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Geila
3-4-16, 8:22pm
For a while I've been thinking of starting a thread focused on living on $30k or less per year. I'm posting on the Enough forum because I'm pretty sure that $30k (and less even) is enough for Dh and I to live very comfortably. I want to focus on the positive aspects of having a goal and finding creative ways of reaching it.

I would love to have company from others with similar goals. And I hope that you guys won't mind if I post in a diary format - both the successes and failures, and the everyday mundane stuff too - as a way to keep myself accountable and to think out loud, and hopefully learn along the way. I had thought of starting this thread on Jan 1st, but have been busy, so rather than trying to backdate and such, I will just start with today and go forward.

Not sure yet what format I'll end up with, I'll just post what comes up and see how it goes.

Day 1
Spent: $25.
I bought some reed fencing at Home Depot to cover up some unsightly areas of the fence between us and the neighbors. Each section is 6'Hx16'L for $24.99 and was easily attached by stapling to the existing fence. It looks fantastic! Provides excellent privacy and looks very pretty, it gives the fence a charming Asian look. We have several Japanese maple trees and camellias along that fence so it is perfect. We will probably need 2-3 sections total.

Saved: $20.
I returned a garden ornament I bought earlier in the week. Don't need it. It was an impulse buy. I was relieved when I returned it.

Saving by Doing
Used homemade bone broth and some spices to braise a big pork shoulder in the oven. It will provide quite a few meals and a good portion for freezing for later. Having home-cooked food makes it easy to pack lunches and eat in, as our homemade food is often better than restaurant stuff.

I'll be making a big salad and boiling some eggs for light dinners and snacking.

Resisted the urge to buy some succulent plants. I have plants at home to start cuttings with.

Today I'm grateful for: Rain.

bae
3-4-16, 8:25pm
How much do you end up having to budget for healthcare/insurance? That's pretty much my #1 bill these days.

Geila
3-4-16, 8:32pm
How much do you end up having to budget for healthcare/insurance? That's pretty much my #1 bill these days.

DH has excellent health coverage with his job and our portion of the premiums come out of his pay pre-tax. He also has the flexible spending account which is pre-tax for medical expenses. I haven't added it all up, that's why I'm keeping the figure at $30k. Our expenses without healthcare are in the $24-26k area, and I would give a rough guess of $2k per year for health care - but again, I haven't really added everything up yet.

About 5 years ago we both had some dental work done which was costly, but the past 5 years has been uneventful.

I'll do an update when I have the healthcare costs to see where that puts us budget-wise.

kally
3-4-16, 8:58pm
Are you paying for housing?
We have an old house, live in a small town on and island in the PNW.
We only pay $150 for the two of us a month for health (Canadian)
We are vegetarian and vegan and cook 98% of our food from scratch.
Semi-retired and very much hoping to live on about $35 000 a year (That would be the equivalent of about ??? US)

Here's hoping, planning and a little bit of praying.

danna
3-4-16, 11:26pm
watergoddess
It is just me and I am living well on about $25,000.00
I own my home but part of my income is rental for part of the house (Dd and one grandson)
I do have a small mortgage against the house for renovations that I am paying $500.00 a month on it will be paid off this Dec.
so life will get much easier. I have the savings to pay it but, I know myself well enough to know if I used the savings I would not put that
much back a month.....lol
Sharing some of our expenses like internet, t.v. and lot of small appliances. Also, this way I am not paying for help with yard work/snow removal.
We also, buy groceries and cook together so more savings. Dd coupons and shops the sales and I garden and do up food she gets on sale.
Lots of cooking from scratch and very little eating out.
I do some sewing and crafts mostly for gifts or to donate. I buy very little in the way of clothes now that I am not working.
Most of my fun comes from volunteering and groups I belong to. Cheap fun with good people.
For the first time in my life I have joined a gym (2 blocks from my house) cost is $40.00 a month and I am certainly getting my monies worth.
I don't seem to feel the need for big trips, I am happy with having company and making several trips to visit family/friends in this province .
Being in Canadian I have health care but, that leaves a co-pay of about $150.00 a year on drugs, glasses and dental.
I realize it is much harder for a couple but, so many things are the same cost for one.

Kestra
3-5-16, 12:43am
For myself I can live on $18,000 CAN or so (not including taxes) and have a good life. That includes some travel and luxuries.
However I find that I underestimate what I spend. When I was single I thought I was spending about $1300/month, but looking at my spreadsheet it ended up closer to $1500-1600. There are always occasional expenses cropping up - mostly travel, then moving. Right now I spend about $1500 a month, and that is with housing very cheap (heavily subsized by SO's employer) and food very expensive (the frozen north).

I'm not particularly frugal or careful with my spending; I just don't want much.

As a couple I'm not sure exactly what we spend as I don't know/care what SO spends on personal things. Once we move to a more typical housing situation I estimate $4000/month when we have a mortgage, less when that is paid off. Again, that is with a lot of unnecessary spending. $3000 would be doable if we needed to.

I aim for about a 50% savings rate, though that will likely be down to 30% for the next few years. I'll be happy when I can get back up to that.

lessisbest
3-5-16, 6:43am
Many years ago we adjusted our household budget to $30,000 (although income is much larger since hubby is still working fulltime) as a way to get ready for retirement. We also happen to live where the cost of living is low, have no debt, so all that helps. My sister lives on roughly $10,000 a year, but gets free healthcare through the VA, and a little financial help from her daughter and us. Her daughter pays for her cell phone, and we help with utilities in the summer.

My best suggestion is to use Zero Budgeting. Every dollar has a name....and you can find a free budgeting tool at Dave Ramsey's web site: http://www.daveramsey.com/everydollar Even our "walking around" money is in the budget. I would also suggest practicing something I've been doing for several years now. I only "shop" every other month (other than groceries, which I get once a week). I've done it for so long I now only shop the first week and the last week of shopping months. I just have to "plan" my purchases ahead of time.

Our food budget is $125/month (for two adults - and that's for FOOD ONLY), and that includes home food storage with enough food for at least a year, which makes that $125/month budget doable, along with a small garden. I'm also getting a home freeze-dryer (https://harvestright.com/) now that I've saved enough to purchase one. Being able to freeze-dry food will eliminate the need for an extra stand-alone freezer (although we eliminated our stand-alone freezer 10-years ago because it was a money-hog). Freeze-dried food stores at room temperature. So now instead of buying freeze-dried foods, I'll make them myself.

We will need to move down in house when we retire in order to save on property taxes, and probably go to one vehicle, and those are the things we'll do in the next 2-3 years after hubby retires.

iris lilies
3-5-16, 9:24am
I so admire hose who live on these low amounts! I guess our hobbies are too expensive, oh, and the wine bill. :)

catherine
3-5-16, 10:03am
I so admire hose who live on these low amounts! I guess our hobbies are too expensive, oh, and the wine bill. :)

I would just love to sit and have a glass of wine with you, IL!

And I'm enjoying being a voyeur here, seeing how you guys are pulling off living on 30k. I'm with bae, I'm just doing my taxes and I paid 30k on health premiums and medical expenses alone.

