Living on Less

Retirement – Single Women Should Budget Wisely

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girl holding a piggy bank.

For the single mature woman, retirement brings many more challenges than just how to fill your day. For those of us who have held down key roles throughout our adult life, be it managerial, or even executive, retirement can come as a big shock.

The reason for setting the alarm clock is gone, the routine of your day is gone, and alarmingly, your sense of purpose is gone. Much of this can of course be fixed once you’ve identified how you want to live post-retirement.

But one thing that will change is that you won’t be getting your paycheck or wages at the end of every month. All of a sudden, you have a limited income, and you may have to learn how to budget to ensure you can pay your bills every month.

Not every woman has the luxury of owning their own property and therefore having an asset to fall back on. Some, through no fault of their own, find themselves traded in for a younger model, or sadly widowed, and still having rent to find, council tax, and utility bills to pay before they even put food on their table.

That’s all before they have dealt with any car loans, or credit card debts they’ve gathered along the way. Trust me, the single female retirement life can be challenging. And although of course there are companies who can help with people who have bad credit it’s not somewhere you really want to be in your retirement.

So where do you start when you are newly retired and need to budget for the first time in your adult life?

Track what you are spending

When you have more time on your hands, it’s easy to sign up for things like magazine subscriptions, Netflix, and a monthly beauty box delivered to your door, and before you know it, £50 is gone, just like that in a puff of invisible pounds.

Now that you are enjoying your retirement, you might be wandering down to your local coffee shop every morning, to enjoy a Cappucino and Croissant, just because you can. You like a nice glass of wine in the evening with your meal, so two or three bottles find their way into your kitchen a week, but your coffee and wine habit soon adds up.

Even Millenials who just ‘pop into Costa’ on their way to work, are often horrified to know how much their average 20 coffee’s a month are costing them.

When you sit and track exactly what you have spent over a week, and times it by 4, you will be shocked. Everyone is. If you jot down your spending habits over a week or a month, you will see where your money is actually being spent and where you need to reign it in a bit.

It doesn’t matter how you do this, good old-fashioned pen and paper will serve you well, although nowadays there are specific apps to help you keep a track of your spending habits.

Create a Budget

Even though you’ve lost that lovely chunk of earned income each month, you still know from your pension status, how much money you have coming in each month to see you through your retirement.

So that things do not get out of hand, and cause you to worry, create a budget and stick to it wherever you can. Yes of course you will want some treats, you will want a holiday, and days out, otherwise, your retirement will be pretty dull and boring.  But for day-to-day living, get a grip on what you can spend, and what gives YOU the best value for that money.

Do you watch much TV?  If not, is that Netflix subscription really worth it?  And what about smaller sums, such as Amazon Prime? Do you ever really need an item within 24 hours? Or, can you wait for the normal delivery slot and save yourself the subscription, which seems to increase all the time?

Paying any subscription over and over, without asking yourself if you are getting the best possible value for it, is just throwing money down the drain. Use the ‘is it value for money’ question on other expenses too.  The list can be endless.

The Gousto box, the specially formulated dog kibble, subscription to Spotify, or even a direct debit for the lottery. All acceptable when you know you’ve got a salary coming in, but not when you are on a pension.

Budgeting takes time, concentration, and a whole heap of getting real. It can be a wake-up call to see that x amount of £’s is coming in, but a whopping x amount of £’s is actually going out before you’ve even started to live.

I’m not suggesting for one minute you live like a pauper in your girly retirement, but some adjustments are necessary. Priorities have to be decided, otherwise, you will soon find yourself in a financial mess, and the worry of it all will taint your retirement goals.

 

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