8 Must-Know Budget Tips for Retirees

Senior couple sitting on couch together going over information on a laptop and other documents.

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Money concerns shouldn't rule your life when you retire.

Retirement can be relaxing, rewarding, and fun. Many retirees enjoy life away from work, but they worry about their finances. When you have a fixed income and no longer work, it's essential to make smart money choices so you can live comfortably while paying for your necessities, hobbies, and interests.

Take a look at these tips to find out how to stretch your budget as a retiree.

1. Plan and budget your food costs

Food is an unavoidable expense, but you can control how much you spend by planning your shopping trips. Shop the sale fliers and stick to a list. Consider trying cheaper, store-brand items. If you want to avoid adding items to your cart that you don't really need, use curbside grocery pickup services. With a set budget and good planning, you can find ways to slash your grocery bill.

2. Shop around to trim the cost of regular bills

If you've used the same utility companies and had the same cable, cellphone, or car insurance policy for years, it may be time to reevaluate these costs. Companies change their offerings often, and you may be able to trim your bills. Take a close look, verify what coverage you have, get rid of services that you no longer need, and shop around for lower rates. Making some changes can sometimes offer significant monthly savings.

3. Move to an area with lower costs

With lower expenses, your retirement money will go farther. If you don't feel like you need to live in a particular area, consider exploring towns and cities with a lower cost of living. Not sure where to move? Retirees can often live on less in these 10 states.

4. Use public transportation

If public transit is available to you, consider using it instead of a car. Even if you don't have a car loan, a car costs money to maintain, insure, and inspect. If you and a partner are both retired and own two vehicles, going down to one can save money. Your town or city may also offer affordable transit for seniors. Let someone else do the driving, and save money.

5. Downsize your home and life

Another money-stretching move in retirement is downsizing. Even if you no longer have a mortgage, owning a large home may not make sense. Consider selling your home and purchasing a smaller house or condo. This can lower your home expenses, and make your life less stressful thanks to less cleaning and maintenance.

6. Track your spending

It's easy to overspend when you don't keep a close eye on purchases and where your money goes. Using a budgeting app is a great way to track your spending. You may notice some of your money is wasted on unnecessary purchases. With spending changes, you can sometimes save thousands.

7. Don't ignore senior discounts

Senior discounts are a great way to save money. Don't feel embarrassed asking for or using these discounts. They're available to help you. You may save on travel, food, utility costs, entertainment costs, and dining out. Discounts add up, and can expand your budget for other expenses.

8. Get creative with activities and entertainment

You don't have to go out and spend a lot of money to have fun. Get creative when seeking new activities. You can fill a lot of time with low-cost or free activities.

Here are some ideas to explore:

  • Look for activities at local community and senior centers.
  • Volunteer weekly to support a great cause.
  • Listen to podcasts, and watch streaming shows and movies.
  • Keep an eye out for free weekly or monthly museum days.
  • Host monthly games, movies, or potluck dinners with friends.
  • Join an affordable gym or fitness center.

Following these personal finance tips can help you trim your living expenses and stretch your budget. If you're planning to retire soon, our retirement guide can help you determine what costs to consider before making this life-changing move.

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