So keep inspiring me here, folks. I'll be 64 at the end of this month, and I hate to wish my life away, but next year I'll be Medicare-eligible. What does life come to when what you are looking forward to is free senior care? :/

pinkytoe
3-5-16, 10:32am
Since I just retired, I was feeling a little uneasy about expenses so I tallied all expenses for one month. Our total came to $3200 which inncluded $750 to savings. Once we move and get rid of the mortgage and high property tax, I reckon we can easily live on $30-35K a year. I will need to add DH to my insurance plan when he leaves his current job and that will run around $300 a month. As for the wine, we have found Trader Joe's to greatly reduce that line item amount when we do buy it.

iris lilies
3-5-16, 10:45am
Since I just retired, I was feeling a little uneasy about expenses so I tallied all expenses for one month. Our total came to $3200 which inncluded $750 to savings. Once we move and get rid of the mortgage and high property tax, I reckon we can easily live on $30-35K a year. I will need to add DH to my insurance plan when he leaves his current job and that will run around $300 a month. As for the wine, we have found Trader Joe's to greatly reduce that line item amount when we do buy it.
I go after bottles under $10 but I won't drink three buck chuck. Its ok for what it is. I have two go to wines at the moment, one from Columbia Valkey, one feom Chile, and they go for $8.99.

freshstart
3-5-16, 10:50am
I am living on $2900 pre-tax a month on long term disability, this is easily done and I saved 20k for an EF from it. I was accepted for SSDI, that will be ~1850 non taxed. LTD will continue to make up the difference to make it $2900 for at best 18 more months. My medical expenses were close to 7k last year but should be less this year as I am not seeing specialists as much and having uncovered testing. No debt, no mortgage. Combined living with parents, they have been letting me slide on the taxes and tend to pay more towards the groceries, I pay other bills. I offered to go live in low income disability housing, they strongly declined that and I am able to do some of my mom's care, which was one of the reasons we combined households, she has an end stage disease.

I am preparing myself to live as if already on $1850 a month. This number seems very low when even just medical expenses are over $700 a month. I am waiting to do a budget because I need to settle a child support matter with the ex (DD could not handle two sick people in the house and chose to move in with her dad, awful but I understand). He is to get over $900 a month, double the support a court would make me pay, from SS and it is back dated to 9/14 so we have offered him the entire settlement even though DD was with me a lot of that time. Then since his is getting double child support, he can either spend that money himself but then I am off the hook for college or the extra half goes into a college fund instead. This was perfect, I would finally be done with this man, there is nothing left he can sue me for, i couldn't wait, the relief was palpable.

Then I just found out LTD usually takes half the child support even though they provided no child support. (I also have to give them the whole settlement I get because what they gave me was considered a loan) They did say if the child support part of SSDI does not go to me as custodial parent, they may not have the right to take half. But it will take months to figure this out. Ugh, I was so close to out of that crappy situation after 14 yrs, ex is not going to be happy if he does not get what he thought he would in child support. And this will generate more legal bills

I have a good amt in retirement savings however my goal is to not touch if at all possible.

there, that's my story of planning to live on a lot less, I just don't know how much less quite yet

JaneV2.0
3-5-16, 12:48pm
I've been lucky to never have to pungle up much money for health care--I'm paying more for Medicare (I think) than I did when I was working, or afterwards. Health care used to be affordable, remember. So I could live handsomely on 30K, with my house paid off. And I hope to do even better when I downsize to a place with cheaper property taxes. I'm not particularly frugal, but I cut corners when I can.

herbgeek
3-5-16, 3:32pm
I guess our hobbies are too expensive, oh, and the wine bill.

Same here. We don't have a mortgage, and I'm still aspiring to cut my expenses to that level. We have several expenses loaded early in the year, (like home/car/umbrella insurance that I pay once a year, hubby's annual fee to the chiropractor, some travel that I prepaid) so I'm hoping it will go down over the summer. For the last 3 months, expenses have been around 4800, so obviously I'm a long ways away.

Teacher Terry
3-5-16, 3:48pm
The first year of retirement I wanted to see if we could live on just our pensions which equal 40k combined but insurance took 10k of that. we did it with a paid off home & cars but it was really tight. No traveling, eating out, etc. WE now live on 75k and spend about 15k/year traveling. I envision when we get to our 70's that will slow and when one car dies we will probably share one. Right now there are many days that we don't use either car. This year I had dental expenses of 30k so we actually spent 105k.

Gardenarian
3-5-16, 4:21pm
I think we could live on $30,000 a year, but it would be a big change and we would really have to watch our pennies.

Our biggest expenses:


Health insurance is $760 a month (for 3), but we have a $5000 deductible, so there are a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
We are spending a lot on heating/cooling/water since we moved. We need to get our house better insulated; I expect it will be a long time before that pays for itself, even with rebates, even doing a lot of it ourselves.
Food! DH and DD are big eaters and like fancy food. I'm happy with beans/rice/seasonal produce, but they like fancy juices and coffee and exotic stuff. Mangoes and caviar and bakery bread - it adds up. No wine, but DH is trying all the craft beers that are made around here. (I'm sticking to Guinness. If it ain't broke...)
Travel has been a big expense the past couple of years. We have no big vacation plans this year, but sadly DH's father has been diagnosed lung cancer - so there will be trips out to Colorado around that. I do see travel as being a pretty big piece of our budget in the coming years; I'm doing lots of research on this.
DD will be going to college (or SOMETHING) in the next couple of years. She has a college fund that should more than cover tuition and board, but there are likely to be lots of incidental expenses (she plans on doing a lot of study abroad.)
The two dogs we have cost around $40 per month in food, but you never know what vet expenses may come up. I think the cost of our dogs has been something like $500-1000 per year over the dog's lifespan. Pretty expensive (and well worth it.)


I wonder where the rest of our money goes? We spend very little on clothes, books, electronics. Hmm.

kally
3-5-16, 6:47pm
wow $125 a month for food is fabulous. But in Canada food just costs more. We would be lucky to frugally pay $600 a month and we only eat veg, no cheese, eggs, dairy or milk.

Geila
3-5-16, 8:01pm
Well it turns out that our health care premiums are higher than I'd thought - our premiums this year will total $2800 and we budget an additional $500 in flex spending for co-pays and such. The flex funds can be carried over if not used and some years we have extra, some not. This new amount will bring us closer to $30k per year. Right now we pay a higher premium to keep our plan instead of using a lower priced one offered which still the same coverage just through a different provider. We might try that in a couple of years and see how we like it.

Regarding housing, our house is paid off so all we have are property taxes, insurance and utilities. Living in a mild climate, we spend very little on utilities, especially heating and cooling. Summer water is pretty high though.

Geila
3-5-16, 8:20pm
I know YMOYL is clear about tracking every penny, but we've never tracked expenses. Now I did track closely when we were aggressively paying down our mortgage. That was exciting! I got all caught up in seeing how much interest we would save with each payment. I was getting paid weekly and each of my checks went straight to the credit union to be applied against our principal. That was fun. But neither dh or I have the patience to track our spending. We just make a point of living below our means and spending based on what brings the biggest reward for us.

I do tend to have bursts of impulse buying of unnecessary things in the garden and pets departments and plan to work on that this year. This is an area that needs improvement.

Our biggest expenses are probably food and house improvements. We like food and get lots of good stuff at Costco (meats, nuts, fruit, good coffee, etc) but having good food at home keeps us from eating out or feeling deprived.

Travel tends to be a big expense for most people, but right now isn't one for us. We did travel quite a bit in our 20's and 30's and took 3 nice trips in our early-mid 40's but now it feels like "been there, done that" and we have no urge to go anywhere. I can see someday going back to Paris, but not for a while and I'd be ok if it never happened.

Geila
3-5-16, 8:23pm
I'm just doing my taxes and I paid 30k on health premiums and medical expenses alone.


Wow. $30k for health care costs for two people? That's a lot. Was this an unusual year with unexpected expenses?

Miss Cellane
3-6-16, 12:31am
When I was un-and-underemployed, I spent about three years living on approximately $25,000/year. I'm single, so it was just me.

It was doable, but not easy. And I live in the northeast, which, while not the most expensive part of the US, still is far from the least expensive.

