For a lot of seniors, retirement is like a finish line at the end of a race. You’ve completed a lifetime of hard work, and now you can relax and devote more time to the things you love in life. But although you’ve now got more time to enjoy, the absence of a steady income may also mean a need to save money. Naturally, you may worry that being frugal in your retirement will create a big downgrade in lifestyle from what you were used to during your working years.
Well, it doesn’t have to be. With these four simple tips, you can save money in retirement without sacrificing the lifestyle you have worked so hard to achieve.
#1 – Set Your Priorities and Adjust the Least Important
To save money, you don’t have to let go of the things most important to you. Instead, you can figure out the things that are least important, and make adjustments from there. Let’s say you know that your smartphone’s data plan is one of the most useful expenses you have. You check your email on your phone, you price compare while you are at the store, you listen to streaming radio, and you entertain yourself by reading downloaded books. Giving up your data plan for the sake of saving money would impact your lifestyle significantly.
On the other hand, you may recognize that your cable bill is amongst the least important. You hardly watch live TV, preferring instead to stream episodes or watch a DVD. Your cable bill is an excellent place to cut expenses and save, switching your $80 cable bill for an $8 Netflix account. Meanwhile, you can save the $72 for savings and still keep your phone’s data plan the same. Doing this allows you to keep the type of lifestyle you prefer, while still saving money every month.
#2 – Learn How to Sell Online and Adjust Your Income
Sometimes, saving money doesn’t necessarily have to mean cutting an expense. It could mean increasing income instead. One easy way to increase income is to learn how to sell items online. You can start with some of the easiest online platforms for selling, like Amazon.com, eBay.com, Craigslist.com, or Etsy.com.
Amazon and eBay are good platforms for selling easily mail-able items, such as electronics, books, and clothes. Craigslist is useful for listing items to sell locally that would not be cost-efficient to ship, such as televisions and sofas. If you are planning on spending time crafting, or if you are skilled in making and creating items, such as crocheted quilts or handmade dolls, Etsy.com is the perfect website for you to sell your crafted items. Remember, when selling online, always employ safe practices such as keeping all transactions and communication within the online platform.
When you increase your income and apply the extra earnings to your savings, you do not have to cut anything out of your lifestyle.
#3 – Keep Your Life’s Style, But Adjust Frequency
Let’s say you like the lifestyle that includes eating out for dinner in nice restaurants. Although it is well-known that cutting dinner out is a good way to save money, you simply do not want to forgo this fun part of your lifestyle. The good news is you do not have to adjust by forgoing it completely; you can simply adjust the frequency of having it.
If you are used to eating dinner out 5 weeknights out of every week, adjust the frequency to only 3 weeknights a week. This will not amount to a drastic adjustment of lifestyle while allowing you to save 2 weeknights’ worth of dinner out to put towards your savings instead. Apply this same concept of frequency adjustment to everything in your lifestyle, and you will accumulate a significant amount of savings before you even realize it.
#4 – Continue Your Usual Activities, but Adjust Their Usual Cost
Perhaps you enjoy certain activities so much, you prefer not to lessen the frequency of which you enjoy them. Another method of saving is to continue doing your activities as usual, but find ways to cut their usual cost, such as finding discounted rates for the same activities.
One type of discount that almost every business participates in is a saving you simply cannot forget to take advantage of the senior discount! Some businesses will list the benefits of their senior discounts clearly in their stores or on the pages of their websites, while other businesses will extend their senior benefits only if you ask for it.
To take advantage of this benefit, make it a habit to always ask if a senior discount is available. Business participants include restaurants, movie theaters, travel, clothing retailers, amusement parks, museums, train lines, and many more. For example, Amtrak will discount 15% on train rides, while Chick-Fil-A offers a free small coffee or drink. AT&T and Verizon offer a $30 Nationwide plan for seniors ages 65+, while Bally’s total fitness offers up to $100 off memberships.
Another frequently untapped source of savings lies in club memberships. Many seniors are members of club memberships like AAA Auto Club, Costco, and AARP. These clubs offer some of the best discounts around. However, in the daily hustle and bustle of life, many retirees forget to actually utilize the discounts these clubs offer, or may not be aware of all the discounts available from each of the clubs.
A good strategy is to constantly double-check the available offered discounts. Check online or call your membership’s customer service line and note all the possible discounts you may use. Costco, for example, offers heavily discounted tickets to amusement parks and attractions you may visit anyway. They also offer discounted gym memberships to popular gyms that you may have already been thinking of joining.
AARP memberships will get you a discount of as much as 25% for Papa John’s pizza when you order online for seniors ages 55+, while National-Rent-a-Car offers up to 30% off for AARP members. Costco also sells discounted movie tickets that can save you more money than paying full price at the box office window. Planning the purchase of these tickets ahead of time through your memberships can slash hundreds of dollars in savings. With the endless variety of possible discounts, you can save enough to continue doing all the activities you want with the same frequency you want, but at a fraction of the usual cost.
Saving money does not have to equal losing the lifestyle you enjoy. Partaking in these four practices can help you stay within budget, while still experiencing the retirement you deserve.