25 Things To Do When You Are Retired, Bored And Broke

bored and broke retired senior

Transitioning into retirement can be an exciting time, but it can also present unexpected challenges. For some, financial realities may differ from what they anticipated, and the abundance of free time can feel daunting.

If you’re finding yourself retired, bored, and broke, this guide is here to help.

1. Get Back To Work

Retirement doesn’t have to mean complete separation from work! If your nest egg isn’t quite as plump as you’d hoped, consider re-engaging your skills in the workforce. This doesn’t have to be a full-time return to your old job. Explore part-time work, freelancing, or consulting opportunities that leverage your expertise.

Remember, your experience, especially if unique or specialized, can be incredibly valuable to companies. Retirement can be a time to discover fulfilling and enjoyable ways to bring in extra income, not just endure unpleasant tasks.

Read: The 50 Best Jobs For Retirees

2. Start A Business With No Investment

If the idea of a traditional job doesn’t appeal, consider venturing into the world of entrepreneurship! The beauty of online businesses is the potential for low investment. Leverage your skills and interests to explore possibilities like:

  • Creative Pursuits: Open an online art shop on Etsy or a similar platform.
  • Consulting Expertise: Offer freelance consulting services in your area of knowledge.
  • Pet Care: Provide dog walking services through Wag or other pet care platforms.
  • Content Creation: Start a niche blog, focusing on a topic you’re passionate about.
  • E-commerce: Explore dropshipping or self-publishing ebooks on Amazon.

Do note that these ventures typically rely on readily available tools like a laptop, smartphone, and internet access. While success won’t happen overnight, building an online business can be a fulfilling and rewarding pursuit in retirement. It requires dedication, research, and perseverance, but the potential for flexibility and income make it a compelling option.

3. Reduce Your Expenses

When facing financial constraints in retirement, a strategic approach to spending is key. Take some time to assess your expenses—a simple spreadsheet or pen and paper can work wonders. List your monthly and yearly costs, differentiating between essential outlays and those with more flexibility.

Consider downsizing significant expenses like housing or transportation. Could you move to a smaller place or explore carpooling options? Are there underutilized items you could sell to generate extra income? Look for opportunities to streamline spending on hobbies—perhaps there are more cost-effective ways to pursue your passions.

Every little bit counts, so optimize your energy bills and scrutinize subscriptions to free up significant savings over time. The key is prioritizing expenses that bring joy and fulfillment. Don’t make cuts that significantly impact your well-being. Instead, strike a balance by identifying areas for compromise while maintaining a happy and fulfilling retired life.

4. Host A Yard Sale

Retirement can be a time for decluttering, both physically and mentally. Why not turn those unused belongings into some extra cash by hosting a yard sale? Sort through your possessions—anything you haven’t used in a year or more is a prime candidate for a new home.

Beyond the financial benefit, yard sales offer a surprising perk: a renewed sense of purpose and accomplishment. Organizing and running a sale can be a fun and engaging activity, enriching your daily routine in retirement.

Moreover, it’s a great way to connect with your community and reconnect with neighbors. Fostering social interaction is a key element of maintaining well-being throughout your retirement and yard sales provide a natural opportunity to chat and connect.

5. Get Help From Family And Friends

You don’t need to face everything solo. There’s no shame in admitting you need a hand, in fact, recognizing when to ask for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Sharing your struggles with loved ones can provide a much-needed sense of relief and lighten the burden you carry. Don’t hesitate to turn to family and friends for support. After all, that’s what strong relationships are for!

Be open to their suggestions and assistance. They may offer fresh perspectives or ideas you haven’t considered, helping you navigate challenges and create a more fulfilling retirement experience.

6. Apply For Free Classes

To keep yourself sane while broke, stay mentally stimulated by engaging in continuous learning and personal growth. It not only boosts confidence but also contributes to overall well-being and prevents you from getting bored. Enrollment in free classes can be a fantastic way to prevent boredom and add purpose to your days.

The beauty of the digital age is the abundance of free online resources readily available. Platforms like YouTube.com offer a treasure trove of tutorials covering a vast array of subjects, from mastering a new language to cultivating a flourishing garden or even tackling car maintenance!

Looking beyond the virtual world, community centers are often hubs for free or low-cost workshops and classes. Explore local options and discover hidden gems in your neighborhood.