I rent, and I had to move in with a roommate to save money. Nothing against the roommate; she was nice, but I prefer to live alone. That was the largest and most painful adjustment I had to make.

There was money for the rent, and utilities, and gas and food. My car was paid off.

No new clothes, except for new shoes, because the retail jobs had me in pain. Proper shoes, that cost more than a week's pay from the job, helped a lot with that. No eating out. No trips to see family--gas and tolls were too expensive. I simply did not buy anything that I did not absolutely have to. Food was healthy enough, but very plain and simple and no luxuries, like nuts or chocolate. No alcohol.

No real savings. I put at least $15.00/week in to a savings account, more when I was making more money. But the car would need new tires, or not pass inspection, or the temp jobs would dry up and rent would be due, and out it would all come.

This was pre-Obama care, so I had no health insurance. Temping and part-time jobs still don't provide that--so today I would have to add in the cost of that, which would be, I think, about $100/month. I went to a walk-in clinic once, for an abscess in my jaw that had me in crippling pain. I spent about $10/week on OTC medication for my allergies. Two teeth broke during that time and I just lived with it until I got a job again and could afford going to a dentist. (My town has a low-income dental clinic. I made $3000 too much to use it.)

The library was a life-saver. Books and the occasional DVD, and free concerts and movies.

When my cat got sick, I had to borrow money to have her put to sleep. I couldn't afford the tests to diagnose what was wrong (either cancer or some heart problem), and I couldn't let her suffer. And I couldn't get another cat until I got a job. That was a lonely two years.

One of the hardest things to deal with was that I had no guaranteed income. Hours at the part-time retail job varied from 7 to 20 hours a week. I temped a lot, but the pay varied from $10.75 to $16.00 per hour. Some assignments were for six months, some were for three days. If I wasn't working, I took whatever temp job they offered. But because my income was unstable, even when I was bringing home a decent amount every week, I had to save whatever I could, for the months when I had little temp work available. There was never a time when I could relax about money. It was a constant calculation of how much I had, how much I was making that week, how much I could spend on food and gas that week, in order to pay the rent next month.

When I finally got a job, it had been so long since I'd been in a store, other than the grocery store or drug store (or the one I worked at, where I couldn't afford to buy anything), that the first time I went to Target, it was like visiting another planet. There were so many things!

I had always been frugal, so my life didn't change drastically, except for the roommate. I think if I had a steady, regular income of the same amount, Iit would have been easier. I certainly would have worried a lot less. The source of the income probably matters, as well. I was working 2 or 3 jobs at a time, and therefore had limited time and less energy for some cost-saving measures that I had always done. If, on the other hand, I was getting a pension of $25,000 a year, and had plenty of time, I could probably cut the food bill considerably.

Renting might not be the best investment, but when the dishwasher broke, I didn't have to pay to replace it. I also didn't have to spend time or energy on lawn care, snow removal or home maintenance, so that was probably a wash.

lessisbest
3-6-16, 8:29am
FYI - Other than meat, liquids are generally expensive items on a limited food budget - whether it's bottled water, milk, juice, soda/pop, smoothies, coffee/tea, commercial non-dairy milks, or spirits. Most of those we don't even require in a healthy diet, and most can be found or made cheaper than we purchase them for from a store.

catherine
3-6-16, 10:12am
FYI - Other than meat, liquids are generally expensive items on a limited food budget - whether it's bottled water, milk, juice, soda/pop, smoothies, coffee/tea, commercial non-dairy milks, or spirits. Most of those we don't even require in a healthy diet, and most can be found or made cheaper than we purchase them for from a store.

Yes, it's amazing that if we haven't been to the store, my DH will complain "there's nothing to drink!" and I remind him that we have water (PLUS our water is filtered and we have a ice-maker, and I keep lemons on hand--everything you need for a wonderful glass of water!) and he scorns me.

I think soda is a terrific waste of money--almost as much so as cigarettes, although I admit that I like my glass of seltzer. Of the other liquids you mentioned, I won't go without coffee, but I can do that pretty cheaply, and tea is a bargain IMHO.

Geila
3-6-16, 12:41pm
With groceries, I try to avoid processed foods which really drive up cost - convenience foods. I also stopped buying wine when I realized I ended up throwing a lot of it away. We're just not drinkers, dh doesn't care for alcohol and it makes me sleepy. I buy coffee beans but they're a pretty good deal at Costco, mostly Peet's or Starbucks french roast, they go on sale regularly. I only buy soda if we're having a heavy work weekend were dh will be expending a lot of labor and need the sugar and caffeine. Rest of the time it's tap water.

One of our saving graces is that we have cheap hobbies: volunteering in our community, gardening, puttering around the house, playing with the pets, watching movies on Netflix stream or Redbox, napping :). I also like to cook from scratch, and I'm a pretty darned good cook!

We're having rain this weekend and just hanging out at home, relaxing and watching a bit of tv - I'm into West Wing right now, dh into sci-fi movies.

I'm transitioning my pets to Costco's Nature's Domain food which will save us quite a bit of money. So far they are doing great, they love the food and it's agreeing with them.

Recently I put out a message that I was looking for some free pots and I've gotten several hundred dollars worth of beautiful large clay and ceramic pots as well as a bunch of small ones which I will be passing along to a friend. One thing I've noticed is that as a society we seldom let others know if we need something. I know I rarely do. Recently I was talking to a friend and neighbor and she mentioned that she doesn't have a washer or dryer (and hasn't for years) and can't afford to buy. Last year we got rid of a dryer in good working order (it ran hot, but still worked fine) when we bought our new one, just had Sears pick it up when they did the install and delivery. If I'd known, I would have been so happy to give it to her. I think this happens all the time. It's unfortunate.

kally
3-6-16, 3:43pm
lessisbest I do spend quite a lot on liquids. Almond milk is a bit $$. I make soymilk at home to use in cooking. Other than that, no juices, no pop, but I do buy good herbal and green teas.

kally
3-6-16, 3:44pm
watergoddess
I have found the same thing. Before I buy anything I ask if anyone on our local Swap and Shop has one to sell. I quite often get a good deal there. Right now I am looking for a Japanese teapot. They are a bit $$ so I will ask swap and shop and facebook regular friends too.

So many people are getting rid of so many things nowadays.

Good tip.

kally
3-6-16, 3:47pm
Living on less money we still want our luxuries. so we have decided to go out to dinner once a month and spend up to $50. Correction, out to lunch, it is cheaper. The other day I took my dh out to lunch for his birthday.

He had a huge oyster burger with a lovely seafood chowder and a beer and I had a lovely vegan burger with a salad.

We had a gorgeous view of the ocean, and with tip it came to $47. I think that is so much more worth it than grabbing quick meals in cafes and restaurants.

Being vegan I cook from scratch 99% of the time, so it is a lovely treat to have someone else cooking for me. Right now I am cooking a tofu noodle soup that smells divine.

Off for a hike and then back for a lovely lunch.

Teacher Terry
3-6-16, 3:58pm
WE enjoy eating out so do so weekly. I try to use coupons, happy hour specials, etc. A few times a year we go to a fancy restaurant for a special occasion. I love the break from cooking. I always keep some easy stuff on hand to pop in the oven when I am feeling lazy. I cook a lot more now that I am semi-retired and have the time.

