12 Simple Ways To Save Money in Retirement

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Retired friends
PeopleImages.com – Yuri A / Shutterstock.com

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.

Adjusting to a fixed income in retirement can be a challenge — especially if you’re living off less money.

Just because you stopped working doesn’t mean you stop paying bills and buying groceries. If you’re planning vacations or trips to the golf course, those are extra costs to budget for, too.

“You could easily spend more money (in retirement) because you have more time you want to enjoy,” Droucelle Ramage, a self-described frugal retiree, told The Penny Hoarder.

Ramage said shopping at thrift stores, attending free community events and choosing community acupuncture rather than going to a pricey private practice has helped her keep expenses low.

Volunteering at her church and local senior center has kept Ramage busy without spending money. When she travels, she’s able to get free flights — a benefit of working for American Airlines for over 20 years.

Knowing how to cut costs is key to having a frugal retirement you can enjoy. Here are ways to save money in retirement.

1. Get a Roommate or Two

three senior men white african american asian elder older Group Of Senior Retirement Discussion
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Loneliness in retirement can have a negative effect on your health and quality of life. Not only will live-in company help you feel less alone, but you’ll also reduce housing costs.

If you live alone, try sharing a place with a friend or family member or consider living with other retirees to save money.

2. Downsize to a Smaller Space

senior hippies living in RV
simona pilolla 2 / Shutterstock.com

Maybe your idea of a frugal retirement doesn’t include sharing your living space. You can cut costs by moving to a smaller home instead.

A smaller house, tiny house or RV has several financial benefits. You’ll pay less in rent or mortgage. Your utility bills will go down. You’ll have less home maintenance and repairs to worry about.

And when you downsize, you can sell all that furniture you don’t need for extra cash.

3. Rent Out Your Kids’ Old Rooms

Senior landlord
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If you don’t want to sell the family home or get long-term roommates, you can make money off your empty nest by turning unused space into short-term rentals.

Your kids can get their rooms back when they visit for the holidays — or you could make them pay the daily rate.

This guide on how to become an Airbnb host will get you started.

4. Cut the Cost of Groceries

Older man with shopping basket
Ljupco-Smokovski / Shutterstock.com

Slashing your grocery spending is a high-impact way to help you have a frugal retirement.

Clip coupons, find ways to reduce food waste, buy generic products, start a garden and shop at stores that boast low prices, like Aldi or Trader Joe’s.

There are also ways to spend less on produce — like joining a community-supported agriculture program — to help you eat healthy for less.

You can also try the opposite approach and put more money back in your pocket when you shop. A free app called Fetch Rewards lets you upload your grocery receipts and earn points toward big name gift cards.

Bonus: When you feel like eating out, read up on these 26 ways to save money at restaurants.

5. Save Money on Health Care

insurance costs, health care, aca, obamacare
zenstock / Shutterstock.com

Health care costs will likely be your biggest expense in retirement. At age 65, you become eligible for Medicare. It’s not free — the standard Part B premium alone is $174.70 per month for 2024.

But you can still have a frugal retirement without compromising your health.

Here’s how to save money on eyeglasses and vision costs, score affordable hearing aids and find free dental work for seniors on Medicare.

Have Health Care Questions?

woman sitting on floor by exercise ball.
Rocketclips, Inc. / Shutterstock.com

Have questions about Medicare? Or wondering if a different plan could save you money?

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, is a national network of trained nonprofit volunteers who provide one-on-one counseling and education to Medicare beneficiaries. The best part: All SHIP services are free. You can find the number for your state here.

Use prescription drug cards and apps like GoodRx to save money if you’re an early retiree who’s not eligible for Medicare yet.

Exercise is another important part of health. A cheap gym membership or a home gym that costs under $100 can help boost your wellness.

6. Find Low-Cost Entertainment and Ways To Stay Social

Retired friends on the beach
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

Keep busy in retirement without emptying your wallet.

Fill your social calendar up by volunteering with your favorite nonprofit, hosting potluck dinners with friends or starting a murder mystery book club. Check out free offerings at your library, like sign language classes or museum passes.

Turn to this list of 100 free things to do when boredom hits.

Volunteering is a great way to give back without spending money. It might even come with neat perks, like free entry to a play when you usher at a theater.

7. Save Money on That Bucket List Trip

Happy retirees
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

You can have a frugal retirement and travel. It just requires some smart planning and perhaps a bit of compromise — like avoiding the peak tourist season or driving instead of flying.

These travel tips will help you keep costs low.

8. Take Advantage of Discounts

A happy older shopper takes advantage of senior discounts
LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

Don’t be shy about sharing your age when it’ll result in sweet discounts.

Dozens of companies — from retailers and restaurants to airlines and hotels — offer lower prices for seniors. Some offer discounts to customers as young as 50.

9. Continue Your Education for Free

Senior man in a cap and gown
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

All across the country, there are opportunities for seniors to take free or cheap college courses. Be a lifelong learner and take a class in a subject you’ve always wanted to know more about.

10. Shop Secondhand

Couple in a thrift store
View Apart / Shutterstock.com

Instead of strolling through the mall for a new outfit or home decor piece, try thrift stores, consignment shops or online sellers to score deals.

11. Sell Unused Things

Garage sale sign in yard
Paul Velgos / Shutterstock.com

You know that china set that’s been collecting dust? Stop telling yourself you’ll pass it down to your kids. Get cash for your dishes instead, along with all the other unused items lying around the house.

Organize a garage sale if you prefer to sell in person. Or go the digital route and sell your stuff online on sites like eBay and lesser-known online flea markets.

12. Pay Off Lingering Debt

A "debt free" bullseye
Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock.com

The rewards are twofold when you become debt-free sooner rather than later.

You’ll pay less in overall interest when you pay off your debt early. You’ll also free up more cash once you no longer have that monthly financial obligation.

Paying more than the minimum, negotiating a lower interest rate and making biweekly payments can help you lower your debt load.

Here are additional helpful tips on paying off student loans and eliminating credit card debt in retirement.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.