Guest post by Jim McKinley
As you get older, you may be tempted to start cutting back on your expenses. After all, if you are living on a fixed income after retirement, you may not have the extra money needed to go on trips or take part in other pricey activities. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t take the time to live it up in your golden years. It is worth it to be frugal—up to a point. But, when frugality comes at the expense of your general happiness and satisfaction with your life, you may need to find a different balance. Here are some ways you can start enjoying yourself without spending too much, while also saving for any medical needs down the road.
First, take care of your responsibilities
At this point in life, you’re probably well aware that work typically needs to come before play. So, before you start filling your schedule with all of the activities you have been hesitant to spend money on, make sure you have taken care of your most important responsibilities first. One of the most crucial obligations is to confirm you have adequate healthcare coverage.
If you have not signed up for Medicare yet, or if you have been putting it off, take steps to sign up today. You can use a variety of online resources to learn all sorts of information about Medicare, including the different types of plans and what amount of coverage is right for you. Make the most of all of the different forms of assistance that are available for your use. Online Medicare resources can help guide you through the often complicated process of enrollment. They can also help you find supplemental plans which could assist you in paying for any medical needs you have that Medicare does not cover, including prescription drugs, dental, and vision services.
Once you have your healthcare squared away, you will have more peace of mind and freedom to focus your time and attention on doing the things you actually enjoy. Plus, once your healthcare and medical expenses are ironed out, you’ll have a better idea of what your budget is for travel and leisure activities.
Find less-expensive ways to take part in your favorite activities
There are plenty of ways you can be frugal while having fun, and there are always alternatives to the most expensive options. For instance, if you are a fan of playing golf, pick up a set of used golf clubs instead of spending hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a set of brand new clubs. When you want to go onto the course, time it so you play on the days and times farthest away from the course’s peak hours. Many courses offer lower prices Monday through Thursday, as well as discounted rates for twilight (about five hours to sundown) and super-twilight hours. You can save even more money by choosing to make your round of golf part of your daily exercise. The price of renting a golf cart can become expensive if you play frequently; however, walking the course will get your heart rate up and allow you to really enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors while enjoying your favorite past-time. You can, of course, split the difference by renting a golf bag pull cart, or by buying one used.
Golf isn’t your thing? That’s okay—approaching all of your favorite activities in this manner will make it possible for you to spend time doing the things you love, without spending all of your monthly income in one go. For example, if you’ve been wanting to take a vacation somewhere, look into the many different types of travel discounts offered to seniors. Consider going somewhere within a drivable distance to save on airfare. Opt to stay in an AirBnB or hostel rather than a five-star hotel. When it comes to traveling on a budget, the options are endless. You just need to be willing to get a little creative and think outside the box.
If you are a senior, you will have to figure out a way to balance the fun of retirement with the responsibilities of taking care of your own health. The easiest way to do this is to plan out inexpensive ways to do the things you love while making sure your health is fully covered. That way, you will have covered all the bases and will be free to enjoy yourself as much as you’d like.