Rogar
3-6-16, 7:01pm
I've lived on $30,000 or a little less for several years. My house and car are paid off and my previous employer pays 80% of my health insurance, which I suppose is the kicker. Every year I take one longer distance trip by air and usually put couple thousand into home upkeep and improvements. Property taxes and various insurances are probably my other big chunks. I worked in the restaurant and tourist industries for a couple of years and really don't like to travel as a "tourist" and I don't like being waited on. My travel and other recreation is mostly hiking, fishing, camping, bicycling, birding, gardening, and a little X-country skiing, all of which are not big money entertainments. There are a few little luxuries than I occasionally would like to have, but for the most part I'm happy on that income.

kally
3-6-16, 9:58pm
I want the TWO of us to live on $35 000 Cdn, which is only $26 000 currently with our abysmal dollar. I still think we can do it.

Rogar
3-7-16, 9:47am
I am friends with a couple who get by on what I suspect is less than $20K a year, maybe even less than$15k. They live off the grid, grow and raise maybe half of their food, drive older cars, and never had health insurance before Obamacare. They are rich in travel and friends. It's good to exchange experiences with different budgets, but a lot of it depends on what a person's expectations are and the cost of living in different places. To me at least, there is no substitute for tracking expenses for a longer period of time and then sitting down and going over projected expenses and income well into the future.

Geila
3-7-16, 12:23pm
I want the TWO of us to live on $35 000 Cdn, which is only $26 000 currently with our abysmal dollar. I still think we can do it.

Given your low cost for healthcare, I think you can too!

When dh and I first married we were both in demanding jobs, we had a fixer-upper house, volunteer and family commitments, and I found myself too tired to cook very much and we did lots of weekend "getaways." We spent a lot of money. Now that things have settled down and I work very part-time from home, our expenses dropped dramatically and we're still able to save even though our salary dropped by half. I enjoy taking my time and cooking delicious meals for us. We always have something good in the fridge and the freezer. And we don't feel the desire to "vacate" our life or our home as Joe & Vicky put it in YMOYL. I always think about that and realize how true it is for us. Our home has become our sanctuary and we are not keen to give it up.

kally
3-7-16, 1:45pm
watergoddess you make a very good point. We have lots of time. The house doesn't get any cleaner, I am afraid, but we do have good home cooked plant based food around the clock. (well not literally, no tofu burgers at 3 am.)

I spend my own money (we each get some cash every month) on going out for coffee and 1 sushi meal a week. DH saves his.

Time to ourselves is such a luxury. we worked a lot of years to be able to get here and we both value time over money. No big trips for us, no big cars, trucks, 5th wheels, cottages, high end restaurants, etc.

We would rather read, play native american flute, guitar, banjo, ukelele, draw, paint, make wooden toys, make vegan sausages, play with the cats, weed half-heartedly and sleep.

The trick is to stop comparing. Even I get a bit jealous when I see friends who "have it all". But then I remember they had to work a lot harder than me, or still are, to afford these things. That is their priority, not mine. Just keep reminding myself.

Teacher Terry
3-7-16, 2:01pm
We are actually spending more $ in retirement then when we were working. We could not take month vacations and go out every Sat because we were busy doing errands, etc. My house is definitely cleaner too. I want to really enjoy the decade of my 60's because you just never know.

Geila
3-7-16, 2:23pm
The trick is to stop comparing. Even I get a bit jealous when I see friends who "have it all". But then I remember they had to work a lot harder than me, or still are, to afford these things. That is their priority, not mine. Just keep reminding myself.

There's a couple we're friends with and for years I was bewildered, and pretty jealous, because they always seemed to have so much better stuff than we did, even though our salaries were pretty much the same. We would fix something in the house and it turns out they just did something similar but with much more impressive results because they spent 3-4x, or more, what we did. And it's not like they are irresponsible or flashy people, they're pretty down to earth. I didn't get it. Then I realized that they are banking on a huge inheritance and felt very comfortable going to into considerable debt because they know they'll be able to pay it off without any sacrifice. If they want to spend $50k on a new master bedroom suite, they just take out a home equity loan or refinance their house. No big deal. Plus they get cash gifts every year.

On the other hand, dh and I will only have whatever we are able to save up and earn ourselves. There's no inheritance for us. On the contrary, every year we send money to family and assume that we will have to help out our parents in their old age. Once I realized that we were in completely different situations, things just clicked. They're better off than we are financially, and on the same token, we are better off financially than other people are. Life is random and unfair and most of it is really just a matter of pure luck. It allowed me to let go of the jealousy and comparison and instead pay attention to those who are less fortunate. And to be very grateful for how lucky we are.

Geila
3-7-16, 2:28pm
We are actually spending more $ in retirement then when we were working. We could not take month vacations and go out every Sat because we were busy doing errands, etc. My house is definitely cleaner too. I want to really enjoy the decade of my 60's because you just never know.

Since dh and I don't have kids, and have had some great employers, we've been lucky enough to do lots of traveling while working. We've already done the month long trips to Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, etc... How wonderful that you are getting the chance to do all the things you enjoy now, while you are healthy. I'd love to hear about your trips!

freshstart
3-7-16, 4:26pm
I've been lucky to never have to pungle up much money for health care--I'm paying more for Medicare (I think) than I did when I was working, or afterwards. And I hope to do even better when I downsize to a place with cheaper property taxes. I'm not particularly frugal, but I cut corners when I can.

After 2 yrs of SSDI, I will be eligible to pay for Medicare, it's gotta be cheaper than Cobra. There will be 6 mos that I'll need to be on NY's version of Obamacare. It's worse than Cobra.

If my parents didn't let me slide on taxes, I'd have to move. We have a 2000 sq ft ranch, with two finished rooms in the basement. Taxes are over 13k a year. 12k covered my mortgage and taxes in a 2000 sq ft town house 3 miles from here. When they die, I will own 1/4 of the house plus 1/2, even if I could buy my brother out, I wouldn't because of the taxes, and it's way too much for 1 person. I won't get a huge inheritance but hopefully the sale of this house will generate enough that I can get a small condo that allows a dog somewhere with much lower taxes. I could be happy in a studio or a 1BR. I feel guilty about not paying taxes here but none of us ever expected that I would get sick, it was completely reasonable the bills here when I had a job.

It sure keeps me awake wondering if I'll be able to live on 22k but I am pretty good at being thrifty when I need to and I've got the retirement savings. No debt, no mortgage, a paid for car that should last at least ten yrs since I can't drive still. Once everything is settled with the ex, I transferred enough money to Vanguard to get another session with a certified financial planner. That will make me feel better because when I spoke with him after this happened, I was told I'd be able to take a decent amt out of retirement monthly without touching the principle. I just was in panic mode then and I don't recall what those numbers are. I wanted to leave the principle for the kids but that may not happen. They'll have term life insurance, a condo, a car and a dog, lol.

Teacher Terry
3-7-16, 8:33pm
I had 3 boys and my hubby 2 so with 5 kids we did not do ,much traveling until they were grown up. We have been to Poland and Italy both twice. WE have taken 2 cruises and have an Alaskan one planned for Aug. Last year we took a month RV trip to some of the national parks and to see family/friends. FS: your property taxes are horrible-ugh! It is great that your parents are able to help you. None of us know what life has in store. When I worked with people with disabilities I always use to say that most people are only 1 accident or illness from having life change forever. It sounds like you have a good plan.

kally
3-7-16, 11:09pm
FS I agree with your property taxes. It is a huge piece of land?

awakenedsoul
3-8-16, 12:16am
watergoddess, I'm trying to live on $12,000. a year. It sounds really low, but I think I can do it. I've been buying the produce that's on sale every week. I watch the flyers, and take advantage of the specials. I pay $165.00 a month for health insurance. That's my biggest expense. I am still knitting through the stash of yarn that I bought at 40% off a few years ago. I've had some friends give me their yarn, too. (Many of them overbuy.) I spend my time practicing my singing and acting, doing yoga, walking the dogs, cleaning the house, working in the yard, and making soap. I'm still auditioning for singing and acting roles, but there are fewer calls for women my age.

