Congratulations!! After a lifetime of hard work, dedication, and discipline, you’ve officially reached retired status. Your days of working from 9-5, pulling overtime, covering holidays, and troubleshooting into the evening are a thing of the past. The daily grind is now in your rearview mirror, and leisurely days are on the horizon!
With this transition into retirement, you will likely learn to navigate life on a fixed income. As you begin to draw from your retirement, it’s essential to budget your monthly and annual expenses to get the most out of your dollar. Here are five money-saving tips to help ensure that you are living well on less!
1) Lower Your Monthly Expenses
Reducing the cost of your recurring monthly bills is the best way to create a bit of wiggle room in your budget. This includes everything from your mortgage payment to your car insurance to your cell phone bill and everything in between.
A great place to start is by looking at your house note if you are a homeowner and still have a balance. Depending on the terms of your mortgage, it may be worth refinancing your home while interest rates are at an all-time low; it’s possible to lower your monthly note and reduce the terms of your mortgage. Alternatively, you may consider looking at other housing options to help reduce your living expenses. This is a great time to downsize into a more manageable home in terms of both cost and maintenance.
Price shopping for auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, cable, cell phone, and health insurance are additional ways to reduce your monthly bottom line total significantly. You can begin by contacting your current providers and renegotiating rates based on claim history or recent deals being offered. If your providers aren’t receptive and cannot help you with your costs, reach out to other providers and see if they can offer more competitive rates.
2) Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
Nowadays, there are subscription services for just about everything under the sun! Chances are, over the years, you’ve signed up for a handful of them; some may be valuable to you, but others may just be costing you each month with little to no reward. Make a list of the services you receive and decide which ones are necessary and which ones you think you can live without. Put the latter on hold or cancel them. If you realize that you miss the subscriptions, then you can always resubscribe.
3) Menu Plan
Daily trips to the grocery store can add up quickly! The best way to stretch your dollar is to create a weekly or biweekly menu and make one big trip. You can plan your meals around sale items in the grocery flyers for additional savings. As you’re making your menu, choose meals that may use similar ingredients to avoid waste. Also, be mindful some foods can assist in preventing memory loss in seniors. If you’re preparing a recipe that yields multiple servings, you can “meal share” by dividing it into portions to give to others and receiving meals in return. If the meal sharing option does not appeal to you, these portions can be frozen and saved for another week. Another money-saving tip while grocery shopping is purchasing generic brands; a savings of 20 cents here and 35 cents there can add up to a significant number over time. Lastly, consider doing online pickup orders to help you stick to your grocery list and avoid impulse buying.
4) Be Mindful of Frivolous Spending
Are you splurging on a $5 latte every morning, or eat lunch out every day, or getting weekly blowouts or manicures? If you are, these luxuries can quickly add up to a high dollar amount each month. Ask yourself if these treats or services are worth the regular splurge or if they should be saved for special occasions. Eliminating such expenses can help cushion your account for unexpected costs down the road.
5) Take Advantage of Senior Discounts
Many places offer special pricing or discounts for senior citizens, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to take full advantage of them! You may find your admission into the zoo is significantly less than your younger peers, or your theater tickets are less than they used to be. Seek out places that offer such discounts and give them your business; before booking higher dollar items such as flights, hotel rooms, spa services, or oil changes, inquire about senior discounts to get more bang for your buck!
There are endless ways to stretch your dollar and save money if you’re willing to do a little research. It’s important to properly budget your monthly expenses to live well on your fixed income. Allow yourself a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses while still allowing some flex money for entertainment. Budget accordingly to set yourself up for financial success and stay disciplined to prevent financial stress.