As a retiree, these are the days that you have been waiting for. You have likely envisioned fun-filled days enjoying your favorite pastimes during your well-deserved retirement. Now that you have the time to do the things you were once too busy for, there is also time to explore how to stretch those hard-earned dollars set aside for retirement.
Don’t miss out on some simple dollar-pinching strategies to preserve your financial resources during retirement.
Top 10 Plans for Getting the Most Out of Your Retirement Budget
- Low-cost senior resource options: Don’t forget to check out your local community room, church and library to pick up a good book, e-book, movie or craft to borrow or share rather than paying the higher cost of buying or renting. These locations are also great places to meet other seniors and find classes or events at low or no cost.
- Pay it in advance: Check with all of your regular payees and determine which ones accept reduced rates with up-front payment options or will offer discounts for annual billing. The initial up-front cost might not be easy on the wallet but the overall savings may help you stretch those funds.
- A charge card that works for you: Look into which charge cards will pay you back for using it. There are options that you can consider which not only offer low-interest rates but will provide you with reward points, discounts and even cash back. Using that card for your everyday purchases, especially the big ones, may help you pay for that vacation getaway you’ve been dreaming of or just pay for a regular expense.
- Put a dent in your utility bill: A couple of easy cost-saving tips for your monthly utility expenses can really make a positive impact on your overall costs. Consider automatic programming of air conditioning or heat for comfort as well as sensibility. You may not need the same temperature at night or when you are out of the house. Additional money saving options are to simply adjust your hot water heater temperature and to conserve your water usage by not continually running it while washing dishes, bathing or brushing your teeth. Don’t forget cold water as an option for washing clothes, dryer balls in the dryer to reduce drying time and consider air drying. As your current light bulbs burn out, switch them for LED bulbs, unplug appliances when not in use, change HVAC filters monthly, use room fans if you have them and keep your home sealed tight.
- Check that label: You might be surprised at how many name brand items have a store named option with the same quality yet better priced. Whether it be food, pharmacy, personal hygiene, cleaning products or paper goods, your grocer or big-box store may have the best choice. Also, be sure to take a look online before you head out the door as many retailers are offering competitive online pricing for many options.
- Health insurance options: It is known that exploring open enrollment for Medicare can be a daunting task, however it is worth your time to check into which option may truly save you money without jeopardizing the healthcare that you need and deserve.
- Talk can be cheap: Most seniors are now taking advantage of owning a cell phone. Consider your needs and the potential savings of losing the landline if you own a cell phone. Compare provider rates for what you need and use; texting, minutes and data. Not everyone needs an unlimited data plan so be sure you don’t overbuy services that you may not use.
- Senior-friendly options: Sometimes being flexible pays such as taking advantage of the many restaurant offerings for specials to seniors on certain days of the week, times of the day or associated with particular memberships. AARP has their own Top 10 list to check into including Places to Ask for a Senior Discount.
- Drink it simple: Simply put, water is the best option for your health and for your wallet. If you have clean water available to you, choose to drink it. Unless you are on a restriction, enjoy great hydration at a great cost. If you are looking for a little variety give it a healthy twist with an infusion of your favorite fruit.
- Florida Homestead Exemption option: If you own your home, reside there permanently and are a Florida resident as of January 1, you may qualify for Homestead Exemption. Homestead can reduce your taxable value on your home as much as $50,000, saving you approximately $750 annually. Homestead exemption applications must be filed with the county Property Appraiser by March 1st of the tax year for which the exemption is sought.
Another where-you-live consideration for getting the most out of your retirement budget may be an Independent Living or Assisted Living Community. Depending upon your lifestyle, social preferences, care needs and financial circumstances you may find a more sensibly-priced option not to mention enhancing your safety and quality of lifestyle during your retirement.