When you retire from your day job, what do you have more now than ever? Unfortunately, it's not money because your paychecks will stop coming. Instead, you will have a lot of free time, which is almost as valuable as money.
Many retirees have a jarring transition from working 40 or more hours per week to having a free schedule. It can be difficult to cope with this newfound freedom. Retirees who take up new hobbies can end up spending more money than if they were sitting in an office earning a paycheck. There are endless expensive activities like sailing, golfing, antique collecting, shopping, international travel, and more.
On the other hand, a retiree can spend some of that free time to save money. When we are working, we pay for services and conveniences because we don't have time to do things ourselves. Here are some ways to save money in retirement:
Yard work. Instead of paying for a gardener to mow your lawn, how about working on your own yard? Gardening is great exercise and you can even grow your own vegetables. What you grow yourself is more fresh and nutritious than what you might find at a grocery store. Many cities now allow chickens, honey bee hives, and even goats within city limits, if you ever want to expand into livestock.
Food and dining. Learn to cook and you can prepare great healthy meals every day instead of eating out. When you are working, it's much more convenient to buy lunch and dinner when things are hectic. With more time, you can prepare gourmet meals for dinner and invite company over instead of overspending when going out to a restaurant.
Vacation. Spend the extra time to shop for great deals. Many of the best deals are mid-week travel and travel during off-peak seasons. Now that you are retired, you can leave town anytime you want.
Home improvement and repairs. Install a hardwood floor yourself instead of hiring it out. Painting, decking, and many other small tasks and large projects can be done yourself if you have time and patience.
Transportation. Bike and walk to your destinations instead of driving. These are great forms of exercise that will help keep you healthy and allow you to save on gasoline.
Reading material. Read books, magazines, and newspapers from the library instead of buying them. Libraries also allow you to check out DVDs and CDs. It usually takes longer to get new releases than rentals, but what’s your hurry? You’re retired.
Entertainment. There will be plenty of leisure time to search for free events and entertainment in your neighborhood. In bigger cities, there are many festivals throughout the year. You can also find free shows from programs such as Free Night of Theater and via contests.
Make your own cleaning products. There are many products that can be made organically at home such as soap, laundry detergent, and window cleaner. With the time you now have, you can experiment with different recipes. You not only save money, but also benefit the environment by not using harmful chemicals.
As you can see, there are a plethora of ways to trade your free time for more savings. However, it's best to be financially secure before you head into retirement, so making use of free time can be a choice rather than a necessity.
Joe Udo is planning an exit strategy from his corporate job by reducing expenses and increasing passive income. He blogs about his journey to early retirement at Retire by 40.