January 5, 2022 — With inflation going up and just about everything getting more expensive, retirement is getting even more difficult than ever. So the beginning of the year seems like a great time to come up with some ideas to help everyone spread their income a little further, possibly even increasing it, and not forgetting to have fun and enjoy life.
Some of the best ideas we have ever seen have come from Topretirements Members. Two previous articles (see Further Reading at end) generated over 200 Comments with many great suggestions. So in this article we provide some broad based tips, then encourage you to go over the Comments already made and mine them for things that could help improve your budget outlook.
Nextavenue.org recently profiled a couple, Joan and Steve Reid, who retired and moved from the affluent New York City suburb of Pearl River, N.Y., to Vero Beach on Florida’s East Coast. They had a very limited budget, $30,000, most of which was from Social Security and some small pensions. By attending to the basics the couple was able live surprisingly well in a great Florida town. We love their attitude, shown best by a quote from Joan: “We are not rich except in friendships, our art, our families and our souls” .
They had no savings or investments, and about $4000 in credit card debt. Looking at their expenses, the apartment rent was less than $1000 per month. They drove an older model car. They eschewed restaurants for the most part, opting instead for home cooking or a picnic in the park. It is not hard to imagine that there are many people like them in the same situation – existing mostly on Social Security with no savings. Sometimes people make poor decisions, but many other times they are victims of bad luck , poor investments, early retirements, family difficulties, or unplanned early retirements. Ours is not to judge, merely to to suggest ways to improve the situation.
Here are some other basic tips to consider:
Move to a less expensive city, state, or neighborhood
Ditch the cable
Use your local library and free cultural resources
Find the least expensive cell phone plan
Drive an older car, or live where you don’t need one
Don’t use a credit card unless it’s an emergency. Or if you do, choose the one with the best rewards and never carry a balance
Find a part time job that you enjoy
Find a bank that doesn’t charge for a checking account
Camp or stay with friends on your vacations, or go off season. Get a National Parks Pass.
Barter for basic services whenever you can
Don’t eat out unless it’s a real deal
Sell your unwanted stuff. Craigslist can be amazing, if you are careful
Look for discounts (AARP, AAA, etc.) – but don’t buy anything unless you need it
For further reading: (check out the hundreds of comments in these Blog posts!)
Comments: What are your best tips for living in style on a shoestring budget? Please share your tips and ideas in the Comments section below.