Thursday, 26 October 2017

Give Betty a round of applause

Hello. I've had an email from a reader, let's call her Betty.

I've had a traumatic few weeks, systems have changed in my job, which have made me feel unable to cope. I've done the job very happily for 14 years, but I just can't cope with the changes.
I was going to give up work when I am sixty (I am almost 58), but I've decided to give up work as from now.
Your blog has given me the courage to do it. I've been working on a zero hours contract for 14 years, no holiday pay/sick pay/pension etc, but I stuck with it because I enjoyed it.  Fortunately my husband will still be working for a little while, so the outlook isn't entirely scary, just a bit.
Anyway, I just want to thank you for showing people how they can manage, without making things too complicated.  I read your blog all the time, and it has been the one bright light in a very dark few weeks. 
I am going to use the extra time I now have to lose excess weight, get fit, strong and healthy.  I am currently fat, weak and exhausted, and to be honest, I don't really know where to start.  I'm going to start walking, and possibly swimming, as I have painful feet.  I already use many of your recipes, and try to shop the way you do.  
Feel free to quote anything I have said, as long  as you don't reveal my name etc.  
Thank you again for your brilliant blog, it has been such a help to me in keeping me sane and in making my decision.  

Hi Betty, thanks for your mail. You have decided to bite the bullet and give up your job, that's a very brave move, but at the age of 58, I fully understand your reason for doing so. I was in my mid fifties and wasn't enjoying my job, so I know how you feel. It was boredom and a feeling of being trapped which prompted me to make a move and cut down my working hours, which eventually led to me having an operation I needed, then losing my job, then retiring.

I never thought for one minute that I might be doing the wrong thing. I couldn't face sitting in one more traffic jam on the M62 and thinking what the heck am I doing here, when I could be doing something else a lot more interesting. That's when it hit me, if I don't spend any money, I don't have to earn it.

When the work is no longer stimulating, when the management becomes really annoying, and when you dread going in each day, that's the time to get out, and get a life. Of course it would be foolish to say everyone should chuck their job up just because they are having a bad day, especially if they have family commitments that they must provide for, but there comes a time when the family have gone and the only responsibility you have is to yourself, and to your other half if you have one.

Actually I am feeling quite excited for you Betty, because now you will be in control. You will be able to devote more time to develop other interests, learn new skills, and plan treats, holidays, and other surprises for the two of you, instead of being frazzled and grouchy. Your mood will instantly lift when you wake up in the morning and embrace a brand new day. You will smile, you will be cheerful, knowing that you haven't got to face those in the office, and do battle with the establishment. No more petty rules, you are the one to make the rules from now on.

You say you are unfit and a bit too large, which is contributing to you being weak and exhausted. Let's get you started tomorrow on a plan. Swimming, a good idea, walking a good idea. You could also tweak your diet now you have time. No more grabbing a takeaway or convenience meal because you can't be bothered to cook, or haven't got time to stand in the kitchen. Now you have time to make healthy meals from scratch.

There won't be miraculous changes to your health in the first week, it will all take time, but look forward to feeling a lot better say next spring when you look in the mirror and see a brand new shape, a lot slimmer you. Keep that in mind, it's not pie in the sky, it's achievable once your stress melts away, and you feel more at peace with your life.

Don't worry about not having enough money, you will have enough. Hubby is still working and you can do your bit by planning how you are going to organize your finances, so that he can give up work as well.

This is a new chapter for you Betty, a new start, I wish you well on your journey. Keep in touch and tell us how you are getting on. Send me another email in a month with an update, I would love to know what's happened. All the best.

We didn't manage to get the rabbit hutch/hedgehog residence finished today, I have to go back next week.

A reader has pointed out to me that some photo's are missing on some of my older posts. That's because I was using Photobucket for a few weeks when my storage limit was reached with Google/Picasa. Photobucket was a free image hosting site, but they then decided to make a charge for it which was way too much. I didn't pay so they removed all the photo's that I posted on here and the two forums I visit. I now pay Google £4 something a year for unlimited storage, so my photo's should stay for as long as I keep paying it.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

49 comments:

  1. I retired in August two years earlier than planned and 5 years before my state pension, like 'Betty' I had enough of work, and you are right Ilona, I don't spend as much as I did before on day to day things and I don't need to buy clothes. My days are relaxed, peaceful, no stress, it's the best thing I have ever done. I pay each year to google for my photo's.

