Making do with less

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This year, 2013, may well become known as the year where we were forced to do more with less. We are constantly barraged by the media with the news of some budget cut.

We are hearing of more people losing jobs as an effort is being made to downsize. So far, most of this has been in government jobs but this will have a direct effect on other employment.

Friends are receiving smaller pension checks, which is a frightening thing. In this case, it is usually due to the fact that the health insurance premium has increased, thereby decreasing the pension check. Often, individuals or households are counting on receiving a set amount month after month.

The same thing is true for the millions of people who depend solely on their Social Security monthly check. The papers are full of suggestions as to how these benefits can be reduced.

The sad truth that most Americans are not financially prepared for retirement and even those who think they have sufficient income may well be disappointed. It is crucial that you have a retirement plan.

Saving for retirement may seem an impossible task when you feel that you are scratching out every penny just to make ends meet at the present. The truth is that you have to do whatever is necessary for you to save something because being old and destitute is nothing that you would want to face.

This is where the new thinking of doing more with less comes in. Now that spring is almost here and we are free of those large heating bills, do as your freshman high school coach told you over and over: “Get your mind right.”

The first thing to do is to go over your budget. What are some of the things that you haven’t been doing? Some of the things that you know you should do but just haven’t done such as leaving electrical appliances like adding machines or lamps of shredders plugged in when not in use.

Make a concentrated effort to go around your house and keep everything electrical, except, of course, refrigerators and freezers or anything that would be harmed. Just unplugging the big TV during the day when you are away from home or at night when you go to bed can make a difference — a difference in money that you can keep.

Pretty spring and summer weather can make it easier to economize. Consider having a movie night. If it is just the two of you, call it a date night but if there is a family, go for the movie night. Libraries have movies that are available for little or no fees. Add popcorn and a drink and consistently make a designated night movie night. You will enjoy it as much or more than getting dressed, driving downtown, looking for a parking space, etc.

Add some variety to your life. What about a picnic in your own backyard? Make a visit to the Museum of East Alabama on a Saturday morning. Check with your Chamber of Commerce for upcoming events, many of which may be free.  Plan some small project (build a barbecue pit or put in a rose bed) that will give you pleasure and satisfaction.

Accept face on the challenge to do more with less and go right ahead and enjoy doing it and it won’t hurt to remember that you are adding to your retirement fund. These little things add up and the good part is that most of them can be done without our having to suffer any sense of derivation.

Take a few minutes and try to think of some happy ways to do more with less.

 

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net 

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