Cutting my grocery budget has really helped me to live on less. I buy chicken when it's on sale for .99 a lb. Yesterday I bought tuna at CVS for .77 a can. I stocked up; what a price! The only traveling I do is to see my Dad and I will drive to Vegas for auditions.

I plan my car trips. I go to a knitting group that's only a mile from my house. The other one is further, but I also do my grocery shopping on that day. I spent a lot at the dentist this year, but it was worth it. I had to have a tooth filled, and a crown replaced.

I think it's just good discipline to live on less. You never know what kind of curve balls life will throw at you. Last year I spent $15,000. on having both hips replaced. It was worth it to me to get the top surgeon, and pay him cash. Thank goodness I had a solid emergency fund.

Reyes
3-8-16, 12:16am
I'll have two in college next year so will be spending 30k just on schooling for the year. Yikes! I have one out of college (and out of vet school, although she paid for vet school on her own), one will be a junior next year, and one a sophomore. Ask me again in four years and I'll be living on much less then:-)

freshstart
3-8-16, 10:29am
it's not a huge piece of land, between 1/2 acre to 3/4, I'd say. It was new construction in a popular neighborhood, we have a very good school system. The thing is the two closest cities have the same high taxes with less services because they are floundering some so I'd have to go pretty far out to get low taxes. I'm hoping downsizing would do the trick, it's a long way off hopefully.

Geila
3-8-16, 12:07pm
I'm trying to live on $12,000. a year.

Wow. $12k?! Good for you! That's a real challenge.

That's a good price you have on your health insurance. One thing I'm finding, and probably you have too, is that although California is a HCOL area in general, if your housing is affordable it's not that expensive to live here. The fresh produce is so cheap and readily available, and excellent year-round, the heating and cooling is also low, and your property taxes have a cap. And for the most part, services of all sorts are also readily available so you don't have to travel far to them.

I'm going to use you as inspiration when I'm feeling spendy, which I admit I do more often than I'd like. My pets and my garden are my gazingus pins for sure. And for some reason, spring is when I feel the most temptation - well it's probably because spring is when all stores are loaded to the gills with gorgeous plants! :)

Today I'm going to Costco to pickup some cat litter on sale and some cat kibble. Also need some breakfast stuff for hubby, sausages and those excellent raisin bagels they have there. As it happens, they also have a bunch of beautiful plants and bulbs at incredible deals right now. I'm telling myself, no plants, no plants.....

Teacher Terry
3-8-16, 2:48pm
We are lucky that our property taxes are very low. Our 4 old dogs however, are costing us a fortune between vet bills and meds. Never having this many doggies again:|(.

Geila
3-9-16, 1:57pm
I successfully avoided buying anything other than what was intended at Costco yesterday. I admired the plants and flowers and kept on walking. :)

I did remember that I will need some potting soil for those new pots that were gifted to me, but I'll get that when I'm ready to do the work. Too much rain right now to spend all day potting. I have to get my garden time in fits and spurts in between showers, but I'm loving the rain so this is not a complaint at all.

I might decide to go out and do some messy work that needs doing in the yard - digging up and thinning a Mexican sage that has become overgrown and compacted, sorting thru pots to give/throw away, doing a general cleanup of odds & ends, etc... We'll see...

I also need to clear out some stuff in the garage that we no longer have space for. This is mainly kitchen stuff that I was keeping as back stock for when we need it - extra dishes, glasses, cups, linens, etc... I'm going to have to either give/donate it or find room for it in the house. In my kitchen, I opted for shelves instead of upper cabinets because I like the open feel of that, but it means the storage is limited to pretty things, and things I don't need to wash often. Our everyday dishes and glasses are in drawers on the bottom cabs.

So.... what to do with this stuff?

freshstart
3-9-16, 3:59pm
could you give the kitchen things to a domestic violence shelter for women starting up their own places again?

we might get a Costco, I love them, if we get it, I fear I won't be good about leaving with unnecessary things!

kally
3-9-16, 5:35pm
can someone just briefly explain to me how people with limited income get medical coverage in the US? Thanks

Teacher Terry
3-9-16, 5:38pm
Medicaid is for poor people and Medicare for those over 65.

kally
3-9-16, 5:49pm
is it free?
What is this Obamacare?
Thanks

Geila
3-10-16, 12:03pm
could you give the kitchen things to a domestic violence shelter for women starting up their own places again?


I wanted to do that but when I went to the women's shelter they were very picky about what they take. It has to be new, in box or with tags and original packaging, and they prefer certain things like toiletries and such. I was very disappointed. They strongly encourage the donation of gift cards instead. It crossed my mind briefly that the gift cards would be more valuable than used household donations for the staff. As in, the staff gets the goods not the women and children who are living in shelters, fearing for their lives. I used to donate money to this shelter every year and have since stopped.

I will probably just donate what I don't need. I'm also considering installing upper cabinets to have permanent storage in the kitchen, but the cost will be considerable. Probably cheaper to just donate and if I ever need anything, replace it at that time.

Geila
3-10-16, 12:07pm
is it free?
What is this Obamacare?
Thanks

You can google Obamacare, it's a big subject to cover. The biggest thing is that before Obamacare many people couldn't buy health insurance as individuals if they had pre-existing conditions, regardless of the condition, even something minor like an minor injury many years back could be used to deny you coverage. A friend of mine was denied because she had been treated for ACNE! Now it's illegal to deny someone because of a pre-existing condition. They also offer income-based subsidies. I think everyone has to pay a premium, even if it's a low one. I can't comment on Medicaid and Medicare costs, don't know how those work.

Geila
3-10-16, 12:19pm
Ok, on the daily stuff... nothing exciting to report. Yesterday ended up being a lovely clear day and I spent a good part of the day weeding. I should mention that I really enjoy weeding. It's meditation for me. Got to spend some time with a very nice neighbor and her adorable dog when they came by for a visit.

I have lots of stuff to do inside the house, but the outside world is so gorgeous right now, all I want to do is be out there. We have slowly been creating a year-round garden and spring is always just amazing. We have almost 3 dozen pink and red camellias blooming all over the place, all the roses are starting to bud and bloom, the citrus trees are heavy with fruit and blossoms, the pear trees are full of their puffy white blossoms, the japanese maples are incredibly beautiful with their new baby leaves...

And the heavenly bamboo! Every shrub, we have many, is bursting with multiple colors - deep red, orange, three different shades of green, and delicate new growth unfurling every day. Soon the clumping bamboo will start pushing its fat little shoots out of the ground. And everything, everywhere I look is showing signs of new life. The star jasmine is going to be glorious.

That's what I'm grateful for today. Life.

Miss Cellane
3-10-16, 12:58pm
is it free?
What is this Obamacare?
Thanks

If you are very low income or disabled, you can get free health care through Medicaid. If you are over 65, you can get free health care through Medicare.

If you are low income, but make too much for Medicaid, then ACA (Obamacare) kicks in. The insurance is offered through regular insurance companies, but there is a credit, supplied by the government, that can be applied to the cost of the insurance. There are a variety of plans, with differing services and costs. At the lowest level, the insurance has a high deductible, somewhere around 5,000 to 6,5000 dollars (in my state, at least). That means that you pay $5,000 to $6,500 out of your own pocket before the insurance will kick in and start to pay part of your health care costs. The cost for this lowest level of insurance ranges from free, if you make very little money, to around $350/month, if you make just under the maximum amount allowed.

There are more expensive plans, that have lower deductibles. But they cost more.