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  2. Best of luck to you, Betty. You can do this!

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  3. Good luck to Betty on the changes she plans to do. You have made a lot of people happy that read your blog myself included by the sensible advice you give.

    Sorry you never got the hutches finished but you have next week to look forward to now.
    Hazel c uk

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  4. Betty, congratulations! I stopped working three years ago, and spent the first year learning how to spend less money and cook at home. I also started walking, initially aiming for 20 minutes a day. Fast forward three years, I know have great comfort knowing lots about what we spent and know we have enough to live on, even with surprises. I am thirty pounds lighter without dieting, all due to walking. I can now walk 3-4 miles a day, thanks to Ilona and her walking challenge! My recommendation is to take baby steps, the changes you want to see will happen, there is no rush! Don’t pressure yourself, retirement is supposed to be fun :). Hilogene in Az (having issues using my google signature)

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  5. Definitely a round of applause for Betty. Ilona you are an inspiration. A change of lifestyle is scary but your blog helps others to have the confidence to change and enjoy life.

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  6. Good Luck to her...my brother did all his sums, decided he could afford it by living frugally, and escaped excessive stress and work politics..at 55

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  7. Congratulations Betty and also congratulations to Ilona for writing a wonderful blog which inspires people to take control of their lives. My biggest regret is staying far too long in a job I dislike and personality wise am totally unsuited to. Thanks to Ilona I’m taking steps to address this and have massively reduced my hours. Living on less money is possible and don’t forget in costs to go to work in terms of travel, clothing,and contributing to leaving do’s, birthdays, new baby presents etc. Good luck Betty on the next chapter in your life. Kristel

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  8. Wishing Betty well with her new life. I left my job three years ago now and have to wait until 66 for my pension but am so far managing ok. I do fall off the wagon sometimes and spend too much but then I will go without something else to get back on track, it's amazing what you can save or manage without and I agree, the freedom is so liberating. I loved my job for many years but then the family who owned it consigned it over to shareholders and the job changed beyond all recognition. I absolutely don't miss the micro management, the politics, the weird shifts and having to be available more or less 24/7 for relatively low wages. When I see people grinding on in retail I feel sorry for them as they get lot of abuse from the public and it's not their fault that shops are cutting staff to the bone. I don't have kids to worry about, so perhaps have less expenditure (i.e. no Uni fees for e.g.) which is making it easier to budget. I'm determined to make the most of whatever time I might have left, life is too short to spend it stuck in a job that you've outgrown.

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    1. Well said! I had had enough at age 53 and just left my professional job. My mother was very ill and I was driving a long commute. I had a husband still working but we took a big hit without my wages. Now at 61, I continue to have a happy stress-free life (except for the fact that like you, I've had my state pension stolen from me by the government until I am 66). Not having to sell your time is priceless.

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  9. I did it in June @58 - all the same reasons - it’s amazing how you manage - I’ve made damson jam from damsons I found down the canslšŸ˜€and it’s lovely - I’ve made loads of stuff for free - you will have more time Betty to do these things and no I have not got a pension - lump sum or anything else - just rely on my husbands poor pension and the fact that we’ve got no mortgage. Just never put the heating on/ don’t miss it and get everything from charity shops till my own pension kicks in in 7 years time - long time dead - time is so important. Good luck xxx

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  10. Enjoy your freedom to now enjoy each day.What an adventure .This is the start of the new healthy you.Walking is such a tonic for me ,even a short one-also yoga and stretching x

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  11. Good luck Betty! I did something similar at age 50 after 30 years in the NHS. We now live on much less money but I'm now a dab hand at budgeting and wish I'd done it years ago. My job was stressful, miserable with a bad manager and was making me ill in the end. Never felt better and can do what I want when I want which is lovely.

