Today I was just reading an article in “Money” magazine about a topic I have learned a lot about–retirement and spending in retirement. This issue–July–contained the article “Picture a Perfect Retirement” by Rick Kahler. This magazine doesn’t often have articles about money matters after retirement but this was right on the point for me.
There is much advice given about thinking ahead to retirement, planning retirement and making a budget. And there are obvious things to budget such as various regular payments, vacations, utilities, etc. Rick’s article suggested rehearsing one or two months of your retirement, and living on that budget. Good advice! But he did not get into what I have found to be a deep water topic–discretionary spending. This is a prime item for rehearsing or keeping track of for several months.
There are regular periodic items such as barber shop or beauty shop, golf, bowling, etc. that are obvious discretionary items to put in your budget. And most people stop there. No, no, no. Keep track of all the little extras you spend and you will have an awesome list. Here are some from mine: postage stamps, flashlight batteries, treats for grandchildren, birthday cards/wrap, gum, tips, movie tickets, popcorn, lottery or raffle tickets, flowers, envelopes, ink cartridge, a magazine or Girl Scout cookies.
Don’t stop at a yard sale unless you have change to spend. Another tip is don’t buy a magazine–go borrow from the library instead. The same with a book.
After collecting your discretionary spending information for a few months, then take an average and you will have a sum that is close to correct to put in your budget. You will be surprised!