keep them coming.

    I can see some areas where I will have to make a lot of savings but don't go on holiday at the moment anyway. Still the grocery bill is always way too high and I will have to conquer my ebay addiction (except for buying presents etc).

    Have you any particular advice for Christmas and present giving in general?

    BTW I haven't even planned to retire in the next couple of years anyway - but thought I might start some retrenching now.

    Thanks again
  8. Why not increase your income? Lots of opportunities out there for those who look.
  9. I really noticed I spent less on gifts following retirement at Christmas- nothing to thank members of dept,cleaner(of my food room) caretakers, technicians (4 of them) offices (3 sets of staff) and no birthday club membership. No end of term chox for form or year 11 at end. Just try adding up what all that costs. In later years I had taken to making them mini Christmas cakes and knitting gifts but even these were costly. None of that now ( felt a bit sad actually) though I did one knitting bits/cookies secret santa for an online group I am in.
    Nothing to stop you making gifts now you have the time- we picked loads of blackberries which was fun if prickly and made some spicy chutney with apples from our tree which was well received in pretty recycled jars- ask for these on freecycle if you don't have any.
    I also left the Union saving £160, and no staff assosciation, wedding, leaving etc gifts to contribute to now.
    I think it is the work clothes on which I am saving the most money though- just don't need to look up to the minute and have lived in 3 outfits all winter 3 prs trousers, myriad old tops frmschool and 2 thick cardis (One handknitted) and an old tunic jumper over them. Got plenty of smarter stuff if I go up to London for day.
  10. No, there aren't. Increasing income is difficult unless you want to start your own business which most people don't want to do. Finding employment after the age of 55 is extremely difficult.
  11. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Thought my mother was the only person to still use this expression - btw she lives in the Midlands.
  12. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I'm sure you're right Hippo but I'm just not brave enough to up sticks and move somewhere I know nothing about and where I don't know anyone at all.
  13. Lindenlea we came to the conclusion we could not go that small other wise no space for hobbies/visitors BUT our answer is to move to a much cheaper area (we are only just outside London boundary inside M25) and we have chosen a small town 9 miles from train so not so attractive to commuters despite being in Sussex. However now going to put it off for a couple of years as OH's business has revived since I stuck my oar in!
    We have no children to support however.
  14. You get a bus pass!
    And , with a senior rail card, if you play your cards right-cheap rail travel.
    I will soon (soon) stop getting my hair coloured, go fashionably grey and save £80 a go at the hairdressers.
    Volunteering, charity shop, saves on heating and you get a preview of any goodies (but, play fair, you must wait til they're on display a while first).
  15. You could just colour your hair yourself. It will only cost a fiver a time and is easy to do.
  16. Job-wise.. I know someone who has an ice-cream van in a designated spot. Makes $2000 on a weekend in WA; far more than a week in the classroom. Yes there are overheads - the van has to be tip top. The raw materials of ice cream making are very cheap. Am sure there would be a similar mobile food opportunity at the weekends in UK.

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