Hand putting Coins in glass jar with retro alarm clock for time to money saving for retirement concept

Retirement should be one of the best times of your life but many people find themselves stressing out about money. Planning your financial future can be difficult, especially when you don’t know how many years of retirement living your savings will need to sustain you for. As life expectancies continue to increase in the U.S., people face the possibility of 15, 20, or even 30 years of retirement. This leaves many wondering “how long will my money last?” It’s frustrating that there is no way to know that with certainty, but there are steps you can take to put yourself in the best position possible. Before you stop working full-time it’s important to create a budget that takes into account all of your potential retirement expenses and define the retirement lifestyle you want. To have a happy retirement you want to have the financial freedom to pursue your bucket list while not being worried that you’re spending through your savings too quickly. Here are 21 ways to save money as a retiree without sacrificing your lifestyle. While not every tip will be right for you, these methods have worked for many retirees.

1. You Don’t Have to Buy Expensive Work Clothes Anymore

Now that you’re done with your career you can stop buying the costly uniforms or suits required for many jobs. There is no longer a need to “dress to impress” in order to give yourself an edge at work. Wear what you want and what’s comfortable!

2. The Daily Commute is Over

You no longer need to get up every morning and commute to your place of business five or more days a week. Whether you did that by driving or taking a train, bus, or taxi, that is going to save you some serious money every year!

3. The Nest is Empty

By retirement age, most people’s children are out of the house, have graduated college, and are independent. People love their kids but they definitely aren’t cheap! Between higher utility bills, grocery bills, and college tuition there is a lot of money to be saved once your kids are on their own.

4. You Can Stop Saving

After you stop getting a paycheck you no longer have to pay into Social Security. While it seems obvious, once you retire you no longer have to save for retirement. It’s common practice for a person/couple to save five to 10 percent of their income for retirement, so that’s a significant item to eliminate from the budget!

5. Reduced Insurance Premiums

It’s likely you can lower some of your insurance bills in retirement. Many companies that provide car or homeowners insurance offer discounts to retirees! Retirees usually spend more time at home and less time driving thus reducing their perceived risk to insurers. Make sure you ask your insurance company(s) about this!

6. Senior Discounts

Many businesses offer some kind of senior discount , so do some research and don’t be afraid to just ask if they have one! A few dollars saved here and there really add up over time. Restaurants, hotels/motels, and movie theaters are a few types of businesses that usually offer discounts for retirees.

7. Get Rid of Any Spare Vehicles

Now is the time to go down to one vehicle unless you have a good reason not to. Most retirees drive much less once they no longer have to commute to work every day. Additionally, if you’re married, you and your spouse will likely be spending more time together in retirement, reducing the need to drive different places at the same time. According to AAA, it costs the average American $8,558 a year to own a car as of 2016. Think of what you could do with all that extra money!

8. Find Travel Deals

A large percentage of retirees have a goal of traveling more, but not all of them pursue it, perhaps because they think they can’t afford it. The good news is that in retirement you have an easier time saving money on travel than ever before! You have the freedom to travel when the best deals are available or to visit a touristy location in the off-season. If you love the outdoors and are age 62, or older, you’ll want to get an America the Beautiful Senior Pass which allows you to visit any National Park or Federal Recreation Area for the rest of your life for only $10!

9. Downsizing to a Smaller Home

Consider your goals and your budget, while many people want to age in place, housing is often an area where it is easy to reduce expenses by downsizing. A smaller house means lower taxes, utility bills, maintenance costs, insurance premium, and mortgage. While it might be an adjustment, you could free up a significant amount of money per month that would allow you to pursue your retirement goals.

10. Make Sure Your Money Keeps Working

While this might not be a money saving tip in the traditional sense, it is still relevant. Were you aware that if you leave money in an account that doesn’t earn interest for an extended period of time it’s purchasing power actually diminishes? That’s because of inflation.

While no one would advise making risky investments once you are retired, your money should still be working for you. You need to be earning interest on your savings to try to keep up with inflation at the very least. Look for a free checking account that pays interests. Rather than leaving a large sum of money in a traditional savings account, consider money-market accounts or CDs which offer higher interest rates.

11. Make Your Kids Become Financially Independent

If you’re still giving your adult children monetary support it’s time to put an end to it. Now that you’re not working full-time, any money you give to your kids is eating into your retirement savings. While it can be difficult to say no, you need to so you can make your nest egg last.

12. Enjoy Inexpensive or Free Activities

Just because you are living on a budget and trying to stretch your savings, especially in your early years of retirement, doesn’t mean you should sit at home or be bored. There are plenty of free or inexpensive activities to keep retirement living fun and interesting. Check your local newspapers or on the internet for local concerts, festivals, and events. Most urban areas have clubs and organizations specifically for retirees to socialize and enjoy shared activities, find one that is centered on a hobby or pastime you enjoy.

