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Retirement is a time to put many worries behind you. Say goodbye to the rat race and hello to a life lived at your pace and on your schedule.
But retirement also raises new concerns. After decades of earning a steady paycheck, the flow of new cash is likely to slow to a trickle. In fact, money worries often leap immediately to the fore once you give up your 9-to-5 gig.
Fortunately, there are things you can do in retirement to cut expenses and pad your bottom line. Here are seven.
Become a one-car household
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The average new car costs almost $8,500 annually to run, maintain and insure, according to AAA. That’s a lot of cash.
But it can also be a ton of money saved if you are one-half of a retired couple who downsize from two cars to one. After all, how often do you and your partner use a car at the same time for different errands?
Downsize your living quarters
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When you are raising a family, it seems like you never have enough space at home. Once the kids have flown the nest, that same house can suddenly feel quite cavernous.
A bigger home also comes larger costs. There is more to maintain, insure, heat and cool. Your tax bill is likely to be larger as well.
Moving to a smaller home allows you to trim these costs, and to cut back on your ecological footprint. Now might be a great time to make the move, with home prices near record highs in many markets. Cash in and sink those profits into more modest living quarters.
Sell things on eBay and Amazon
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Recently, CNBC profiled a man who has made millions of dollars buying items at stores like Walmart and reselling them on Amazon.
While $1 million might be a stretch for you, there is nothing stopping you from making extra cash each month by selling things online at sites such as eBay or Amazon. Most experts recommend starting by selling things around the home that you no longer want or need.
Once you make a few sales — and feel the accompanying thrill that goes with making relatively easy cash — educate yourself on additional ways to sell at eBay, Amazon and other sites.
For more tips on making cash, check out “20 Ways to Make Extra Money in Retirement.”
Freelancing or consulting
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For a lot of workers, retirement is all about having your own schedule. Others simply loathe the daily commute or being stuck in a soul-stealing office for eight to 10 hours.
If you are among those who love work, but hate the trappings that surround it, consider adding a little freelancing or consulting to your daily routine. Start by working your contacts to find opportunities. You can also try websites such as Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelance services.
Then, take on as much — or as little — work as you see fit. For more tips, check out “11 Keys to a Successful Freelance Career.”
Travel during off-peak times
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Take advantage of that wide-open retirement schedule to plan vacations for times of the year when you can get the best price.
For example, avoid traveling during the holidays if you can. A CheapAir.com study found that people who travel during the holiday season pay 50 percent more than those who travel at other times.
For more tips, check out “14 Super Smart Ways to Save on Travel.”
Delay your Social Security payments
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When you were working, you (hopefully) saved money each year for retirement. Doing so required you to accept the short-term pain of not spending right away. The tradeoff was the long-term gain of having a nest egg you could draw on in retirement.
With any luck, you are now reaping the rewards of your willingness to delay gratification all those years. If so, consider repeating the process again by delaying your Social Security payments.
For each year past your full retirement age that you delay Social Security payments through the age of 70, you can increase the amount of your benefit by up to 8 percent annually, according to the Social Security Administration.
Even better, your Social Security benefit is adjusted for inflation each year. That trumps just about any annuity money can buy.
Now, before you employ the strategy of delaying Social Security, understand that the “increase” in your benefit can be a bit misleading. As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has pointed out:
The government doesn’t reward you for waiting or penalize you for starting early. They’re simply attempting to pay you what you’re owed over your lifetime. Doing that requires smaller checks for a longer period if you take it early, or larger ones for a shorter period if you wait.
For more on the pros and cons of delaying Social Security benefits, check out “Ask Stacy: Do I Really Need to Wait Until Age 70 to Collect Social Security?”
Take advantage of senior discounts
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America is the land that celebrates eternal youth. For that reason, many people stubbornly cling to the delusion that they will never really age.
And living such a fantasy is just fine. The USA is also the land of freedom of choice.
But those of us who have a slightly better grip on reality are only too happy to accept that our golden years have arrived — and with them, senior discounts. Once you reach the age of 50, you can sign up for AARP and reap the many benefits of membership. But don’t stop there. Many other price breaks are available.
For more, check out:
- “You Don’t Have to Be Anywhere Near 65 to Score ‘Senior’ Discounts“
- “8 Great Discounts That Begin at Age 62“
- “7 Great Travel Discounts That Begin at Age 62“
Do you have additional tips for cutting costs during retirement? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
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