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  12. Congratulations on your new life Betty. I left work this month too at 63. Like you I’m looking at it as an opportunity, I need to loose a little weight and have already increased my walking. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy our lives and it starts with being fit and healthy and taking pleasure in everything we do.

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  13. Good for you Betty! We did something drastic: OH aged 50 gave up a lucrative IT job and I closed my shop, and we moved to France to a rambly big old house, with a bit of land. We also had our three kids and my mother, and boy, did we find it all a shock! However, 15 years on, OH now getting his pension (I've got to wait until I'm 66) we are so glad we did the move: We've been frugal and mostly self sufficient. We eat well, play well, at least 5 stones lighter between us, and still got a nice little next-egg put by for the kids - if we don't buy a campervan and go off to India first! Life is NOT a dress-rehearsal: grasp it!

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  14. I'm turning 60 and after decades of working for the same employer the work that I am doing is finishing for good. I had the option of moving to a new employer offering full-time work but at my age I don't want to work 5 days a week in a stressful job. Been there, done that. It is now time to be kind to me. With seven years to go till retirement, I don't know how we will fare with less money coming in. You never know though, as one door closes another opens. Perhaps part time work will come up that will keep us going. If not, I will make do. These days we are asked to work too long. We have paid our taxes, raised our families and provides for ourselves and now as we age I think we have the right to say 'I've had enough'. Good luck Betty. It will all work out.

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  15. Good for you...we will all be cheering you on, so let us know how things go, from time to time.

    My suggestions..
    re being fit/exercise..You mention your feet are sore, and other body parts may be too. I have long had trouble with many things, and much exercise makes things worse. Recently I have read about an exercise, which is to make your stomach strong (much better than sit ups) and back stronger. Eventually you do it for sixty seconds, then rest for sixty, repeat ten times. I have very bad muscles, and can only to it for a few seconds, but that I can, and it has not further harmed any other "parts". It is called a "Plank Exercise". Look it up. There are a few versions. The one I saw and have been working on, you fold your arms at the elbows, put the folded part flat on floor. You are on floor stretched out as if to do a push up. ...Once your arms/upper body is positioned, raise the rest of your body on your toes, keeping (as much as possible) your entire body "flat".

    re getting on..
    I have often heard, when you are stopping / giving up something major such as a job (sigh and paycheque), think of something before hand to start new (besides diet and fitness). Try to make it something which costs little to nothing. Many community centers/community colleges/churches have much on offer. Suggestions I have heard..

    -learn a new language
    -take a class on teaching English as a foreign language (new bit of money there if of interest...)
    -take up a musical instrument
    -volunteer to teach someone to read
    -genealogy research
    -learn to identify edible weeds
    etc

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    1. Great suggestions, thank you.

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    2. Meanqueen,
      You're welcome.

      Anon

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    3. My friend in England recommends U3A look up your local one.

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  16. Wondeful.letter,I.know.that.life.is.difficult.and.brings.many.obstacles.and.changes,sometimes.we.have.problemto.cope.with.them,bravo.Betty,nver.give.uo.now.I.can.not.do.my.work,being.a.teacherof.English.is.my.passion.and.I.can't,stay.at.school,because.I.had.mobbing,I.hate.noise.etc.but.I.love.process.of.teaching,when.the.children.absorb.knowledge.and.learn.new.things,ok.now.I.have.only.spme.privet.lessons,and.I.am.almost.57.yearsold(next.May)And.I.need.to.work.I.went.to.work.at.the.petrol.station.BP.as.a.shop.assistant,for.part.time.It.is.interesting.job,but.8-hours.on.feet,I.need.some.years.for.my.retirement,I,love.this.job.and.sometimes.it.is.funny.
    Again.I.congratulation.Betty,never.give.up,tomorrow.can.be.good.day.too,greetings.from.Warsaw

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    1. Thank you Annamaria from Warsaw, your English is very good.

