Since retiring almost three years ago, my transition from full-time work to retirement reveals significant changes in how I shop and spend. The changes have been positive and provided me with a new look at how to save money without sacrificing many things I enjoy. The pandemic we are experiencing also added to these changes. I share with you the five areas where I have seen the most impact: clothing, food, housing, transportation, and entertainment.

Clothing

In my previous career, I needed business clothes and was able to buy new items at department stores. I never shopped at consignment stores or…


When I majored in English in college, my father was curious about what I thought I would do with this degree. I always loved to write and had no idea what else I wanted to do, so English seemed like a good choice to me. He asked if I was going to teach. No. Was I going to be a news reporter? Maybe. I thought about becoming a lawyer, but after going the paralegal route to save some money and get some experience in preparation for law school, I found that being a lawyer was not for me.

I recall…


Valentine’s Day is the biggest holiday for marriage proposals. Now that it is past and someone has asked and you have said yes, the planning begins. Maybe you hire a wedding planner or maybe you already know what you want to do and can organize it yourself.

After officiating wedding ceremonies for many years, I find most couples have no clue how the wedding ceremony flows. It’s initially all about the party. They focus on a location, guest list, colors, caterer, music, florist and photographer before they think about the actual ceremony. …


As my friend and I exited an art exhibit at our local Botanic Gardens on a warm sunny day in early February, we stopped by the gift shop. Beautiful tin boxes filled a basket on a table full of colorful scarves and hats. The boxes were attractive enough, but to think they were filled with chocolate truffles made them all the more attractive. A clerk nearby piped up that they had short expiration dates and she hadn’t tried them. Ok fine.

My friend suggested we each buy a box for Valentine’s Day. She had been treating herself to a Valentine’s…


I read a recipe today for a chocolate cake that substituted mayonnaise for eggs and fat. Created in the Great Depression when certain products were scarce, this cake was simple yet delicious. It’s not much different today.

After years of living with excessive choices, today’s pandemic has meant abruptly living with less. Less money, fewer available products, changing or no work and education environments, and being creative in our own homes.

After retiring from my government job eighteen months ago, I immediately started two side businesses as a wedding officiant and an editor/writer for consultants to government. Neither are active…


Maybe it’s time to downsize or maybe you just want to own a home that gives you a lifestyle free from mowing grass, shoveling snow and climbing stairs. A one level condo may be the best answer. You begin your search.

You find a nice condo in a perfect location. It’s in a secure building with an elevator, private storage and underground parking. The price is right, the inspection goes well, and the required homeowners’ association (HOA) dues to pay for common areas and services are reasonable. Seems ideal.

You buy it and move in. Three months later, you arrive…


This weekend my dog Mezzie and I will celebrate our first anniversary. I met her by chance when my godson and I were headed to lunch a couple days after Thanksgiving, but stopped to join his father for coffee. When we arrived, he was in the pet store next door.

The pet store was packed with puppies available for adoption from a local rescue organization. We were immediately enthralled as my godson was adopted too. He and his father fell for a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, while I was drawn to a medium-sized multi-colored dog laying alone in a pen.

Recently…


A single woman who forgot to get married and have children, I expected to work forever. I had not followed popular financial advice to retire without a mortgage or debt and I felt younger than retirement suggests. Nonetheless, I was moving forward.

I submitted my retirement notice and prepared to transition my work. Six weeks later, I turned in my security badge, had lunch with my co-workers and relinquished my parking space. Driving away that day was freeing. A wonderful party with friends and family that evening topped it off.

My retirement began like a long vacation with goals to…


Run, Don’t Walk

A few years ago, I listened intently as a prominent woman in my community shared her career experiences with 400 women. She told an impactful story about finding her dream job at age 25. Within a short time, it was clear her boss was a very abusive person. Despite the professional experience she would gain, she knew the personal experience would not be worth it. She had no money and no immediate job prospects, but she quit. Her advice to the audience was “Run, don’t walk” when you find yourself in a similar situation.

When I was…

Mary Buckley

Aspiring writer; proud dog mom; experienced wedding officiant; retired government professional

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