I lost my job at 58. Here’s how I was able to get by until retirement

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I learned to live much more cheaply after I lost my job at age 58—and it allowed me to retire with a lower-than-average income.

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After being fired, I spent 18 months unsuccessfully searching for a position that reflected my experience and education. I ended up working an administrative office job for 40% less pay.

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Although I was already a frugal and cautious person, my life leaned heavily for the next four years, until I retired at the age of 64. Here’s how I coped:

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Accommodation. Living alone in a two-bedroom condo, I decided to get a roommate. I didn’t really want to share living space in my 60s, but my roommate’s rent helped a lot over the next three years.

transportation. I took advantage of free bus passes subsidized by my employer for my commute to work, which saved parking and gas. I had to get up extra early and get home late to catch the bus on my route, but it helped preserve my 2007 paid car.

Treatment. For many years, I have a carecredit Card for payment of extraordinary medical or dental expenses. I have always ensured that it is paid before any interest accrues. I have also tried to stay healthy through diet and exercise.

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Grocery and household items. I planned all my meals and shopped for groceries intelligently, going to multiple stores each week. I used to take lunch to work every day except payday. I also came to know that most of the household items you can buy from here dollar store They are as good, or almost as good, as those at the higher priced stores.

Holidays. I used to go places within easy driving distance for a few long weekends every year. I usually stayed with friends or family.

Where should I retire?

Entertainment. I really had nothing more than basic cable, even when I was making more money. No CNN, Weather Channel, MSNBC. But I soon cut the cable altogether, and did it earlier than most people. In addition, I rarely went to restaurants, bars, movies, concerts or plays.

Clothing and gifts. I’m a big fan of off-price stores like TJ Maxx TJX,
-1.44%,
Marshall and Ross Roast,
-4.07%,
I haven’t paid retail prices in full for many years. And you might be surprised at the cool stuff and even new things you can find at thrift stores.

When my employer offered a modest incentive to retire early to reduce expenses during the pandemic, I was happy to leave. I had determined that my Social Security and state pension would be roughly equal to my take-home pay. Both checks are based largely on my earlier years in the workforce, when my pay was much higher.

In my first year of retirement, I—mostly—have been able to live even more cheaply:

Inflation, of course, makes my low-cost retirement more challenging. That’s why I write a Medium blog and freelance. I do not expect big windfall gains, but it is good to have extra pocket money.

This column originally appeared on humble dollar, It was republished with permission,

Ron Wayne spent 26 years working for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Georgia before becoming editor at the University of Florida’s Chief News Office. During his 10 years working there, he earned a master’s degree in mass communication and taught as an adjunct at the College of Journalism and Communications. Since the last time he retired, he has enjoyed a simple life, which includes reflecting on his experiences medium.com, Ron’s First Check material,

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