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    • Lifeofdreams
    • By Lifeofdreams 6th Nov 18, 8:07 PM
    • 26Posts
    • 201Thanks
    New horizons living the dream. How?
    • #1
    • 6th Nov 18, 8:07 PM
    New horizons living the dream. How? 6th Nov 18 at 8:07 PM
    Hi all
    I have realised over the last few years that I am living to work and not working to live. I work in a Professional capacity in a demanding role with a long daily commute. Throughout the years I have had to juggle family, children, continuous studying and have been proud of my achievements and career. But..... I am getting older, children have left home and there is me and my DH at home now. We are too young to retire and could not afford to, however feel as if we have no work life life balance. It feels like we are stuck in a never ending cycle of work, commute, housework, making sure elderly parents are alright and checking in with adult children, rinse and repeat!

    The only way I can think of changing this is and get off the hamster wheel is to simplify my life.

    I would love to reduce my hours/change to another less pressurised role perhaps and have more time to spend with my family and friends instead of feeling permanently exhausted. This would mean significant changes to our lifestyle but would be worth it. The luxury of working part time would be worth making the changes. With this in mind I am hoping that some lovely posters will be able to keep me accountable for making the necessary changes required. I need to live more frugally to achieve my goal and need to think about how to do this.

    Would love to hear from anyone who has made similar changes and how they managed 😄
Page 1
    • Blackbeard of Perranporth
    • By Blackbeard of Perranporth 6th Nov 18, 8:20 PM
    • 5,913 Posts
    • 34,377 Thanks
    Blackbeard of Perranporth
    • #2
    • 6th Nov 18, 8:20 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Nov 18, 8:20 PM
    I’m here once. I enjoy it. I earn pennies and then go on holidays. Just me and OH. As long as they pay me I’m happy. When they don’t, time to retire..

    As for going part time, you’ll dry up. After a week, you will be yearning to go back..

    So do the holidays. Great deals are available. We’re doinf SAN Francisco next March. 4,000. Then another 4,000 when there. Enjoy it!
    Cardiac Arrest - Electrical - Patient unconscious! Heart Attack - Plumbing - Patient conscious!
    Defibrillators Cannot Cure a Heart Attack!
    • bexster1975
    • By bexster1975 6th Nov 18, 8:37 PM
    • 1,377 Posts
    • 6,602 Thanks
    • #3
    • 6th Nov 18, 8:37 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Nov 18, 8:37 PM
    Hello and welcome

    I did something similar. I now work for myself, but mostly only part time. A few things to consider practically:

    What is the minimum you need to earn ( individually or as a household) to meet your minimum expenses. This may vary depending on what is negotiable and what isn't.

    What would you prefer? Reduce hours in current role or switch job? Are both an option? Can you earn the number in the previous question doing either?

    I think the real issue is what you want from life. I've been lucky as I've earnt more than I needed for quite some time. As a result, I was able to quit a job that had long and stressful hours last December and not worked full time since. The only regret is I didn't do it earlier.

    My relationships have benefitted from the extra time I have for them, I have had more time for hobbies, interests, relaxation, exercise.

    Part of my decision came from ill health, which has massively improved. The other came from clearing the mortgage. I'm now working to develop the business so that I won't need to do much work at all to cover costs. At that point I'd like to travel and develop the business in a different direction.

    The great thing is, I can do it at my own pace, however I want.

    I agree that getting off the hamster wheel is a huge relief.

    I shall follow with interest.

    • PollyWollyDoodle
    • By PollyWollyDoodle 6th Nov 18, 11:33 PM
    • 1,229 Posts
    • 25,458 Thanks
    • #4
    • 6th Nov 18, 11:33 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Nov 18, 11:33 PM
    I was in this position, and I have traded the well-paid but very stressful job to work from home, being self-employed. I am on about a third of what I used to take home but I've never been happier.

