Has it finally arrived? The time to retire and relish the freedom? Is it time for some significant life decisions? Such as what kind of lifestyle you want to live now that nothing restraints you. Well, nothing except your finances, perhaps. Even if you do have to be a little thrifty, you can still enjoy retirement. Even more so, in fact. You just have to apply some frugal strategies to your new way of life. That being said, you should differentiate between being frugal and plain cheap. Settling for a low-quality item because it costs less is cheap. But making smart choices and shopping for cheaper but superior or equal quality items is a different story. To live frugally and enjoy retirement means to opt for a more cost-effective lifestyle without sacrificing comfort. The goal is to learn where and how to reduce expenses.

Build the foundation for frugality before retirement

Naturally, you can expect a substantial sum of your monthly income to go to healthcare service. Help yourself stay healthy by implementing a good diet and exercise into your routine. And then keep it up after you have retired. Walking is free, and it is a fantastic way to keep fit at any age. Additionally, schedule a visit to your doctor periodically and get a thorough checkup. Take care of yourself. You want to stay ahead of any potential and easily preventable complications. Also, long-term health insurance is an excellent financial move. 

An elderly man working out outside

Staying healthy and active before and during retirement will help you preserve health, live frugally and enjoy retirement

Moreover, it might be a good idea to hire a financial consultant. They can help you stay on track regarding your financial goals and teach you how to manage your finances and make the most of your income. Although this would create a solid base for your retirement, a one-off session with a financial advisor after retirement is also a viable option. 

Make a budget plan and stick to it

Creating a monthly budget is always a great idea, retired or not. You should keep track of your spendings and strive to spend less than you make. Healthcare, housing, and transport are the largest expenses for retirees, so do your best to minimize the other costs. It’s advisable to give yourself a monthly limit, a “paycheck” if you will, to help you stick to your budget. The goal is to refrain from buying whatever you want whenever you see fit. One way to cut some of your costs is to reduce eating out. Eat at home, create a menu weekly, make a shopping list, and stick to it. No impulse buying even if you come across a bargain. Home cooking will not only save you money but help you stay healthy and feel better. And if you absolutely must eat out, choose a self-service cafeteria for the simple reason you can tip less.

Cut housing expenses

If you have managed to pay off your mortgage, you are already off to a good start. The next thing you should consider is downsizing. Your children moved out long ago, so there is no reason to have all that space. A smaller house or a condo is cheaper to buy and maintain, and there is a lower property tax on them. And with the extra cash you’ve made from your huge house sale, you can remodel your new place the way that suits your needs. Also, you can even make some extra money by selling all the stuff you no longer need. Next, if you have two cars, you may want to sell one – you will save on gas, insurance, and maintenance. You could even take it a step further and buy a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Live frugally and enjoy retirement in the Sunshine State

We have already established that downsizing would be a smart move. But if you really want to embrace frugality, consider relocating to a lower-cost area or even abroad, to a country with a lower cost of living. Or… Just do what everybody else does and move to Florida. There is a reason the Sunshine State has been so popular with retirees for decades. And no, it’s not just sunshine, glorious weather, white sandy beaches, rest, relaxation, and the prospect of downright luxurious retirement. 

To begin with, Florida is like a tax haven for seniors. You will be able to keep more of your retirement income due to reasonable property taxes and the fact that this state doesn’t tax retirement income or Social Security benefits. You may Furthermore, as a resident of one of many retirement communities, you will have a more vibrant social life than ever. Your newly-found friends will keep you active, and, therefore, more physically fit and healthy. Finally, Florida provides excellent healthcare services.

two elderly men playing chess

There are many benefits of retiring to Florida, and active social life is just one of them

In summation, relocating to Florida will not only be a frugal move, but the one that will make your retirement more enjoyable. Given that you will be downsizing should you embark on this journey, you can save more by a DIY move with your family and friends’ help. However, if you want to be worry-free during the big day, it might be best to hire a reputable moving company, sit back and relax.

Use senior discounts

Although many dread the friendly cashier asking if they have a pension card, go ahead and use the well-deserved discount. There’s no shame; take advantage of your position. A lot of restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops offer senior discounts. You can even get a discount on travel expenses, such as hotels, car rentals, and airplane tickets. Additionally, you can take up couponing and make a hobby out of it.

Two elderly women in a clothes shop

There is no shame on using your senior discount wherever possible

Remember to have fun!

Entertainment is an essential part of human life and should have a central role. In retirement, especially, it’s vital not to forget to enjoy yourself. There are ways to save money in this department and, while doing so, get more quality entertainment. Firstly, reduce TV to the minimum or eliminate it altogether. You will save money by canceling your cable services. Galleries, museums, and even live performances are often free for seniors, or they can get a significant discount. Best of all, many schools allow retirees to attend college courses for free, but without credit, of course. As you can see, all that free time can be spent in a more productive, fun, and elevating way than slouching in front of the TV. Both your mind and your body will benefit tremendously.

Being frugal shouldn’t be punishment

When you live frugally and enjoy retirement, it’s important not to be thrifty about every single thing. Frugality isn’t punishment. Remember to have fun and make the most of all the free time you have at your disposal. Whether you decide to pack your bags and move to a warmer climate, a smaller town, stay put, or even choose to live a nomadic lifestyle in your RV or on a boat, the goal is to enjoy life.


Joan Burrows is a nurse at the residential home for the elderly. She has dedicated her life to helping retirees enjoy their lives to the fullest even when their options are limited. She is also a freelance blogger and her topics mostly cover frugal living, affordable entertainment and travel on a shoestring.