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  17. Mean queen your blog is the only one I read, now a couple of letters from the readers,and your insightful answers makes it even better.l just smiled to myself thinking of us all reading your blog every single day,thank you.x

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  18. Best of luck Betty and to all those striving for a better life by being frugal and more aware. xx

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  19. Good luck Betty you won't regret it one bit. I retired at 60 over a year ago. I now grow lots more and have the time to shop around for food and other household bills. We live on far less and still have money for holidays etc.

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  20. I’ve already commented but I love this post because everything Ilona says is so true on my car - I just looked at the. O outer and thought sod it! And I’ve never looked back and you wouldn’t believe what a low income we live on - well below the official poverty level I can make dinner for two for a pound I read all of the nutrition and cookery books in the library and have got it down to a fine art. Sorry to go on Betty but you CAN do it if you want to and I’ve lost a stone since June just by walking and eating better.. xxxxx

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    1. dear jenette, could you please let us have some of your meal ideas and shopping tips if Ilona doesn't mind.

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  21. Life is far too short to have to be doing something you dont want to every day...I know cause i have been in that situation.Like Ilona and the others say on here...you are in control now!.Reading back over this blog,right from the start of it, changed my life and way of thinking for the better.I would go as far to say that it keeps my mind active and has made me more creative in the kitchen and around the house.Keep positive Betty and you will see a brand new you in the next few months!!,Best Wishes Debi,xx

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  22. Well done, Betty and well done, Ilona for a thoughtful and encouraging reply. I'm sure your life will improve and get better and better, Betty, now you have made that decision.

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  23. Love your blog, love your energy! So cheerful, and wise!
    Best regards for You, dear Ilona, brave Betty, and every reader who reads this awesome blog! :-D

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  24. Congratulations hope Project Betty goes well. No sick pay and no holiday pay after 14 years service makes my blood boil. They do not deserve you but now you can concentrate on your health both mental and physical which is the most important thing in life. Jump out of bed in the morning as there is so much to do out there - life is good and follow Ilona's blog for inspiration. Sharon

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    1. That makes me very angry as well, in the Netherlands where I live it is illegal to not pay for holiday, sickpay [although the first two days you have to pay yourself] and pension. I feel angry when people let themselves to be robbed although I realise it is not easy to get a job and stay in it until your retirement. Greetings from the Netherlands from Greetje.

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  25. I had to give up work early due to illness. Although it took a long while to get my head around that I was unlikely be working again I was good at not spending unnecessarily my Mum taught me that. So don't worry take each day as it comes and enjoy it...they go so fast anyway. You will get through this and come out tbe other end. I did. Big hugs xxx Rae x

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  26. Betty, go for doing what you now want to do.Its your life! ! Ilona as always you are an inspiration. Me,....well, at the age of 55 today is my first day of freedom having just been made redundant. I will have to look for a job but have decided to work in a rewarding job. Retail and I are soon over lol. I'm looking forward to the future so that I can at last be ME having worked as well as raising 3 kids on my own. Betty things in life always work out. I shall also be walking to see things I wouldn't normally see, and as for shops unless it is food for fuel " I intend on not buying anything for a year (to start with ) much love to my frugal friends xx

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  27. Forgot to mention I intend on working no more than 20 hours a week :)

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  28. I retired at 59 having worked since I was 15. OH is still working but will retire when our daughter and granddaughter leave home. She's in her final year of uni to become a teacher and then will be able to setup home with her partner and child. We are planning to downsize and move to the Devon coast. What I have found since retiring is that l have time to shop around for groceries so I am able to manage on much less money and eat the same food. When you work you dont have time to do this. All the best to Bettyxx

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  29. Betty, I had to stop working due to illhealth, after attempting reduced hours. It took me a (long) while to adjust as I too loved what I had done for years. Altho I was a tad young @40, it has turned into a lifesaver as the job was increasingly long hours & stress. I started volunteering last year which has boosted my confidence and got me mixing with new folks. A possibility for you in the future? Give yourself time first; get out for fresh air when you feel you want to; and allow your mind time to breathe. Some days may well be more down than up just now for you, but weyhey for the encouragement from blogs like these!