Read: 50 Fun Classes For Retirees

7. Do Volunteer Work

Many retirees find immense fulfillment in volunteer work. Volunteering offers a sense of structure, social interaction, and a renewed sense of purpose. By directly helping others, you contribute to your own happiness and well-being and relieve your boredom, creating a win-win scenario.

The beauty of volunteering is the sheer diversity of opportunities available. Whether you crave hands-on construction with Habitat.org (Habitat For Humanity), connecting with like-minded individuals through VolunteerMatch.org, or faith-based service with JustServe.org, there’s a perfect fit for everyone. 

Organizations like FeedingAmerica.org address food insecurity, while PeaceCorps.gov allows you to make a global impact. Don’t forget to explore local charities and soup kitchens—they often rely heavily on volunteer support.

8. Read Books At Your Public Library

Let’s not forget about the treasure trove of resources right in your own backyard—your local public library! Definitely, your city or town may have a fantastic library system, offering a wealth of free reading materials to devour during your retirement to stave away boredom.

Public libraries are a haven for book lovers and anyone seeking mental stimulation. So, borrow books to lose yourself in captivating stories at home, or establish a relaxing routine of reading within the peaceful and inspiring environment of the library itself.

Reading can be a source of immense joy and enrichment, broadening your horizons and fostering intellectual growth. So, why not explore the library’s offerings and discover your next great read?

9. Exercise

Maintaining physical fitness is crucial for a happy and healthy retirement. Regular exercise not only strengthens your body but also enhances your overall well-being, allowing you to truly enjoy your golden years. Aim to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily or weekly routine to improve your strength, flexibility, and endurance.

The benefits of exercise extend far beyond the physical. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins and other proteins in the brain, leading to improved mood, sharper mental clarity, and a sense of relaxation.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to the gym and spend money. You can have brisk walks or challenging hikes in nature, do stretches, or the mindful practice of yoga. You don’t need to have expensive subscriptions or equipment to get yourself in shape and get bored.

Also, don’t forget the power of online resources. A plethora of free exercise tutorials are readily available to cater to your preferences and physical abilities. All of them can be done with no additional expenses.

Read: How To Stay Active In Retirement

10. Get Outside One Hour A Day

Do you feel there’s nothing to do at home? Then spend some time outdoors! If you can, find a good park or nearby greenery. Being in those places can significantly improve your mood and emotional well-being. Nature acts as a powerful stress reliever, reducing feelings of fear, anger, and overall tension.

The benefits extend far beyond emotional well-being. Immersing yourself in nature offers a multitude of physical health advantages. Studies have shown that time outdoors can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension, while also reducing the production of stress hormones.

Meanwhile, sunshine exposure provides a welcome boost of vitamin D, which plays a vital role in regulating mood. Increased vitamin D levels are linked to higher serotonin production, leading to improved mood, calmness, and enhanced focus. Fresh air acts as a natural refreshment for the mind and body, aiding in digestion, improving blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthening the immune system.

For those who live near the coast, a refreshing swim in magnesium-rich seawater offers a unique opportunity to relax muscles, further reduce stress, and promote better sleep. The beauty of nature is that it’s freely available to everyone. From the awe-inspiring daily displays of sunrises and sunsets to the endless wonders of the natural world, nature provides a constant source of serenity and beauty.

11. Learn House Maintenance Projects Online

It’s difficult to become bored if there’s a lot of things to do. One of them is maintaining your home and appliances. So, why not tackle some house maintenance projects yourself? Empowering yourself with DIY knowledge can save you money in the long run and provide a great sense of accomplishment.

Just like with the previous sections, there’s a wealth of free online resources readily available to guide you through various home maintenance projects. YouTube offers a treasure trove of tutorials, while blogs and Pinterest.com boards provide step-by-step instructions and inspiration. From basic plumbing repairs to painting techniques, you’ll find a project suitable for your skill level and interests.

Learning DIY skills allows you to tackle maintenance tasks independently, reducing reliance on expensive professional services and preventing you from buying new stuff.

12. Rearrange Furniture At Home

Still feeling stuck in a rut? Breathe new life into your living space without spending a dime by rearranging your furniture!

