How to survive and what’s more enjoy life on your state pension.

Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Blog, Living today | 0 comments

Old women gathering in Plaza Corredera Cordoba / Michael Cohen / Flickr

Old women gathering in Plaza Corredera Cordoba / Michael Cohen / Flickr

My mother is 91 and since she retired at 60 has survived solely on her old age pension, has a full social life, lives on her own comfortably in her own cottage with a small garden and even manages to save money most months.  I hear the gasps of disbelief from readers as we are assailed by commentary that no one can live on it let alone thrive on the current pension.

How does she do it? First of all some things are given to her such as a travel pass; TV licence; winter fuel allowance and her council tax (which is a big welcome). Her basic pension is bumped up by different governmental past iniatives which guarantees her an income of £140 per week. For some unfathomable reason her pension and the additions are paid separately and she is advised separately when they are being increased. This always leads to slight anxiety at the beginning of each financial year. Nevertheless, this is not a discussion on how pensions are paid and reviewed but how to live on one.

How to live on a state pension and enjoy life:

  1. Never buy ready meals or order takeaways.
  2. Buy loose fruit and vegetables so you can pick out how many you actually want rather than how a supermarket has packaged them up.
  3. Cook real food.
  4. Grow your own herbs and summer vegetables (tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers) if you can. Herbs are easy because you can grow them on a window shelf if you don’t have a garden.
  5. Buy boxed wine rather than bottles because you don’t have to finish the bottle if you don’t want to!
  6. Volunteer. If you’re busy, you won’t be spending.
  7. Use your local library. Why buy books when you can borrow them?
  8. Use supermarkets that have a loyalty scheme when your accumulated points can be used against purchases.
  9. When you go out and about, don’t bother with buying a cup of tea or coffee while out, have one when you get home.

10. Check with your local council for help in major purchases for your home such as boilers or new windows.

11. Upgrade an old boiler to a new one. The energy savings made will pay off the cost.

12. Keep your central heating on a relatively low but permanent temperature (18°) during the winter and then boost it up with a gas fire when you need it. Your home never gets cold and the gas fire will give you heat while you sit and relax in the evenings.

13. Follow the sun around when sitting down, ie have a morning room with morning sun and an afternoon room with the afternoon sun.

14. If something goes wrong in your home, contact your local Age UK. They have local handymen/women happy to help out with those jobs you just can’t do anymore!

15. All bills are paid by direct debit monthly and each year she checks if her house insurance or gas/electricity providers are the best for her usage.

16. Get a water meter. Living on her own she found that she saved by only paying for the water she used.

The old saying of look after the pennies and the £’s take care of themselves is actually true.

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