13. Look for Ways to Reduce Your Bills

If you’re paying for a service you barely use, ask yourself if you can do without it. Recurring bills add up over time and become significant retirement expenses. Review yours to see if any of them can be reduced or eliminated. For example, if you’re paying $80 a month for a premium cable package but aren’t watching much TV, consider switching to basic cable. If basic cable costs $40, you’re saving yourself $40 a month, $480 a year and $2400 over a five year period!

14. Move to a State With No Income Tax or Lower Taxes

Some people choose to move in order to reduce their tax burden significantly. New Hampshire and Tennessee have no taxes on Social Security, pensions, or investment dividends. Other states have no income taxes at all! Those states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Crunch the numbers to make sure the savings would be significant before considering moving. For some, it’s a great way to reduce their yearly expenses.

15. Don’t Feel Obligated to Continue Your Memberships in Organizations

Many people are active in professional or community organizations for most of their adult lives. While they can be a great way to stay involved and socialize, don’t feel obligated to stay involved in them once you retire; don’t keep doing something just because you’ve been doing it for a long time. Dues for such groups add up, so cancel your membership if you know you don’t want to be active in an organization anymore.

16. Assess Your Charitable Donations

Consider reducing the amount you give to charity and include any donations you plan to continue making in retirement in your budget. Don’t allow yourself to make impulsive donations to charity anymore. Instead, review every charity thoroughly and do some accounting to make sure you can afford it. Consider giving your time instead of your money by volunteering.

17. Consolidate Your Financial Accounts

Depending on how your retirement savings are distributed you may be able to save a significant amount of money on financial management fees by combining multiple accounts. For example, if you have multiple retirement accounts from different jobs combining them might be a great option. For example, multiple IRAs can be merged into one account in what is known as an IRA transfer or rollover. In addition to the money you could save on reduced fees, the less accounts you have the easier it is to keep tabs on them.

18. Payoff Any High-Interest Debt, Such as Credit Cards

If you are still carrying debt in retirement you’ll want to have a plan for eliminating it and any high-interest debt should be the first priority. These monthly payments can become one of your largest retirement expenses if you draw out paying them off over multiple years.

There are a variety of strategies for tackling credit card debt, one of the most popular being to pay off the card with the lower balance first. Then, you can take the money you were spending on that monthly bill and put it towards the credit card with the next lowest balance. In this way you can see results the most quickly and keep knocking out credit card debt until it is all gone.

19. Sell or Donate Stuff You Don’t Use or Need

Retirement is the perfect time to declutter and get rid of things you no longer use. Some people have so much stuff that they have a storage unit full of all the things they can’t fit in their home. Why pay to store stuff you might not have even looked at for years? Simplify your life by getting rid of excess possessions. Generate some income by selling things, or consider donating them to a charity which can lead to a sizable tax deduction.

20. Cook at Home More Than You Eat Out

You might not think it but food can become a major expense when you go out to eat a lot. According to Gordon J. Bernhardt, CPA, a financial planner with Bernhardt Wealth Management, food costs are one area where many retirees find they can easily save money. “Our clients have shared that they did not realize how much money they spent on eating out until they changed their habits and ate at home more often,” he says. “And they did not feel like they were making a significant sacrifice.”

It’s easy to get into the habit of eating out all the time when you are working and have a hectic schedule, but once you’re retired you have more time on your hands to cook. Besides saving you money it’s easier to eat healthy when you’re picking the ingredients and doing the prep.

21. Track Your Expenses and Live By Your Budget

This is probably the single most important thing you can do to control your retirement expenses. Everyone wants to know “how long will my money last in retirement?” Unfortunately, there is no magic clock that will give you an exact date your money will last until. The best way to ensure that your nest egg can sustain you for your entire retirement is to create a budget and live by it.

You need to track your expenses to see how well you are following your budget and how much of your spending is discretionary, or in other words, spending that you chose to do. This is the easiest area to cut your expenses so that you can stretch your savings to cover more years of retirement living. Living by your budget will help you save money to accomplish your retirement goals instead of spending it on daily expenses.

While it’s unlikely that all of these ideas will work for you, hopefully you discovered at least a few strategies you can apply to your life. The key to controlling your retirement expenses is sticking to your budget, tracking what you spend, and regularly assessing your spending for opportunities for savings. That’s not to say you need to be a penny pincher or that you shouldn’t spend much money on the things you enjoy, you deserve a happy retirement. But you would certainly rather spend more money on travel, hobbies, and treating yourself as opposed to spending more money on basic living expenses.

If you found this article helpful then SHARE it with your friends and family on social media!