Start room by room and get creative with new layouts. Experimenting with fresh configurations can completely transform a room, sparking a renewed sense of enjoyment and freshness each time you enter.

This is a free and effective way to add a touch of novelty to your home and combat boredom during retirement.

13. Do Meditation

Being bored and broke can be a real downer. It can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming for anyone. So, to address that, consider meditation. Meditation offers a powerful tool to combat these emotions and cultivate inner peace.

By focusing on your breath and the present moment, meditation helps manage stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. The good news is you don’t need expensive equipment or retreats to get started. There are many excellent free meditation apps readily available on your smartphone.

These apps provide guided meditations suitable for beginners and experienced meditators alike. Give meditation a try and discover a path to greater emotional well-being and inner calm during your retirement.

14. Establish Structure And Routine

The shift from a structured work schedule to retirement can be jarring. To avoid feeling bored, lost, or unproductive, consider establishing a personalized routine for your retirement.

Creating a daily or weekly routine provides a sense of purpose and direction, helping you make the most of your time. This structure can also reduce feelings of boredom and ensure you don’t waste precious days in retirement.

Think about incorporating activities you enjoy, like exercise, socializing, learning new skills, or pursuing hobbies. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find a routine that brings you joy and fulfillment.

15. Rekindle A Relationship

Humans are social creatures and thrive on regular interaction with others. Strong social bonds can even improve physical health by lowering blood pressure and reducing feelings of depression and loneliness.

Unfortunately, retirement can sometimes lead to a decline in social interaction, especially if you lose daily contact with coworkers. However, this is a perfect time to reconnect with old friends, rekindle cherished relationships, and nurture the ones that matter most.

Reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in a while, organize reunions or game nights, and make an effort to visit family members more often. Don’t forget to invest time and energy in your romantic relationship with your spouse or partner.

Remember, you’re not alone. While reconnecting with old pals and family members might feel awkward, especially during financial difficulties, genuine connection goes beyond finances. Strong social bonds offer invaluable support, stave off boredom, and enrich your life in countless ways.

Read: How To Stay Social After Retirement

16. Listen To Podcasts

In line with finding free resources to keep you engaged in retirement, podcasts offer a world of entertainment and knowledge, all for free! Podcasts are like radio shows you can download or stream on your phone or computer. They cover a huge range of topics, so you’re sure to find something that interests you, whether it’s history, true crime, comedy, or anything else under the sun.

Podcasts can be a great way to learn something new, stay informed, or simply be entertained. You can listen to them while you’re commuting, doing chores, or relaxing at home. And since they’re free, they’re a perfect way to add some variety to your routine without spending any money.

Here are some tips for getting started with podcasts:

  • Find A Podcast App: There are many different podcast apps available, both free and paid. Some popular options include Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.
  • Browse By Category: Most podcast apps allow you to browse podcasts by category, so you can find ones that interest you. There are so many podcasts out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find ones that you enjoy.
  • Start With Short Episodes: If you’re new to podcasts, start with shorter episodes (around 20–30 minutes) so you don’t get overwhelmed.

So why not give podcasts a try? You might just be surprised at how much you like them.

17. Do Gardening

Gardening is a fantastic activity for retirees that goes beyond just having pretty flowers or tasty vegetables in your backyard. It’s a great way to stay active and keep your mind sharp, all for free!

Here’s how gardening benefits retirees:

  • Physical Activity: Digging, weeding, and planting all provide a gentle form of exercise that keeps your body moving and improves flexibility. No need for a fancy gym membership—your garden is your workout zone!
  • Mental Stimulation: Planning your garden layout, choosing the right plants, and nurturing them to life keeps your mind engaged. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and learn something new.
  • Mood Booster: Spending time outdoors and getting your hands dirty can be surprisingly uplifting. Studies have shown that contact with soil can actually improve your mood by increasing serotonin production.

Plus, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started. You can often use what you already have around the house, or borrow tools from a neighbor. And most importantly, you get to have fresh and free food right out of your yard!

