(BPT) - You've earned your retirement, and while it's a chance to relax and relish in your deserved time off, it's still important to keep track of your finances, savings and budget. With that in mind, here are five ways you can maintain a healthy budget and enjoy your dream retirement.
* Understand your expenses. Your life as a retiree is different now than it was during your employed years. Gone are the day-to-day working responsibilities; and here to stay is more free-time to explore hobbies and spend with friends and family. To learn how much money you'll need for your new lifestyle, it's a good idea to create a budget. Record all expenditures month-to-month, and assess where to add on or cut back. Make note of large expenses (trips or big purchases), but don't disregard them as one-offs. It's often a good idea to anticipate and save for the next big purchase.
* Discover cost-cutting options. Whether in your home or out and about, it's important to stay connected. However, standard cellphone plans can be expensive and often cause you to pay for services you'll never use. TracFone offers a more cost-effective alternative by offering you reliable service on the nation's largest and most dependable network without any contracts or hidden fees. And, for retirees who are on-the-go, TracFone's StaySafe No-Contract Mobile Bonus pack can ensure you're keeping the lines of communication open and that assistance - if you should need it - is just a call away. Sold at Kroger, the plan includes a TracFone Big Easy Flip phone that makes dialing easy, 800 minutes, a year of service, a hands-free headset and a car and wall charger, and costs only $79.99 vs. a retail value of $149.99. To learn more about the cost-saving options available from TracFone, including the StaySafe bundle pack, visit www.TFStaySafe.com.
* Stay healthy. Medical bills can get expensive very quickly, so maintaining good health is essential to managing your budget. Take a cooking class, join a gym or make positive changes to your diet. Anything you do to protect your good health will pay dividends in the years ahead.
* Practice moderation. Budgeting can feel constraining, but you don't want to deny yourself the simple luxuries in your retirement. There's no need to tighten the belt, but everyone can benefit from moderation. Instead of taking trips every year, plan for every other year. If eating out is your ideal treat, cut back to once a week as opposed to multiple nights out. Exercising moderation will help you manage your money and make those moments when you do indulge even more savory.
* Control your debt. Don't throw your years of hard work away by falling into the trap of debt. Keeping credit card use to a minimum is one way to protect against debt, and if you do have outstanding debt, allocate excess money to pay down debts with the highest interest rate first. Then, move on to the second-highest interest rate. This will reduce your overall debt more quickly.
By understanding your budget and planning accordingly, you'll make the most of your retirement and establish financial security for the months and years ahead.