For many people, being debt-free equates to being worry-free. This is most noticeable during retirement, especially for seniors living on a fixed income. Almost half of all adults in the United States—nearly 42 percent—have no retirement savings and intend to rely solely on social security benefits. For many seniors, that equates to less than $1,500 per month.


It is difficult to live on that kind of monthly income. Here are a few money-saving tips to help you make the most of your retirement funds and make the most of your golden years.


Downsizing to a Smaller Space


While selling your family home can be difficult and even stressful, downsizing to a smaller space can help you save money on utilities, mortgage, and homeowner’s insurance. You can also use the proceeds from the sale of your home to invest, pay monthly rent at an independent living center, or make a down payment or full payment on a new, smaller home.


Save Money on Vet Bills


If you own a pet, you understand how expensive vet bills can be when your pet is sick or injured. Instead of potentially spending thousands of dollars on vet visits and procedures, you can save money by enrolling in pet insurance. Insurers such as Embrace provide policies with low premiums and a variety of deductibles, as well as coverage for many older pets.


Getting Rid of Unnecessary Expenses


Do you read The New Yorker on a weekly basis? Season tickets to the neighborhood baseball team? Why do you have two cars at home when only one is really required? Nonessential expenses should account for no more than 30% of your monthly income, according to financial experts. Is that figure reasonable to you? That is dependent on what constitutes the remaining 70%. Rethink your habits so that you can properly identify what is unimportant.


Starting a Side Business


Social Security income has limits, both in terms of what is paid out and what you can earn in addition to it. If you earn more than the limit, you may lose your government benefits. Many seniors find a way to balance their lives by taking on a part-time job, contract work, or, as millennials call it, a “side hustle.” You can supplement your monthly income without jeopardizing your Social Security benefits.


Having Free Fun


Are you a voracious reader? Reading has been shown in studies to be an effective way for seniors to prevent cognitive decline or illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s care. How can you keep your hobby on a shoestring budget? Instead of spending money on books on Amazon every month, visit your local library! You can borrow not only books, but also DVDs, CDs, and digital copies for your e-reader. In addition, the library offers free classes, social activities, and free Wi-Fi to the general public on a daily basis.


When Applicable, Make Annual Payments


While you will have to pay more up front, making annual payments for monthly bills such as car insurance can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Many businesses will charge you a higher monthly fee in order to include interest. You save money by paying once a year.


Travel with a Friend


Vacationing with a friend or another couple can help you save money on travel expenses. Splitting the costs of gas, lodging, food, and activities can significantly reduce some of the costs associated with travel. This can make travel more affordable and accessible to seniors on fixed incomes. Who doesn’t want to do some exploring with their extra free time in their golden years?


Medical costs, living expenses, and housing issues can all make it difficult to live comfortably as a senior. You can, however, stretch your budget even if you have a fixed income if you are creative in your financial planning.