    I can honestly say that I haven't really missed the money, when you are not working full time and commuting long-distance you really don't need as much. I was spending a lot of taxed income on train fares, clothes for work, and coffee and lunches because I felt I deserved a treat.

    I would spend some time working out your absolute minimum budget (including an allowance for holidays, saving, trips out etc). Could you live on this for a year, allowing you to save some funds towards your future plans?

    Once you've got your budget worked out, look at any areas where you can reduce costs. The first thing I did was to switch my utility bills, for example, saving a huge amount - I'd always been too busy to look at it before. In my last year at work I made a point of taking my own lunch every day, not buying coffee etc and seeing how much I could save.

    Life is short, and as said above, my only regret is that I didn't do this sooner.
    "Inconceivable". "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    • Lifeofdreams
    • By Lifeofdreams 7th Nov 18, 2:18 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 201 Thanks
    • #5
    • 7th Nov 18, 2:18 AM
    • #5
    • 7th Nov 18, 2:18 AM
    Thank you all for the great advice and sharing your experiences. Wow Blackbeard San Fransisco a holiday to look forward to. Thanks for your thoughts about pt work.

    Bexter thank you for sharing your experiences and the great advice. I would love to set up my own business but do not have an idea and not sure what my skills would lend themselves too. Going part time in my current role is not an option I have asked before.

    Polly woo thank you for your advice and great to hear that both you and Bexter have no regrets about your decision to give up stressful jobs. I am regularly awake at silly o hour worrying about work and know it is impacting upon my health. You are so right about the money used from commuting, clothes, coffees, not being able to look for better deals.

    So thank you all and I will start acting upon the advice you have given and will keep posting. It is my aim to have made the changes by September 2019. Thank you so much for your advice and words of support. I am off to drink my herbal tea and have another attempt at getting some sleep. Night all��
    • bexster1975
    • By bexster1975 7th Nov 18, 7:42 AM
    • 1,377 Posts
    • 6,602 Thanks
    • #6
    • 7th Nov 18, 7:42 AM
    • #6
    • 7th Nov 18, 7:42 AM
    Sorry to see you were up at silly o'clock.

    The timescale sounds very doable. You don't have to work for yourself, just a change of job and hours will be a huge change. In the meantime, a good safety buffer of emergency fund would be useful to save in the next ten months. September is a great month to choose. I always see it as a New Year ( mostly due to teaching).

    Will look forward to your posts and progress.

    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 7th Nov 18, 8:22 AM
    • 335 Posts
    • 1,040 Thanks
    • #7
    • 7th Nov 18, 8:22 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Nov 18, 8:22 AM
    There is a lot to consider, including pensions, NI contributions,housing and so on. Sounds like you need some thinking space.
    I suggest that you and OH book a block of time off (if just a day or two) just for yourselves, to talk and investigate. If you have time off over Xmas could you take a couple of days without visiting family?
    You say that work will not consider a part-time option. What about a sabbatical or unpaid leave? That would give you a chance to try the idea without commitment, and might make work re-think their attitude to part-time.
    Depending on your skill set, you could just think about jumping now and getting part-time / casual work. However, the kind of low-paid casual work that tops up a pension nicely may not be enough to replace a proper income.
    • C J
    • By C J 7th Nov 18, 9:20 AM
    • 1,157 Posts
    • 7,088 Thanks
    C J
    • #8
    • 7th Nov 18, 9:20 AM
    • #8
    • 7th Nov 18, 9:20 AM
    Does your employer consider flexible working? Perhaps you could make a case for it as you have elderly parents you need to support. Working two days a week from home would remove the lengthy commute and ease the stress considerably.

