I have a question for all the folks who are currently retired. How do you cut costs and save money in retirement?

I'm gathering savings tips for a story on The Penny Hoarder, so your responses may be included! Thanks in advance!

**Writer at The Penny Hoarder. All opinions expressed are my own and don't necessarily reflect the views of The Penny Hoarder.**

Original Post

I'm not yet retired but my husband is and makes less money now on pension, so here are some things we've done:

Continue to have money directly deposited into a savings account. Each month, EVERY month, regardless of how small the contribution. Try to increase the amount by 10% every year. Agree to not touch it unless it is an absolute emergency (e.g. new roof as opposed to taking a cruise). I also move money into a Christmas account every January for the years' taxes and insurances (out of sight, out of mind). Consider making your savings account digital-free, meaning that if you want to make a withdrawal, you have to do it old school by physically going to the bank. That in itself is a great deterrent. 

Consider lower risk investments; you may make less in interest, but there's less loss over the long run, too. I've been in a low-risk index fund for many years and still average around 8%, which isn't bad at all. Mutual funds are another good bet (Warren Buffet recommends them to everyone and if anyone knows anything about investing, he does). Also, diversify your investments and spread out the risk.

Eat out less... that extra $30 a week should go in to savings. $30 x 52 weeks = $1560!

Get rid of excess vehicles... we eliminated our 'spare' vehicle and now have just the 2, dropping our auto insurance by $200.

Downsize your nest. Our house is already pretty modest but if you don't need the extra bedrooms anymore, think about moving into a smaller house. Smaller means less taxes, utilities, upkeep, and heating and cooling. And it's a heck of a lot easier to keep clean!

And if you find yourself getting bored, get a part-time job doing something you really love... I've worked in IT my whole career but dream of a day when I can work PT doing anything that doesn't require computers

We paid off major debt before retirement, ie mortgage and vehicles. We pay off any credit cards monthly.  I think the best tool for myself has been tracking my spending for a few years before I retired (and continue to do this) so I could see where the money "fluff" was going. I started seriously eliminating or reducing the "fluff" upon retirement. 

Some of the "fluff" we've modified: junk foods from the grocery, restaurant meals, Starbucks, some Grandkid "fluff" is being reduced, too, and for me...staying out of the craft stores.  The latter goes along with a major attempt in using what we already have and reducing waste. I have always loved finding good deals in used clothing, accessories and furniture so we continue to shop thrifts, FB marketplace, ebay.

We both love movies so we do pay for both Netflix and Amazon Prime for streaming and find the annual fees to be a bargain compared to the cost of movie tickets.  We also attend a local live theater often where the events are amazingly talented.  Most of the events are between $15-$30 per ticket.  And we are fortunate to have a small university in our town, and any events open to the public are either free or a have nominal ticket price.  Sports, concerts, art exhibits, talks all available.

My partner is learning to do some handywork thanks to YouTube.  Most of the things have turned out well, but can't deny we had a few fails, nothing life threatening! He has the common sense to call in the pros when we should!

Cutting back on the "fluff" has allowed us to continue to putting money into savings, tho a little less than when we were working. 

The one expenditure we have not skimped on is health insurance. We pay top dollar for a Medicare supplement. It has paid for itself already and being able to continue is a, if not "the", major goal to help us keep our retirement funds solvent.

There are a lot of great old movies on Youtube, I pay YouTube premium to enjoy them without commercials. I am surprised how much cheaper it is to live in retirement.

Hello Gang!

This site was highly recommended by my dain law. She’s learning a lot and shared with me so I decided to join. Obviously I’m new to the group but wanted say hello.

I joined hoping to get financial tips so I can begin budgeting butter and start saving at least a little in case of emergencies on my limited income.

This year I’m hoping to cut the cable cord. I’ve been researching the best ways to go about it. I will still need internet. If anyone has suggestions I’m all ears. 

I recently paid off my vehicle so that has helped in many ways  I hate the thought of going to liability insurance but I’m going to use the company you suggested to get a quote so thank you for the link!

i look forward to a bright and VERY SUNNY 2020  




Sorry for the late reply, and thanks for sharing how you cut costs, @TekkieChikk@mintjulep and @John Everett! I'm sure your tips will be helpful to any new or soon-to-be retirees here in the community. 

