While we may not have as much money in retirement, what we do have is lots of time.
How do you continue to have an interesting, fun time on a greatly reduced income once you are retired? A computer or tablet and internet access is essential – many of the organisations and deals mentioned below can only be found online.
It’s also much easier if you are relatively fit – apart from helping you stay independent for longer, staying fit will save you money (see my top fitness tips for over 50s). One of the best ways is to walk whenever you can. Walking has few if any no downsides, while the benefits are too numerous to list.
Save on shopping
How often do you get a coupon at the till offering you money off your next shop which ends up lost at the bottom of your bag? I used to do that, but now I use them - always. It may only be a small amount of money, but if the shop short-changed you by that amount, you’d soon tell them.
Use money off vouchers to buy non-perishables that you will eventually need. At one point, my daughter got quite worried about my stash of toilet paper. But you will need them eventually, so don’t wait until you run out, because then you may miss out on the bargains.
Get out and about
You’d be amazed at the number of people who are entitled to a bus pass, but don’t apply for one. The bus pass is one of the best money saving offers around. Perhaps ‘bus pass’ is a bit of a misnomer because it works on all local forms of transport.
If you travel by train, have a look at a Senior Railcard, which costs £30 but entitles you to a third off most train tickets. If you use the train frequently, it will save you money very quickly – one journey to London and I’ve paid for mine.
Booking in advance and being flexible about when you travel can also lead to huge savings, the only downside being that you have to take specific trains when the train companies are offering deals. I’ve managed to get to Edinburgh from Manchester for about £13.
Are you not entertained?
I love the theatre but it can be expensive. However – and this is where being fit definitely comes in handy – The Globe Theatre in London sells ‘groundling’ (the Elizabethan term for ‘standing’) tickets for £5.
The Globe is one of the greatest theatres in the world, and where else can you see truly world-class actors perform for a measly fiver? You’ll need to keep your strength up though, so make sure you eat at half time.
Many theatres also sell tickets on the day – the Royal Exchange in Manchester sells ‘banquette’ tickets for £10, although you need to get there early. As far as I can see, the banquettes get the best view in the house. I’ve also had front row tickets for the Savoy for £10. It pays to ask for deals!
I like going to the cinema with friends, but even at concessionary rates, tickets are really pricey. We have Cineworld Unlimited Cards that let you watch as many films as you want. Around three visits a month pays for the card.
Somewhere to rest your head
You’ve bought your Globe tickets and used your various travel cards, but where to stay? If you’re not after 4 star luxury, but just good, basic en-suite accommodation, www.universityrooms.com offers rooms in university halls of residence when the students are not there. Students have long holidays, so there’s lots of availability. Some even offer breakfast. They have accommodation abroad too.
Have you thought about house-sitting? There are agencies where you are actually employed and get a small wage. Others work more like a dating agency, in that you pay a fee and they introduce you to people wanting house-sitters, then it’s up to you to negotiate terms. Some are UK only, while some are based all over the world. I saw a great house-sit in Hawaii recently.
Then there’s Help Exchange (www.helpx.net), which I haven’t tried yet but I’m quite excited about. Helpx is a world-wide organisation where hosts who have a smallholding, B&B or small hotel, etc., advertise for guests to work for a few hours a day in exchange for accommodation and, sometimes, food. There is a nominal joining fee. You need to be quite fit for this and it’s usually used by young travellers, but why should they have all the fun?
What money-saving tips or deals do you take advantage of? Please let us know in the comments below or have your say in the forum.
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own. Prices accurate at time of writing.
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