20 Simple living frugally in retirement tips (cost of living crisis)
This post is all about simple living frugally in retirement tips in Canada.
Living frugally in retirement requires you to live below your means. The key is to do it without sacrificing any of your happiness or freedom.
Not everyone can save for retirement. Living frugally in retirement means adjusting to the little money you have available.
Some seniors are bartering their services today to make ends meet, living below the poverty and unsure how to fund their retirement years. Ideally, you will want a bare-bones budget that fits your income but with room for entertainment and spending.
I leave a frugal life and now looking for a frugal retirement as I wasn’t able to save for it.
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During my frugal living, I learned a lot about money management.
Here are my living frugally in retirement tips…
20 EASY CREATIVE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY IN RETIREMENT
As you get older you have less interest in juggling too many things at the same time. I might not be 70+ yet but I am already appreciating the need to simplify my finances.
Being frugal does not mean you should completely shut down your life and deny yourself the pleasures of day-to-day existence. Rather, it means you become smarter with your money.
~ Be smart with your spending during retirement ~
1. Avoiding your triggers
Oh yes, spending triggers! Avoiding them is easier said than done.
These triggers will be different for everyone. For example
- Going to the supermarket out of habit.
- Spending most of the money as soon as you received pay.
- As pick-me-up when I am tired or stressed.
- Can’t pass a children’s section without buying a toy for a grandchild.
- My trigger is going on Amazon.
Think about what are your triggers for buying items you don’t need. And if you don’t know then identify them.
LIVING FRUGALLY TIP: Every time, I picked up something from the shelf, I would ask myself ‘Where you will put it? How you will use it (a real situation, please).’ And if I can not come up with the answer, then I would put the item back and walk away quite content. Honestly, it was a game changer for me, I still do this often and it has saved me buying silly impulse buys.
- Personally, I think the best way to save money is to identify and articulate what you want in life, which helps you to avoid those giant emotional purchases that can really set you back.
2. Sleep on it
It goes without saying, “If you sleep on it you are less likely to buy it the next day.”
I have done it by leaving tubs open on the computer and the next day when I wake up I don’t want those items.
- Write a list with all the items you want to buy when you are in a spending mood. After you have written them down wait and see if you still want them. Sometimes I wait for a week and sometimes for a year. If I still want an item then I will provide and buy it, if not then cross it off.
3. Buy second hand
If you decided, that you NEED an item check out the Facebook market please in your local community if you can find it second-hand.
4. Track the price
Sometimes you don’t want second-hand, then do a price comparison between different stores online, wait for a sale, or use the senior discount.
LIVING FRUGALLY TIP: When you write an item that you want in your journal right down the price of it, so you can keep track.
I often find beauty products are cheaper on Amazon Canada than at Shoppers Drugmart.
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- I just had a conversation with my daughter about ‘sales’. I work in retail and know how much of a huge markup is put on goods. She wanted to buy an item because it was a GREAT SALE but she DIDN’T really NEED IT. I said that at that price the store was still making a substantial profit so even though the price was reduced she wasn’t really getting a ‘bargain’ but just getting the item at a more realistic price. It made her change her mind.
Sales can tempting but if we remind ourselves that the sale price is ‘just a reasonable price ‘ it can change our perspective.
Shopping at different stores is a great idea and what helped me. I ended up putting together a Google spreadsheet of all the grocery items I regularly buy with price comparisons of every store in my town (plus some online sources for buying in bulk). I’m in the US, so I regularly shop at Walmart, Aldi, and Azure Standard, depending on what item it is. And if I’m at the store and see a sale going on, I compare it to my spreadsheet. I have a deep freezer, so I utilize that whenever possible. It has saved me tons of money! I also changed up our food habits a little bit and am trying to cook more simple, down-home filling meals. – Unknown
5. Meal planning
I meal plan, looking in my cupboards and freezer before going to the store. I call it kitchen shopping, most of the time I can still make meals without going to the grocery store. I also bulk-buy certain items such as dog food, toilet paper, rice, etc.
I will not go into too much in detail here. There is a lot of information on grocery savings online.
6. Order water with lemon
Order water with lemon for FREE instead of alcoholic drinks in restaurants. It doesn’t detract from the restaurant experience in the least. In addition to the $8 to $10 per beer or 15 for a glass of wine, you also have to factor in an additional 15% or 20% tip on your total bill, which adds up. It’s a crazy waste of money.