@Sofie, welcome to the group! I personally cut cable a few years ago and have found I don't really miss it at all. I use Hulu to catch up on a few shows or to watch movies, but there are so many options out there. Services like Sling and Philo allow you to watch live TV, or you can watch movies and TV series on demand on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The key is nailing down just one or two apps to sign up for — otherwise all the individual bills for each service could add up to the cost of your old cable bill!

Loved all these practical comments! In addition to the above we purchased a book by Dave Ramsey. He strongly suggest paying off all credit cards, loans, house, etc  and having an emergency savings account.  He also advocates funding your own retirement instead of counting on pensions (not common) or the government.  My advice is watch your pennies and then the dollars will take care of them selves. Purchase (gently used)  clothes, cars, furniture, etc from yard sales, eBay, craigslist, Facebook posts etc. Compare auto and home insurance every six months for less expensive policies. We cut the cable and only watch things on the Fire Stick.  Never sign  a contract unless you have read it thoroughly and then wait for 3 days. Grow your own food if possible. Get chickens for free eggs. they are legal in many urban areas. Always cook at home with healthy ingredients to stave off future health issues.  Live simply (like your grandparents did) and don’t try to keep up with what commercial,  radio and TV will tell you that you need.  always stay vigilant of where your money is going. Don’t become lazy or slack.

I am looking forward to retiring May 2020. I love all the ideas and any suggestions  on better ways to save.

My wife and I are always looking for ways to save money. One of the biggest savers for us is our local library. We have been getting all our television series, movies, music and books for about 7 years and enjoying watching them in the comfort of our own home.. It costs us NOTHING to do this. We have seen all the Academy Award winning films, block busters and oldies. When you consider the cost of an outing to see a movie and what we have saved, it is pretty remarkable. We order everything on line and the library emails us when it comes in for pick-up. We normally have 7 days to keep it and can renew it online if needed. The library is a 5 minute drive from our home. I would recommend to those that enjoy staying in to check out their local library and see if they offer the same service.

We have trimmed our food bills down by only shopping coupon items. We plan our weekly menu around what is on sale for that week. 

I have been cutting my own hair and coloring and cutting my wife's hair for over 20 years and have saved a bundle doing this. Being self trained in this art I am thankful when my wife is complimented on her hair.

These are just a few things that we have found for ourselves where it makes a huge impact on saving money.

@Palmer Your wife is brave letting you cut her hair!  Good work, I'm sure!  I've not taken that step yet, however I cut my partner's hair with electric trimmer/clippers and it passes muster with him. 

And ditto on the library. I've only used it for books either hard copies or audio books, but one branch is just 5 min from our home and it's so easy to order it thru the library app and pick it up, usually just a day or 2 later unless it's a best seller, then I may have to wait a few weeks.  If I ever get another tablet, I will download library books, but right now I hate reading a book on my cell phone.

Our library also has book sales every week allowing one to stuff a plastic grocery bag as full as you can get. We only pay $3/bag because we belong to that branch's "Friends of the Library" a one time fee of $25.  Otherwise the bag is $5. It's mostly paperbacks that have seen their better days. When we are done reading them, we pass them along to friends and family readers, or we donate them back to the library to re-sell.  They also offer DVD movies and music in their sales.

@ Lorrie F Great tips!! You are surely a Penny Hoarder! You mention something we are very guilty of not doing and that is reviewing our insurance policies often. I hate doing it and trying to get new quotes, mainly because I don't really understand what we coverage is best for us.  I think we are over-insured as a result! 

Great tips for saving day to day!  I'm hoping to retire this year and my biggest financial fear is that once I'm on a truly fixed income, should I need to dive into my emergency fund, how difficult it will be to ever rebuild it?

Think of how you started to build an emergency fund to begin with.  Consistent deposits into that fund, however small, will build it up again.  If possible, consider working PT temporarily to build the fund again.  Tighten your belt with expenditures if need be to accommodate those deposits.  Check back regularly for some of the GREAT tips that have already been posted.  Good luck!

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