18. Start An Upcycle Project

Looking for a way to be creative, save money, and help the environment all at the same time? Then look no further than upcycling! Upcycling is basically turning old or unwanted items into something new and useful. It’s a fantastic activity for retirees because it’s:

  • Free Or Affordable: You can use things you already have around the house, or hit up thrift stores and yard sales for cheap finds.
  • Creative Outlet: Upcycling lets you tap into your creativity and come up with something unique and personal.
  • Eco-Friendly: By giving old items a new life, you’re reducing waste and helping the environment.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to upcycling projects. You can turn old clothes into new bags, paint cans into planters, or even wine corks into coasters. The internet is a treasure trove of inspiration, so check out websites like Pinterest and YouTube to find ideas and tutorials to get you started.

Upcycling is a fun and rewarding way to spend your time in retirement, and you might just surprise yourself with what you can create! And if you get good at it, you might even get to sell your stuff for some cash!

19. Rediscover An Old Hobby

Remember that thing you loved to do before life got busy? Well, retirement is the perfect time to pick it back up! Revisiting an old hobby is a great way to have fun and not be bored, stay mentally stimulated, and all without breaking the bank.

Here’s why rediscovering an old hobby is perfect for retirees:

  • Cost-Effective: You probably already have most of the equipment you need lying around the house. No need to spend a fortune on getting started again!
  • Reignite Passion: There’s a reason you loved this hobby in the first place! Returning to it can bring back that sense of joy and accomplishment.
  • More Time To Enjoy: Retirement means more free time to dedicate to the things you love. So dust off those paints, grab your guitar, or pull out your woodworking tools, and rediscover the fun of your old hobby!

Read: How To Get A Retirement Hobby

20. Have A Potluck Party

Potlucks are a great way to share a meal and good company, where everyone brings a dish to share. It’s a clever way to have a party without spending money on it. All you need is to turn your home into a venue.

Also, potlucks are all about spending quality time with the people you care about, not about fancy decorations or expensive catering. True friends and family will appreciate the effort you put in to gather everyone together, no matter how simple the spread.

21. Visit Attractions On Free Admission Days

Even if you’re not broke, it’s also a sweet idea to visit attractions on free admission days. Many attractions, like museums, parks, and even tourist destinations, offer free or discounted admission days specifically for seniors or on certain days of the week.

Do some research to find out which attractions near you have free admission days that align with your retirement schedule.

22. Create A New Recipe With Leftovers

Don’t toss out those leftovers! Instead, get creative and use them to invent new and delicious dishes. This not only helps reduce food waste but also adds variety and excitement to your meals.

Plus, you can stretch your grocery budget further by cleverly using what you already have on hand. Think of it as a fun challenge to create something tasty with limited ingredients—you might just discover a new family favorite recipe!

23. Go Crazy With Coupons

Speaking of grocery and food, you might want to go crazy with coupons as well. Couponing might seem old-fashioned, but it can be a powerful tool to save on groceries and household items. There are many resources available to find coupons, from traditional Sunday newspaper inserts to digital apps and websites.

Spend some time each week strategically clipping or collecting coupons for the items you regularly purchase. By using coupons effectively, you can significantly reduce your grocery bill without sacrificing quality.

24. End Subscription Services

In today’s world, it’s easy to accumulate subscriptions without realizing it. Take some time to evaluate all your monthly subscriptions, including streaming services, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and any other recurring fees.

Critically assess which ones you truly use and value, and cancel or downgrade any that aren’t essential. This can be a painless way to free up some extra cash in your monthly budget.

This process will surely keep you busy for a long time as it can be a pain to cancel subscriptions because of hold times and talking to many people.

25. Utilize Government Programs

If you’re facing financial hardship during retirement, don’t hesitate to explore government programs designed to assist low-income retirees and seniors. These programs can provide much-needed support and help improve your financial security.

There are many government programs at the federal, state, and local levels that can provide assistance with housing, food, and other necessities. The best way to find out about these programs is to contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). You can find contact information for your local AAA through the Eldercare Locator: https://eldercare.acl.gov/.


Retirement doesn’t have to be a time defined by boredom or financial strain. This guide has offered a variety of strategies to navigate these challenges, from finding fulfilling activities that fit your budget to exploring government programs that can provide support. And most importantly, never hesitate to seek support and help.

To keep your boredom at bay for a little while longer, consider checking out my other retirement-related posts here. Some of them include:

Happy reading!


My wife and I quit the rat race and retired in 2021. We RV'ed around the US for a couple of years and now we're slow traveling outside the US!

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