Get more retirement news and tips from AmeriLife

Hand putting Coins in glass jar with retro alarm clock for time to money saving for retirement concept

Retirement should be one of the best times of your life but many people find themselves stressing out about money. Planning your financial future can be difficult, especially when you don’t know how many years of retirement living your savings will need to sustain you for. As life expectancies continue to increase in the U.S., people face the possibility of 15, 20, or even 30 years of retirement. This leaves many wondering “how long will my money last?” It’s frustrating that there is no way to know that with certainty, but there are steps you can take to put yourself in the best position possible. Before you stop working full-time it’s important to create a budget that takes into account all of your potential retirement expenses and define the retirement lifestyle you want. To have a happy retirement you want to have the financial freedom to pursue your bucket list while not being worried that you’re spending through your savings too quickly. Here are 21 ways to save money as a retiree without sacrificing your lifestyle. While not every tip will be right for you, these methods have worked for many retirees.

1. You Don’t Have to Buy Expensive Work Clothes Anymore

Now that you’re done with your career you can stop buying the costly uniforms or suits required for many jobs. There is no longer a need to “dress to impress” in order to give yourself an edge at work. Wear what you want and what’s comfortable!

2. The Daily Commute is Over

You no longer need to get up every morning and commute to your place of business five or more days a week. Whether you did that by driving or taking a train, bus, or taxi, that is going to save you some serious money every year!

3. The Nest is Empty

By retirement age, most people’s children are out of the house, have graduated college, and are independent. People love their kids but they definitely aren’t cheap! Between higher utility bills, grocery bills, and college tuition there is a lot of money to be saved once your kids are on their own.

4. You Can Stop Saving

After you stop getting a paycheck you no longer have to pay into Social Security. While it seems obvious, once you retire you no longer have to save for retirement. It’s common practice for a person/couple to save five to 10 percent of their income for retirement, so that’s a significant item to eliminate from the budget!

5. Reduced Insurance Premiums

It’s likely you can lower some of your insurance bills in retirement. Many companies that provide car or homeowners insurance offer discounts to retirees! Retirees usually spend more time at home and less time driving thus reducing their perceived risk to insurers. Make sure you ask your insurance company(s) about this!

6. Senior Discounts

Many businesses offer some kind of senior discount , so do some research and don’t be afraid to just ask if they have one! A few dollars saved here and there really add up over time. Restaurants, hotels/motels, and movie theaters are a few types of businesses that usually offer discounts for retirees.

7. Get Rid of Any Spare Vehicles

Now is the time to go down to one vehicle unless you have a good reason not to. Most retirees drive much less once they no longer have to commute to work every day. Additionally, if you’re married, you and your spouse will likely be spending more time together in retirement, reducing the need to drive different places at the same time. According to AAA, it costs the average American $8,558 a year to own a car as of 2016. Think of what you could do with all that extra money!

8. Find Travel Deals

A large percentage of retirees have a goal of traveling more, but not all of them pursue it, perhaps because they think they can’t afford it. The good news is that in retirement you have an easier time saving money on travel than ever before! You have the freedom to travel when the best deals are available or to visit a touristy location in the off-season. If you love the outdoors and are age 62, or older, you’ll want to get an America the Beautiful Senior Pass which allows you to visit any National Park or Federal Recreation Area for the rest of your life for only $10!

9. Downsizing to a Smaller Home

Consider your goals and your budget, while many people want to age in place, housing is often an area where it is easy to reduce expenses by downsizing. A smaller house means lower taxes, utility bills, maintenance costs, insurance premium, and mortgage. While it might be an adjustment, you could free up a significant amount of money per month that would allow you to pursue your retirement goals.

10. Make Sure Your Money Keeps Working

While this might not be a money saving tip in the traditional sense, it is still relevant. Were you aware that if you leave money in an account that doesn’t earn interest for an extended period of time it’s purchasing power actually diminishes? That’s because of inflation.

While no one would advise making risky investments once you are retired, your money should still be working for you. You need to be earning interest on your savings to try to keep up with inflation at the very least. Look for a free checking account that pays interests. Rather than leaving a large sum of money in a traditional savings account, consider money-market accounts or CDs which offer higher interest rates.

11. Make Your Kids Become Financially Independent

If you’re still giving your adult children monetary support it’s time to put an end to it. Now that you’re not working full-time, any money you give to your kids is eating into your retirement savings. While it can be difficult to say no, you need to so you can make your nest egg last.

12. Enjoy Inexpensive or Free Activities

Just because you are living on a budget and trying to stretch your savings, especially in your early years of retirement, doesn’t mean you should sit at home or be bored. There are plenty of free or inexpensive activities to keep retirement living fun and interesting. Check your local newspapers or on the internet for local concerts, festivals, and events. Most urban areas have clubs and organizations specifically for retirees to socialize and enjoy shared activities, find one that is centered on a hobby or pastime you enjoy.

