Morningstar.com's overarching goal is to help you improve your investment results. But it's the other side of the ledger--your spending rate--that can make or break your investment plan. While you're in the accumulation phase, no decision will be as significant as how much of your income you spend and how much you set aside in savings. The same holds true for your retirement years.
That's why, during the next several weeks, I'll be discussing ways in which retirees can cut expenses both big and small. Not all of these ideas will be palatable to all retirees, and many involve some important trade-offs that could affect a retiree's quality of life. But thinking through the key variables is a valuable reminder to recognize that your retirement is a work in progress and to think creatively about your options.
Housing-related costs are often the largest component of retirees' household budgets, so this week's column will address some of the key ways in which retirees can cut costs related to hearth and home. I've ranked them from the most dramatic (and life-changing) ways to cut costs to those that have less of an impact.