Strategies for budgeting wisely on a fixed retirement income

Feb 16, 2024
There are various ways to save money during retirement. Source: Getty Images.

Retirement is often seen as a time to relax and enjoy your hard-earned free time, but it can also be a time of financial uncertainty, especially for those living on a fixed income. With a limited budget, it can sometimes be difficult to make your money last, let alone set aside money for savings.

However, just because you’re retired and on a fixed income doesn’t mean that you can’t still save money. In fact, with some careful planning and smart financial strategies, retirees can still make their money go further and achieve their financial goals.

Whether you’re looking to build an emergency fund, save for a major expense, or simply live more comfortably within your means, there are many strategies that can help you make the most of your retirement income.

Source: Getty Images.

Why is it important to save money in retirement?

Saving money in your retirement years is crucial because it ensures that you have enough funds to support your daily expenses, healthcare needs, and emergencies.

Retirement can last for decades, and it’s essential to have a nest egg that can provide financial stability and independence. By saving money in your retirement years, you can continue to maintain your standard of living, pay for medical expenses, and cover unexpected costs.

Additionally, it can also allow you to travel, spend time with family and friends, and pursue hobbies and interests that you may not have had time for during your working years.

Founder and CEO of Stockspot, Chris Brycki highlights that “with life expectancy increasing and the cost of living rising, it’s more important than ever to plan for a long and comfortable retirement.”

“Saving money in retirement can also provide a sense of financial security and reduce the risk of running out of money later in life,” Brycki says.

There are several other compelling reasons why saving money during retirement is so important:

  • To cover unexpected expenses: Even in retirement, unexpected expenses can arise, such as medical bills, home repairs, or other emergencies. Having savings can provide a cushion to help cover these costs without having to rely on credit cards or other forms of debt.
  • To enjoy retirement: Retirement can be a time to travel, pursue hobbies, and spend time with loved ones. Having savings can allow you to enjoy these activities without worrying about financial constraints.
  • To leave a legacy: Saving money in retirement can also allow you to leave a legacy for your loved ones or contribute to causes you care about.
Source: Getty Images.

How to save money on a fixed income

While enjoying your golden years, it’s essential to consider how you can save money to support yourself during this stage of your life. There are various ways to save money during retirement, from budgeting and downsizing to investing and seeking professional financial advice.

Understanding the best practices and strategies for saving money in retirement can make a significant difference in your financial security, independence, and quality of life.

Brycki suggests one “approach is to consider investing in a diversified portfolio of assets that can generate steady returns, such as bonds or cash accounts.”

“Retirees can look for high-interest savings or term deposits to make your money work harder for you,” Brycki advises.

“It’s also important to keep a close eye on fees and expenses associated with investment products or services. Fees are like termites and will eat away at your returns.”

Investments are another area that retirees can utilise in order to bump up the amount in their savings.

“Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to focus on low-risk investments that can provide steady income, such as bonds or dividend-paying stocks,” Brycki says.

“For some senior citizens, who have a long-term view on investing or are willing to take on more risk, a diversified growth portfolio might be more suitable.

“You may also want to consider taking out comprehensive insurance, as a way to cover you for potential health challenges or changes in your financial circumstances.”

For those who have the best of intentions when it comes to saving money but still find themselves unable to put away a significant amount, Brycki suggests the following:

  • Sell unwanted or no longer needed items including furniture and clothing. Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are great places to do this.
  • Look for super funds that are charging less than 1%. If you are paying more than 1% to your super provider, it’s likely you can find a better deal elsewhere.

On a final note, Brycki advises that for retirees on a fixed income, “it’s never too late to start a budget and start saving.”

Source: Getty Images.

Where retirees can save money and cut costs

In addition to implementing measures that can assist with your savings goals and help you reach your desired amount sooner, there are a number of ways retirees can cut costs on daily expenses to save money.

As a retiree, it’s important to make the most of your savings and stretch your budget as far as possible.

“One effective strategy is to minimise your expenses and keep them within your budget. Don’t spend more than you have and more than you receive in income,” Brycki advises.

By being mindful of expenses and finding creative ways to cut costs, you can enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.

Brycki advises that “retirees can look to a variety of places to save money”.

“This can be in paying for utilities, groceries and healthcare,” Brycki said.

Some of the other main areas in which retirees can find much-needed savings include:

  • Government – Most governments provide seniors with discounts and reduced prices for items such as transport.

“Take a look at what your state/territory government provides. In NSW, permanent residents aged 60 and over can apply for either a NSW Seniors Card or Senior Savers Card,” Brycki says.

“This entitles the user to free items, discounts and access to special offers across government and non-government services.

“As an example, McDonald’s provides card holders with a free food item. The type of discounts differ from state to state and business to business.”

  • Groceries – Brycki suggests that “where possible, bulk buy things when they go on sale, especially non-perishable items like cleaning products. Also look for special savings days.”
  • Utilities – some utility providers offer a discount to seniors and retirees. Shop around to find a provider that offers discounts and to ensure you are getting the best prices.
  • Healthcare – again shop around to ensure you have the best health cover available. Some providers give discounts to seniors provided they have a Seniors Card or are retired.

Brycki advises that “the first place to look is at non-essential items”.

“You want to be able to balance still enjoying life with your ability to finance your lifestyle,” Brycki says.

“Do you have a second or third car that you no longer need? Can you take public transport instead of the car? Retirees are usually offered discounts on public transport travel costs.

“A holiday home that you rarely used? Or do you have a home that is larger than what you currently need, especially if you no longer have children at home.

“Other ways to cut back could include eating out less or choosing restaurants that offer cheaper meals.”

Saving money during your retirement years is an essential aspect of ensuring financial stability and peace of mind. By creating a budget, reducing expenses, and making smart investment decisions, you can stretch your retirement savings further and maintain a comfortable standard of living.

Remember, it’s never too late to start saving for retirement, and even small contributions can add up over time. With some careful financial planning, you can achieve your retirement savings goals and have peace of mind knowing that your financial future is secure.





IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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