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Frugal Baby Boomer Millionaires Learn to Cope

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

July 5, 2007 — Most older baby boomers remember John Beresford Tipton, the “Millionaire” who discreetly awarded a million dollar check to some worthy individual every week on TV during the late 1950’s. While people old enough to remember the show (over 55) would still be thrilled at such a gift, being a millionaire just ain’t what it used to be.

One problem is that Inflation has deflated the significance of a million dollars, which has only 54% of the purchasing power it had in 1987 (source: Wall Street Journal). There are a whole lot more millionaires today thanks to inflation and prosperity. Another issue is that real estate prices have soared and become a significant source of illiquid wealth – for boomers fortunate enough to have significant home equity in hot real estate markets.

For example, an existing single family home in San Francisco goes for $748,000 and $521,000 in New York. Just owning a home in one of these markets alone gets you close to millionaire status. Problem: You can sell your home, but you still have to live somewhere.

How rich are you?
Let’s say that your millionaire status includes about $300,000 in home equity (the median price of a home is about $220,000 nationally) and $700,000 in retirement savings. You definitely are one of the richest American baby boomers, who typically have about $50,000 in household retirement savings included in a total net worth of about $250,000. You are in the top 2% of Americans – not bad!

What kind of income can you expect?
Presumably if you have this kind of net worth you had some high paying jobs to get to this position, so you are probably used to having more than $100,000 in annual income. Let’s say you invest your $700,000 in 10 year Treasury notes that yield about 5%, before inflation. That will give you about $35,000 per year for the rest of your life, assuming rates stay about the same. Every year inflation will make that $35,000 worth a little less, but that is OK because you won’t live forever (you could draw down the principal), and as you age your expenses will presumably decline. If you tack on a much better than average social security benefit of $24000 for you and your spouse (the average payout is $9360 annually for a single person), that gives you $59,000 in yearly income. A nice living and well above average, but a far cry from being a luxurious income.

The value of a defined benefit pension
Other than government and some non-profit workers, baby boomers are probably the last group who have a chance at getting significant defined benefit pensions (a defined benefit means you are promised a specific annual retirement payment as a pension, rather than guaranteed payments into your future retirement fund). If you are fortunate to have such a pension you can see what a difference these pensions can make, even at some minimum payment like $10,000 a year. Your pension could propel you into the ranks of the comfortably retired.

Strategy for frugal millionaires: Trade in Your home equity
One effective strategy that many active adults over 50 are taking is to trade in their home equity. If you could trade in your $300,000 home in a hot market for an equal or better home worth $200,000 in a less expensive state like South Carolina, you could maintain your current lifestyle while adding $5000 per year in income. As a bonus, this extra income would come in a market where the overall cost of living is less than where you live now. Certainly a strategy worth considering, now that you might have to become the “frugal millionaire”.

Comparing the Retirement Savings of Baby Boomers

When to begin drawing Social Security Benefits

A Surprising Answer: When to Take Social Security Benefits

Posted by Boomer1 on July 5th, 2007


  1. Not sure if this fits in this thread but I wanted to offer some advice to those who are retired. I called our car insurance company, The Hartford, the other day and inquired on getting reduced car insurance costs due to the Hub and I being retired. Right now we have 3 vehicles and a utility trailer. The minimum mileage per year per car that they will allow you to claim in 1,000 miles per vehicle. When the agent was done we ended up saving $271 per year. Not earth shattering but it’s money in my pocket instead of theirs. So if you haven’t checked into your car insurance company call them, you might save some money! I also called our cable provider. Previously we had U-Verse and Frontier bought them out. The package we had with U-Verse was more expensive than what Frontier offered and we dropped some channels too. We saved maybe $30 a month. Again not earth shattering but why give it to them! Frontier didn’t bother to call me to tell me I could save money so you have to do the homework! I am looking into other ways to save money. Anyone else have frugal ideas to offer?

    by Louise — September 8, 2015

  2. I also redid my DirecTV package, and I save $30 a month. It adds up. I have no home phone and only a cell, which costs me $38 a month through Verizon. Normally it would be $50, but my job currently provides a discount. This is a no-contract plan, with no data. I just use my phone as a phone and a camera. I found out that emailing the photos is considered a phone call, not data, so no charge. I am dropping my wifi. I live 10 miles from the closest wifi, but saving $60 a month is huge. I plan to use wifi from the local library at my new location (1 mile) when I retire, so I am “in training.” I finally got with reality, and am selling my beloved horses for a savings of $400-500 a month. It breaks my heart, but it’s best they go now while they’re younger than waiting until I actually retire – plus, that’s big savings for me. My lifestyle will diminish with their leaving, so it is a sad decision for me. Since early April 2015, I stopped eating sugar, and am saving $20-40 a month, plus I feel a lot better. It’s not a hardship and isn’t difficult. I eat sweet whole fruit if I want a sweet fix. My farm pick-up is no longer being used to haul hay, so I uninsured that for a savings of about $280 every 6 months. I am trying to live as closely to how I will when I retire. There are other things too, but that’s all for now.