7. Senior discount
Some pharmacies have a specific day in a week with 15-20%off senior day discount. McDonald’s give now 20% off to seniors. That really helps.
I’m 62 I don’t consider myself “old” so I always forget to ask for the senior discount when I go out. A frugal tip that I do is clothes exchange with my friends, we have the same taste so to me it’s like getting a whole new look for nothing, plus it saves lots of money. – source unknown
More importantly, you DON’T WANT to be paying for products that are NO LONGER RELEVANT to your stage in life.
Wait until there are multi-point days, e.g., 25x the points on a certain day. We are at the point where there is nothing we need right away. Any extra fun item can certainly wait. Last summer we bought kayaks on a Canadian Tire 20x the points day. The number of points paid for an air fryer. Nothing makes us happier than getting something for FREE! – source unknown.
9. Lower electricity consumption
Regulate the thermostat and reduce energy consumption— I wear cozy fleece in the cool months and light summer dresses in the hot.
- Combine errands and make one outing to save gas.
- It might be also advantageous to call your service providers annually to ask for a better deal or rate on your services. I found a better rate this year by doing a price comparison online. Making a toll-free call to your insurer or phone company or utility company could result in a nice discount on your monthly expenses. Never hurts to ask.
Get new auto and homeowner’s insurance every several years with a different insurance company. You will probably pay lower rates.
I insured two cars with one insurance company for 4 years. Reinsuring them with another carrier this year, I will pay $540 less in premiums.
Paying bills annually instead of monthly. It does save quite a lot by avoiding extra fees. Paying bills annually is the way to go. Even if installment charges are not added for monthly payments, it is so convenient and gives such peace of mind to know that those bills are taken care of.
Create an ‘annual bills account’. The total amount gets divided up over twelve months, which I add to bi-weekly so I am not scrambling to find the cash at the last minute. I also keep $4000 in my bank account to avoid the monthly fees.
11. Expected future expenses
Plan for expected future expenses in the budget. For example, if you know you will need a new car or a new water heater within the next few years. Divide that expense by the time you have to save for it and start saving that money away.
I know so many people who are completely surprised by very predictable expenses. The car will need new tires, the roof will need to be replaced after ten or twenty years. Good planning can help quite a few financial “emergencies” that often cause people to go into debt.
12. Public Transportation
You may NOT WANT TO GIVE UP DRIVING, but maintaining a vehicle in Canada is costly. Once you sell your vehicle and cancel insurance, it may significantly reduce your budget.
You won’t have to pay for maintenance on your vehicle and hopefully will earn back a bit of money from the sale.
LIVING FRUGALLY TIP: Public transportation, whether the city bus, taxi, or seniors transportation services in Ontario, will be a more cost-effective option for you.
Subscriptions really add up. I recently decluttered mine. I also do a really easy spreadsheet of all my income and expenses. It is eye-opening!
I like to look at all of my expenses to see what I could cut down on or cut out completely. I closed down my Cable TV and use an antenna which totaled around $90(CAD) in savings per month. There are a lot of shows available for FREE through TV antenna. I don’t miss cable at all.
14. Face your bank
The last place you want to look at, if you are struggling with money, is your bank account. Just take a minute and face it.
It’s not easy to do if you’ve been on a spending spiral or had a big medical bill. But if you don’t know how much is in your current account, just shows that you are spending without thinking.
Let me ask.
- Do you know how much is in your current account?
- Do you know what was the last item that you bought?
- Did you check what the price was before you tapped your card?
- If you have a debit/credit card with you, you will be tempted to spend on impulse purchases. I honestly believe that’s why there is so much debt and overspending.
- That small drip-drip leads to bigger problems down the line.
LIVING FRUGALLY TIP: Use this as a last resort because you are not going to like it much and it will be painful. Do not take your debit/credit card out with you when you go out and about.
P.S. #1 Don’t use your phone to pay!!!
P.S. #2 Don’t juggle various credit cards for the rewards you can gain, have just ONE or TWO for simplicity.
Just wanted to mention, I do not carry any credit card balance beyond 30 days. I charge a lot of stuff on credit cards each month to earn points but pay it off at the end of the month.
15. Play Money
The key to living frugally in retirement without sacrificing any of your happiness or freedom is to have an allowance that you can spend on whatever you want without thinking.
I budget spending money for date nights and days out with friends/family because let’s be honest we still NEED TO HAVE FUN, and I found that I was more likely to fall off the wagon early in my journey if I didn’t give myself some play money.
