No matter how much you’ve been able to save for retirement, there comes a point for many retirees when they begin to worry about having enough money to last them. Not having a paycheck, or even the prospect of a paycheck, can produce major feelings of anxiety - even if you thought you were fully prepared for that reality.
The good news is that retirement doesn’t have to be as expensive as you may think it does. With a few changes, you can easily live the lifestyle you love without depleting your retirement account.
Prioritize your expenses.
One of the most effective ways to start saving money is to start prioritizing your spending. Obviously bills like your mortgage, health insurance, and utilities will be first priority.
But after that, you’ve probably got a whole lot of choices you can make about how you spend your money each month. Do you still need your cable TV plan, or do you find yourself watching Netflix or Amazon Prime more often? If you rarely watch live TV and can ditch your cable bill, that’s $80-$100 per month saved - with hardly any effect on your quality of life.
The same is true of your smaller, everyday expenses as well. Do you need to buy a latte four days a week, or could you cut it down to two? Do you need to purchase that new hardcover book, or could you use the library?
Go through your expenses over the last couple of months and mark any that you deem unnecessary or not important. Then move those things to the bottom of your priority list.
If you’re not asking about a senior discount when you shop, go out for fun, or dine out, you could be missing out on a lot of savings. The discount might only be 5 percent, but that small amount of money will add up quickly - especially if you’re saving somewhere you frequent, like the grocery store. Often recreational facilities and gyms will offer substantial senior discounts, as well.
Some charitable organizations work with partners to offer discounts to all donors, not just seniors. Once you get in the habit of looking for discounts, doing so will become second nature.
Supplement your income on an as-needed basis.
One of the great things about being retired is the fact that you’re able to work when and if you want to. There are all kinds of one-off, easy ways of supplementing your income that don’t have to involve more than a few hours at a time.
Take babysitting, for example, or acting as a temporary caregiver. You could also use your decades of career experience to take consulting work on a by-project basis. Selling items online is another easy way to bring in some extra money.
If you have a larger expense coming up, like travel or helping to pay for a grandchild’s new car, consider picking up a seasonal job at a bookstore, art supply store, or nursery, for example.
Life settlements are another method of adding to your income. If you have an unwanted or unnecessary life insurance policy that you’re thinking of surrendering, talk to your financial advisor about whether a life settlement might be a better choice.
Sell a car.
If you’ve got more than one car, think seriously about whether you actually need that extra set of wheels now that you’re in retirement. With so many car-on-demand and car-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar available, the need to own more than a single car is diminishing.
Plus, you’ll save on all the expenses associated with owning a car: insurance, taxes, gas, and maintenance. That can add up to significant savings over the course of a year.
Retirement can be a bit of a challenge at times, but there are many things you can do to keep your finances in a healthy state. To learn more about preparing for this time of life, read our post “Creative Ways Baby Boomers are Approaching Retirement.”