15 Purchases You Should Eliminate Once You Retire

A tight budget could mean you’ll have to cut some items when you’re on a fixed income.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Retirement usually means you’re on a fixed income, which could put a damper on your spending.

You may find discretionary items that won’t fit in your budget, or you can get them cheaper if you qualify for a senior discount.

Check your budget for some of these items and consider cutting back on ones you don’t need to avoid wasting money and boost your retirement funds.

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New cars

Alessandro Biascioli/Adobe couple enjoying time together

You’ll likely still need a car when you retire, but you won’t have the extra wear and tear from a daily commute.

New cars can be expensive and depreciate over time. Invest in a reliable used car instead, especially after you retire when you don’t have to drive to an office. A used car could also help you save on auto insurance.

Meals at restaurants

Monkey Business/Adobe senior friends meeting for meal

You may be excited about doing things when you retire, like eating at restaurants more often.

But dining out regularly can be expensive. It might be a better idea to cut some restaurant visits and eat at home instead. With the extra time you have to cook, you could even learn new recipes.

A bigger house

Daniel/Adobe puchase property deal concept

Retirement could mean it’s time to move somewhere else, and you might be excited about the change.

But don’t be tempted to buy a bigger home when you retire. It can cost more for space you don’t need, and it will require more money for utilities, lawn care, and repairs.

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Viacheslav Yakobchuk/Adobe cheerful man using his laptop

A good thing about retiring is you don’t need the desktop computer you once did while working from home.

Consider downsizing your computer options if you’re in the market for one and get something smaller and more affordable compared to one that could bust your budget. Perhaps all you need is a tablet or your smartphone.

Subscription services

ifeelstock/Adobe new plasma panasonic tv

You may not think much about subscription services and memberships if you’re just paying a little bit here and there for a streaming service or items shipped to your door each month.

But those small costs can add up to a big hole in your budget. Think about which services you need and consider signing up for subscriptions you can cancel from month to month to adjust your budget.

Designer clothes

zinkevych/Adobe couple shopping together

One of the great things about being retired is you don’t have to wear expensive professional office clothes anymore.

Skip the designer clothes and expensive pieces for cheaper options or consider shopping at outlet stores to get deals on brand names for less.

The latest phone

Stavros/Adobe man with a smartphone sitting

Smartphones have become a standard necessity for everyday life, but you don't use them as much when you don't have to be connected to the office.

Cut back on phone expenses by getting older phone models that work just as well as the latest models but with a lower price tag.

Expensive groceries

Drazen/Adobe senior man with shopping list

Groceries can be a pricey staple for any budget. Now that you're retired, it may be time to cut that cost down as much as possible.

Spend some extra time clipping coupons, looking out for sales, and taking advantage of any rewards you may get for signing up as a loyal customer.

Full-price gym memberships

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe cheerful males giving high five

It’s a good goal to stay in shape as you get older, but it can also be expensive to have a gym membership.

Check with your local gym to see if it has membership discounts for seniors. You can also try other local businesses to get exercise like dance studios or yoga studios that could also give senior discounts.

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Full-price vacations

MNStudio/Adobe senior couple enjoying cruise vacation

Retirement means you have more time to take a vacation and travel to see different sites.

Before you book that vacation, check on hotels, attractions, and other potential stops to see if they have senior discounts that can help you save money.

High-risk investments

fizkes/Adobe older clients consulting agent

High-risk investments can have a high reward but can also crash and leave you with a big loss.

It’s acceptable to take more chances on high-risk investments when you’re younger and have plenty of years to rebound from potential losses. By the time you hit retirement, it may be smarter to stick with more stable investments, even if they offer lower returns.


New Africa/Adobe different elegant bijouterie

Retirement is not a time to spend money on expensive discretionary spending like jewelry.

Set a tight budget for jewelry if you really want to get a particular piece, or consider digging through your jewelry box to give old items a new life by wearing them more.

Movie tickets

bernardbodo/Adobe joyful senior going to movies

More streaming services are carrying movies only a few months after they’ve been on the big screen, making it easy to access them at home for an affordable price.

However, if you still want to go to a theater, check out your local places to see if they have senior discounts on movie tickets and concessions.


K Abrahams/peopleimages.com/Adobe covering eyes and flowers surprise

You may enjoy spending lavishly on gifts for others, but it could be a good idea to cut back on gift-giving when you’re on a fixed income.

Instead, think about giving inexpensive gifts or offering up things that don’t cost you money, such as spending time with someone you care about or taking care of your grandkids for free.

Home renovations

VadimGuzhva/Adobe builder carrying a ladder

Under normal circumstances, home renovations can be expensive, which can be made worse when you’re on a fixed income.

Try to pay for needed home renovations while you’re still working so you don’t have to use retirement funds to cover them.

It’s also a smart idea to have an emergency fund in a high-yield savings account that’s well-funded in case you have an unexpected repair crop up when you’re retired.

Bottom line

hedgehog94/Adobe checkout paying by debit card

There are some great items you may want to buy when you’re retired. However, it can be hard to decide what to keep and what to cut when you’re on a tight budget, especially if you retire early.

Remember to take advantage of discounts if you join an organization like the AARP or search out stores that have senior discounts.

It’s also wise to find a financial advisor who can help you financially as you navigate your way through your retirement investments.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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