Retirement planning isn’t easy in this day and age. Between inflation and life expectancy, you’ll almost undoubtedly need to put away much more than what you had originally anticipated. Many seniors retire without enough savings built up and have to stretch their nest egg a lot further than expected. Fortunately, as long as you have a modest amount saved up, it’s generally possible to live within your means, by tightening your belt a little bit. Here are a few tips for frugal living that can still afford you a comfortable lifestyle.
- Plan Meals around Sales. Cooking at home has always been cheaper than dining out. You can save money by creating a menu at the beginning of each week, mapping out what you plan to cook—including leftovers. It also helps to look at what’s on sale that week and plan your meals around those ingredients. By doing this, you can shop smarter at the grocery store, make fewer trips, waste less food, and ultimately spend less money.
- Cut the Cord. How much do you spend each month on cable? It may be upwards of $100 a month, and likely has hundreds of channels that you never watch. Living frugally in your retirement doesn’t have to mean missing your favorite shows. By canceling your cable subscription and replacing it with online services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you’ll have access to just about all the same basic programming (plus all the exclusive shows and movies only offered by those online services), on demand, at a fraction of the cost.
- Look for Senior Discounts. There are a lot of discounts that you can get if you’re over 65. You may already take advantage of some of them, but there are probably also a lot more that you’re missing out on. Some stores have certain days wherein they offer a percentage off of your purchase. A lot of restaurants do too, as do clothing stores, movie theaters, and much more. If you live in certain areas, you may even be able to get a reduced rate for gas, water and power, and other utilities. Do your research, find out what you’re entitled to, and take advantage of those offers as you shop.
- Cut Transportation Costs. Your car likely eats up a large portion of your savings. Just keeping the gas tank full can cost a fortune. That’s not to mention things like insurance payments, regular maintenance, and repairs. Look for ways to cut down on your transportation costs. For instance, if your household owns two cars, could you make do with one? Can you use public transportation to get where you’re going? Could you replace your current vehicle with one that’s less costly and more fuel-efficient?
- Keep Healthy. One of the biggest costs for seniors is healthcare. Medicare can cover some of it, but what you pay out of pocket is still increasing. Therefore, making an effort to stay healthy can help reduce those medical expenses. Eat right (see meal planning, above), exercise regularly, and take advantage of the free Medicare services, such as vaccinations and cancer screenings, to keep you from needing the more expensive procedures.
Your retirement is supposed to be a time to relax and focus on the things that you never had time for while you were working. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice that due to a lack of money. With retirement planning, frugal living, and a little bit of ingenuity, you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement on any budget.