For many retirees, living on a budget is essential to preserving their retirement nest egg. If you're one of them, cost-cutting can help your limited funds stretch as far as possible.
Here are four big ways to slash your expenses and withdraw less from retirement savings -- or to simply use your money to do the things that matter most in your later years.
1. Downsize your house
Downsizing is one of the single best moves you can make as a retiree. Move to a smaller house and you may be mortgage-free (if you weren't already). And any extra proceeds from your home sale can pad your retirement accounts.
A smaller house typically means lower utility bills, maintenance costs, and property taxes. You could save yourself money for years to come by moving somewhere smaller.
2. Opt for just one vehicle or go carless
A car is a huge expense, with insurance, loan payments, and maintenance costs. If you were a multi-vehicle household before retirement, seriously consider getting rid of at least one of your cars. And if you had just one car to start with, moving to a walkable area and going carless could save money. It's also better for your health since you'll get more exercise.
While giving up a car may seem drastic, ridesharing has made it more affordable to secure transportation when you need it while avoiding the expense and hassle of owning a vehicle.
3. Move to a state with more-favorable tax rules
Where you live can have a huge impact on the amount of retirement money you're able to keep since some states tax Social Security benefits, pension income, and investment income while others don't. If your state takes a substantial portion of your retirement funds, it may be worth seriously considering moving to one that won't.
4. Get the right insurance coverage
Healthcare is one of the largest expenses in most retirees' budgets; the cost of care could total around $325,000 out of pocket for a senior couple with high prescription-drug needs. Keep these costs down by shopping carefully during Medicare open enrollment to secure coverage that's right for you. Traditional Medicare has lots of coverage gaps and co-insurance costs, so many seniors find it makes sense to pay premiums for a Medigap policy to supplement this coverage or a Medicare Advantage Plan to replace it.
You can change your Medicare enrollment options just once per year under most circumstances, so don't squander the chance and find yourself facing outsize health costs. You also don't want an insurance plan that's a poor fit, so read the fine print carefully and consider likely health expenses when choosing coverage.
By securing the right insurance and being strategic about where you live and how you get around, you can reduce your living expenses by thousands of dollars a year -- in most cases without hurting your quality of life.