I know at least one person who is paying approximately $150/month for ACA, with a $6,500 deductible. This means that she will pay, out of pocket, $8,300 before her insurance will start to pay anything. On an income of roughly $27,000/year before taxes, that is $8300 that she does not have. As she says, she is grateful to have the insurance, if anything really bad, like cancer or a bad car accident happens, but that $150/month is the money she would have used to visit a walk-in clinic if she got sick with something like pneumonia. Basically, she now has health insurance that she can't use. So it is basically catastrophic insurance, which is more than she had before, but not something that she can use for minor medical issues.

The various insurance plans, costs and possibly income levels will vary by state in the US.

Miss Cellane
3-10-16, 1:13pm
I've been thinking about this question, can you live on $30,000 a year?

1. It depends on if that is $30,000 before or after taxes.

2. It depends on your fixed costs. Housing and insurance are the two most often mentioned here. If either or both of those is high, living on $30,000/year will be harder.

3. It depends on where the money is coming from. If you are working two job to earn that $30,000, you are going to have limited time and energy to do even the most basic of cost-cutting activities. If you are retired and the money is coming from pension/savings, you will have much more time and energy to do things like have a garden, cook from scratch, DIY things, etc. In general, you can save money by spending time. You save time by spending money.

4. It depends on what other money you have. There was an example above of someone who chose to live on significantly less than they made. That allowed for savings to take care of high dental costs. But if you have no savings, if that $30,000 is all you have for the year, it is going to be more difficult. You have to pay for food, housing, transportation (even bicycles need new tires and walkers wear out shoes), plus all the other things you need, and somehow manage to save money for the big things that you know will be coming--a new car, a new hot water heater, college, etc. One brake job or a trip to the dentist could wipe out your savings and put you back where you were six months before. It's a lot easier to live on a limited income if there is a cushion of cash or savings somewhere to take care of the unexpected.

I see those as the four main variables, based on what people have said in this thread.

Gardenarian
3-10-16, 1:32pm
Kally - Obamacare is really complicated, even for those of us living with it.

It is a real blessing to those who are self-employed or don't get insurance at work. Here is my example:
My dh is a musician and I worked part-time, we have one dd, and previous to Obamacare we were paying over $20,000 US per year for health insurance - and we still had a co-pay ($50 every time you go to the doctors.) That's just for major medical - no dental insurance, doesn't cover things like chiropractic or eye glasses.

Now we pay around $9,000 a year for the same coverage. It's still a lot of money, and more out-of-pocket expenses than our previous insurance, but still saving over $10,000 per year. It's nuts.

We are a family of three - clearly, there is no way we could live on less $12,000 or anything like $20,000 - even though our mortgage is paid.

Teacher Terry
3-10-16, 1:35pm
Medicare does not cover everything so you need to carry a supplemental plan that you pay for. Most people I know are paying about 200/month for that. It is sad that some people are paying for the ACA insurance but can't afford to use it. The cost of health insurance here is more then what many people pay for a mortgage. Something really needs to be done about this. Although, the Repub's will obstruct so I don't have much hope.

kib
3-10-16, 1:49pm
I'm finding that while our healthcare premium isn't prohibitive, actually using the services can be ridiculous. I just had a "covered" elective/recommended outpatient procedure done with a $150 copay and then received another bill for $200 from the facility the service was performed in. Because, like, sure, I could always have invited the surgeon to perform it in my living room, so obviously the cost of the building was an added/optional expense and shouldn't be included in the cost of the procedure. >8)

I think we are living around the $35K mark, but honestly my tracking has been lax this year, I'm more focused on building equity than cutting costs right now. Certainly more peace of mind for me to look at a number that's rising (no matter how slowly) than stare in consternation at every penny that's departing.

kally
3-10-16, 1:54pm
Thanks for all the info about healthcare.
Here in Canada we all pay into a provincial program. Virtually everyone pays.
If you are making good money you pay a bit more - depending on the size of your family.
But if you are lower income you can pay very little.
Depending on the year and our income we usually pay about $150 a month.
Then we can go to drs. free anytime we need to.

It doesn't cover dental or other extras or prescriptions (although there is a plan if you are low income)

It results in longer waiting times for things. For example I had to wait quite a while for an MRI but I didn't pay for it. I could have gone to a private MRI clinic and payed $1800 for it. That is an option.

Emergency visits are free if you are covered.

So it is not perfect and is getting more $$ for the province to run. I imagine things might have to change a bit. But for most of us we don't think twice about going to the dr, so preventetive care is great.

And the big thing is you don't need a job to get healthcare. You can get extended medical with a job, but I haven't had that in years.

So different systems, different pros and cons.

freshstart
3-10-16, 1:54pm
If I was going to live on just the money I will get from SSDI, I would have to move into low income housing and that is pretty bad here, it would be very hard to live there. The ones I worked in had monthly bed bug outbreaks, I had an old man waiting for his faucet to be reconnected to the wall for over a year. Every time it was turned on it sprayed the room with unbelievable pressure. There is crime, it's in a bad part of the city. Odds of keeping a dog, slim. I'd have to take two buses to get groceries and I cannot walk the whole grocery store yet.

What will hopefully make it manageable for me is constantly funding my EF while getting long term disability, I have about a year and a few months likely, hopefully left on that. Also, I did well saving for retirement. Paid off mortgage and paid off car (that I still can't drive). But even still I don't think I could afford the NYS Marketplace insurance with the 5-6k deductible that I actually have to use as I am sick, pay taxes on this house (my parents have agreed to cover this cost and that feels like shit). And all the "little" costs that pop up, a broken tooth needing a crown, things like that. I will probably end up using more of my retirement than I would like. God help me if a court says I have to use retirement monies to pay for DD's college since my separation agreement says I will pay half the cost of a state school. Everybody, except the wealthiest among us, are vulnerable to losing much of what they once had. Thank God "pay yourself first" and knowing how to stretch a dollar til it screams was drilled into my head since I was 5. Thank God I have family who don't want me to move into low income housing as they actually depend on me for my share of the bills and they care about me. You never know when a marriage will screech to a halt, a job will come to an end and you are in your 50s looking for work, a major illness will keep you from your job, you will have an ill child to care for, on and on, you have to try to plan for any and all of this because you just don't know. Gloom and doom perhaps, but fail to plan....

Ultralight
3-10-16, 1:56pm
Thanks for all the info about healthcare.
Here in Canada we all pay into a provincial program. Virtually everyone pays.
If you are making good money you pay a bit more - depending on the size of your family.
But if you are lower income you can pay very little.
Depending on the year and our income we usually pay about $150 a month.
Then we can go to drs. free anytime we need to.

It doesn't cover dental or other extras or prescriptions (although there is a plan if you are low income)

It results in longer waiting times for things. For example I had to wait quite a while for an MRI but I didn't pay for it. I could have gone to a private MRI clinic and payed $1800 for it. That is an option.

Emergency visits are free if you are covered.

So it is not perfect and is getting more $$ for the province to run. I imagine things might have to change a bit. But for most of us we don't think twice about going to the dr, so preventetive care is great.

And the big thing is you don't need a job to get healthcare. You can get extended medical with a job, but I haven't had that in years.

So different systems, different pros and cons.


Mostly pros.

Quit bragging! You are just trying to make all us lefties jealous!

freshstart
3-10-16, 5:12pm
I'm green with envy! wait, I can't remember if that is the right expression- shitty American neurology care in action, lol

kally
3-10-16, 5:51pm
you know we do pay for that healthcare in Canada another way. Our income taxes are generally higher and there are lots of flaws in the system. But I hope it doesn't change too much. I can feel little bits of nickel and diming going on, but hopefully the basics will still be covered.

But I envy you your income tax levels.

