In retirement, personal finances can take on a different form. Income sources, expenses, and investments can all change. And there are certain strategies to maximize the spending power of our money in retirement. However, if these strategies can be put in place well before we hit our golden years, they could work to maximize our money for decades before we reach retirement, which could mean more money and a more secure financial future. This is why we’re not waiting to take advantage of certain retirement strategies.
Keeping a close eye on finances
Many retirees live on a shoestring budget, but we’re not waiting to start looking for ways to cut our costs. By buying resale, hitting area garage sales during the warmer months, and finding ways to stay fit and active through affordable area activities (parks, the zoo, river walks, etc.), and minimizing dinners out while learning to create meals ourselves, we keep a close eye on our finances now so that retirement cost cutting doesn’t come as a shock.
Downsizing is an oft-touted way to cut costs substantially moving into retirement; however, we haven’t waited to take advantage of this retirement strategy. Instead, we worked hard to become mortgage free while still in our 30s. By putting a 40 percent downpayment on our home, using a 15-year rather than 30-year mortgage, and making extra payments – both our own as well as through a bi-weekly payment plan – we were able to build enough equity in our previous home so that we could downsize to a smaller place and purchase it outright.
If we can continue to maintain our mortgage-free status, we hope it will allow us to enter our golden years – where income could be lower and costs could be greater due to health and medical expenses – without the burden of a house payment.
Taking advantage of discounts
Seniors get all sorts of discounts. From movies and hotel room discounts, to lowered property taxes and reductions on transportation services, they are eligible for a variety of cost-cutting options. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to save for the rest of us younger folk.
Of course our family makes use of coupons, but not just the standard ones for name brands typically found in the weekly major newspapers. Rather, we also look in local papers and online for discounts to area retailers and restaurant. We also tend to do much of our shopping at discount groceries and retailers like Aldi and Wal-mart. And finally, we shop at our area resale shops to recognize discounts on all sorts of stuff like books, clothing, home goods, DVDs, and more.
Finding cheap entertainment
Many retirees look for forms of cheap entertainment since their incomes may be fixed and more limited compared to pre-retirement levels. We find that there’s no reason to wait until our golden years to find affordable entertainment.
Therefore, things like buying a family zoo pass (just over $100 annually for a family of four, plus free parking), going camping and canoeing, taking river and nature walks, visiting area parks and playgrounds, exploring new neighborhoods and towns, and even just talking walks around our own quaint little village have us finding affordable ways to entertain the whole family for just a few bucks or even for free.
So while retirement can be a great time to look for ways to save some cash, we aren’t waiting until our golden years to take advantage of certain money-saving retirement strategies.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.