Retirement can be one of the best times of your life when it's planned and you have adequate savings. But when it comes up unexpectedly due to a job loss or health problems, it can quickly transform into one of the most stressful times of your life. That's especially true if you weren't able to save much during your working years.

If that's the boat you're in, your retirement is probably never going to be luxurious. But here are four things you can try to make ends meet.

Worried person with hand on head holding checkbook.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Find work if you're able to

Without adequate savings, a steady paycheck is your best bet at maintaining financial security in retirement. Working in retirement may sound like an oxymoron, but you don't have to stick to the 9-to-5 routine you've known your entire career. You can opt for part-time work or find something that better aligns with your interests. 

Those who are unable to work a traditional job due to health constraints or caretaking requirements might be able to find remote work. There are plenty of positions these days that allow you to work from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. Some don't even require you to adhere to a set schedule.

2. Look into government assistance programs

Many seniors will receive some monthly income from Social Security, but this probably won't cover all your expenses. However, it may not be the only benefit you're eligible for.

Some seniors may also qualify for supplemental security income (SSI). This is an additional monthly benefit given to blind, disabled, and low-income seniors that's administered by the Social Security Administration. How much you get depends on your annual income and where you live, as many states supplement the federal SSI payment. You can check if you qualify for SSI benefits by filling out the Social Security Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool questionnaire.

You could be eligible for further government assistance, as well, like help with food, utility, or housing costs. Look into assistance programs, particularly those targeted at seniors, at the federal, state, and local levels.

3. Try to reduce your expenses

Though it may not be easy, reducing your expenses can further stretch the dollars you have. Having a budget in place that you feel comfortable following can make this a lot easier.

To start, figure out where your money is going every month. Make note of essential bills, like housing, food, utilities, transportation, and insurance. Don't forget about irregular costs, too.

For example, you may only pay for certain services every few months. If you need to, comb through your bank and credit card statements from the past year to make sure you aren't missing any recurring charges.

Look for any areas where you could cut back on spending. Cutting discretionary purchases, if any, is a good place to start. You may also be able to save on some essential costs by getting creative or shopping around.

For example, shopping for a new plan during Medicare's open-enrollment period could help you save on insurance costs. And trying new recipes and using coupons at the grocery store could help you save on food costs.

4. Consider a reverse mortgage if you're a homeowner

Homeowners 62 and older may be able to get a reverse mortgage to tap into some additional cash if they have at least 50% equity in their homes. This essentially enables you to borrow against the equity you already have, and you don't have to pay the money back, as long as you live in the home. But you'll still need to pay property taxes and have homeowners insurance and keep the home in decent condition.

You can choose between a lump-sum payment, monthly payments, or a line of credit you can access, as needed. And you don't need any income or good credit to do this. But it's not the right move for everyone.

If you move out of the home, you may need to pay off the mortgage unless you qualify for exceptions. If you planned to pass the home to your heirs, a reverse mortgage could also make it more difficult for them to keep it because it would need to be paid off after your death.

Some of these suggestions may not suit you, but dig deeper into the ones that pique your interest. See if you can brainstorm any additional ideas to either reduce your expenses or get more money coming in. Even if you aren't able to cover all your expenses and need to rely upon your family for support, every dollar you have coming in will make things a little easier.