1) Downsize Your Home
You might be attached to your home, but it could be an anchor that is financially drowning you. A larger and older home will have higher utilities, more maintenance costs and could catch you off guard with unexpected repair costs. Sell that home and take a huge strain off of your budget. Once sold, you have a few options, both of which are very attractive for those in retirement.
First, you could take your profit from the sale and buy a much smaller, but newer home. That new home will be more efficient, which will lead to less expensive utility bills. It will also be new enough that the possibility of very expensive repairs goes out the window.
Another option is to keep the money from your home sale in the bank and simply rent. No more responsibility of home ownership and you boost your savings account by thousands of dollars. Of course, if you are retiring very early, this might not be the best option. 20 plus years of rent could be a negative on your overall financial picture.
2) Take Advantage Of Discounts
Do not be too proud to take advantage of discounts for seniors. Whenever you buy any product or service, it never hurts to ask if their is a discount. With senior citizen discounts often ranging from 10 to 20 percent, this could be a huge savings.
You might think that discounts are limited to things like a free cup of coffee at a McDonalds, but it goes further than that. Senior Living has a very complete list and you might be surprised at some of the offers, like 50 percent off an Amazon Prime membership. The discounts are out there, you just have to seek them out.
3) Cut Back On Transportation Costs
If you are in a two vehicle household, it makes perfect sense to downgrade to one vehicle in retirement. Chances are that you and your spouse are rarely apart and live much more casual lifestyles, so why keep paying the cost of two vehicles. Even if one of them is paid off, there is still maintenance and insurance to consider, not to mention depreciation.
If you live in a metro area, you can even take it one step further and completely eliminate your auto costs by turning to public transportation. With the increasing availability of delivery services, there is almost no need to have your own vehicle. Even if you occasionally have to pay for an Uber or Lyft, you will still likely come out ahead.
4) Get A Part Time Job
One thing that many people realize once they retire is that retirement is boring. Take care of this problem and bring in some of the extra money you need by taking on a side job. Even if the job is just being a greeter at the local grocery store, it is income that you otherwise would not have.
As a side benefit, once you add a little work back into your routine, you will most likely find that you enjoy your off time even more. Sometimes being busy makes you appreciate your down time more.
5) Set A Proper Budget
If you have never been the type to follow a budget, now is the time to change your ways.
Without a budget, you will find it difficult to properly manage your money so that it lasts you through retirement. Don’t worry though, it does not have to be anything too complex or even rigid. Simply get a spreadsheet and list out your expenses, including allotments for expenses like food and entertainment. Then, compare this to your take home pay in retirement and make changes to get balanced.
What you will almost certainly find when instituting a budget is that it makes your financial life less stressful. Gone will be the uncertainty of not knowing whether you can afford something. Your budget will tell you. That means when it is acceptable to spend, you will enjoy it more.
6) Reduce Your Revolving Debt
Revolving debt or credit card debt is a budget killer. The minimum payments alone can tie up funds that could be used to shore up your finances or make your retirement more enjoyable. If you carry the average debt load of most Americans, your minimum payments alone can exceed 200 dollars a month.
The problem with credit card debt is that it is tricky to get out of. With interest rates often over 20 percent, most of that minimum payment goes to interest, not principal. This is why you need a plan.
One of the most popular plans is called the debt snowball method. What this involves is paying the minimum on all cards but the one with the lowest balance. You pay as much as you can on this card in order to pay it off quickly. They idea is that you have the success of paying off a card quickly and it will encourage you to continue on the path. It works.
7) Become Energy Efficient
Once you retire, you are going to be home more and that can take a toll on your utility bill, mainly your electric usage. To offset this, you will need to be more energy efficient, but that does not mean being uncomfortable.
There are other ways to save on utilities and perhaps the best one is free. To take the strain off of the electrical grid, many providers will do free energy audits. They simply send in an expert who will walk through your home and point out ways for you to save on energy. You might be amazed at all of the free and/or low cost ways that you can save energy and thus money.
There are a number of ways to save money in retirement that have virtually no impact on your quality of life. So, just be smart about your money, make good decisions and watch that retirement fund last you just as long as you need it to.
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