The thought of retirement can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Not only are you preparing for the future, but you also have to figure out how you’re going to support yourself financially. If you start saving as soon as possible, your retirement fund will be able to grow over time, giving you more money to use when you’re no longer earning an income from work.
Here are top tips for saving money in retirement so you can retire early, comfortably, and free from debt.
Have Home Cooked Meals
Eating healthy food at home saves you time and money. Compared to eating out, meal preparation at home can save lots of money per year—and that’s not even counting saved time (which also saves energy). Eating at home also helps reduce food waste, a global problem—30% of all food produced globally ends up in a landfill! Besides helping lower your carbon footprint, cooking meals at home regularly can help make sure your future self doesn’t become overweight or obese. Overweight people are more likely to suffer from health issues in retirement like heart disease and diabetes. Studies have found that obese older adults were more likely to die before age 65 than their normal-weight counterparts.
Sell Your Extra Stuff
Your attic may be filled with stuff you no longer need, and selling it could earn you some extra cash for retirement. If you’re looking to make a few hundred dollars, try selling your possessions on websites like Craigslist or eBay. However, if you’re hoping to make thousands of dollars off your old books and records, you might want to consult a professional; an antiques expert can provide an unbiased opinion on what your stuff is worth and help you get top dollar.
Enjoy Senior Discounts
Senior discounts are an easy way to save money. Retailers, movie theaters, and restaurants often have these kinds of discounts for you. Check with your local businesses to see if they offer a discount program—it could be worth it! If you’re still working and have Medicare, consider signing up for Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs). These plans help cover medication costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for, like vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and those deemed lifestyle drugs (like birth control or Viagra). In some cases, PDPs can even lower your out-of-pocket costs. They aren’t as comprehensive as Medigap insurance plans, but several private insurers may work with your specific needs.
Pay Off Existing Debts
A key to ensuring your retirement plans are a success is eliminating any personal debt you may have accrued during your lifetime. It’s easier said than done, but it’s critical to ensure you don’t end up working until you die or spending all of your savings paying off credit cards. According to a report by Credit Karma, 30% of Americans have no money saved for senior living. Don’t let yourself be part of that statistic; if the debt is holding you back from retirement savings, find a way to pay it off before planning and saving for your future.
Collect Reward Cards
Collecting reward cards is a great way to save money on purchases you will make anyway. Target and Walmart, for example, offer gift cards with 5% or more off certain items when you use your rewards card at checkout. This helps you save even more on all of those household items that are so expensive! Plus, many credit card companies also offer reward programs for their cards – it’s worth exploring them.
Slash Your Property Taxes
Property taxes can easily take a big bite out of your retirement income and can be tricky to reduce. But there are steps you can take now to ensure you have plenty of money left over for non-property tax-related things when you retire, like traveling or continuing your education. The key is to get educated about how property taxes work and how you might benefit from strategic tax planning—particularly in states that allow senior citizen exemptions or special property tax brackets. If you’re not sure where to start with slashing your property taxes, ask an accountant for help.