Now, I might only be impersonating an OAP in my month’s task of living on a pension, but sitting in our local health centre this morning waiting for a blood test – feeling lightheaded as I had to fast for 12 hours beforehand – I certainly spent a lot of time with some. The centre opened at nine but on the advice of my friend Katherine, who just had a baby and has spent much time waiting for hospital appointments, I turned up 20 minutes before to ensure I beat the OAP army who she said turn out in force at these places. But I was too late. The army was already on manoeuvres and had been for some time. Many of them had even brought their own reading matter and packed lunches. They knew the drill. After all, if they were unfortunate enough to be a bit poorly, this was how they had to spend some of their time.
That thought and one of yesterday’s many comments got me thinking. A reader berated me for renting DVDs, saying: ‘if you are paying for DVD rentals you have too much idle time on your hands’. S/he hit the nail on the head. The whole point of retirement is that you’re idle. You’re not working!
And therein lies the problem. How do you fill your time cheaply? Instead of being paid to work eight hours a day, you might have to pay to occupy yourself and stop yourself going mad from boredom. What hobbies will you take up and at what cost? When you worked, unless you were self-employed, somebody else probably paid to keep you warm. Maybe your lunch was subsidised. Now, if you’re at home all day, you might have to crank the heat up if it’s freezing. DJ’s grandparents in Scotland rise at 6am and stay up late because they don’t really sleep. But my (retired) parents get up at 9am to save on heating bills.
The frugal pensioner needs to find cheap ways of passing the time. But hobbies can be expensive. DJ enjoys fishing but has to pay for a rod licence etc. as well as for the equipment.
Here are some ideas for cheap pastimes – some of which are suggestions from Help the Aged.
– Volunteering/hospital visiting/other charity work
– Internet blogging – set up a free space and make new friends over the net
– Knitting – get patterns from the library/charity shops and buy cheap wool from shops like Pound Stretcher and QD.
– Sea fishing – if you’ve already got the gear, fishing in the sea is free.
– Drawing/painting – unless you are hi-tech and use expensive paints, a pen and paper is cheap.
– Church related groups
– Gardening – you could grow your own veg to save on food costs too
– Education – why not do a course? There are many distance learning courses available
– Walking/ rambling
– Visiting galleries & museums – many are free or offer concessions to OAPs
– Become a school governor
The local social services also run a number of lunch & other social clubs.
Of course, you could get a part-time paid job, but you’d probably end up having to pay tax so it might be more hassle than it’s worth.
Any pensioners/friends of pensioners out there any experiences or advice to offer? Thanks for all the comments yesterday. Have a good weekend. Cheers, Piper xxx