10 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement

Discover these 10 practical tips for reducing expenses to stretch your money in retirement.

1. Consolidate Debt

If you entered retirement paying off debt, you’re not alone. You can simplify your budget by consolidating to lower-interest debt like a personal loan or a balance-transfer credit card. With one single monthly payment that may be lower than what you had been paying, you could gain some breathing room in your budget. Then, as you make that single payment each month, make it a practice to pay off any credit card purchases in full as well. 

2. Declutter and Make Some Cash

There are probably some things around your house that you no longer need. Some of them could be worth some cash. You could have a garage sale or bring things to a consignment shop. If you are no longer using 12-piece place settings of china, designer business suits, or your old leather briefcase, the money they would bring would probably be more useful to you. Retirement is a great time to declutter – especially when you can make a little money doing it. 

3. Downsize Your Home

You might not need that big house now that the kids are gone, and you’ve gotten rid of all the things you don’t use anymore. If you sell your house and buy a smaller one, especially one in a less expensive area, you may have money left over to add to your investments. A smaller house will also be easier on your budget because the taxes and maintenance costs should be lower.

4. Stay Fit and Healthy

Good health is good for your mind, your body, and your budget. Healthcare costs can increase as you age, especially if you require treatment for chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. Medicare offers free gym memberships and online fitness tips and classes for eligible seniors through SilverSneakers®. Getting fit and staying active can help keep your healthcare costs down. Plus, you may enjoy a longer, healthier retirement.

5. Be Social and Active for Less

A big benefit of getting older is being eligible for senior discounts. Gyms, restaurants, theaters, and more often offer lower prices to those 50 and older. Plus, there are also plenty of ways to pay nothing at all for entertainment and fitness activities. Explore local parks where you can walk, run, or cycle for free. Learn what museums and theaters offer free or reduced rates one day a week. Visit your community’s website to find out about free lectures, arts walks, and community events. Your public library is another good source of free or low-cost activities. Look around your area and you’ll be surprised how busy you can be for less.

6. Eat at Home

Limiting restaurant meals will help you save money and stay fit and healthy at the same time. Cooking at home lets you control what ingredients you use, and most people are more likely to eat more and order dessert when they eat out. If you cut out one restaurant meal a week, you will see the savings. Some supermarkets even offer discounts for senior shoppers.

7. Set Boundaries With Your Kids

Try helping your children with guidance from your own experience rather than money from your checking account. When you planned your retirement, you probably did not budget for handing out money every month to grown children who are able to support themselves. Decide how much you can afford to spend on your children, and then stick to that plan.

8. Become a One-Car Family

Without separate commutes, you and your partner will no longer need two cars. Plus, your schedule will be more flexible. You can easily plan routine trips to the gym, the grocery, and the doctor’s office around each other’s schedule and make longer trips together. By downsizing to one car, you’ll also save on other expenses like insurance, registration fees, and maintenance.

9. Find Travel Bargains

Now that you’re retired, you can plan trips around bargain seasons. Traveling off-season will also help you avoid the crowds at popular tourist destinations. You may also take advantage of last-minute deals because your schedule is flexible.

10. Cohabitate

Is there one person you tend to spend most of your time with? Maybe a friend or sibling who is also retired? Why not move in together and share the cost of living? In addition to saving money, you’ll benefit from the companionship of having a roommate. Be sure to think through this option carefully, remembering the primary goal is to save money. You might want to stick with people you know well and who manage money the same way you do. Sticking to a careful budget, especially at the beginning of retirement until you adjust to your new lifestyle, will help make your retirement savings last longer. Challenge yourself to see how much money you can save with these and other small adjustments in your retirement lifestyle.

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