One of the greatest threats to your financial security in retirement is your spending. Retirees often have time on their hands and they sometimes fill that time by emptying their pockets and ruining their credit score. Cutting spending has to be your focus if you want to have a retirement life free of money worries. Here are five unconventional ways to reduce spending in retirement:
1. Walk. With gas prices bumping up against $5 a gallon, you’ll save some money if you start walking. But that’s not why I’m suggesting you put on your sneakers and start using them. Walking keeps you healthy, which cuts down on expensive medications and doctor visits. It is also a free social activity. Many retirees look for ways to stay connected with friends and do so by going out to lunch or taking trips to the mall to go shopping. Walk outside instead. You’ll get some fresh air, keep healthier, and socialize all without spending a penny or worrying about your budget.
2. Read. Reading is an activity that exercises your mind. It keeps you sharp and it gives you something to talk about with friends. Like walking, it’s something you can do instead of going shopping and it’s free if you get your books at the library.
3. Volunteer. When you volunteer, you help someone other than yourself. By doing so, you’re also likely to feel better about yourself. And there’s a bonus: The time you spend helping a child learn to read or helping an elderly person find transportation to the doctor is time when you can’t spend money.
4. Write. Whether you write stories, a blog, or your memoir, it can be a wonderful feeling when your inner-self can be expressed on the page. You can later share what you create with others or write stories or memories down for your grandchildren. This is time spent finding value within yourself rather than looking for value in something external that you don’t need, but think you want.
5. Work. When you continue to work you generally serve a function to society and you get paid for it. Plus, you get to interact with other people, maybe socialize after work, and are too busy during that time to spend. Look for opportunities to be with others where you can be productive without spending money.
Many retirees spend too much money because they don’t have these natural opportunities to interact with others for free. As a result, they spend money to go shopping or dine out to be social. But when you keep busy doing any of these free activities, you won’t be spending money. You’ll be spending time getting lots of satisfaction for free.
Neal Frankle is a certified financial planner and runs Wealth Pilgrim, a personal finance blog that helps people make smart decisions about their money. As a start, he suggests that you strive to understand your credit score range.