    by Elaine C. — September 9, 2015

  3. I applaud your hard decisions and money saving efforts Elaine C.! I still have a land line and have had the same telephone number for over 40 years! That would be a substantial saving per month to do away with it. But…right now I will stick with it. I did want to mention for those of you who live in an area with grocery delivery service to take advantage of it! I live in CT and Stop & Shop stores are affiliated with Pea Pod Delivery. For those not familiar with it, you establish and account on line and you can set up a day and time for delivery. Some slots of time are cheaper than others. I have not ordered from them in a long time but as I recall it was only around $5 for delivery plus a tip for the driver. You can use the Stop & Shop flyer for sales and the driver, when he delivers, will take your coupons too. The website is easy to use. They don’t have everything the store has but almost everything. It is such a great service in the winter months or when I was working and had little time on the weekends. They are very efficient too. However I can remember one time they sent the wrong thing and I called. They said to keep it and they would take it off my bill. If a bad winter storm is predicted, they will reschedule your delivery. It is a perfect solution for those of us who may not be able to get out as often as we like. I do believe Stop & Shop Pea Pod is a Northeast grocery store chain so check in your area to see what is available. Oh, there is a minimum order amount which I have forgotten, maybe $50 but rather than the minimum I would usually order a $200-$225 worth to save on future delivery charges. Another local grocery chain in our town will deliver our prescription drugs too for free! You have to live within 5 miles of the store. I have heard some people buy some grocery items from Amazon. Have not done that yet.Not sure if you would save much there.

    by Louise — September 10, 2015

  4. I cut our cable bill down $180 monthly and still have internet and a landline. I have found too, foods closer to their natural forms are cheaper. I still buy my ice cream but no more buying foods unless it is around 8 grams of sugar. I found less meat in my diet saved me money too. I buy in bulk and repackage it for two or four. I have always been concerned with the price of gas and vehicle insurance so being close to my job and stores we shop. I am in a 5 mile range of all. Does that mileage limit, stop your traveling to visit places and family having that type of vehicle insurance?

    by DeyErmand — September 10, 2015

  5. DeyErmand, I didn’t ask the insurance company about the mileage limit in the event of a long trip racking up lots of mileage. If I were to go on a long trip in my vehicle, I probably would call to see what they say. For my immediate future I do not see us going on any long trips anywhere. If we did we would drive to the airport in Hartford, CT which is about an hour and 15 minutes a way. Fly to our destination and rent a car. Another thing we would consider is renting a nice car to go on a driving vacation. As I recall, the last time we rented a car, our American Express card covered auto insurance on the rental. If you have an older car, renting a vehicle is a good way to enjoy the luxury of a new car without buying one! Plus, most likely your rental car won’t break down during your vacation!

    We also buy in bulk when good deals come up. We shop at Costco and like you mentioned breaking the large bundle into smaller packages. We get some really good deals from a local market on pork loins. We have the butcher cut two roasts out of it then the rest in pork chops. We have a vacuum sealer and portion it all out. We also always look out for Purdue oven stuffers that are $0.99 a lb. We have the butcher butterfly and flatten them and they stack beautifully in the freezer. The butches do this for FREE! Why wrestle a big chicken when they can do it for you! Look up Spatchcock Chicken. Excellent!

    Another thing we started last year is we applied for the Costco American Express card and charge all our our shopping, Dr. copays, gasoline, restaurants. Everything we can possibly charge on it during the month. We rack up points that once a year we are issued a check to either cash for dollars at Costco or buy more Costco products with it. Next year Amex is changing to Visa and right now I have no idea what their bonus program will be. We make sure we pay off the Amex balance every month! I like using the Amex card better than using my debit card. I think it is more secure.

    by Louise — September 10, 2015

  6. This week I went to the USA premiere of the film How to Change the World about the origination of Greenpeace. A family member was one of the people who started Greenpeace, and participated in the first confrontations with the Russian whalers. In the middle of the film, I became a vegetarian. I have been teetering, and the film nudged me over to a plant-based diet, but including eggs, cheese and yogurt. I judge no one who eats meat, so please don’t judge my choice. This small act contributes to my retirement savings, pre- and post-. I just wanted to share with you because it is a major lifestyle and financial change for me. The film is powerful, but I closed my eyes during parts of it. I opened my eyes at the wrong moment (or was it the right moment?) and that image will stay with me forever, the image that nudged me.

    Remembering the victims of September 11, 2001.

    by Elaine C. — September 11, 2015

  7. Elaine C – I have recently been told to cut back on my meats and potatoes , 2oz and 4oz servings. by my doctor. I hope to do as you are doing as it is healthier. I hope to get down to the recommended 2 cups of coffee too. I know one thing, it is improving my grocery bill and my b/p.

    Louise – I got rid of credit cards years ago, about the time my children started college. I just got a debit card in fact was thinking maybe one credit card would be better. I just hate to owe anyone. We auto pay all our utility bills, and write checks for medical bills.