    It might be worth asking the question, your employer may be surprisingly accommodating!
    An ever-shifting labyrinth of chiaroscuro
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 7th Nov 18, 10:02 AM
    • 11,740 Posts
    • 31,684 Thanks
    • #9
    • 7th Nov 18, 10:02 AM
    • #9
    • 7th Nov 18, 10:02 AM
    I gave up a well paid job, great pension, good perks etc 18 years ago and have never looked back

    I actually had a breakdown so just walked away. Took about a year for me to feel well enough to think about going out earning again, but also knew because of my health I couldn't be tied to a 9-5 Mon to Fri job again so ever since then I have worked in low paid zero hour contract jobs. Ive done market research, stock auditing, bar/waitressing, chef and right now Im doing veg preparation. Nothing glamorous, nothing that keeps me awake worrying, all jobs that I go in, do my work and come home. If Im not 100% I cut down my hours, if I feel good I take on more hours. Last week I worked 45hrs, this week its going to be around 20

    We paid our mortgage off 4 years ago and since then Mr Suki has also cut his hours back to 3 days a week as now our only monthly outgoings are rates, electric , oil, insurance and car costs

    We have nice cars, we have holidays, we treat the kids, we treat ourselves

    Not working all week saves a fortune in commuting costs, work clothes, food out of the house, expensive ready meals and takeaways. Ive cut my grocery bill down to an average of 35 a week for three of us, when I first started this journey it was 60 a week for 2 of us. Ive managed this by cooking nearly everything from scratch, buying cheaper cuts that take a long slow cook, shopping in lidl and yellow sticker shopping

    I have the time to search for better deals on insurance and holidays and bigger purchases, we never pay more then we have to for anything

    We shop in charity shops a lot now and we recycle as much as we can within the home. Right now we are building an extension and we have even bagged up the sand the removed paving bricks were laid on to reuse when they need relaying. Whatever bricks not needed will be sold, not skipped. We collect the pallets from my work and Mr Suki chops them up for free fuel for us, and kindling that we sell. Thats a bit extreme for most but its an added income for us. We also have hens which are self sufficient as we sell the surplus eggs. We also grow some veg with varying success

    We have our meals out still, only we either go at lunchtime or take advantage of early bird offers. We go to the cinema on half price Tuesdays. We go to all the free events that interest us ( theres loads here as its a tourist area but most councils have something on ) We bought cycles so we can explore local beauty spots or just get out for a bit of fresh air.

    We lead a simpler, but much busier life. We have helped rear our grandchildren, we actually play more a part in their lives then we did the kids as we have TIME. If they want to come stay, its never a problem because one or the other, or both of us it at home

    So we are never going to be the type of pensioners who get to do the world cruise, but we will have enough to live on and a roof over our heads and a family that we are connected with
    if you lend someone 20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • MandM90
    • By MandM90 7th Nov 18, 10:31 AM
    • 1,547 Posts
    • 8,369 Thanks
    Hello lifeofdreams,

    How in control of your finances are you? Have you tried a budgeting programme like YNAB (you need a budget)? We, and lots others on the boards, use it and find it gives us so much more freedom!
    I'm a Board Guide on the Marriages & Family,
    Old Style, Mortgage Free Wannabe, Green & Ethical
    boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of Board guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to
    • Grumpelstiltskin
    • By Grumpelstiltskin 7th Nov 18, 11:12 AM
    • 2,396 Posts
    • 2,649 Thanks
    You say your children are grown up. could you downsize?

    A small house or bungalow with a reasonable sized garden so you could grow your own.

    Don't think you need a couple of spare bedrooms in case family come to stay, you don't, there are always ways round that.

    What you do need is a simple inexpensive lifestyle.

    Oh and I left full time work 40 years ago when my employer wouldn't accept part time. I have survived perfectly well since.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 7th Nov 18, 11:30 AM
    • 11,210 Posts
    • 76,246 Thanks
    Suki......well done, you have created a wonderful simple life.

    Story similar to my own, only in my case I had to give up work at the age of 56 to care for my sick husband, 9 years later he died. That was in 2014. My health was wrecked and since then I have been slowly rebuilding my health and looking after my finances. I have just moved house and am slowly licking it into shape, doing as much as I can myself and shopping around for the best deals to keep costs down.

