The realities of making ends meet as a pensioner

Jul 09, 2023
Spending more time at home since I have retired has been challenging, but I’ve endeavoured to make it cosy and inviting. Source: Getty

Once again I’m at the supermarket walking past the meat section. I’ve glanced at the specials and even they are too expensive. Butter, eggs, cheese, veggies. They have all gone up in price, so I have had to develop strategies to manage my pension.

To start with, I discovered Aldi, and have worked out that I can buy many items there a lot cheaper – as long as I stay out of the middle aisles where the tempting goodies are. But for staples, veggies, cheese and meat it’s very reasonable. 

I check online to see what is on special at Woolies and purchase the rest of the items I need there. I’ve finally realised the benefit of freezing meals. I make for example a pumpkin soup or a spaghetti Bolognese, and then divide it into portions and freeze the excess.

I also make big pots of veggie curry or lentil soup and freeze the leftovers. I’m eating a lot more vegetarian meals now, as meat is so dear, and to be honest, I don’t really miss it.

Aldi is good for detergent, laundry powder etc. I only use one product to clean and use it for everything. My treat is a loaf of sourdough bread which I freeze and it lasts a fortnight. 

We all know that petrol is more expensive, I try to limit my car trips. Making do with last season’s clothes and visiting the op shops is a must. Swapping with friends works as well. 

Keeping warm or cool is a challenge. I don’t have air-con or a heater so I wrap myself in a blanket when on the couch or use my heated throw from a bargain I bought from Aldi. My hot water bottle at night is warm and cosy. In summer an old-fashioned hand fan can cool you down. Increasing power bills, and now phone bills are a challenge that we are all facing. 

Instead of meeting up in a cafe, I meet friends at the beach or botanic gardens for a walk in the fresh air. We might take a thermos, otherwise, a cuppa at someone’s place is fun as well. Getting together with friends and having a potluck meal can also be cheap and fun. 

Spending more time at home since I have retired has been challenging, but I’ve endeavoured to make it cosy and inviting. I’m renting and of course, that price has increased as well, but it is a place I like to hang out and relax to read or write or just sit in the sun.

Learning to manage on a fixed income is hard for most of us, and I am so grateful to even receive a pension, but it’s the unexpected bills that get you, but somehow we make it through with a bit of creative juggling and stretching our dollars. I’m just glad I live in Australia and have a roof over my head. 

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