    Any other good suggestions ladies?

    by DeyErmand — September 11, 2015

  8. I took an online class through the AARP to refresh my driving information. That resulted in a $60/year savings in my car insurance. They also offer the class at some Senior Centers or Community Centers. Check with your insurance agent to see if you’ll get a discount.

    by Marcia S. — September 11, 2015

  9. If you get the American Express card through Costco there is no yearly fee. By paying for your membership, the yearly fee is waived. However, they will be changing over to Visa Next February I believe. Right now, since around February of this year, just by spending normally on everyday stuff, I have racked up $174 and will continue to earn more bonus money until February of next year. I see a lot of credit cards have bonus programs and you have to see what works for you. When I pay for my health insurance each month Anthem BC BS will not take the Amex card but next year when Costco changes over to Visa I will pay Anthem with it. I will only get 1% of the $495.30 I am paying per month but it adds up to almost $60 a year for something I have to pay for anyway! I have to add, IF VISA offers the same deal as American Express did. We have to wait and see what the new program offers.

    by Louise — September 12, 2015

  10. I’m still working, so I am trying to manage my employee medical plan deductibles and benefits to try to enter retirement in the best health situation possible. For ex., I am working with my dentist to proactively try to address anything that can be forecasted as needing attention in the future, and schedule elective medical tests after deductibles are met. I have been paying attention to my homeowners’ insurance since it tends to increase each year at a rate higher than any increase to home values. I am weighing deletion of the jewelry rider that will save me $400-$500 a year ( heirloom pieces essentially stay in a safe now, but my kids are just starting out & can’t accept responsibility for them yet). I am also considering dropping life insurance now that my kids have graduated. I had carried the insurance when I was their sole parent and supporting them through college and grad school, but the premiums are very hefty.

    Fighting the cable pig will be my next project. My “deal” from Time Warner costs me $200/month (internet, 3 tvs and landline). This is the best price I could get after calling to cancel, dropped from $250/month after my initial package expired. I don’t want the landline phone. I’ll be calling Direct TV to talk about options. Some of my neighbors have given cable up completely. We don’t get air reception, but they are satisfied with offerings available on-line.

    I tried eliminating my $45/mo bill with ADT, and discovered that my salesman put me on a 3 year plan instead of the 2 year plan we discussed. My own fault for not reading the small print (lesson learned here). I’m also having the “talk” about telephone family plans with my kids. After 15+ years, I think my kids forgot that their phones and Netflix isn’t free. That will help knock $150 off my monthly expenses for retirement! I had already given up “dry clean only” purchases, but now that I’m closer to retirement I’m cutting back on any work clothes purchases!

    Some very good tips here. Thank you.

    by Kate — September 12, 2015

  11. I decided to get a land line telephone through Basic Talk and it is working out great. You do have to have the modem for internet. Also, not sure if you retirees on Social Security are aware that you can get a government cell phone with 250 minutes monthly. Our local police station hands out their used cell phones for 911 only. Every little bit helps. My next mission is to lower my cable bill. Oh forgot to mention with taxes Basic Talk is $11.52 monthly with unlimited local and long distance calls.

    by Susana Neal — September 12, 2015

  12. I also dropped buy-up life insurance at work. I have a policy paid for by my job, but no longer any additional. That saves me about $28 per month. I have buy-up health insurance, which proved to be worth every penny. Even though I am almost at FRA, my health benefits are keeping me employed because I figure that as long as I’m working, the less amount of time I have to pay big bucks for Medigap insurance. Obviously I am torn about when to retire because I’m at my peak earning years, and still find my job rewarding and interesting. My job is stressful at times and challenging, but so far worth keeping.

    by Elaine C. — September 12, 2015

  13. One of the grocery stores in my town has a shelf with older fruit and vegetables on it. They usually have lots of bananas, tomatoes, apples, potatoes and other stuff. If you like to cook you can find some really good bargains. Of coarse you need to check the items for bumps, bruises, etc. but I have found many bargains. I have bought a whole bag of tomatoes for only $2.00 and made home made spaghetti sauce. The only thing is that once you buy these items there is a sense of urgency to use them somehow so they don’t totally go bad.

    The same grocery store has a shelf with day old bread. Once in a while I will pick up some bread and make croutons. If you are in the habit of buying croutons, you know how expensive a tiny bag of them costs! So easy to make at home and you get tons of them for pennies!

    by Louise — September 12, 2015

  14. This is probably something many of you do or did when working. When I was working and I received a raise, I would immediately increase my 401k contribution by the same percentage. If I got a 3% raise, that 3% went directly to 401k. Eventually before I left my Job I was contributing 25% of my salary. It really didn’t hurt at all! My husband was doing the same thing.

    Another thing we do is when we have soda cans or bottles, we cash the cans in and save the coin. We did that for about 10 years and last year we emptied out the HUGE jug and rolled coin for weeks. We ended up with $5,000! We not only had can/bottle money but we would always drop loose change into the jug and sometimes $20, $10 and $5 bills too. Sometimes if we won some lottery money such as $50 we would drop that into the jug too. However, rolling that coin for weeks was something I never want to do again! Plus, the weight of the coin was unreal dragging it to the bank! I made numerous trips to the bank! I have a smaller jug now and when it gets full, it will be coin rolling time!

