10 ways to reduce your monthly retirement planning budget

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 02, 2011

Retirement planning for seniors can be much more complex than you ever imagined, and it can seem that there just isn’t any money left at the end of the month. Even if you have already cut out the morning trip to Starbucks and stay home much more than you go out you may still be wondering how to stretch your retirement money. Take heart, because there are ways you can successfully reduce your monthly budget and make retirement planning a breeze. Retirement planning and making sensible budget cuts are best looked at from the point of cutting recurrent expenses rather than the occasional coupon discount.

Review Your Expenses for Successful Retirement Planning

Retirement planning involves taking a hard look at all recurring expenses in your senior home, which includes everything you write a monthly check for. For most people this includes house insurance, car insurance, life and health insurance, utilities (gas, electric, phone, Internet, cable), gas for your car, groceries, and any other recurring monthly expenses. Although expenses tend to go up rather than down, competition and technology sometimes bring the cost for such services as cable, telephone and Internet down, allowing you to cut expenses almost painlessly.

The Top Ten Ways to Maximize Retirement Planning and Reduce Expenses

  1. Insurance is a good place to start price comparing when considering your retirement planning. Sometimes, consolidating all your insurance needs with one company can give you a significant discount. Check into raising your deductibles in order to lower your rates, both for your vehicle and your home and ask your insurance agent what discounts you qualify for. If you drive fewer miles than you once did, then you may be able to get an additional discount on your auto insurance.
  2. Bank fees vary widely, and although many banks now offer free checking accounts, they will rarely go to their established customers and offer them the discount. Either go to your bank or call them up and ask about senior discounts, free checking, free checks, or checking accounts which offer interest on your balance.
  3. You may need to switch cable or satellite providers in order to get the best rates, because they typically offer better deals to new customers. Sometimes, just the threat of a switch will get you an improved rate, and your retirement planning savings moves right along!
  4. There are huge variations in cell phone carriers and packages. Before you renew your present contract, check other carriers and ask about senior discounts, as many companies are now offering them. Unless you are addicted to texting, you can skip this service and save from $5-$10 per month. Get the lowest amount of minutes you can get by with, and use your phone sparingly, especially if you also have a landline home phone.
  5. And speaking of landlines—many people are doing away with their home landline altogether and using only a cell phone. Your individual usage will determine whether this is a cost-effective way to enhance your retirement planning.
  6. Just like cable, satellite and telephone service, shopping around for your Internet carrier can really pay off. Many times you can get the same service for $30 that you may currently be paying $60 or $70 for.
  7. Consider refinancing your home, but approach this option cautiously. Make sure you diligently do your research on this one—talk to a trusted and knowledgeable friend or family member and shop around for the very best rates with the lowest closing fees. Sometimes a refinance can save you hundreds per month.
  8. If you have a credit card which gives you rewards points, use them wisely; in order to accumulate points much more quickly, concentrate on one card rather than spreading them out.
  9. Further savings on credit cards: If you currently carry a large credit card expense, then you are also making very large monthly interest payments, especially if you are only making minimum monthly payments. Sometimes simply asking your credit card company for a lower interest rate can slash those costs. If they refuse your request, consider transferring the balance to a card with a lower interest rate.
  10. Many times you have no choice as far as gas, water or electric suppliers, but if you do, then check around to see who has the best price. Senior assistance may be available for utility payments, so call your local companies. The more old-fashioned way to save on your utility costs is to conserve, conserve, conserve!

Retirement planning doesn’t have to be filled with drudgery and skimping; just a little bit of shopping around, a few phone calls, and soon you will see a substantial monthly savings.



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