Unusual Ways to Stretch Your Retirement Budget a Little Further

by Miranda Marquit · 8 comments

Survey after survey indicates that Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement. While retirement is one of the biggest fears that Americans have, they aren’t confident in their ability to enjoy life.

A Wells Fargo survey recently indicated that 22% of middle class Americans would rather die early than be unable to have a comfortable retirement. This is very alarming information!

Americans say that saving for retirement is harder than expected, and many think that they will be able save later, to make up for a lack of savings now. However, this could backfire in the future as many Baby Boomers are finding out right now.

So, what can you do if you want to have a comfortable retirement without breaking the bank? Joshua Kadish from RPG Life Transition Specialists offers three interesting tips for helping your retirement budget stretch a little further.

1. Save Airline Points

Do you have an airline membership? Now’s the time to start saving airline points.

Kadish suggests using a credit card that allows you to save points, so look for rewards programs with points that don’t expire so you can build them up over time. “If you start now and save up points over several years, you’ll be able to take some fantastic trips without the burden of high flight costs,” he says.

This can work out with other types of rewards, too. From hotel rewards to discounted car rentals, the right travel rewards card can help you build up points so you can save money later.

Just make sure you keep your credit card spending within your regular budget and pay off the balance each month so you don’t end up in debt with high interest costs. That’s the key to living large on a small budget during retirement and still having money to travel!

2. Retire in a College Town

Where you retire matters, as the cost of living can really ruin your retirement if you aren’t careful. A college town can be a good place to retire if you want to save money. “Many towns offer access to quality public transportation and health care resources,” says Kadish. “And, you can enrich your retirement years with ongoing education.”

On top of that, many university towns bring in rich cultural experiences. Living in Logan, Utah might seem like the end of the world, but thanks to the university, there was always a play going on, musical presentations, and art exhibits.

Many of these experiences in a college town come with low costs. Additionally, there’s a surprising number of ethnic restaurants catering to students of various nationalities.

3. Engage in Off-Peak Activities

If you want to save even more money during retirement, try engaging in off-peak activities. Kadish recommends playing golf during off-peak tee times, or getting better entertainment prices by going to matinees of movies and plays.

Additionally, it makes sense to engage in other activities during off-peak times. This might include travel during times when others don’t so you can get better rates on airfare and hotels. Sign up for discount sites like, Expedia or Hotels.com, who send out email notifications when prices are the lowest. You might be surprised at how much money you can save.

Stretch Your Retirement Budget

Retiring comfortably on a small budget doesn’t mean you’re limited in what you can do and experience. You just have to get a little more creative with your ideas and leverage these tips to make living large on a small budget possible.

Additionally, finalize your priorities and see how you can afford them. And remember that delayed gratification can be your best friend during this time. You’ll still be able to afford anything you want, but maybe not right this moment.

What are some other ideas for stretching your budget during retirement? Do you have a favorite retirement savings tips? Leave a comment!

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  • JD says:

    Both my husband and myself are retired. Our solution was to move to a lower cost state and live in a much smaller town. Taxes are lower, fewer stores to entice on to spend ( 🙁 ), anyway, our monthly living expenses are considerably lower now.

  • Kayla says:

    Wow! I’m on the right track and I didn’t even know it. I plan to live in a college town when I retire someday, but it wasn’t because of the reasons you mention. But now that I know them, that helps seal the deal even more 🙂 Luckily, I started saving for retirement at age 19 and I haven’t stopped my regular contributions yet. I know I’ll have enough when I get to that point, as long as I don’t quit the good habits I have in place now.

  • DealForALiving says:

    I think rather than focus on the college towns, I would direct people to the Midwest. The recent Kiplinger article on the best places to retire basically pointed everyone to Midwest towns (a lot of them being college towns).

  • Bert says:

    I saved money with an RV. I went to full time living in mine when I took a traveling job. Right now I park it in a regular mobile home park, convenient to a great public transportation system, which offers a senior’s pass for $10/mo. If one is able to live without the junk, which are the most of your possessions that won’t fit in the camper before you set out, you could never opt for a more rewarding lifestyle.

  • Tim Warren says:

    Retirees can also invest their money in a risk-free binary options trading. For a minimum deposit of just $250 you can start speculating in more than 350 underlying assets.

  • moneystepper says:

    I’d previously thought about (and already do at the age of 30) the first and third.

    However, I’d never really thought about choosing a university town to live in when you retire. Its a great idea though: there are always a load of cheap events aimed at students that would be equally interesting for retirees.

  • Mrs. Frugal says:

    Similar to reducing your expenses in retirement, if you’re able to live more frugally before retirement, you’ll both save more and become accustomed to needing less money to live on. If people go into retirement with a practical, frugal approach it’ll be a much smoother transition than if one suddenly deflates their lifestyle upon retirement age.

  • Dewald says:

    I do not think that college towns in our country will save you money. Many of our college towns have the highest property growth rate and the most expensive houses.

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