    It's not the retirement I had envisaged but now that the worst of the early grief has passed I am slowly but gradually rebuilding a life that is simple, rich and rewarding.

    Lifeofdreams. There are loads of simple living/minamalist blogs to give you ideas and inspiration. What works for some might not work for you so my advice is take your time, read up, spend time thinking and planning.

    Put a positive spin on it. Instead of thinking in terms of downsizing to save money, I thought in terms of "rightsizing" to give me the life I wanted. Same with decluttering etc.. Dont think about what you are losing, think about what you are gaining, time, space and freedom.

    Decluttering isn't just about "stuff". It's also about simplifying our lives, learning when to say yes and when to say no. About freeing your mind and reducing stress and feelings of overwhelm.

    I reduced junk tv and social media. It helps me sleep better. I changed my diet, I feel better, (fewer flareups of IBS etc) I take time to take care of my self, exercise more,

    I appreciate that you are probably not in a position to walk away so putting a timescale and an action plan in place is a great idea.

    Someone suggested a little mini break, just you and your husband to think and talk. That's a great idea. Also the idea of chatting with your employers to see what they come up with.

    In the meantime, if you can afford it, I would suggest getting a cleaner now and again. If you are working long hours and have a long commute just offloading some of your domestic chores would give you a break and a breathing space.

    Good luck. It can be done. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 07-11-2018 at 11:38 AM.
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 7th Nov 18, 2:33 PM
    • 925 Posts
    • 1,999 Thanks
    Hello all

    Very similar stories to mine, I was on the treadmill of a very busy stressful job with a long commute. My turning point came because I do five year plans and every new year review what I want to do.

    When I was in the middle of a busy career it was all a blur and I went from one week , month to the next like the typical hamster on the wheel. One New Year I sat with a glass of wine having relaxed over Christmas and thought ' can I see myself doing this in five years ? The answer was no and from that date I worked towards a life style change. Even the decision for a date was motivating because the clock was ticking for my change.

    I sold my uber expensive car, my city centre flat and cut my cloth financially to get used to a reduced income.

    I bought some land for my horses ( saving 1500 a month on livery fees because I was too busy to do them myself ) Built a yard and set up home .

    I now work 3 mins from home in an admin job which has no stress and normal hours, no more answering emails at 1am in the morning or preparing presentations on Sundays.

    I even answer my phone now as I have time to catch up with family and friends.

    I am pleased I had the ' big' job though as it has set me up financially pension wise and asset wise but I am happier than ever and don't miss a flashy car etc etc.

    Go for it, life is just too short to not enjoy it.
    Save 6k in 2019 challenge #44
    1443 / 6000
    • Lifeofdreams
    • By Lifeofdreams 10th Nov 18, 5:54 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 201 Thanks
    Thank you all for the advice
    Dear All

    Thank you so much for the support and advice I really appreciate it. I have had another frenetic work with lots of broken sleep and it is relentless at work. This week it has really hit home that I need to start taking action even if small steps. Working part time is not an option for the company I work for I have asked before. I am unable to afford to leave without another job although could take one with less pay and less of a commute.

    At the moment it is hard to find the energy to even think about it!

    It is heartening to hear of the stories from you who have left stressful jobs and have a better quality of life. I don't want downsize unless I have to as DH and I bought a modest but lovely property in an area we had dreamt of for a long time. It is in a great area but our lifestyle means we do not get to enjoy our beautiful surroundings very much.

    Tomorrow I am going to look at what our minimum budget would need to be and then I can see what hours/ salary I will need to work. DH and I will also need to see what we can cut down on.

    I do feel guilty as my salary has meant we have been able to afford a nice standard of living and I do feel guilty and worried that this will have to change because I can't continue juggling all the commitments I have.

