30 September 2008

Boomers on a Budget: Household Measures

There's nothing like a Wall Street meltdown to put the family budget in perspective. While a Boomer Budget could easily center on investment strategy, I'm going to assume that you are already losing enough sleep over that. I'm going to cover more mundane aspects of the household budget.

1 - Buy my large DietCoke with extra ice at Sonic only between 2pm and 4pm, when drinks are half price and therefore less than $1. I continue to tip with whatever coins are in my car (50¢ - $1, usually).

2 - Attend movies only during early-bird hours, worth a $2 discount in my town. When I go to Harkins, I carry in my "loyalty cup," through which a purchase of soda is a mere $1. (I have found myself staring at the Senior Discount lately. I'm shy a few years.)

3 - Learn to love whatever's on sale at the grocery store. Today, Kix cereal was on sale for $1.88 (as opposed to $3-something), so that was my choice instead of Rice Chex. (When I was a child, Kix was a rare treat. I expect to feel young while eating the cereal over the next several weeks.)

4 - Reduce reliance on brand names. In our household, this means letting Tom Bold do most of the shopping for staples. He moves through the grocery store quickly, focused on low prices and blind to advertising.

5 - Resist the urge to pay off the mortgage. (Well, keep making payments, please; we're all counting on that.) I'm referring to the boomer tendency to pay off the house as quickly as possible for psychological comfort. Our last mortage was by choice a 15-year commitment, and pay-off is running ahead of schedule. But the budget-conscious choice for the next couple of years is to slow payment to the actual amount due. That will make the most use of the tax deduction that the mortgage interest permits.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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