    by Louise — September 12, 2015

  15. I have decided to get a Visa card as I know it is accepted readily. I think dropping life insurance policies is pre mature before the age of 70 years. Premiums do seem to jump up at that time. Loans are not easy to get when you are older on a fixed income at the banks where as you can take out a loan against a life insurance policy in an emergency.
    We had a rule never spend the coins, they went in a mayonnaise jar and the wife would roll them and put them up “somewhere”. We would use that as part of our vacation money every year. It adds up quick. Still saving coins.
    The wife deposit it once a month into a “future” savings account. She sizes down the clothing closets and goes to this consignment shop to sale them. Saves that money. She just found one for furniture! lol! (Sizing down to relocate for retirement) I always look at the groceries on the bottom shelves to save money. The more expensive items are at eye level. We invested in filtered water cups, as we don’t drink pop and bottled water adds up over time.

    by DeyErmand — September 12, 2015

  16. I kept my landline for years because all my family, friends, and kids’ friends knew the number. I was delighted to learn that when I sold my house I did not have to give up that number I’d had for 50 years, but could have it “ported over” to my cell phone, and no longer need to pay for both a landline & cell phone.

    by Sallie50 — September 12, 2015

  17. We had bought whole life insurance back in the 70’s, and I know that nowadays the experts recommend term insurance which is much cheaper. Our whole life policies are now paying for themselves. The annual dividend is paying the premiums so they are costing us nothing. Had also thought about converting them to Immediate annuities for some additional income.

    by Jim C — September 13, 2015

  18. I am amazed at how many tips I knew nothing about or hadn’t thought of. Great ideas! I was contributing 23% to my 401(k), but for the next 12 months, reduced it to the minimum that allows for my job’s matching – still 13%. I need to pay down debt, and as I continue my financial outflow reduction plan, I’ll increase the contribution when my debt is gone. My interest is much higher on my debt than what I am earning in the 401(k), so these months of paying off the debt is a better use of my money. Some of you will disagree, but for MY situation, this makes sense for me.

    by Elaine C. — September 13, 2015

  19. I have been a little bit of bartering lately that saves me money. I critter-sit for people with horses in exchange for their hauling hay for me (it isn’t out of their way, just stop at the feed store on their way home from work) that saves me the $20 delivery fee for every load – my pick-up is currently on sick leave. I also allow my own house sitter to use my vehicle when I’m on travel, and she doesn’t charge me to housesit. She’s a good driver, returns it with a full gas tank, and stays overnight at my house, so this is worth it for me.

    Does anyone else use bartering to save money?

    by Elaine C. — September 13, 2015

  20. Elaine- It is better to pay off things, I did the highest interest rates first. I trade off lawn chores with my neighbor, during vacation time and collect the mail. Vice Versa. My wife gets concert tickets by doing house work for a friend who gets them as bonuses at work.

    by DeyErmand — September 13, 2015

  21. I have two neighbors who’s spouse’s died. One is a man and the other a woman. The man puts his garbage in the woman’s garbage can during the week and on garbage day he rolls it down the driveway to the curb. So I am assuming that they share the cost of garbage removal. The cost is about $108 every three months. We also have a recycling center in town that will take garbage and recycles and they charge you by the bag. Might be a cheaper option but not really into hauling my garbage around.

    Another thing I do is when I order things on line from an established company I look for a PROMO/coupon code to use when ‘checking out’. Sometimes I receive them by email and sometimes they might offer some code on their website. If you can’t find a code, go onto the internet and search. Put in the company name and either coupon code or PROMO code. Sometimes they are expired and don’t work. If you get one, put it into the promo spot when you check out. Sometimes it will give you two options. It might offer you 10% off your entire order and on a $50 order that would be $5 or they may offer you free shipping. Most times that is what I choose because not only do they charge shipping but handling and your total shipping could be a minimum of $12 or more! So always look for PROMO codes when shopping on line.

    Another thing I do occasionally is if there is a new(ish) book I want and it might cost $28 plus shipping I go to eBay and look for it. Sometimes it is being sold for half that and free shipping! Most times I don’t care if the book is in perfect shape either. If it is a cookbook and it has a slight imperfection, and I can save $14 it works for me! However, I wouldn’t do that if it was a gift!

    by Louise — September 14, 2015

  22. Louise- Ebay has saved us money time and time again. Not just on books, but on gifts. Sometimes the grandkids come in talking about a toy, and I look for it there first. I have got to try the promo codes! thx, My wife likes to do the rebate thing. Our Rite Aid and Menards, has rebate offers galore. She uses Store discount cards, but only on sale items. She lets them accumulate. Rite Aid gives points off on flights, gas, etc. She picks up her mother’s and sister’s prescription drugs and uses her card even though it doesn’t give them any discount on prescriptions, she gets the points for every dollar they spend on medications. She recently started charging ladies at my MIL’s highrise $5 to take them to the grocery store twice a week. She only can take 4 at a time but the senior van only allots them one hour to shop, and she allots them 2 hours.

    by DeyErmand — September 14, 2015

  23. We have Rite Aid here and I had forgotten about the rebates and so forth they offer. Will have to start paying attention to that again!

