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Good Living

Easy Ideas to Stretch Your Retirement Budget

By Family Features | Contributor

Retirement may mean you have unlimited time to enjoy each day, but it doesn’t mean you have a budget to match.

You probably already know staying active is essential for aging with grace, so instead of letting limited funds keep you at home, explore some ways you can enjoy your leisure time without breaking the bank.

Hit the Gym

Many fitness centers offer special rates and programs for older adults. Hitting the track or joining a group fitness class are easy ways to socialize while getting some exercise. The discounted membership is also an investment since staying fit is important for physical and mental health.

Enjoy Early Dinner Deals

You can still enjoy dining out occasionally, especially if you take advantage of lower-cost meals designed with older adults in mind. Many specials are for meals earlier in the day, which is consistent with a growing trend toward earlier dining. According to Yelp, the number of people eating from 4-6 p.m. has grown 9% (up to 26% from 17% in 2019). Eating earlier promotes better digestion, and earlier meals are often lighter portions for smaller appetites. For example, Cracker Barrel’s Early Dinner Deals feature smaller portions served from 4-6 p.m. on weekdays. 

Check Out the Library

Your local library is filled with hours of free entertainment, but it’s not just the kind you’ll find from getting a library card. You can undoubtedly find a book that covers any genre or interest you can name, but most local libraries also offer programming tailored to special interests and the sessions are typically offered for free or at a low cost. It’s an easy, affordable way to pick up a new skill, meet a favorite author, learn about a topic that intrigues you and more. Other resources to explore include your library’s DVD collection and internet access if you don’t have a computer at home.

Nurture a Garden

Tending a garden may seem like a seasonal activity, but you can make it a year-round hobby. Researching and planning is a good way to carry your gardening enthusiasm into the cooler months and you can start seedlings indoors to extend your growing season. While you’re digging into this low-cost pastime, remember the results of your efforts, such as fresh fruits and veggies, can help cut your grocery costs, too.

Mind Your Money with DIY

Saving money at the grocery store is just one way you can make DIY projects work for you. There are dozens of other examples of ways you can put your skills and interests to use by passing time doing something you enjoy while benefiting your bank account. If you like to tinker with cars, figure out what repairs you can handle yourself and avoid hefty service fees. Crafting and sewing might mean you have ready-made gifts for special occasions and a way to repair or repurpose damaged clothing instead of discarding it.

Ask About Discounts

You may be surprised by how many places offer discounts for older adults that they don’t readily advertise. In some cases, you’ll find the information on their website or signage, but other times, you may find it easier to just ask. When you’re booking an appointment or checking out, inquire about discounts for older adults, including any restrictions, age requirements, the amount of the discount and other pertinent details. Sometimes the discounts are offered on certain days or for specific services, or they may require you to join a loyalty club to access the discounts. When dining out, many restaurants offer a variety of loyalty perks. Rewards members at Cracker Barrel can earn points, or “Pegs,” on qualifying restaurant and retail purchases. Members can also take advantage of bonus birthday, anniversary and surprise rewards throughout the year.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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