    I think taking some time out to focus on this is a good idea, I intend to look at this properly when I am on holiday at xmas because up to then work/home is manic and although I have a long weekend booked off soon I suspect I will need this to recharge my batteries.

    Hope you all have a great weekend😄
    • bexster1975
    • By bexster1975 10th Nov 18, 6:20 PM
    • 1,377 Posts
    • 6,602 Thanks
    I quite agree re: taking some time to make proper plans. Christmas holidays are not as far off as you think. If your home is where you both want to be, simply factor this into your minimum budget. No one else can tell you what your " essentials" are.

    I think in terms of a " nice standard of living" you have to think what that means. In a previous paragraph you say you and DH do t gave time to enjoy the lovely area you live in. It sounds much more a need to slow down than simply a desire. Consider the possible long term implications of not stepping away from the stressful role you currently have.

    I wish you the best of luck with your reflections. As long as you and DH are on the same page you will be able to sort things. Once you know your essentials, look at if you are getting them for the very best price ( gas, electric, car ins, home ins, etc). You will need much less cash for commuting, work clothes etc depending on how you change your role.

    Have a great Sunday, hope it's productive.

    • Lifeofdreams
    • By Lifeofdreams 10th Nov 18, 7:30 PM
    • 26 Posts
    • 201 Thanks
    Thank you Bexter
    Dear Bexter

    Thank you for your support. You have hit the nail right on the head it is a need to slow down and smell the roses so to speak! and to be able to spend more time with the people I care about.

    I have such a lot be grateful for and despite knowing I need to do something to get off the hamster wheel try not to lose sight off this😄
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 11th Nov 18, 7:09 AM
    • 17,561 Posts
    • 49,175 Thanks
    We go to all the free events that interest us ( theres loads here as its a tourist area but most councils have something on )
    Originally posted by suki1964

    Just a note of caution here re the free events locally - to check whether your particular area has this okay or is one of those that basically never have free events. I've lived in my current area for a few years now - and think I've only been to a number of free events I can count on one hand during that time. There just aren't any - except the odd few for "families with children" and the odd few for those learning the Welsh language. For the majority of people - don't count on there being free events to go to.

    So one does need to check for the area concerned.

    I know that free events and lots of opportunities for voluntary (or political activist) work exist in my home area (which I've now moved from). There was very little restriction in my social life during periods of unemployment causing money problems - I was still very active thank you. But in some areas a lack of money would really cause you to struggle for "things to do". NB; Not forgetting the local cinema doesn't basically give concessions to pensioners (so no half price films in some areas then either).
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 11-11-2018 at 7:12 AM.
    • bexster1975
    • By bexster1975 11th Nov 18, 7:27 AM
    • 1,377 Posts
    • 6,602 Thanks
    Try not to give yourself such a hard time. It's not ungrateful to decide what you have is no longer what you want. It is exactly what I did. There was a great deal for me to be grateful for too. And I was. And I was also grateful for the ability to see it was no longer serving me in the way I needed. Simply by making the decision to change things, you will start to feel better. Thus time next year, who knows what will have changed. Exciting!

    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 11th Nov 18, 7:48 AM
    • 335 Posts
    • 1,040 Thanks
    Poster 'money...' is quite right - you do have to look at what's available where you live, and what suits you. Also, councils may cut back on 'events' and subsidies.
    Having said that, I live in an area where the only council subsidised event is the annual firework display. But a combination of tradition, local businesses and loads of volunteers means that we can enjoy a lot of free or cheap events round the year.
    Between now & Xmas, you can look to see what's on and what would suit or please you.
    Good luck!
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 11th Nov 18, 8:42 AM
    • 8,557 Posts
    • 13,755 Thanks
    I don't really understand why 'free events' seem to be so important to some people
    No free events around here, and it's no big deal, although I suppose it depends on your likes/dislikes.

    It is, however, perfectly possible to live a happy and fulfilled life without organised entertainment
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
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