    Speaking of rebates, just bought my dogs Heartworm pills and on a pack of 6 pills you get a $5 rebate, if you were to buy a pack of 12 pills it would be a $12 rebate. This rebate ends September 30, 2015 so if you need refills check this rebate out at your Vets office! It is on the Interceptor brand.

    by Louise — September 14, 2015

  24. Elaine, Good for you for working towards paying off your debt. I would recommend paying off your smallest amount first. This gives you hope. If you don’t see any movement in your debt, it’s hard to stay motivated. I also trade pet sitting with a neighbor. Very expensive to have someone come to the house a few times a day. We are still working, and maxing out our ROTH ($6,500 each per year for 50+ years old). We have enough money to live for lots of years in our IRA’s and the ROTH will sit and earn tax free interest. We aren’t rich, just very frugal. We want to retire before 65, but we have goals to reach before that happens. If not, 7 years is not bad. We’ve made it all these years, what’s 7 more!

    by SandyM — September 14, 2015

  25. I, like many of you, am trying to tackle these huge cable and wireless bills. Mine are over $330/month for cable and 2 cell phones. All with Verizon. When I ask, they offer slight reductions but not anything significant. When I say cable, I mean TV, Internet and house phone. Has anyone tried Consumer Cellular for your cell phone service? They advertise in AARP newsletter and appear to have some attractive pricing plans. Any other ideas to reduce in this area would be appreciated. Thanks….

    by Jim — September 15, 2015

  26. SandyM- I agree. At first I thought that amount was going to break me ($6500) but I broke it down to a monthly $542. Then I looked for ways to cut my budget and/or earn extra cash on a monthly basis. My income tax return makes up for the difference. Even if you can’t afford the whole amount, something is better than nothing.

    by DeyErmand — September 15, 2015

  27. Jim,
    I had service thru Consumer Cellular and was generally happy with it. It was not a smart phone. Had occasional problems with signal strength is some areas I recall. Price was hard beat at the time.

    by Jim C — September 15, 2015

  28. Jim,
    We, too, are trying to decrease our monthly cable bill. My husband found something called Roku today on the internet. It looks very interesting. He called a friend who he thought may have it; it did and he loves it! We will be looking into it further, and i suggest you check it out on the web. Here’s hoping! By the way, $330 per month is crazy high. We’re paying $170 and hating it

    by ella — September 15, 2015

  29. We are new to Netflix. Just got a Blu Ray player when Hub retired in April but haven’t watched much yet. From what we have watched (Blacklist) it is fantastic. So many shows and movies and so far, no commercials! It is under $10 a month. If I could convince the Hub we don’t need the channels we have, I would take basic cable…whatever that is, and Netflix. There are others out there too. Hulu is another one and I think Amazon. We watched 6 episodes of Season 2 Blacklist last night and each episode is 43 minutes, no commercials! There are 22 episodes for last season, then when the new season starts October 1st we will record with the DVD player on regular tv and erase the commercials. The JOY of no commercials is PRICELESS! I think the DVD player is the reason we have to pay more for the tv cablevision package. I have no idea what advantages and disadvantages of Roku, Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix have compared to each other. Can someone jump in on that and give us a synopsis of the pro’s and con’s of these alternatives to Cable TV and ball park prices per month?

    by Louise — September 16, 2015

  30. Louise,
    We’ve had Netflix for a couple of years and love it. Used to watch movies on the tablet but now have WIFI enabled TV so can watch on the big screen. Don’t know if you were a Longmire fan? A&E dropped the show after 3 seasons and Netflix picked it up and produced a 4th season. All four seasons are now available. Great Show!!!

    by Jim C — September 16, 2015

  31. Ditto Louise’s comment. Can anyone explain the differences and difficulties of the alternatives to paying a high monthly cable bill?

    Also, had a Verizon person tell my husband and me that should we subscribe to their package, we could cancel Direct TV before the 24 month contract period without paying the $20 per month penalty in case we move before then. Just don’t install their equipment he said/keep putting them off once we move. Sounds fishy to me. Anyone with experience in this matter?

    Many thanks,

    by ella — September 16, 2015

  32. First time commenting here! I have been actively reading so much and really appreciate all the comments. I have a few years to retire, but husband retired a few years ago. We have been downsizing for years both materialistic and economic. We have gradually been decreasing our telephone/cable/internet bills. The first thing we did was cut the landline – never missed it! Next was reducing our cable bills. We’ve had Netflix for a few years – love it! We’re now down to basic cable and if we had good antenna reception, we would reduce even more. So glad I can finally contribute – hope it helps!

    by Linda L — September 16, 2015

  33. Jim C. I looked up Longmire to see what it is about and sounds interesting! We are half way through Blacklist Season 2 and it is a marathon for sure! When we first got Cable TV with HBO AND a color TV years ago, We watched TV non stop all weekend the first weekend we got it! It was so great back then. I knew nothing about Blu Ray when I bought it back in March this year. My girlfriend in MI has one and we briefly talked about it. She uses Red Box and it is located at her Walmart Store. So she basically rents the movies and then brings them back to the Red Box machine. Netflix is cheaper though. I was pretty proud of myself, I installed the Blu Ray player by myself while the Hub was at work. He has NO patience for this stuff. If you buy one just be prepared to have your Wireless Connection number and password ready to activate the service. When we changed over to Frontier, we didn’t know that our wireless number changed and after that our Netflix didn’t connect so I had to input those new numbers to get the Blu Ray to work. UGH, technology is killing me!

