One year into the pandemic lockdown, I retired from my job of 14 years as program coordinator and academic adviser at the University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering. I loved the work I did, but it was time to move on. I was in my early 60s, and being old enough to retire suddenly made that option more appealing. Finances would be a little tight for a while, but some outside projects would supplement my income, so I felt confident I would be able to handle it.
But by the end of the second year of lockdown, inflation started taking a toll and money was getting uncomfortably tight. Soon I was in the red each month, just trying to keep up. The usual suspects were groceries and gas, which meant cutting back on some of the more expensive food items and cooking meals at home.