If you think, or know, that your reduced income during retirement will not go far enough to cover your expenses, tougher budgeting can help. Often, people don’t know how much they’re spending, or what they’re spending it for. So the best way to start is by listing all of your expenses and putting them into categories.
* Start by examining entertainment and travel outlays. Do you really need to take that expensive cruise on your next vacation? Fewer restaurant meals, at not-so-pricey places, also may help.
* Next, look at your household vehicles. Often, they’re a major expense. See if one can be eliminated, or if you can change one vehicle to a model that’s less expensive to insure and operate.
* Don’t forget the little things. You may be able to negotiate better deals for cable TV or cell phones, for example.
* Practice tough love. If you’re helping to support grown children, this may be an area where you’ll need to cut back, in order to balance your own budget and invest for your retirement.
While you’re cutting back, don’t cut too deeply into vital outlays such as insurance premiums. Be sure you retain adequate coverage for your home, your vehicles, and your life.
Getting a better handle on your spending, and finding potential savings, might help sway a decision on when you will be able to retire. If after making such adjustments the income simply won’t be enough, you might need to continue working longer than you had thought.