Geila
3-10-16, 6:33pm
you know we do pay for that healthcare in Canada another way. Our income taxes are generally higher and there are lots of flaws in the system. But I hope it doesn't change too much. I can feel little bits of nickel and diming going on, but hopefully the basics will still be covered.

But I envy you your income tax levels.

When I hear Bernie Sanders talk about all the free stuff we will get if he is elected, without saying how it will be paid, other than I think Wall Street people, it makes me laugh. People forget that socialism (which I'm for) comes at a price. That price is inflated taxes for everyone. That's how it works. It's not a free ride. Yes, of course we want rich people to pay for everything. But guess what? They're not gonna. But since Bernie says Wall Street will, well that's different! I've already started my list of all the things I want those rich corrupt Wall Streeters to pay for. :thankyou:

We Americans like to dream big and have high hopes! >8)

awakenedsoul
3-10-16, 10:17pm
Wow. $12k?! Good for you! That's a real challenge.

That's a good price you have on your health insurance. One thing I'm finding, and probably you have too, is that although California is a HCOL area in general, if your housing is affordable it's not that expensive to live here. The fresh produce is so cheap and readily available, and excellent year-round, the heating and cooling is also low, and your property taxes have a cap. And for the most part, services of all sorts are also readily available so you don't have to travel far to them.

I'm going to use you as inspiration when I'm feeling spendy, which I admit I do more often than I'd like. My pets and my garden are my gazingus pins for sure. And for some reason, spring is when I feel the most temptation - well it's probably because spring is when all stores are loaded to the gills with gorgeous plants! :)

Today I'm going to Costco to pickup some cat litter on sale and some cat kibble. Also need some breakfast stuff for hubby, sausages and those excellent raisin bagels they have there. As it happens, they also have a bunch of beautiful plants and bulbs at incredible deals right now. I'm telling myself, no plants, no plants.....

Yes, I agree. The weather here is so mild. It's rare that I need to use my heat. Because my house is so small, it heats up very quickly. I have knit some alpaca blankets and sweaters. Often I just use those, and it's plenty.

I know what you mean about gardening. I've pretty much switched to fruit trees, berries, perennials, and some annuals in the window boxes. I have mulched over the lawn with straw, and I make lots of compost. Your place sounds beautiful.

My mom used to spend a lot of money on dog treats. It's easy to do. I buy them in bulk at Costco. I get the lamb strips and the huge box of dog biscuits. The prices are reasonable, and I break them in half. The dogs really look forward to their treats.

thinkgreen
3-11-16, 3:04am
I think we are just at the level you want to be Kally. 2015 was very close to your goal although that is for living expenses and does not include income tax. Our numbers are quite exact as we use Quicken and record all expenses.

We have no mortgage but the 2 of us support 2 cars and a dog, ha ha. We don't really travel as we are caring for family close by. We have enough for good food, clothing, health care, etc. Our health care is like yours but with extended medical and dental at extra cost. Cars are SUV 14 and sedan 3 year olds, dog is 7. We spend most of our time visiting with family and friends, gardening, housekeeping, volunteering. These are all fairly low cost activities. We do have cable tv, internet, land line and a low use pay as you go cell phone. Food costs were our biggest single expense, about $7,000 but that includes eating out and hosting others as well as wine making at a U-brew. Largely vegetarian diet. The food expense, as well as clothing, etc. could certainly be economized if a large maintenance or repair item came up.

Our home is equipped and we do not generally purchase items such as furniture or appliances. We have pretty much everything we need but sometimes a repair or replacement is needed. I have been fortunate to be able to have a good supply of sheets, towels, etc. so no need to buy anything there either. We do not keep up with the Joneses or have a modern kitchen or bath such as seen on tv design shows but everything functions and our needs are looked after.

kally
3-11-16, 3:51am
thinkgreen - your life sounds lovely to me.

Gardnr
3-11-16, 5:51am
If you are very low income or disabled, you can get free health care through Medicaid. If you are over 65, you can get free health care through Medicare.


Medicare is NOT free. There is a monthly premium. Copays are required and they are not little. Part D must be purchased from a private insurance company. Those premiums vary greatly depending on what you take AND there is the "donut hole" where the patient pays 100% till they reach the ceiling where it is covered 100% without copay. Mom died in 07 so I can't quote all the current rules. But back then she was nearly $200 a month for Medicare PLUS she bought an advantage plan that covered all her out of pocket costs and she paid $168/month for that. And she lived on $13,400/year. The woman was FRUGAL to the penny.

thinkgreen
3-11-16, 7:51am
Thanks Kally. I intended my post to be encouragement for you. Some confirmation that you can live on your target number too.

Your lifestyle is lovely and very serene, playing music, hiking, cooking, etc., all low cost activities. Although perhaps the cost of living is higher where you are. It sounds like food may be more expensive as there may not be the opportunities to shop the sales that we get in a larger city. Sometimes the costs will even out with some items costing more and some could be less pricey. Perhaps your property taxes or rents might be lower and your food costs could be higher.

Reading your posts I believe you make good choices, make the best of what is available to you and enjoy your lifestyle. Your goal sounds like something I believe you can achieve.

SiouzQ.
3-11-16, 8:59am
I have never made more than around $22,000 (officially) my entire life, having been stuck in the retail sector with long ago two art degrees. But have have developed many ways in which to create extra income my entire life, beginning with selling stuff to the local consignment store, selling my plasma, cleaning house for a hoarder (that was an eye-opening experience many years ago), having a house mate (this is a fairly recent venture for me these past four years), selling more artwork and jewelry (also a fairly recent venture now that I am not actively raising a child on my own). I am also very lucky in that my ex-MIL gives me quite a bit of money every year for my birthday and Christmas (god bless her, she is a wonderful woman, my second mom, even after 23 years of divorce from her son). All of this over the years has allowed me to build up a pretty decent retirement fund, and an okay emergency fund (about a year's worth of expenses).

I still really get off on figuring out how to live richly and have a fun life even on my small income. I had to learn that when I left my marriage way back in 1993 with a six month old baby, a van load of stuff and $300 to my name. That is when I found "Your Money Or Your Life." I had to learn how to make poverty "fun" and make it a game to see what I could create for myself. I don't know who made up this quote but I still like it today, 23 years later: "Poverty without creativity is deprivation" or something to that effect. Or maybe it was "Frugality without creativity is deprivation."

Teacher Terry
3-11-16, 5:12pm
After seeing another post I looked it up. Medicare Part A is the hospital and is free if you paid into it while working. MY MIL had a supplemental plan too and also died in 2007. She paid 68/month and she had very expensive care before she died ( month in intensive care, etc). AFter she died between the 2 they paid every dime of her expenses.

freshstart
3-11-16, 5:34pm
Medicare is NOT free. There is a monthly premium. Copays are required and they are not little. Part D must be purchased from a private insurance company. Those premiums vary greatly depending on what you take AND there is the "donut hole" where the patient pays 100% till they reach the ceiling where it is covered 100% without copay. Mom died in 07 so I can't quote all the current rules. But back then she was nearly $200 a month for Medicare PLUS she bought an advantage plan that covered all her out of pocket costs and she paid $168/month for that. And she lived on $13,400/year. The woman was FRUGAL to the penny.

and heaven help you if you fall in the doughnut hole, I cannot believe how much seniors have to ante up when they are in that. That seems like a loophole Congress would've closed by now

freshstart
3-11-16, 5:37pm
I still really get off on figuring out how to live richly and have a fun life even on my small income. I had to learn that when I left my marriage way back in 1993 with a six month old baby, a van load of stuff and $300 to my name. That is when I found "Your Money Or Your Life." I had to learn how to make poverty "fun" and make it a game to see what I could create for myself. I don't know who made up this quote but I still like it today, 23 years later: "Poverty without creativity is deprivation" or something to that effect. Or maybe it was "Frugality without creativity is deprivation."

you are inspiring

Teacher Terry
3-11-16, 5:40pm
The ACA started to lessen the donut hole each year and by 2020 it will be completely closed. Also low income seniors now can apply for something special which is free if you meet the income guidelines thru Medicare and it will cover the donut hole for them.

