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Monday, February 17, 2014

3 ways to keep costs down during retirement

You saved for your retirement your entire adult working life, but living off of a reduced income or making your savings stretch is easier said than done. It is normal to worry about running out of money, but there are ways you can keep costs down and ensure your financial future.

Your first step should be setting up a budget and seeing where you are overspending, where you could pull back, and where you can save. A budget will give you a good overview of your spending habits, but here are an additional five ideas to help you keep costs down and live comfortably with peace of mind.
Maintain standard of living at lower costs during retirement
Less urbanized areas typically have lower real estate prices

1. Downsize your life


Running a home is expensive. Many retirees decide to downsize their homes to help save on utility costs, and minimise things that they no longer need. While your four bedroom family home may hold a lot of memories, your children have grown and the space is much too large for only the two of you.

Consider a smaller home or flat and pay a lower rent or decreased mortgage payment. Repair and upkeep of a home is also a major concern for people as they age, and you can save a significant amount annually by moving to a smaller place. Housing is normally the largest monthly expense, but downsizing can dramatically open up your budget.

2. Take advantage of senior discounts

Seniors qualify for free bus travel
Lower income seniors may qualify for Pension Credit
It may be strange at first to publicly declare that you are a senior, but you could be missing out on a lot of discounts available to those over 60 years of age. 

Restaurants, transportation, and even medical costs can be significantly reduced by taking advantage of senior discounts, and in some cases can be entirely free! Senior Discounts is a great resource for finding discounts and promotions available to seniors across the UK.

Entertainment

Many theatres in the UK offer special discounts or deals for seniors. Vue Cinema holds senior screenings , and your ticket comes with a free cup of coffee and biscuit. Odeon offers a £3 discount on standard ticket prices and £4 on premium. If you love watching films, those discounts will add up.
Transport

National Rail offers a Senior discount card that entitles you to 1/3 off of off-peak ticket prices for a one-time fee of £30. You would only need to travel a couple of times before you start saving money on top of the card fee.

Most national bus services allow seniors to travel for free. Taking the bus to town instead of the car will definitely help keep costs down.

Health Care

Everyone over 60 in the UK is eligible to receive NHS prescriptions for free. You may also qualify for other health care benefits such as free eye exams and stairlift grants via your local council.

3. Compare Costs


You may be paying more than you need to for utilities, groceries, and even home insurance. Taking the time to compare costs and companies can end up saving you hundreds of pounds a year. There are great resources online that can make the process almost instant, saving you time as well as money.

mySupermarket lets you put together an online shop and compare the cost between different supermarkets. For example, you can add your normal shop at Waitrose onto the website and it will tell you if the cost would be cheaper at ASDA, Tesco, or another major supermarket. The website will then send your order to the website of your choice, and your groceries will be delivered to your door.

Compare the Market is another fantastic comparison website. It allows you to not only compare different utility providers, but also real estate insurance providers, credit card companies, and television or internet suppliers. If you are paying too much, the website makes it easy to switch to another provider with limited hassle.

Cutting unnecessary expenses, taking advantage of senior discounts, and comparing costs can make a major difference in your retirement budget. Make small changes and let your years of hard work finally pay you back.


About the author: This guest post was written by Stairlifts.co.uk, a resource site to help you in your transition to retirement with information and products aimed at making life easier.

Image licenses: 1. Images Money, CC BY 2.0; 2. E01, CC BY-SA 2.0