    by Louise — September 17, 2015

  34. I have DirecTV one step up from the basic cable (I admit that I’m a Walking Dead fan, and basic doesn’t have that channel). DTV is very helpful every time I call with technology questions. I don’t work for them, just saying, so when I relocate I’ll be “taking” them with me. Another free source for technology questions may be your local public library. We librarians must stay near the front of a lot of technology (not all of course) and can often help. The library has changed so much in the past several years. Check it out for not only for the usual, but perhaps a rototiller, power tools, iPads, e-readers, and other items to borrow. Some libraries are expanding to meet other needs, rather than only literacy, of patrons.

    by Elaine C. — September 17, 2015

  35. Elaine C.
    Did you change your user name from Elaine to Elaine C.? Just asking as i know Elaine is a librarian as well. I ask because if you are both the same person, i will connect your new posts with what i know of you from your old posts. (That sounds creepy; sorry, nothing creepy intended.) Thanks.

    by ella — September 17, 2015

  36. Linda L.,
    So happy for your contribution, as well! Thanks!

    by ella — September 17, 2015

  37. Walking Dead is on Netflix, you have to wait a while for the current season. HBO can be purchased as a stand alone channel so you don’t need cable.

    by easilyamused — September 18, 2015

  38. Ella, I think Elaine and Elaine C. are two different people, because I’ve read Elaine’s posts, and I didn’t write them. I first got into WD on Netflix, but part of the fun is talking with colleagues the next day about the show. I have considered not having a TV after I retire; this is still something I’m considering for savings in time and money. Longmire fans, the books are in your public library and are not the same plots, have additional characters, and are great reads. It’s a whole new group of Longmire adventures.

    by Elaine C. — September 18, 2015

  39. Don’t forget about the library. Besides books our library has an extensive collection of TV shows as well as movies in DVD and Blu-Ray. You save $ and space by not accumulating books/DVDs you might not want to watch or read again. Libraries sometimes loan iPads and other items. They offer classes including on tech gadgets and sponsor book groups. If you don’t live in an ‘active adult’ community a park district (or whatever it is called where you live) may sponsor outings to plays, card groups, exercise classes and many other offerings at a low or reasonable cost including those geared to seniors.

    by Carol — September 18, 2015

  40. Thanks, Elaine C. It’s always useful to give all Elaine’s their due, and not confuse any.
    A worthy segment of the population!

    by ella — September 19, 2015

  41. Roku!!! You will love it. You pay 99.00 for the streaming box and you own it, no fee. There are 1000’s of free channels for you to watch. If you want Netflix or Hulu you pay 7.99 each for those or you can do Amazon Prime for 99.00 per year and in addition to getting the streaming from them, you get 2 day shipping and free Kindle books and more. New channels are added for Roku all the time. We love it.

    by Shelley — September 19, 2015

  42. I must be elaine 3. I have never been a librarian and haven’t posted much lately.

    by elaine — September 19, 2015

  43. Thanks, Shelley!
    Now, does anyone know how up-to-date our router needs to be? urs is a Cisco Linksys E1200 with a speed of N300.

    by ella — September 20, 2015

  44. Ella, if you are asking about updating your routers for Roku, there is a fantastic Facebook page called Roku Rocks. Those guys are all techies and will answer your question in a few seconds. You can probably go to the Roku site to see if they give the criteria for running a Roku. You can also look at all of the fun channels they have!

    by Shelley — September 20, 2015

  45. Roku does rock big time, and sooooo easy to install with wireless in your home. You can actually get it cheap on Amazon, I believe it starts at $49.00. I have the basic model, a real bargain for what you get. I have Netflix, which I could not live without. Thousand of things to watch on Roku, lots of free movies, shows, news, etc. Check it out!

    by Loralee — September 20, 2015

  46. HI elaine (3). Post more!

    I need to investigate Roku. Will check it out on FB.

    I am turning my horses out to eat the vegetation that grows up from the monsoon rains. I waited for later in the summer so that certain plants with concentrated chemicals when young (like amaranth) that can be too intense for horses, have matured with seed heads that are healthy to eat. When they’re grazing, they’re not eating hay. I save 6 flakes of hay per feeding. I only do this when I’m at home. It saves money while I work toward becoming horseless. I cannot imagine me without a horse! I’ve looked for websites that show how to be retired with a horse, but I’ve not found any. I looked up frugal horse ownership, which was helpful. I still hope to have a horse in retirement.

    by Elaine C. — September 20, 2015

  47. This is probably so obvious, but I’ll mention it. One way I save money is to stay home. I don’t drive and use gas. I don’t buy anything. I have so many wonderful things at home that I enjoy and I work on, plus not having to interact with traffic, people, situations, is peaceful and balances my intense work week.

    by Elaine C. — September 21, 2015

  48. Shop on line to save wear and tear on the car, gas and your time.

    You won’t make impulse buys.
    You won’t stop at other stores on the way home to buy more things.
    You won’t stop for lunch at a restaurant to spend more money.

