No secret, just willpower not to return to workforce

by Jeanie Champagne
(Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)

Photo by Eylem Culculoglu

Photo by Eylem Culculoglu

After taking a few trips and settling in after retirement, came the realization that I could no longer just go shopping or just go out to eat on a whim or a friend's whim.

It actually took a few months to recover from the gloom of it all, but I have because I knew for sure that I was not going to be that 68-year-old lady filling out an employment application. I ordered a very cheap spiral "official looking" personal bookkeeping log from Amazon.com; a very simple one. As you can guess, my income did not take up much space, nor my expenses. The truth was very plain right away, on the first pages, that very first day! I saw immediately how much money it took for me to live in my home, and an immediate enlightenment that my lifestyle must change, period.

I started keeping lists of needs, lots of times crossing things off the list because they were just not a priority and it came down to, "Okay, do I want trash bags, or do I want to remove an item from my grocery list?" That decision was easy. And, all the other decisions and prioritizing began to become a fun game and I think really acceptance was the greater effort.

I eat very healthy and try to eat less - not because I'm on a budget, either. My pastimes have changed drastically and I must chuckle when I think how much enjoyment I find in thrift store shopping and garage sale finds. I have even gotten my son into going to garage sales with me - I think he likes them more than me. Every week he plans our route, maps out the sales, and jots down a few notes.

I'm now selling on Ebay, so much fun, and worth every minute of my time. I rediscovered the local library and all it offers. I've started a growing some of my own vegetables; what a thrill! Yesterday, I made two loaves of fabulous French bread. I've turned my kitchen into a chemistry lab making gallons of laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets in recycled Styrofoam egg cartons and even a flea concoction.

I'm so devoted to Pinterest, I cannot believe it. I want to do everything I click on. It's a challenge to save money, but it's worthwhile and fun!

Does this mean that I will always be constantly looking for cheap things and living cheaply? I don't think so. It becomes second nature and easier. Many things I'm doing right now only have to be done once; other things maintained and the rest I suppose keep me physically and mentally fit, as well as emotionally and socially entertained.

I love my life. I am a retired RN with lots to give back, will work on that soon. I adore rescuing feral cats and kittens and find I am very good at socializing them. My life is full and I have to add that I think it's full because I was forced to put myself on a budget!

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