If you one of the lucky ones to retire with enough money to enjoy your retirement , Congradulations. For the rest of us trying to survive on social security you will realize you have a lot of free time (good thing ) but not a lot of money. When you working you could justify shortcuts (get coffee on way to work, maids service, order food, etc , etc).
1- WRITE IT ALL DOWN
Keep track of your expense first the big ones that are regular expenses (rent, utilities, car insurance, car payments etc). The hard part is all the little expenses that make your limited income disappear before you know it. Keep a notebook or a list on your phone just for a month or two become aware of the "leaks".
Not only of expenses but of what is important to you. Is having your house cleaned so important that you are willing to cut something else? Start with the amount you have to live on per month from social security or pension. Subtract fixed expenses. Now you have the amount left for food, gas , travel etc.
3. MAKING IT ALL WORK.
You have determined you can only afford to spend $150 a week on food, gas and miscellaneous expenses. The hard part is making it work. Look at your grocery list. You have the time now would it be more cost effective to make muffins to have with your coffee? Can you spirilize your own veggies? Break down and freeze family size lower cost packages of meat? I have a brand of coffee that I enjoy and means a great start to my day. It costs more but I make the cost by prepping my own food. You have time to go to local farmers markets and make your pesto in season then freeze it. Does your lower income qualify you for assistance such as food stamps? If you enjoy going out to eat do it at lunch time when the cost is lower.
4. SENIOR AND MILITARY DISCOUNTS
My mom would not ask for it but my dad didn't care and got it everywhere. Do you have a local senior center? Senior centers are a great source of discount classes, gyms and socializing. When I turned 55 I was joyful because now I could get yoga classes at the senior center. Home Depot and Lowes offer retired/active military discount. You have the time , search on the internet and ask when you shop. You have the time if you can't afford internet get it free at the library.
5. THINGS I HAVE DONE .....
Vegetable garden using mostly seeds from veggies I have eaten and tomato plants on sale.
Shower in a container so I can reuse the water to flush the toilet. (shower water can have fecal matter so not recommended for veggie growing plants)
I hate cleaning so I do a little every day (I have more time now) . I invested in a robotic vacuum which paid for itself in less than a month of cancelling cleaning service
I join NON-Consumer Network on Facebook. A community of people sharing ideas on saving money by reusing and repurposing.
Make my own coffee everyday. DAH
Found a discount clinic attached to the Animal Shelter for getting my dog spayed, yearly shots and heart worm.
Barter - find people who have something you need and trade services. Can you mend and hem in exchange for plumbing?
more information on this in my next post on side gigs.