    Using credit card and not paying it off in full the next month when bill arrives.
    Shopping experience is not thrilling or that much fun.
    You will not be able to try footwear or clothing on as you would in the store. Items might not fit and returns may be necessary.
    If shopping is a social experience with a friend, daughter or spouse, on line shopping is typically non social.

    by Louise — September 21, 2015

  49. Shelley, Thanks again, I will do that. You are so helpful!

    by ella — September 21, 2015

  50. One more thing Ella,if I were you, and you decide to buy a Roku, I would buy the Roku 3 not the stick. I have heard that they are going to stop sending updates and new channels to the older Roku’s and I am not sure if the stick, Roku 1 and 2 are what they are talking about. The newest one( Roku 3) even has voice recognition so that’s kind of fun. You can just say the name of a movie and if it’s anywhere, it will be found. We love our Roku so if you get one, I hope you enjoy it!

    by Shelley — September 21, 2015

  51. Good website for “cable cutters” –
    Simple explanations for all the options. My take is that if you like to watch live TV on any of the major networks, such as Today show on NBC or live sports on a major network such as the Super Bowl on CBS, then satellite or cable TV is the only option…is this correct? Very interested in Roku but seems like subscription apps are going to add up.

    by SandyZ — September 21, 2015

  52. SandyZ- I bought the Roku 3 because I had great results from my Roku 2. I thought it would be an upgrade, but the sound would not work with my system. I gave it to my daughter who loves it. My Roku 2 is still sold and is considerably less in cost than the 3, having less extras but works fine. I have Amazon Prime so I can also watch Prime videos, including Justified and Orphan Black. I subscribe to Netflix (grandfathered in with the $8/mo price–now $9). And I have Hulu+ which is also around $8/mo. Live sports cannot be watched on the Roku, but some network TV shows can be watched the day after. Also, there are some free apps that I watch such as TED Talks. You must have good wifi to stream from the Roku. There are TVs now that can stream videos, and there are other devices for streaming such as Apple TV, but I have not tried any so can’t comment on them.

    by Libran — September 21, 2015

  53. Thanks so much Shelley, Sandy Z. and all who are trying to help me cut the cable connection. Your input is greatly appreciated!

    by ella — September 22, 2015

  54. Ella, there is a channel called USTVNOW that costs, I believe, $29.00 per month and it will give you those channels, however, the NBC, ABC, CBS etc. channels come out of Pennsylvania so you can watch the Today show etc. but not your local news. You could watch your local news live streaming on your computer if you needed to. 😎

    by Shelley — September 22, 2015

  55. Hulu will give you your regular network channels. Compare roku, Apple, and Amazon firestick for your streaming device. Antennas work in many places.

    by easilyamused — September 23, 2015

  56. A Mohu leaf antenna is also wonderful. It has different ranges and will give you your local stations. The cost for a 60 mile range is about 75.00. The leaf antenna is flat as a piece of paper and can be mounted on your wall or in your window. will tell you what type of antenna you need and the channels you should be able to pick up to see if your home can use an antenna.

    by Shelley — September 23, 2015

  57. Just another update on cash rebates on credit cards. I mentioned before I have a Costco American Express card that has no yearly fee when you sign up for it as a Costco member. I just checked my cash rebate value and it is at $197.00 and that is 6 months of earnings. So at that rate I will have around $400 or more when they issue the rebate checks in April of next year. That is for doing absolutely nothing other than spending money as I normally would. Who can’t use $400 in free money! Next year Costco is changing over to Visa and right now the reward program is in the air but if it is the same I will rack up even more reward money. The deal now is 3% on gas purchases, 2% on restaurant purchases, 2% on travel, and 1% on all other purchases. Next year once they change over to Visa, I will be able to pay my Town taxes with the Visa and my health insurance with the Visa (neither accepts Amex for payment). Right now, I use the Amex for most of my spending. I use my banks on line banking for my normal bills but if you were so inclined, you could probably call your utility companies and other places you pay monthly bills to and use the Amex to pay them IF they accept the card. Now I have to come up with a creative way to use my reward money! There are a lot of credit cards with rewards, you aren’t limited to the Costco Amex card.

    by Louise — September 23, 2015

  58. Ella…we dropped cable and have a Roku TV. Almost every day my husband thanks me for doing it! He says the shows we watch now are such better quality. We watch a lot of Acorn TV shows (British). And we save about $90/month.

    by Nancy — September 23, 2015

  59. Okay, I ran into a snag on using my Costco card to pay taxes! Contacted my Town Tax collector and I was told that if you use a credit card there is a surcharge of 3%! So on every thousand dollars paid in taxes, I would have to pay an additional $30 in fees! My vehicles and home tax are over $5,000 so forget that idea!

    by Louise — September 23, 2015

  60. I have a Roky 3 with netflix, hulu and now sling tv. With sling tv you can get your normal cable channels like amc, history, sundance etc. I cut the cable cord 3 years ago and love it!

    by Paulette Hinaman — September 24, 2015

  61. A hearty thanks to all who offered thoughts and ideas on cutting the cable. My husband and i are taking it all in, and hopefully will soon have a substantially reduced cable bill. Take you all out to lunch?