Gardnr
3-11-16, 6:45pm
The ACA started to lessen the donut hole each year and by 2020 it will be completely closed. Also low income seniors now can apply for something special which is free if you meet the income guidelines thru Medicare and it will cover the donut hole for them.

FANTASTIC news for today's older seniors who never dreamed they would not be able to live on the SS they paid in for their later years.

freshstart
3-11-16, 6:46pm
I did not know that, thank you! I don't think my dad is low income enough but I will check.

Teacher Terry
3-11-16, 8:32pm
I will be on Medicare in 3 years so am glad to. This discussion made me curious about what I thought I knew to be true and what the truth was so I looked all this up. It definitely is not right for low income seniors to have to choose between their meds and food or heat, etc.

freshstart
3-11-16, 10:01pm
I will be eligible for Medicare in 2 years so thanks so much for looking that up. I had seniors that lived on incredibly small amts of SS, like a widow with her husband's SS of $900 and that was her total income. Yet she somehow managed to keep their very old, small home, she got big breaks on property and school taxes, have home cooked food, but until she got on hospice and we paid for her meds, she just couldn't fill them all. The thing was she didn't need half of them, why does a terminally ill 92 yr old still need statins? But she didn't know any of that. I saw that over and over and over. Pharmacists too busy to point out that there is a generic available. The system needs fixing on many levels, fixing the doughnut hole is a great start.

rodeosweetheart
3-12-16, 9:51am
teacher terry, my regular meds are so expensive that I have definitely been guilty of choosing between meds and something else and walking way from the meds.

Freshstart, I love the question of why a terminally ill 92 year old needs statins. My mom, who will be 90 in August, has kind of said to hell with the doctor, and I can see why. They put her on statins and she took herself off since they were making her horrible memory issues even worse. All she is on now is aricept. But she is very stubborn, as am I, and kind of choosing what medical care she gets, and I think that is her right.

pinkytoe
3-12-16, 10:05am
why does a terminally ill 92 yr old still need statins?
That's a whole other thread...seeing my 80+ yo in laws paying what they do for out of pocket medical care and pharmaceuticals is frightening. We are talking thousands a year.

freshstart
3-12-16, 10:07am
rodeosweetheart, as an aside, our hospice docs always stopped aricept and namenda when dementia has progressed as at that point they have more harmful side effects than good. But hopefully this is way down the road for your mom.

rodeosweetheart
3-12-16, 10:08am
What are the harmful side effects of aricept? No one has mentioned those to me. thanks!

freshstart
3-12-16, 10:19am
we found it caused agitation (which led to falls and difficult to deal with behaviors) in advanced (no longer talking, etc) stages and my memory is not so hot but there were concerns with interactions with other common meds, especially those with anti-cholinergic properties. At that late stage, these drugs are not serving the purpose for which they are intended. I would double check meds to be avoided with a pharmacist.

they want to try me on aricept, I said I would prefer a diagnosis first before trying a very expensive drug. If you start aricept at 45, what is left for you at 75?

rodeosweetheart
3-12-16, 10:33am
Thanks, Freshstart, for the very helpful info.
Yeah, I think your reasoning on aricept makes a lot of sense.

iris lilies
3-12-16, 11:15am
rodeosweetheart, as an aside, our hospice docs always stopped aricept and namenda when dementia has progressed as at that point they have more harmful side effects than good. But hopefully this is way down the road for your mom.

I thought of Aricept, too, when I read her question about statins for a 92 year old person.

We stopped my mom's Aricept before she was officially in hospice care. My brother and I couldnt see the point of wasting tax dollars on it when our mother was pretty far down the line of Alzheimer's disease. And while it wasnt causing her any obvious problems that we could see, I still wonder it if was responsible for causing her horrible leg pains years before her death which sent her to the hospital which resulted in her ending up at a nursing home, to begin with. We never did find the cause of her leg pains.

JaneV2.0
3-12-16, 11:57am
Statins are implicated in both dementia (see www.spacedoc.com) and muscle pain (rhabdomyolysis). I bet a lot of confused seniors would benefit from just saying no (credit Nancy Reagan) to these overpriced, ineffective, and dangerous drugs.

rodeosweetheart
3-12-16, 12:57pm
Statins are implicated in both dementia (see www.spacedoc.com) and muscle pain (rhabdomyolysis). I bet a lot of confused seniors would benefit from just saying no (credit Nancy Reagan) to these overpriced, ineffective, and dangerous drugs.

I knew about statins and the muscle pain, along with Levaquin (had that happen to me) but I did not realize that Aricept was also indicted in muscle pain.

JaneV2.0
3-12-16, 1:07pm
I'm not convinced that the drugs designed to postpone Alzheimer's symptoms are of much use; the risks probably outweigh any advantages. But this small study is promising: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140930143446.htm?

Teacher Terry
3-12-16, 5:47pm
RS: that is terrible that you have to choose about what meds to take if you need them. I am lucky that all but 1 of my meds has a generic form.

freshstart
3-12-16, 6:19pm
have you hard of Good RX? Your doc gives you a card and you look up your med on their site and it finds it at the lowest possible price. If your doc doesn't have one, let me know and I will ask for an extra next time I see her

freshstart
3-12-16, 6:22pm
I'm not convinced that the drugs designed to postpone Alzheimer's symptoms are of much use; the risks probably outweigh any advantages. But this small study is promising: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140930143446.htm?

I'll be honest, I never saw vast improvements and IDK now but in the beginning they were sky high in price. But if families found them helpful, who am I to say? But that was one reason I'm not interested for me, for what, a minuscule improvement? No thanks, figure out why it's happening and fix that, that's my preference

kally
3-12-16, 7:52pm
I was taking a very low dose of statins. I asked the dr. if I could have my chol. checked to see if I still needed it. She told me to just give it up and that research was saying that, although useful after a heart problem, it might not be worth it taking years of statins as a preventitive.

rodeosweetheart
3-12-16, 8:18pm
My mom is definitely better with the aricept, more able to keep a train of thought and less upset by her situation

befree
3-13-16, 11:35pm
I think the worst side effect of Aricept is on your wallet! :) It may help in early stages of Alzheimer's, but of little use in the later stages. Glad it's helping your mother, rodeosweetheart. Kalley, re: health coverage in Canada, I'm just curious. I know taxes are higher in Canada and other countries that have universal healthcare...but does that have any effect on people who don't work, so don't pay income taxes? It seems we have a pretty sizeable number of people who don't work, or just work part-time, in the U.S., and I wonder if the same is true in Canada. And does the amount of taxes vary with income, as it does here in the U.S., or is it a flat percentage of income?

early morning
3-13-16, 11:52pm
As two of my mother's sisters died from Alzheimer's, as soon as she showed symptoms her neurologist put her on Aricept, and later added Namenda. We saw a very slow and gradual decline, not the fast descent into senility that her sisters had shown. Mom started with Aricept meds in her early eightys and lived alone (with frequent check-ins by us) until this past June, when she fell, hit her head hard, and went into a steep decline, at 96. We are convinced that the meds gave her a good 15 years more of life on her terms. Thankfully she had great insurance from my father's job! Of course as soon as she entered a managed care setting, they began to wean her off of them - at that point, there WAS no point in her taking them. I am sure they aren't helpful for everyone, but they were very helpful for our family.