First Person: Money-Saving Retirement Activities

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When income is tight in retirement, it might seem there's little to do that doesn't cost money. And as I look forward to my own retirement future, with things like Social Security and many pension systems in doubt, I'm considering a variety of hobbies and activities that can keep me busy, interested and occupied but that don't cost a lot of money.

In fact, not only might some of my interests not cost much, but a few of them might even garner me a little extra income in my golden years.

Gardening and farming

According to, Americans spend an average of $151 a week on food. I've slowly but surely been learning more about cultivating my own food over the past few years. However, living in an urban environment somewhat limits my ability to fully explore this side of self-sufficiency. In retirement though, I hope to live in a location where I have room to breathe and expand my knowledge of farming further.

From gardening to all out farming, growing food can lead not only to lower expenses in retirement through gaining independence from many of the products found at the local grocery store, but it could offer income opportunities as well. From opening up land to self-harvesters to selling grown goods at local farmers markets, while it might not be enough to sustain us entirely in retirement, such activities could provide supplemental income that is critical during a time when money could be tight.

Fixing and building

An article on reports that, "According to a report by the University of Illinois Extension, homeowners need to budget 1% to 2% of the purchase price of their home, each year, to cover the costs of home maintenance and repairs. That's $3,000 to $6,000 a year on a $300,000 home, and if it's older or has appliances that will soon need to be replaced, you may need to set aside as much as twice that amount."

Therefore, learning to take on new projects myself could save us a decent amount of money each year. With the internet as a tool, I've already begun taking on certain home repair projects now, like removing wallpaper, certain plumbing repairs, housing painting and the like, but with some extra time in retirement, I'd like to branch out further into the home maintenance area.

Exploring that artistic side

Retirement can be looked at as a time to rest and relax but also as a time to take advantage of those extra hours to try something there may never have been time for before.

I've never been much into the whole drawing, sketching, painting, crafting, pottery-making, jewelry creation sort of thing, but in retirement, I'd like to have the opportunity to try some of these things. When I worked in hospitality management, I never really had an idea that I would one day end up writing for a living. But here I am, and it's amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it. And with plenty of time available in retirement, it could provide the perfect opportunity not only to try a few new creative endeavors, but possibly make some money at them as well. There can be some good money in jewelry making, and it can be a rewarding hobby as well. According to, a jewelry designer can make a salary ranging from $25,829 to $79,758. And while I wouldn't expect such amounts as a hobby, it's a good indication that there is money to be made in exploring my artistic side.

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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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