I have just discovered that I am rich. I have a few bob in a current account which is my emergency fund, this will come in useful should I need to pay out for something that breaks or wears out, or I want to go on holiday. I don't have to worry, because I am not dead skint, I have got some money. YAY :o)
I've been going back over my bank statements to see how I have been doing financially since I retired five years ago. In fact my statements go back further than that to 2001. It certainly makes interesting reading, especially around the time of November 2005 when I was getting fed up with driving, cutting my hours, and running a small business trying to make up the shortfall. I was riding by the seat of my pants then, down to my last £300 in the account, and no savings to fall back on. I still don't have any savings, because I don't need any. I can't see the point in having money lying around in accounts doing nothing except earning a piddling bit of interest. I can do without all that bother. The less I have the better as far as I'm concerned.
I'm not saying I want to live on fresh air with no money at all. If the government went bankrupt and my pension suddenly stopped, I would go back to work, But as long as they are paying me enough to cover my living expenses and a few treats, I am happy. I read a lot about poor pensioners who can't manage, but to be honest, I have a pretty good life on my pension. In fact, as my header says, it's a brilliant life.
I made the decision a few years ago to cut my working hours, which cut my pay. I decided I would learn to manage on less. When the going got tough, I simply stopped spending, that was it, full stop. Can't afford it, need money to pay mortgage, council tax, utilities, food, car, one cat, none left for other stuff.
I scrutinized my bank statements, got the calculator out, worked out a plan. The plan was not to buy anything I didn't need. In 2007 I did spend some money, I needed a new kitchen because the one I inherited when I moved here was disgusting. I had put up with it for years because every penny I had went into buying the house, there was none left for anything else. So for £514 I bought a new kitchen from Homebase. I ripped out the old kitchen, put the cupboards together for the new one, and paid a plumber to fit the sink, cut the worktops to size and screw the cupboards to the wall. I wanted some electrical work doing, new sockets, but the electrician said I needed a whole house rewire. So I didn't have the sockets, and I manage with the two double sockets already there.
Once I had got back on my feet again, after years of cutting back, cutting down, and being super frugal, things started to get easier. By then I had living within my means down to an art form. Nothing more has been spent on the house, it is still standing, and I have the same decor that the previous owners left me, except I put a lick of paint on the living room walls.
I saved enough to be able to change my car, adding some cash to the pay off I got from the insurance company when the last one was written off. I was able to save up a bit extra from my pension and get rid of the mortgage.
In 2009 my total annual pension was £7,925.84, now it is £9,590.23. Yes the cost of living has gone up, everything has gone up, but I am still managing. My quarterly utilities bills have hardly changed at all, their prices go up, I use less, I will beat them. I have no mortgage to pay now. I don't pay as much council tax as I did when I was working. I negotiated a better deal on my house insurance. I cut Bugsy's insurance. A little tweak here and a little tweak there, and I don't have to worry about money any more, as I have enough.
So, I'm feeling pretty flush at the moment, but that isn't a cue to do anything rash, like going out and buying something I don't need. I don't have to scrimp every penny, but I probably will, ha ha. It's in my nature to be cautious with my money. There's no way on earth I could go out and flash the cash.
There is another reason to keep on with the money saving, and it's far more important than me living within my means. The worlds population is growing at an alarming rate, and if things keep going as they are there is going to be a massive wakeup call. There will be no gas, no electricity, no water, it will all be gone, used up, nothing left. Me using the bath water to flush the toilet, and buying second hand clothes, is unlikely to save the planet, but it makes me feel better knowing I am doing a bit to help.
Anyway, as long as that pension keeps appearing in my bank account I will be OK. I'm sure of that.
My stomach is telling me it's time for dinner, so I'll say toodle pip.
A New House: Pronto!
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