Feature Stories

How to Recharge Your Retirement on A Budget!

It happens to almost everyone – you get stuck in a routine. For the past two years or so, many retired Americans have fallen into a rut. Covid-19 restrictions hampered travel and socialization and life in general. Many of the activities people used to enjoy fell by the wayside. Some people are still afraid of taking a cruise or going out to a restaurant or even someone’s home. But enough is enough.

It’s time to recharge your batteries and live again. It’s time to take that vacation you had to postpone. It’s time to get back to enjoying retirement, right?

Although I strongly agree with that sentiment, for some retirees, money has also become a bit of an issue. Trips to the gas pump and the grocery store take a bigger bite out of your wallet than they used to. And some people still don’t feel safe in a crowd, especially if they have some pre-existing health conditions. It’s understandable. But there is still a way to get out of your rut.

Here are three things to do that will add enjoyment and variety to your life without breaking the budget.

The Hudson River
Travel Close to Home

Of all the activities that our friends say they miss the most, traveling is listed as number one. Once you get out of the habit, packing bags and getting on a plane becomes a little bit more of a challenge. Some of our friends even bypassed their winter escape to a warmer climate and became shut ins during the cold weather. The sad part is that, even now, they haven’t ventured far from home because of the price of airfares. But you don’t need to give up the joy of seeing new places.

The first way to get your retirement back on track is to become a tourist again. You don’t have to go too far, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. Start looking at the area you live in, and I guarantee there are things you’ve never done before and places you’ve never been to. Sometimes we take our own home and surroundings for granted.

We live about a mile from the Hudson River just off the New York State Thruway and paid a visit to our local tourism office. It’s amazing how many brochures they have about places we’ve never even heard of. Local history can be fascinating and almost every town or county has a Historical Society that can give you a lot of ideas for some very enjoyable day trips. Even if you’ve lived in an area for years, there are probably places that you’ve heard about but never been to. Town landmarks and the history behind them can reveal a world you’ve been overlooking for years. Local festivals are always great attractions, and you can bet that this fall, living in apple country we’ll be coming home with a bushel of one of nature’s great treats. My wife makes the best apple pie in the world.

Creative Cooking

And that brings me to the second way you can spice up your retirement – literally! One of the things we were forced to do during the recent pandemic shutdown was to get back to cooking for ourselves. Yes, there were places to go for takeout but food tastes better right out of the oven and seasoned just the way you like it. In the process, we began to really enjoy ourselves.

Finding new recipes and watching some videos on cooking techniques brought some excitement back to the kitchen. We were quite surprised at how much fun we were having and amazed at how much money we saved at the end of each month. If you want a way to bring new skills and learning into your life and save some money at the same time, don’t overlook cooking as your new favorite hobby. Almost all of us have some old cookbooks and favorite recipes tucked away in a closet, so why not resurrect them, and make cooking part of your daily routine. We found it’s also a nice feeling to bring a meal to someone who might not be able to cook for themselves. It’s time to find those recipes!

Eliminate the Clutter

And, while you’re looking through those closets, you might try our third way to recharge your

retirement: getting rid of all your old junk. Nothing gives you a new outlook on life better than getting rid of the clutter that has been staring at you in your face for so long. It’s incredible how a room can be transformed with just a little clean-up. And, if money is tight, don’t overlook the possibility of having a yard sale to make a few extra dollars on the side. Many communities have a spring or fall event where everyone puts their unwanted stuff on a table for a price or even just as a give-away. You can make someone’s day by getting rid of something you no longer need. It may be just the thing they’ve been looking for. No matter what, decluttering your life has been shown to be one of the ways to change your outlook and start living again. It’s time to recharge and Enjoy Retired Life!

James Conner retired from Corporate America five years ago. He is the owner of the website EnjoyRetiredLife.com.

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