Ann felt fortunate about being able to retire at 60 after working 10-hour days for many years. However, as the date approached last year, she felt apprehension about ending her salary income. She knew that a portion of her daily spending while working was mostly for convenience, but she never took the time to figure out how much. Now retired, she analyzed her spending before and after, and was surprised to realize that she spent nearly $15,000 more per year to make her life easier! Below is her before and after list, and she says these examples aren’t exhaustive, but just a few ways she is saving money. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas and help you to think harder about your spending habits.
Six Spending Traps
Spending Before Retirement
1. Parking meters: Ann had a habit of running late for work so she would park at nearby meters instead of parking in a meter free zone about four blocks away. She added up all her meter costs for the year and was shocked to find she had spent nearly $4000 on parking, just for the convenience. To make it worse, often, she would forget to add money to the meter, so she accrued another $2000 for expired meter tickets!
2. Daily afternoon latte: For her afternoon break, she would enjoy a coffee drink at $5.00 a pop. This expense added up to $1200 a year. Now, she rarely drinks coffee in the afternoon but figures if she made her cup at home every day, the expense would only amount to $360 a year.
3. Daily Walgreens visit: most mornings, Ann took a 10-minute break to get outside and breathe some fresh air. However, most days, she would end up at Walgreens purchasing a variety of unnecessary items: bottled water, gum, and nuts, to name a few. She figures this expense added up to about $480 for the year.
4. Housecleaning: being an independent New Englander, Ann never relished paying someone to clean her house. But with her 10-hour workday and her husband’s even longer workdays, she felt she had no choice. A biweekly cleaning cost $400 per month or $4800 a year. Now, she cleans her house herself and swears her home is much cleaner than it ever was.
5. Eating out or doing takeout: both Ann and her husband love to cook, but weekday cooking was a big drag. The answer: meet at a restaurant or do takeout. She is now cooking again and loving it. Now, they eat out maybe 1-2 times a week, and she figures that saves them conservatively $4,800 a year.
6. Food shopping: Like many people who work, Ann would do her grocery shopping one time per week. With retirement, she has time to make two to three quick and small food shopping trips a week. These more frequent shopping trips have made her a more frugal shopper but have also cut way back on food waste. Savings: $2400 a year.
Ann was amazed to realize how a shortage of time and energy causes so much unnecessary spending. Not only that, she is now connecting more frequently with friends and family, sleeping better, and cooking more delicious and nutritious meals. She feels better about herself and needless to say, is enjoying her retirement to the fullest.