13. Look for Ways to Reduce Your Bills

If you’re paying for a service you barely use, ask yourself if you can do without it. Recurring bills add up over time and become significant retirement expenses. Review yours to see if any of them can be reduced or eliminated. For example, if you’re paying $80 a month for a premium cable package but aren’t watching much TV, consider switching to basic cable. If basic cable costs $40, you’re saving yourself $40 a month, $480 a year and $2400 over a five year period!

14. Move to a State With No Income Tax or Lower Taxes

Some people choose to move in order to reduce their tax burden significantly. New Hampshire and Tennessee have no taxes on Social Security, pensions, or investment dividends. Other states have no income taxes at all! Those states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Crunch the numbers to make sure the savings would be significant before considering moving. For some, it’s a great way to reduce their yearly expenses.

15. Don’t Feel Obligated to Continue Your Memberships in Organizations

Many people are active in professional or community organizations for most of their adult lives. While they can be a great way to stay involved and socialize, don’t feel obligated to stay involved in them once you retire; don’t keep doing something just because you’ve been doing it for a long time. Dues for such groups add up, so cancel your membership if you know you don’t want to be active in an organization anymore.

16. Assess Your Charitable Donations

Consider reducing the amount you give to charity and include any donations you plan to continue making in retirement in your budget. Don’t allow yourself to make impulsive donations to charity anymore. Instead, review every charity thoroughly and do some accounting to make sure you can afford it. Consider giving your time instead of your money by volunteering.

17. Consolidate Your Financial Accounts

Depending on how your retirement savings are distributed you may be able to save a significant amount of money on financial management fees by combining multiple accounts. For example, if you have multiple retirement accounts from different jobs combining them might be a great option. For example, multiple IRAs can be merged into one account in what is known as an IRA transfer or rollover. In addition to the money you could save on reduced fees, the less accounts you have the easier it is to keep tabs on them.

18. Payoff Any High-Interest Debt, Such as Credit Cards

If you are still carrying debt in retirement you’ll want to have a plan for eliminating it and any high-interest debt should be the first priority. These monthly payments can become one of your largest retirement expenses if you draw out paying them off over multiple years.

There are a variety of strategies for tackling credit card debt, one of the most popular being to pay off the card with the lower balance first. Then, you can take the money you were spending on that monthly bill and put it towards the credit card with the next lowest balance. In this way you can see results the most quickly and keep knocking out credit card debt until it is all gone.

19. Sell or Donate Stuff You Don’t Use or Need

Retirement is the perfect time to declutter and get rid of things you no longer use. Some people have so much stuff that they have a storage unit full of all the things they can’t fit in their home. Why pay to store stuff you might not have even looked at for years? Simplify your life by getting rid of excess possessions. Generate some income by selling things, or consider donating them to a charity which can lead to a sizable tax deduction.

20. Cook at Home More Than You Eat Out

You might not think it but food can become a major expense when you go out to eat a lot. According to Gordon J. Bernhardt, CPA, a financial planner with Bernhardt Wealth Management, food costs are one area where many retirees find they can easily save money. “Our clients have shared that they did not realize how much money they spent on eating out until they changed their habits and ate at home more often,” he says. “And they did not feel like they were making a significant sacrifice.”

It’s easy to get into the habit of eating out all the time when you are working and have a hectic schedule, but once you’re retired you have more time on your hands to cook. Besides saving you money it’s easier to eat healthy when you’re picking the ingredients and doing the prep.

21. Track Your Expenses and Live By Your Budget

This is probably the single most important thing you can do to control your retirement expenses. Everyone wants to know “how long will my money last in retirement?” Unfortunately, there is no magic clock that will give you an exact date your money will last until. The best way to ensure that your nest egg can sustain you for your entire retirement is to create a budget and live by it.

You need to track your expenses to see how well you are following your budget and how much of your spending is discretionary, or in other words, spending that you chose to do. This is the easiest area to cut your expenses so that you can stretch your savings to cover more years of retirement living. Living by your budget will help you save money to accomplish your retirement goals instead of spending it on daily expenses.

While it’s unlikely that all of these ideas will work for you, hopefully you discovered at least a few strategies you can apply to your life. The key to controlling your retirement expenses is sticking to your budget, tracking what you spend, and regularly assessing your spending for opportunities for savings. That’s not to say you need to be a penny pincher or that you shouldn’t spend much money on the things you enjoy, you deserve a happy retirement. But you would certainly rather spend more money on travel, hobbies, and treating yourself as opposed to spending more money on basic living expenses.

If you found this article helpful then SHARE it with your friends and family on social media!

Get more retirement news and tips from AmeriLife

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