Stay smart in retirement for LESS

Chapter 39: Stay smart in retirement for LESS

Many retirees spend a lot of money to stay smart. Reading books, magazines and newspapers, going to classes and attending cultural events doesn’t come cheap.

Can these things be done at a discount? Of course!

Here are some savvy and inexpensive ways to stay educated after you retire.

Books, magazines and newspapers

Do you love reading? Maintaining a reading habit in retirement doesn’t have to be expensive.

Start by giving up paper books, magazines and newspapers. Invest in an iPad, Kindle, NOOK or other tablet or virtual reading device. Downloading books from iTunes, Amazon and other online retailers is much cheaper than buying paper copies (often a third to half off). Some self-published ebooks cost remarkably little.

Online magazine and newspapers subscriptions are generally cheaper than ones for print. Also, an online magazine subscription service like Readly or Texture will give you access to more content at a lower cost.

Another plus: You’ll feel good knowing that you’re saving the environment when you read a book, magazine or newspaper online rather than a paper copy.

Remember: You don’t always have to pay for things you read. Many sites like Huffington Post and CNN provide great information from top-tier sources for free.

Can’t give up the paper book habit? Here’s how you can save money on them:

  • Borrow books from the library. Now that you’re retired, you have time to visit the library regularly. It gives you access to a vast supply of free books and is a great opportunity to meet and network with other people who love reading.
  • Trade books. Find friends open to sharing books and invite them to join a club. Trading books can be an interesting way to save money while being exposed to genres you may have never tried but might end up enjoying.
  • Become a member. Memberships at retailers can save you 25 percent or more on books. (Most also offer member discounts for magazines and other products, including audio books.)
  • Shop second hand. Second-hand bookstores are a treasure-trove of interesting reading at a low cost.
  • Sell your old books: Don’t let your books sit on a shelf collecting dust. Sell them to a used-book store to fund new purchases. Or have a themed garage or yard sale featuring your old books and other reading material. It will attract like-minded readers if you promote it thoughtfully.


Retirement is the perfect opportunity to go back to school. You have time to study subjects you’re interested in, and are no longer required to learn about things that will pay off in the workplace. The good news is that colleges and other institutions offer great ways for seniors to study without breaking the bank. Here are some of them:

  • Audit classes. Many colleges let retirees audit classes for free if they’re not already filled with paying students. You won’t be able to earn credits for audited classes and you can’t submit homework assignments or take tests. However, you can attend classes and lectures and experience everything the other students in the class do. Go online or call your local college admissions office to find out if they let people audit classes and how to sign up.
  • Retiree discounts. Certain colleges (and state university systems) let retirees take classes for free or at reduced tuition. Check online to find institutions in your area that offer discounts to seniors.
  • Community colleges. Don’t forget that community colleges are low-cost learning centers. In most cases, the quality of the education is relatively high. They’re a good place to learn practical skills you can use in everyday life.
  • Go to college, just not the classes. Many colleges offer unique and interesting lectures and speaker programs that anyone can attend. These are low-cost, low-commitment ways to learn new things and be exposed to different perspectives.
  • Study online. The Internet is full of online classes, webinars, webcasts and videos. They’re great ways to learn about new subjects. Double-check that the organization is a reputable one.

Cultural events

Going to the theater, concerts, museums and other cultural events keeps seniors connected with the vital and lively artistic community. While some events like Broadway shows can be very expensive, there are plenty of free or low-cost ways to be a culture vulture. Here are some options:

  • Many cultural institutions offer discounts to seniors. Before you pay for an admission or ticket, check to see if this is the case. Prices can be reduced from 10 to 50 percent or more.
  • Free days or times. Many museums have one day or night per week or month when they offer free admission. In addition, orchestras and theater groups have free shows in parks and local community centers. Check online to find schedules of these events.
  • Rehearsals and previews. Many groups offer free or reduced cost tickets to rehearsals or previews. They benefit from having a live audience to help them work out performance kinks. You benefit because you get to experience the creation of a new cultural event.
  • Offering your services as a tour guild or usher is a good way to enjoy culture for free knowing you’re helping out an arts organization.

Coming up short?

If you can’t find the money you need to fully realize yourself in retirement, why not work part time? It’s a terrific way to earn money to stay educated. Many people work online or start an online business. It can supply a significant income in a limited number of hours, which means you’ll still have plenty of time to read, study, attend events and expand your horizons. What are you waiting for? Find out more and get started today!


If you liked this article, then you might also like these:

Age 75 – Don’t forget the final step in your plan for retirement

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