10 Little Surprises That Could Make Your Retirement More Comfortable

INVESTING - SAVING FOR RETIREMENT
Live out your retirement in comfort rather than stressed by doing these things now.
Updated April 9, 2024
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The idea of retirement can be exciting as you look forward to enjoying your best years, but it can also leave you worrying about how you will afford a comfortable lifestyle.

Savings don’t always last as long as expected, but there are things you can do to avoid wasting money and pocket more of it. 

Here are 10 little surprises that could make your retirement a lot more comfortable by saving more money than you expect.

Eliminate your late tax debt

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Save money on car insurance

Vlad/Adobe man excited about his successful driving license exam

You might pay much more than you need to for car insurance. If you haven’t sought new quotes in a while, consider comparing car insurance options. 

Another company might offer the same coverage (or better) at a lower rate. Taking defensive driving courses could earn you lower insurance payments too. 

It’s worth the time to check with other auto insurers if it means you can save money on car insurance.

Downsize your home

Vasleriia Kuznetsova/Adobe senior couple carry box from car

Downsizing is a common way retirees save a bunch of money, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until you retire to choose a smaller home. 

If you no longer need all the space in your current home, consider whether downsizing is right for you.

In most cases, you’ll save money on utility bills and upkeep when you choose a smaller property. Less home means less time maintaining it as well.

Wait as long as possible to take Social Security benefits

zinkevych/Adobe joyful pensioner keeping smile on her face while checking documents

Retiring early may result in smaller monthly Social Security benefits. You’ll receive higher benefits if you wait until your full retirement age and even higher if you delay taking benefits until the maximum age of 70.

Continuing to work will also allow you more time to take advantage of employer-matched contributions and save money.

Delaying Social Security payments isn’t the right choice for everyone, but it can provide big rewards if it makes sense for you.

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Save money on groceries

JackF/Adobe senior woman choosing bunch of fresh radishes

Inflation has caused food prices to soar, but there are plenty of ways to save money on groceries — now and during retirement. 

When possible, buy in bulk. Make a list of things you need before going to the store too. This will help you avoid impulse buys. And consider making a weekly menu plan so you'll only need one trip to the store each week.

Taking advantage of customer loyalty programs and senior discounts will also help reduce your grocery bill. Avoiding grocery delivery services is wise, as well, as they often come with convenience fees.

Avoid high-interest debt

StockImageFactory/Adobe senior asian couple checking bills with laptop

You should aim to pay down your debt before retirement, starting with high-interest debt. Paying extra interest and late fees wastes your money. Choose low-interest credit cards that offer cash back or other rewards that you will actually use. 

Avoiding large debts — like car loans — right before retirement will help you keep more money in your pocket and live more comfortably.

Take advantage of free or discounted entertainment

digitalskillet1/Adobe middle age student working in library

You can save on entertainment costs by taking advantage of free resources and activities. Rather than purchasing movies and books, check with your local library to see if they have anything that interests you.

Your community might offer free concerts and events, and enjoying activities outdoors doesn’t cost a fortune — or anything at all — in most cases.

Check with attractions in your area to see if they offer senior discounts for even more savings.

Rebalance your investment portfolio

Kawee/Adobe senior businessman working in office workplace

Rebalancing your portfolio before and after you retire may help ensure your savings last. How you rebalance will depend on your retirement needs and when you need to begin making withdrawals.

The economy may also impact what's best for your portfolio. Discuss rebalancing with your financial advisor so they can help you determine an investment strategy that best aligns with your retirement plans.

Save on monthly bills

Monkey Business/Adobe senior couple using laptop to check finances

Too many people waste money every month. You should review your recurring payments to ensure you aren’t paying for something you forgot about (like subscriptions or bundled services, for example).

You can also save money on your utility bills by reducing your energy usage. Simple things like turning up the heat or the air conditioner, unplugging chargers when not in use, and reducing the temperature of your water heater can result in significantly lower bills.

Add a new income stream

makibestphoto/Adobe senior female business owner with product package boxes

Adding new income streams before you retire can allow you to save more money.

You may consider getting a side hustle or building passive income streams such as investments in high-paying dividend stocks. Passive income could help supplement Social Security when you finally retire.

If you have already retired, you can still work if you choose to do so. You might also sell off some unused collectibles, offer lawn-care services, or rent out properties.

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Limit trips to the store

Halfpoint/Adobe happy senior couple tourists sitting on stairs

Making frequent trips to the store can cost you extra money, even if you don’t realize it. Traveling to the store multiple times per week increases the odds you will make impulsive buys or stop to eat at a restaurant or drive-through.

You will also spend more money on gas when you make several trips. Schedule your weekly or bi-weekly errands on the same day when possible. You’ll probably end up spending less.

Bottom line

WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe senior couple planning their investments

Making small changes can save you large amounts of money and help your savings last longer. It’s never too soon or too late to make good financial decisions. 

Take steps to save money on car insurance, pay down debt, and secure your financial future.

Creating financial goals and setting a plan to achieve them will help you live a more comfortable lifestyle so you can retire without unnecessary stress.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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Author Details

Katelyn Washington Katelyn Washington is a writer with a passion for finance and business. She put herself through business school as a single mother of three and has had pieces commissioned by national magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and editing manuscripts for indie authors.

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