Sunday, February 7, 2010

While most of the rest of the world watched the Super Bowl today, I toiled over our 2010 retirement budget. I keep meticulous records of our spending from past years. The challenges are (1) our income sources are changing - no longer two paychecks for 12 months, but one for three months and one for six, and other sources after that; and (2) we'll be cutting costs in retirement, and it's hard to estimate which costs will be easy to cut, which will even be possible.

On the other hand, having these numbers in front of me will put the Bag Lady in her place.

We've been eating at home more often now that Art is no longer working. For the first time in a while, the refrigerator is full and challenging us with its cache of leftovers. Every time we open the white door in the kitchen instead of walking up the street to our neighborhood Italian place, or instead of cruising by Taco del Mar for a quick baja bowl, we lower those food costs. I've talked to friends and relatives who've retired, and they all comment on how much less they spend in restaurants. I used to think it was because they couldn't afford to go out; now I realize they're finding riches in their own kitchens. It's an easy way to save money.

As we move forward, I'm looking forward to find those other cost-cutting opportunities. I was working today on our travel budget. We're spending Thanksgiving in Utah again this year. The airfare is $700 for the two of us. We won't be working by then, so it would be a lot cheaper to drive - a two-day drive, one night each way in a motel, plus meals. That's a significant savings in travel costs - if the weather cooperates.

I'm hoping this new way of looking at finances will be fun. My Bag Lady deserves a rest.

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