Living Well on a Post-Retirement Fixed Income

older man having coffee

Every penny counts when you’re on a fixed income. You have to be disciplined with your spending habits and generally live within or below your means. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life – far from it.

With the right mindset, careful budgeting, and some creative use of existing resources, you can live like a king. Here are some spending tips to get you started.

Make a budget 

Budgeting may be a chore, but it’s a critical one. With a good budget, you’ll always have enough to meet your needs, put money into a rainy day fund, and finally have extra left over for spending. As the experts at say, a budget lays the groundwork for your finances.

A budget helps you make the most of your money, which is critical when you have a fixed amount coming in. Finally, it helps you prioritize, manage debt, reduces stress, and gives you a sense of control. Ideally, you should budget monthly or quarterly. 

Start a business

Going back to work has become more appealing for many seniors in retirement, especially since it’s a great way to generate additional income. Not having to answer to anyone else, being the sole decision-maker and keeping a flexible schedule are major perks to starting a business.

There are many options. From a brick-and-mortar retail store, to a home-based business or an ecommerce shop. Starting a business does have legal details you’ll need to tend to, and this includes creating a business plan, finding out the legal costs, getting the right equipment and understanding your tax obligations. 

Take out non-essential expenses 

Non-essential expenses will bleed you dry if you let them. The average American will spend an average of $697 monthly on expenses considered non-essential.

Non-essential expenses are indulgences as opposed to needs – such as a cup of coffee outside, a meal in a fancy restaurant, or an expensive accessory. While it’s unrealistic to think you can do away with them altogether, you can and should keep them to a minimum. Indulge once a month, say, instead of once a week.  

Rework your mortgage arrangement 

How much do you spend on mortgage payments? It’s bound to be a significant chunk. You could potentially reduce the amount you pay monthly and save money by refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing essentially reduces the equity tied up in your home and lowers your interest rate. Depending on the plan, it could also shorten the term of your payments.   

Grow your own food 

Grocery prices continue to soar. They won’t ever get cheaper. If you grow your own food, you could potentially save a great deal of money and keep yourself healthy and happily occupied at the same time. Crops like tomato, peppers, and lettuce are easy to grow and don’t need a lot of space.    

Look for senior discounts 

Countless stores, museums, restaurants, transportation services, and other institutions offer discounts for seniors. That means you should never shop without researching your discount options first – it could save you a great deal of money.

You’ll find plenty of senior discount deals online. Check out our Comprehensive Guide to Senior Discounts for a start. And if you do decide to go out, always carry your proof of age with you. 

Explore free entertainment options 

Entertainment isn’t optional – fun should be an important part of your life. It keeps you mentally de-stressed and happy. You don’t need to blow a bundle on entertaining yourself either.

There are countless free or dirt-cheap entertainment options out there for you to enjoy: reading books, museum tours, learning a new skill online, making something, volunteering, or simply visiting your friends and family. 

Get help 

It’s okay to ask for help – you worked hard all your life and you deserve support if you need it. There are countless nonprofits and government organizations helping seniors with housing, food, health, and other expenses. You can also always turn to your loved ones for a helping hand.

Finally, and most importantly, look after yourself. The state of your physical, mental, and emotional health will determine the quality of your life in your golden years. Needless to say, good health will also help you save on medical expenses. As such, get plenty of exercise, eat well, seek out social support, and just be happy.

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Hazel Bridges is the creator of Aging Wellness, a website that aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors. She’s a breast cancer survivor. She challenges herself to live life to the fullest and inspires others to do so as well.