Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

It’s so easy to entertain yourself without spending any money!

Backyard beach.

Now that I’ve made the move to go part-time next year, I don’t mind admitting that I’m torn between looking forward to it and feeling slight feelings of unease about the drop in income. It’s illogical – I know I’ll be ok with less money coming in. But after this weekend, I’m feeling much better. It’s so easy to entertain yourself without spending any money!

We’ve just finished week 8 of term 2, which leaves us 2 weeks to go before our 2 week winter holidays. This is the pointy end of the semester, when we have to mark all learning tasks and exams and then write the reports. English marking is the worst. It’s an interesting subject to teach, but we pay for it with the hours of extra time it takes us to mark the kids’ work.

So it’s safe to say that we teachers are getting tired. I brought my year 9 exams home with me on Friday to mark and I made sure that I got them done before Friday was through. The last thing I want to do is give up my weekend if I can avoid it!

So Saturday dawned. The dogs let me sleep in until 8 AM, so I got up in the sunlight, which always makes me happy. I fed them their chicken necks, then I sat down on the couch with a coffee and my laptop and spent the next 2 hours gently surfing the web, reading twitter, facebook and blogs. The dogs were curled up next to me, I had my warm bathrobe on and I was as happy as a pig in mud.

The rest of the day flowed gently on by. I got dressed, made cauliflower cheese for lunch because Ryan24 loves it. He even requests it for his birthday dinner every year when he could have anything that he wants. After lunch I had a long nanna nap, then took the dogs out for a quick gallop. I fed the worms in the garden beds, wrote a post for the personal blog, read a book for while and then, exhausted with all this activity, I made Ryan24 cook fried rice for dinner.

Entertainment for the evening was Netflix. I’m up-to-date with so many shows I’m following, like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Last Week Tonight’, ‘The Blacklist’, ‘Black Mirror’… so I started ‘Star Trek – Discovery.’ It’s weird to see Klingons running around all fighty, but I daresay I’ll get used to it.

Sunday was another sleep-in until David25 woke us all when he was making coffee before starting his shift at the café. It was a nice day, but I didn’t set foot outside until I took the dogs for a long walk in the afternoon. I was on the computer for a lot of that morning, while doing some reading, dog grooming and light housework as well. Coming back from the walk, I went out into the back yard and picked up some autumn leaves to use as mulch around the apple trees.

I should’ve put another garden bed to sleep for the winter, but meh. I wasn’t in the zone. I washed some tops that I bought at an op shop on Friday and put them over the air duct to dry by tomorrow morning. Then I went into the kitchen to see what we’ll have for dinner.

I decided that today was going to be a No-Spend Day, which will give me 2 days straight at the beginning of the week where I can colour in my chart. It always feels good when I can give the week a head-start! So dinner has to be something that we have all the ingredients for.

Lemon and Coconut Dahl it is! I have plenty of meat in the freezer but it doesn’t hurt to throw in a vegetarian meal every now and then to make the meat supplies last that little bit longer. Besides, there’ll be enough for lunch for me tomorrow. While I was there I decided that I’ll throw a crock-pot meal together for Monday night. I have a staff meeting after school so I won’t be back till nearly 6 PM. So I was flicking through cookbooks for a while to choose something that would fit the bill.

At 3PM I decided that I’d sit down and write this post. Dobby, my robot vacuum cleaner, is racing around and the dogs are keen to nap after their walk. After I finish this, I’ll put the crockpot meal together and put it in the fridge, ready for tomorrow. Then I’ll go out and sweep up a few more leaves to put in the compost tumbler.

After that, it’ll be wine o’clock. I’ll give Mum or Blogless Sandy a call to see how their weekend went while I savour a nice Shiraz. Then dinner and probably more Star Trek Discovery afterwards.

Clearly, none of this is very earth-shattering. It’s just normal, everyday tasks being done in an unhurried fashion. I wore comfy clothes, no make-up and did WHAT I felt like doing, WHEN I felt like doing it.

If I have books, the internet, my dogs and my garden, I’ll always have something to do. Getting my books from libraries makes it even better from a financial point of view. Add in my knitting and quilting, neither of which I’ve done for ages but I have lots of WIPs (works in progress) just waiting for me to pick them up again when I have the time. Then think of the boys, my friends and family…

I’ll be able to entertain myself without putting my hand into my wallet every five minutes, that’s for sure. This eases my mind considerably!


  1. Soosh

    Dropping 1 day per week might cut your before income tax by 20% but it shouldn’t be anywhere near as bad when it would have been taxed at your marginal rate. I kind of think of it as Mondays I am taxed effectively nothing but by Friday I am only seeing ~60 to 65 cents out of every dollar I earn. Super contributions and deductions muddy the water somewhat. But it makes it a much more desirable proposition when considering whether to drop a day of work.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I’m looking forward to seeing what my first paycheque will look like – though I’m salary sacrificing $550/pay so it’ll scew it a bit.
      Still wondering if I’ll stop putting extra into Super now that I’m so close to retiring.

  2. Lucinda

    Sounds like a perfect way to spend time. I did a no spend weekend. Going for a walk, Reading a library book. Well some of my activities I paid for earlier- French lessons and the gym membership. I hope to be able to continue these in retirement.

    Well done you for marking on Friday. I just couldn’t face the reports. Left it till Sunday afternoon.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I was in at school at 8AM to give my year 12s a SAC. My year 8s have started an essay – this week will be FULL of marking in time to get the reports in my next Monday morning.

  3. Savvy History

    It sounds like you know what to do with your time to optimize for happiness. There was one point in my life where I wondered if I would spend more if I had more money or worked less. Those days are gone!

    Now I’m a lot like you:

    “If I have books, the internet, my dogs and my garden, I’ll always have something to do.”

    I have the summer’s off as a teacher and it doesn’t occur to me to entertain myself with shopping or buying clothes. It took a lot to get here, but I feel so good about it and haven’t stopped to reflect on it until your post.

    Best wishes having more time and less income. I think you’ve got this.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Let’s hope so.
      Unfortunately, I think my ageing parents will be taking up a fair bit of time going forward. We’ve had things happen in very short succession that has meant we all have to rally around to look after them.
      But yeah… in general, life is good with dogs, internet and books.

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