    by ella — September 24, 2015

  62. I finally blocked out a chunk of time to do battle with my cable bill. This was my second skirmish in three months. My $177/mo cable bill went up to $235/mo. after my initial contract expired. I called my cable company at that time, and received a discount to around $200/mo. with no contract. I decided to switch to a Dish service, and buy internet separately (giving up the bundled land-line). I spent nearly an hour with the Dish salesperson on the phone, ultimately getting a price of $98/mo for 2 years for 4 tvs, with a zillion tv channels and some other perks. They warned me not to cancel my current service until after installation. I never listen, of course. I called my current service to arrange for cancellation of cable service the day after installation of the Dish tv service, and to ask for pricing for internet packages. It’s clear why Dish warned not to call until after installation. An hour later (and lots of invasive questions about Dish’s pricing, my use of the internet, how many people lived with me, which tv shows I enjoyed, etc.), my current company dropped my cable bill to $145 mo. plus taxes for my current service. This price is good for a year, so I get to do this all over again in the future. I can hardly wait .

    by Kate — September 24, 2015

  63. Kate, Your story about the length of time that you were on the phone for nearly an hour with the Dish salesperson, as well as the time that was spent talking with the person at your cable company made me smile, along with your comment about how you get to do this all over again sometime in the future πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Believe me, I feel your pain, Kate, because I am the one in our household who almost always handles these types of things, and the amount of time that I have spent on the phone over the years with these kinds of things simply boggles the mind. Between spending time trying to resolve issues with our computer (both hardware and software), as well as internet service providers and utility companies, I could just go crazy. And my husband wonders why in the world I groan every time that I have to make a phone call to any one of these entities. Somehow his words to the effect that “You’re so much better at taking care of these things than I am, dear” ring a little hollow after I have been on the phone for at least an hour or so πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    by Valerie L. — September 25, 2015

  64. Valerie L. My husband says the same thing! Are you sure we aren’t married to the same guy? LOL!

    He NEVER, EVER, calls any of these utilities. I am the one who has to do phone battle with everyone on this earth! Including Obama Care which was a 3 month’s long nightmare of continuous phone calls to the Market Place and Anthem Blue Cross. Too many issues to discuss here, would have to write a book on that one! I finally won that battle but it wore me down for sure!

    by Louise — September 25, 2015

  65. Valerie and Louise – Very funny! And have you also noticed that many car salesmen will still ONLY talk to the husband? I went car shopping with my spouse just a few years ago. He had advanced early onset Alzheimers at the time. I am a professional, and I was the person buying the car. Sure enough, the salesmen I encountered directed every comment to my husband, who would smile and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod. Heck, if I could deal with car salesmen, you’d think I wouldn’t be intimidated by Time Warner.

    by Kate — September 25, 2015

  66. Yes, they think the man makes all the decisions but more than likely it is the woman who does! Buying cars is one of the worst experiences.

    When we were first married, we wanted to build a house. We were very young (22 and 23 years old). The realtor didn’t take us seriously and we went to another realtor. We found a beautiful lot and built our dream house. The first realtor was hopping mad because he claimed he ‘showed’ us the property. He drove by it 50 miles an hour and pointed. We didn’t really see anything due to the growth of the brush plus, the deal is they are supposed to walk you on the property. He had to back down. Shows you, pay attention to the job at hand. You never know who has cash in their hand to make a purchase. A WOMAN, a young couple, or an OLD person!

    Another subject: the cable companies! OMG! I had U-Verse installed about 2 years ago and once the installation was complete I called AT&T our previous provider. The woman I spoke with was beyond obnoxious to me and questioned me like a drill Sargent on WHY was I dropping their service and how they could work with me on a better package and on and on. She was beyond rude to me. She would not give it up and I had to stop her in her tracks. I finally had to tell her I am NOT going back, the installation is complete and schedule a pick up for your equipment. UGH, I was FURIOUS.

    by Louise — September 25, 2015

  67. Louise, Maybe our husbands are twins — LOL! Seriously, though, ladies, more often than not, I think that is the women who end up handling the administrative matters in a household, but just how and why that particular development came about is a completely mystery to me πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Moral of this story: Don’t act too capable or you will be the one who ends being responsible for doing the tasks that no one else wants to do, both at work and at home — LOL!

    by Valerie L. — September 25, 2015

  68. Louise Did AT&T actually pick up your equipment? I’ve cancelled with them twice, different houses, and have never had them pick up their equipment (haven’t been charged for it, though) My guess is that after a year the equipment is so out of date they don’t want it.

    by Shumidog — September 26, 2015

  69. Shumidog, yes, they did pick up the equipment. I had it by the door in a box. I do believe they gave me a time and date they would show up. I handed the guy the box and that was it! Now get this, I changed over to U-verse and then they sold out to Frontier. I eventually called Frontier to try to lower my bill. I did lower it and the next thing I know, they send me a box of cable boxes and what not! They never said they would send this stuff. I guess to replace the U-verse equipment. Well, I am not about to replace the boxes myself and since then I had a Frontier guy come to the house and he never mentioned the fact that these boxes were sent to me. He actually went to his truck to get some equipment to put on the computer. So, I have a box of stuff that will eventually be outdated! You’d think THEY would swap out the U-verse stuff themselves! I have no love of these cable companies. One is as bad as the next!

    by Louise — September 26, 2015

  70. Valerie, So true!!!

    by ella — September 27, 2015

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