Currently, the most a British senior can claim in state pension is £113.10 per week, which equates to roughly £452.40 per month. If you're accustomed to living off the income of a full time job, dropping to a state pension can be a real shock to the system. Unfortunately, that's the price we pay for more freedom and a few extra lay ins here and there. Of course, if we've built up a private pension over the years, this can supplement the state pension nicely, but it can still be quite nerve wracking learning to live within your new means. If you're planning to retire, or are a new retiree, here are five ways you can help to keep the costs down during retirement, which should be the best years of your life!

1. Perform a Comprehensive Budget Overview

(Image by Images Money)

The main reason why many of us struggle financially in the early stages of retirement is that we simply underestimated how much we spend. When we've got a steady income coming in, we don't notice that weekly takeaway, that dress that's in the sales, or that cheeky bottle of port we buy in for the weekends. If we actually sit down and look at our spending in detail, we may be surprised at just how high our unnecessary outgoings are. The best way to budget is to carry a notebook and pen at all times, and jot down everything you spend during the month. At the end of the month, look it over and determine where you can make savings. It may be beneficial to set a monthly limit for 'luxuries' such as clothing, takeaways, and home furnishings, for example.

2. Look After Your Health

Many of us work our whole lives with one ultimate goal - retirement - but believe it or not, retirement can actually be bad for our health... sort of! It's reported that the chance of being diagnosed with a physical illness increases by a whopping 60 percent following retirement, but that doesn't mean we automatically become poorly the moment we retire. Instead, these statistics are based more on the fact that we have more time to visit our GP during retirement, so diagnoses are more common. When health deteriorates, the obvious solution is a residential or nursing home, which cost an average of £532 per week and £750 per week respectively, according to the BBC. To keep costs down, it may be more sensible to manage minor health ailments at home, with the use of mobility aids and disability equipment. There's usually just a one-off cost for this form of assistance, and you may even be eligible for government or local council grants.

3. Consider Alternative providers

(Image by Martin Cathrae)

Working takes up all of our week, and come weekends all we want to do is chill out and relax, meaning we have little to no time to research different service providers and their costs. It's so much more convenient to simply renew services each year, but this isn't always the most cost effective method. Your phone company, your gas and electric guys, and your life insurance agent... they don't offer loyalty schemes. It doesn't matter how long you've been with them, you won't be getting any sort of significant discount. When you retire, make good use of your newfound free time. Use comparison websites to find the best deals, and spend some time shopping around. Martin Lewis of claims that the difference between a 'standard tariff' and a 'cheap tariff' can be as much as £200 per year!

4. Reduce Travel Costs

If you own a car, which most of us do, it's time to think about how much you actually use it. While your own private vehicle may have been invaluable for the daily commute while you were working, how much do you really use it, or need it, during retirement? Retirees can make use of free bus passes and senior railcards which offer reduced fares for travel all around the country. Many older people find that they only use their car for the weekly grocery shop, but with most supermarkets now offering online ordering and home delivery, there's no need to pay for the upkeep of a vehicle, plus the road tax and insurance, just for getting to the shops and back. Of course, having the freedom to go where you want, whenever you want, is something many people cherish, but if you're determined to cut costs during retirement, it may be time to weigh up the pros and cons of vehicle ownership.

5. Don't Pay for What You Can Get for Free

(Image by Ben K Adams)

Retirement comes with all sorts of amazing perks, but many retirees don't even know about them! Once you're over 60 years of age, you no longer need to pay for many health-related services, such as eye tests and NHS prescriptions - they're completely free. Additionally, once you've reached 75 years of age, you'll receive a complimentary TV license, which usually costs £145 per year. Some organisations, such as the National Trust, even offer special discounts and price reductions for seniors - don't pay for anything you can get for free!

What's great is that these are only a handful of the ways in which you can save during retirement. There are many more ways you can cut your spending by looking at a detailed overview of your outgoings and finding ways in which you personally can make savings, without compromising on quality of life. Retirement should be a time where we're having fun and flaunting our newfound freedom, not wallowing in financial pity.

This post was provided by Harold H Rigby - a lifestyle writer dedicated to making it easier for seniors to transition into a stress-free and enjoyable retirement.

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