Worried about finances in your retirement? Get money-saving tips and advice on affordable splurges from this recent retiree.
Posted in , Nov 10, 2016
When I retired seven months ago, I realized I faced the greatest financial challenge of my life. Not only did I suddenly have a fixed income; I also developed a multitude of expensive health issues and was forced to address several costly problems at my home.
But God never leaves us, even, and most especially, when we live alone. As I prayed for guidance (Quick!), He showed me I didn’t have to merely survive. I could actually thrive in this new stage of life. I’m hoping what I’ve learned will help you, too.
1. Put God first. At the risk of giving pat answers and Band-Aid solutions, the most valuable advice other retirees offered me was to pray. God isn’t our last resort. He’s our first resource. He promises to help us to stretch those dollars if we only ask Him. In fact, He loves to do so.
2. Study your spending habits. Keep a journal of where your money goes for a month. Review your credit card statements and check register for the past year. Use that information to identify to help you make wise choices about where you spend your money now.
3. Plan your travels. Rather than driving here and there for errands, make a list of where you need to go and order your trips so you aren’t zigzagging about town. Many folks believe that GPS is a cost-prohibitive expenditure. But I’ve found that GPS actually saves me an incredible amount of gas money and time.
4. Share money-saving tips with other retirees. You’ll learn invaluable strategies and decrease your sense of isolation, too. One new retiree taught me about smart couponing. It can save you an amazing amount of cash.
5. Discover simple pleasures. Life doesn’t have to be about world travel, designer clothes, and costly gifts. A particular brand of gel pens brings me considerable joy so I always have a couple with me. When someone comments on my pretty green or purple ink, I sometimes offer them a pen. The surprised look on their face at the spontaneous present is more than worth the couple of bucks invested. And giving always provides a sense of abundance.
6. Rethink costly rituals. I used to send an expensive floral arrangement when someone dear passed away. But retirement forced me to take a second look at that practice. Now I go for a more creative approach.
Last week when a friend lost her beloved mother, I wrapped a pretty bottle she can later use on her dresser and included the Scriptural promise from Psalms 56:8: “You’ve collected my tears in your bottle.” My friend was delighted at such a personal expression of sympathy and that gift didn’t break the bank.
7. Market a skill you possessed during your working days. If you were a picture hanger, do a little work here and there. Or barter your wallpapering talent with a friend who can sew a fine seam.
8. Check out the cost of your medications. To my great surprise, I learned it was actually much cheaper to purchase one of my prescriptions from my local pharmacy than through my mail order plan.
9. Reassess your wardrobe. You no longer need a bulging closet full of work clothes. Develop a signature streamlined style—mine is button-down oxford shirts and leggings with a fun piece of jewelry. And locate a good tailor to ensure a perfect fit on finds from a consignment shop.
10. Check your insurance plans. When I purchased my homeowner’s insurance from the same company as my auto insurance, I saved a whopping amount of money. And while you’re at it, make sure your insurance plans actually reflect your needs.
11. Take care of maintenance issues with your home as they occur. Waiting will not make them go away. They will only grow more severe and costly with time.
12. Take advantage of over-55 discounts. See if your grocery store has discount days for seniors. Check out lunch specials instead of going out to dinner. Always ask if businesses offer senior savings.
As you reimagine your new life, you may well find many unanswered questions and unquestioned answers. Be open to everything. God will reward you with His far-reaching abundance.
Did you enjoy this story? Subscribe to Guideposts magazine.