- Look at your budget and see how much you can give yourself as an allowance each month. However, you have to stop as soon as this money is gone.
16. Health above all
I think health and fitness are other things that often get put off too long. Think of the phrase “use it or lose it” and also “it’s much easier to stay in shape than to get in shape.” I want to maintain my physical abilities as long as I can in order to do more and enjoy more later in life.
I do it from home following Fabulous50s exercise videos.
- This year I want to start a savings account for medical things (eye tests, dentist, prescriptions, etc) cause I think that would be a nice safety blanket to have for that sudden-and often large- bills.
17. Eyeglasses prescription
As older you get the better chance that you will need glasses. But when you go to your local optometrist they will try very hard to sell you expensive frames and glasses. You can end up paying $800 dollars in Canada, and it’s not covered by health insurance.
Most of them even never give you the prescription or pupil distance, which you need to get a prescription online. Ask for it, after all, you paid for an eye exam, it’s your right to know.
Research online eyeglasses stores to cut down the cost drastically. My favorite is ZenniOptical, they have affordable, comfortable frames.
- If your doctor will not give you prescription information the first frames from them and then use the info from the box to get more from ZenniOptical or other sources and save quite a lot. And look for a new eye doctor’s office that will give the prescriptions without making you feel bad.
18. Gift giving
Do you continue gift-giving to your friends and family and grandchildren too? How do you approach the subject if you can’t give gifts to your small grandchildren?
How do I approach this subject?
This is a TOUGH ONE.
- I would start to tell my adult children that they will not get gifts maybe 1-3 months in advance. I also will do dinner with activities instead of gift giving, paint night for example.
- To give inexpensive gifts to grandchildren only and skip other family members.
- Gifts don’t have to be expensive. A bottle of wine or chocolate bar is a perfect gift for a friend.
- Host a DIY gift-making party with friends. Where everyone pinches in.
- Call a family meeting and set the budget limit for holiday spending.
It’s UNREALISTIC to expect that your gift-giving style will change in a year unless your circumstances are dire. Instead, work toward a gentle transition over a period of a few years.
- I keep a BIRTHDAY/CHRISTMAS account for gifts (Add $$$ each month) so not near as difficult come December. In fact, I like to be done shopping by end of November.
Find inexpensive experiences and travel. Living frugally in retirement doesn’t mean that you have to spend your day at home reading books. Also, reading is my favorite activity.
One way is to look at OFF-SEASON TRAVEL to get phenomenal experiences for far less. Not to mention, you’ll also have a better time with less crowd visiting during the off-season.
Another great idea to limit spending but still have great experiences is to try to VISIT LOCAL ATTRACTIONS. You can fill your life with culture and entertainment for less by staying closer to home.
- My father would pick a new area in a city each weekend. Ride a public bus there and explore shops and cafes. COST: Bus fare + Lunch (or you can take it from home to save more)
Taking FREE ONLINE CLASSES at the local library is also a great idea. Also check out their FREE CLUBS, like a book club.
What are your monetary goals? Write them down and put them in a place where you can see them.
Examples of goals...
- Open a saving account for future medical expenses
- Save for an emergency
- Audit your subscriptions
- Track your budget
- Move savings into a high-saving account like EQ bank.
When you accomplish your goal it will give you a sense of pride that you did it. Goals are overlooked these days but they are critically important for our mental health and our well-being as well.
- I have a bucket list filled with items that I like to do or would like to do in the near future.
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How you will keep yourself accountable for doing all of these? How you can be sure that you are meeting your goals? How you will keep yourself moving forward to your true potential?
It could be…
- Checking your finances once a month
- Keep track daily on a spreadsheet
- Have an accountability buddy, your partner for example
Think about your past. How did you use to keep yourself accountable? What works for you?
Tax Credits And Benefits For Seniors With Little Money
As I have been learning more about tax credits and benefits available to low-income seniors. It’s one of those things where you probably won’t be told about these programs if you don’t research.
Ontario Benefits For Low-Income Seniors
From eligibility requirements and payment amounts to what to expect when applying, this guide shares everything you need to know.
BOTTOM LINE: No matter what your situation is right now, it’s important to be realistic about whether your finances will allow you to retire comfortably. All of the above tips can make the difficult task of coming up with a frugal retirement strategy easier.
This post is all about simple living frugally in retirement in Canada tips.