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9 ways to cut your retirement spending now

Written by:
January 17, 2023

Cutting retirement spending isn't easy. According to the National Council on Aging, retired Americans outspend their annual income by just over $4,000. With inflation affecting everything from basic needs to leisure activities, reducing your retirement spending is more important than ever.

Luckily, you have plenty of options to reduce your monthly expenses in retirement. These strategies can help keep more money in your pocket without sacrificing your quality of life.

1. Downsize

The average monthly cost of housing for retirees was $1,455 in 2021 – a cost that eats up 90% of the average Social Security benefit. Downsizing to a smaller home can lower your housing expense and save you money on utilities, insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs.

2. Sell a vehicle

Two vehicles may not be necessary if you’re no longer commuting to work. Selling a car can allow you to eliminate some of the costs of vehicle ownership, such as gas, auto repairs, and insurance.

3. Be mindful of energy use

Installing a solar panel or automatic lights can help lower expenses and help the environment at the same time. A programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature while you’re sleeping or away from home could save 10% on energy costs.

4. Stay healthy

Being active and keeping up on preventative care can go a long way to saving money in retirement. Here are a few healthy habits you can adopt to help avoid high medical bills:

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Move every day
  • Stay socially connected
  • Wash your hands often
  • Brush and floss regularly
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet

5. Revisit your insurance policies

Many people keep the same policies year after year. Even though it takes time, reviewing your car, health, and life insurance policies and shopping around to find a better value could save you $1,000s annually.

Related: What you need to know about Medicare open enrollment

6. Travel in the off-season

Traveling is high on the list of priorities for many retirees. If you’re planning to travel, consider visiting during the off-season. Some destinations offer deals on airfare and hotel rooms during non-peak times.

7. Take advantage of senior discounts

You may not be able to use a senior discount for every purchase, but you can take advantage of them when available. Popular discounts include:

  • Restaurants (Denny’s, IHOP, Applebee’s)
  • Retailers (Amazon Prime, Kohl’s)
  • Grocery stores (Fred Meyer, Hy-Vee)
  • Hotels (Best Western, Choice Hotels, Marriott)
  • Car rentals (Avis, Thrifty, Hertz)
  • Airlines (British Airways, JetBlue, United Airlines)
  • Museums, parks, and historical sites (Ticketmaster, Art Institute of Chicago)
  • Cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean)
  • Health (AARP prescription savings, LensCrafters, Rite Aid, Walgreens)

8. Reduce debt

The average American aged 56 to 74 has $96,984 in debt. Paying it down can save you money in interest and fees. First, take extra care not to add more debt. Then, find another income stream, downsize, or use your home equity to reduce your debt and lower expenses.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you’re struggling with expenses in retirement, you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Financial planners can review your finances, spending habits, and insurance policies. Then, they can use their expertise to offer suggestions to reduce your monthly bills.

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