Just retired? 10 ways to keep your spending under control

As a new retiree, you’re exhilarated with the notion that each new day dawns with no schedule. You can sleep in or get up early. You can fiddle around the house all day or go out with friends. You can stay out late. You can have another glass of wine and not worry about being alert for a presentation or meeting the next day. You answer to no one but yourself or your significant other.

You start to enjoy yourself. You start traveling to new places. You find wonderful treasures on your travels that you want to bring home. You go out to eat several times a week. You go to plays, concerts and other live entertainment more often.

Older woman counting coins on a table

Chris Ryan | Getty Images

After about a year of pure fun, you want to feel productive. So you volunteer and donate your time and money. You’re having the time of your life.

Then the credit card bills start to come in — and the balances due are large. You deplete a savings account and maybe have to sell some investments to pay bills. You start to get worried that maybe you’re spending too much. The stock market is in sideways mode, and you don’t see any growth in your portfolio.

You realize it’s time to slow down and take stock of the situation.

If this all sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for people to become accustomed to a certain standard of living or way of life. It’s not easy to adjust. It’s also not unusual to want to enjoy the newfound freedom that retirement brings.

Yet, it’s a good idea to be aware and thoughtful about what is going on and try to bring things back under your control. Here are a few ways to achieve a more financially secure retirement:

  1. Presumably, you had spending goals when you retired. At the beginning of each year, go back and check these assumptions to make sure you are still on track. If not, make adjustments in your spending.
  2. If you don’t want to cut back on your lifestyle, consider working part-time. Perhaps you can use your skills on a consulting or part-time basis.
  3. While traveling, consider renting out your home to bring in extra cash.
  4. If you have an appropriate space in your home, convert it to an Airbnb rental.
  5. Turn a favorite hobby into a business.
  6. Take more “staycations.” Be a tourist in your own town. It will save you on airfare and hotels, dining out and shopping.
  7. Reassess your need for new clothing and accessories. It’s likely that you don’t need as much now that you’re not going to a workplace daily.
  8. Consider selling items at consignment shops or on eBay that don’t fit your new lifestyle.
  9. Let your friends know that you want to cut back on spending and ask for their support.
  10. Find things to do that don’t cost a lot of money.
  11. Remember, sometimes the finest things are free.

— By Cathy Curtis, founder and owner of Curtis Financial Planning

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