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Entertainment

The BLS reported that the average retiree spends, on average, $2,589 annually — or roughly $215 a month — on entertainment. That may not sound like a lot, but it certainly can add up over time — especially for those who also travel frequently, attend concerts or sporting events, or dine out regularly.

However, entertainment doesn't always have to be expensive: many find joy in simple pleasures like spending time with family and friends, reading, gardening, or engaging in low-key hobbies they couldn't pursue during their working years.

You can also take advantage of free or low-cost entertainment options in your community, such as libraries, parks, museums with free admission days, community centers, and local events.

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Food

Food is a significant expense for retirees, with the BLS estimating it accounts for about $411 in monthly spending — or $4,938 annually. By comparison, the average retiree household spends $2,412 yearly for “food away from home.”

These numbers can all vary depending on dietary preferences, health conditions, and dining habits. While many retirees cook at home to save money, others enjoy the convenience of dining in restaurants or ordering takeout.

Grocery shopping, restaurant meals, and occasional splurges on special occasions all contribute to the overall food budget. Some retirees also explore meal delivery services or participate in community meal programs to meet their nutritional needs and social connections.

According to a study from the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA), food insecurity has increased in the last few decades for American families with adults over the the age of 60.

It was discovered that 1 in 4 families with older adults (23.1%) struggled with food insecurity between 2015 and 2019.

Planning meals and creating a grocery list to avoid impulse purchases can help ensure you're buying only what you need. Cooking at home more often can be significantly cheaper than dining out regularly, while exploring budget-friendly recipes and cooking techniques can make the most of your food budget.

Healthcare

Healthcare is undeniably one of the most significant expenses for retirees, and it accounts for about $7,505 of annual expenditures, the BLS reported. This comes out to more than $600 a month.

Even with Medicare coverage, out-of-pocket costs for medications, specialist visits, dental care, and long-term care can quickly add up.

Retirees often have to budget for health insurance premiums, deductibles, copayments, and unexpected medical expenses. Those with chronic conditions or who require regular regular medical attention may face even higher healthcare costs.

Containing health costs involves prioritizing regular check-ups, screenings, and vaccinations to catch potential health issues early and potentially avoid costly treatments down the line.

Also, maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and a balanced diet can help prevent chronic diseases and reduce the need for expensive medications or treatments.

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Transportation

Transportation costs can vary greatly depending on whether a retiree owns a car, relies on public transportation, or uses alternative modes of transport, like bikes or ride-sharing services. The BLS said retirees spend, on average, $8,065 annually on transportation costs — which is more than $650 in monthly expenditures.

Car ownership entails expenses like fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs, while public transportation may involve monthly passes or individual fares. Some retirees choose to downsize to a more fuel-efficient vehicle or relocate to areas with robust public transportation options to reduce their costs.

Consider using public transportation, ride-sharing services, or carpooling whenever possible to reduce gas, insurance, and maintenance costs associated with personal vehicle ownership. If feasible, consider biking or walking for shorter trips to save on transportation costs and improve overall health.

Housing

With an average of $11,186 annual expenditure on shelter, housing is typically the most substantial expense for retirees, whether they own their homes or rent.

Homeowners face property taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, and potential repairs, while renters must allocate a significant portion of their income to monthly rent payments.

Many retirees downsize to smaller homes or apartments to lower housing costs, while others choose to age in place with modifications to make their homes more accessible. Some explore retirement communities or assisted living facilities that offer various housing options and support services, although these can also prove costly.

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Chris Clark Freelance Contributor

Chris Clark is freelance contributor with MoneyWise, based in Kansas City, Mo. He has written for numerous publications and spent 18 years as a reporter and editor with The Associated Press.

Disclaimer

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