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  30. Good for you Betty and all the best! You leave the worry behind and only enjoy yourself. You can make up the days as you go along. More time to budget, to cook at home and to shop frugal. You have the rest of your life to look forward to and to make life happen. We are looking for this day in a few years and are planning out how we are going to downsize big time and how to manage now. It's scary and exciting at the same time. Miss I...you are a great inspiration and have given the best advice on how to live frugal and enjoy life without all the trappings we tend to think we need. Thanks!

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  31. A massive thank you to everyone who has commented on my work situation. You have no idea how much you have cheered me up and given me so many ideas for the future. I cannot thank Ilona enough for featuring me on her wonderful blog, and thank you for blogging and inspiringing us all every single day. I can't believe so many people have taken the trouble to send me a comment. You have filled me with courage and hope. Betty xx

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  32. As you read books from the library on reorganizing your family's new life, get a yellow pad & jot down notes to discuss with your significant other...
    1) reduce the overhead (fixed costs in your budget) as much as possible.
    2) pick 3-4 areas that need adjustments with the highest priorities & payoffs. Then track your progress with written notes to yourself... This will help your look back 3, 6, 9 12 months & see the progress you have made...
    3) Life might throw you a few curves, but keep to the new trends... eventually it will become old habits, then on to new areas to improve...
    Good luck...KMC

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  33. Hi hun, Again I agree with the commenters and you Mean Queen. Betty, good luck on your brand new exciting life!There are loads of things to do for free - goto your local library and look on the post it board. Some councils run schemes that its cheaper for you to go swimming at certain times and is sometimes just for ladies. You might find that there are free groups you can goto. It's funny but you will find that as you have time to budget and shop that you will be fine on the lower income and alot happier! You will have time to cook from scratch, not feel exhausted by stress, can catch up on sleep and listen to your body clock when its time to eat.I am soo excited for you as you start a new chapter looking after you!:) Hugs Sue

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  34. fab replies, like so many i retired from my main job in my late fifties and have a long wait for my pension so i work about 48 hours a month for an agency and i manage to save most of my wages for when I fully retire.I enjoy frugality like a cult. I also have had arthritis so I have learned some exercises i do on my bed before i get up in a morning. I recommend you look at arthritis uk website for some suggestions to help get you mobile and agile without damaging yourself. Take this opportunity as a liberation to control your own time.

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  35. Betty..
    just occurs to me...Are you "still at work"?

    does your work come with Dental / Health / Eye care (etc)?

    Please (if it does) get all such work done BEFORE you quit. (some plans cover for thirty days after). It could be huge saving after work.

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    1. Betty has said she has given up work as from now. Thank you for your comment.

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  36. I finished work last December, had a lovely summer sitting on my patio most afternoons and reading. Now that autumn is upon us I decided to send my CV round local businesses saying that if you get stuck one day and just need someone to come in and man reception desk, help out with meetings etc, casual waitressing, just get in touch. So far I've had a couple of shifts waitressing at local golf club at lunch time, helped at conference registration desk and conducted couple of surveys. I turn far more work down that I take as I'm only looking to make a little bit of money every month. I got a small lump sum and a small pension but don't get my state pension for another 5 and a half years as I'm in that age range of women who had their pension stolen from them by various governments. On this note, can I please just urge everyone who is in this situation, please, please, please, email your MP and ask what their view is on this situation and what are they planning to do about it. Give them the WASPI website details and ask them to come back to you on their views. If you can possibly afford the subscription for WASPI then please join too. They're hitting us because we're being silent but if we shout loud enough, we might be able to get something. This is a growing movement.

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    1. Thank you for this useful information.

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  37. I am a long time reader but first time commentator ....I loathe my job. I sm almost 53 and have worked in the care sector for almost 30 years; my children are groen and spouse works full time i a demanding job. I have reduced my working days to3, but my workload is the same and unmanagable. I cannot leave before 55 ad if I do my workplace pension will not be paid untl I am 67. I overeat, overspend and am riddled with anxiety all due ito work. I wish i voukd retire today
    Mary

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    1. Hi. I'm sorry you are in a bad place. Your comment needs a more detailed reply, I'll try and find time to come back to it at a later date.

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