20 Easy Ways to Save Money in Retirement

Modern Seniors in the Cinema


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Modern Seniors in the Cinema

Paring Down

Many people spend their entire adult lives looking forward to the freedom of retirement, yet when the time finally comes, saying goodbye to one's steady source of income can be scary. Whether you're already retired or just planning ahead, you can mitigate some of the financial worries by whittling down expenses with the following tips.

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Become a One-Car Household

Many retired couples don't need the two cars they once did to commute to and from work. Selling a second vehicle can bring in several thousand dollars immediately, while also saving on car-note payments, insurance, and the next few years' maintenance costs.

Related: 15 Popular Cars for Drivers Over 50

Public Transportation

Use Public Transportation

Another option: Retired couples can sell all their vehicles and rely on public transit, provided health officials deem it safe and they live somewhere with enough coverage. There's almost always a senior discount for regional transit services in major urban areas — New York, for example, has a MetroCard for riders over 65 that charges less than half the standard fare. For longer distances, Amtrak has a senior discount of 10% on most rail fares on most of its trains.

Related: Unexpectedly Awesome Places to Retire Across America

Club Memberships

Take Advantage of Club Membership Discounts

AARP is but one of many organizations seniors can join for a small fee to save bundles in the long term. A membership with AAA provides access to roadside assistance as well as discounts on car rental, vacations, dining, and other services. In addition to cheap bulk groceries and other goods, Costco also offers vacation and car rental deals. But don't spend money to join unless you know you'll actually use the discounts. 

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Spend Less on Clothing

No one dictates how you dress in retirement. Employees who spend hundreds each year maintaining a suitable wardrobe for work can finally stop spending money on clothes they may no longer want or need. Plus, ditching one's business wear may also mean never spending another cent at the dry cleaners.

Related: 51 Clothing Brands That Are Still Made in America

Life Insurance

Consider a Less Expensive Life Insurance Policy

The chief purpose of life insurance is to replace one's income to ensure the financial security of dependents in the event of a death. Since most retirees have no dependents or employment income, life insurance isn't necessary, except maybe to cover funeral costs. This requires only a small policy, instead of the bigger, more-expensive policies required pre-retirement.

Senior African-American man hiking, with camera

Save on Travel Expenses

Not many people are going anywhere these days. But for many folks, retirement means traveling to make up for all the years spent working, and usually retirees can save on often-expensive travel costs by taking advantage of discounts for seniors on flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. Book lodging and tours in person or over the phone to inquire about senior discounts, or check AARP for frequent deals on vacation packages and specific services.

Cultural Experiences

Take Advantage of Discounts at Cultural Activities

Most museums across the nation offer discounted ticket prices for seniors. Most movie theaters and repertory theaters do the same, making it easier for retirees to spend less while devoting more time to the arts. AARP members can enjoy a 20% savings on tickets at Regal cinemas.


Enjoy Free or Low-Cost Educational Opportunities

Every state has at least one institution offering free or reduced-cost classes for senior citizens, while 21 states have tuition waivers that eliminate the costs entirely for students 50 and older who meet certain requirements. Either way, it's surprisingly easy for seniors to find institutions across the nation where they can continue to learn and expand horizons into their golden years for free.


Cook at Home More Often

Being retired means there's almost never a need to buy takeout at lunchtime. In retirement, seniors can devote their days to picking up old hobbies or learning new ones. One of the most cost-effective and rewarding activities to take up would be cooking, since buying one's own groceries is much cheaper than paying for food at restaurants. Even brewing coffee at home instead of picking up Starbucks can save a small chunk of money each month. Note, too, though that many restaurants (including classics such as Denny's and IHOP) offer senior discounts.

Related: 25 Easy Recipes With Only 3 Ingredients


Manage and Reduce Debt

Debt can follow one around their entire life. Don't let it keep happening in retirement, too. The wisest way to retire is debt- and mortgage-free, so no amount of retirement savings should be spent on paying off old possessions. Costs only accrue the longer one waits, so it's best to manage debts now to ensure a more financially stable retirement.

Property Taxes

Save on Property Taxes

Every state has some sort of property-tax benefit for seniors, although the eligibility age varies. Several states have programs that freeze property taxes completely for seniors, and 10 limit how much a property's tax value can increase. Also, the homestead exemption can be larger when a homeowner reaches a certain age. (The larger the exemption, the lower the tax.) In Colorado, seniors 65 and older can exempt up to 50% of their residence's first $200,000 in value.

Close up of unrecognizable senior man holding glass of red wine.

Cut Down On or Eliminate Vices

This can be a difficult one. Surveys show more than half of Americans spend a lot of their money on "guilty pleasures" such as gambling, alcohol, or fast food. Cutting down on one's vices — whether that will mean skipping the bar or just grilling a burger at home instead of ordering from McDonald's — is a surprisingly effective and healthy way to cut monthly expenditures. You may not even need them as much once relieved from the stresses of a 40-hour workweek.


Ditch the Landline

If yours is one of the few households that still contain a landline, retirement may finally be the time to eliminate this recurring expense once and for all. As long as you can get passable cellphone reception at home, there's no reason to spend anywhere from $15 to $75 on something as unnecessary as a home phone.

Related: The 7 Best Cell Phones for Seniors


Take Advantage of Senior Discounts for Cable

Though they aren't always widely publicized, most cable companies provide special senior discounts that can be obtained by speaking with a company representative. Alternately, retirement could be the right time to cut the cord entirely, so you can spend less time and money on TV and more on other hobbies.

Health Insurance Costs
Bill Oxford/istockphoto

Save on Health Insurance Costs

Health insurance is one expense that can change dramatically when you retire, and being unaware of Medicare's rules is a serious pitfall to be avoided. One tip: Those who retire after age 65 can avoid spending extra by enrolling in Medicare within eight months of ending their employment. Otherwise, they risk losing eligibility and coverage, and face suffering up to a 10% late-enrollment penalty.

Car Insurance

Keep Your Car Insurance Rate Low

Auto insurance rates are known to rise as drivers become less dependable in old age, but seniors can maintain or even lower their rates by inquiring about mature-driver discounts, which generally require attending defensive-driving courses. The courses can cost as little as $15 in some locations, but are good for three years and save an average $61 annually.

Recreational Licenses

Find Discounts on Recreational Licenses

Most states make it easier for seniors to enjoy the outdoors by offering discounts on passes to state parks, in addition to hunting and fishing licenses. Check your state's policies to see whether these recreational licenses are cheaper for seniors or entirely free.

Gym Membership
Pollyana Ventura/istockphoto

Cut out the Gym Membership

A membership can be a convenient way to keep in shape if hectic work hours leave little time to get outside. But there's no excuse to keep paying monthly fees once you have near-unlimited free time to walk, jog, or bike around the neighborhood — all rewarding, mostly free forms of outdoor exercise that do more to maintain mental and physical health than indoor workouts.

Related: The Biggest Exercise Mistakes You Can Make After Age 50


Downsize Your Home

Giving up a longtime home may be difficult, but downsizing from the old family abode to something more suitable in size will make an enormous dent in expenses by lowering monthly payments and maintenance costs. Selling old furniture can bring in money to cover moving expenses, and a smaller home in a more affordable area will also shave away property taxes. 

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