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

Sometimes retirement is not what you’ve expected it to be. You’ve run out of money, and you don’t know what to do with all that time. You’ve come to the place where you are retired, bored, and broke. So what to do next?

I’m here to help you out with 25 amazing things to do when you’re retired, bored and broke.

1) Get Back To Work

When you haven’t saved up enough money for retirement and you don’t know what to do with all that time, you can consider going back to work. Maybe the thought of this idea makes you unhappy, but sometimes that’s the only thing you can do when you want to better your life. 

And going back to work doesn’t mean you have to go back to the job you’ve retired from. When you loved your job, you can always contact your previous employer and ask your old job back. Or come back as a part-time or a freelance consultant or advisor. Your expertise and experience, especially when it’s rare, can be very valuable to a lot of companies, and you can earn great money with it. 

But when you don’t want to go back to your old job, that’s fine. Know that there are endless opportunities for earning extra money in retirement with fun jobs out there. Earning money doesn’t have to mean you have to suffer. A job can be fun, and in my opinion, it is supposed to be fun. 

Read more: The 50 Best Jobs For Retirees

2) Start A Business With No Investment

When you don’t want to work for a boss anymore, which I can understand. You can start a business. And with the online world, there are great opportunities to start a business that doesn’t require a big investment. 

Low Investment Business Ideas

  • Start An Online Art Shop (Etsy)
  • Become a freelance consultant
  • Become a freelance Dogwalker (Wag)
  • Start A Niche Blog Website (Income School)
  • Create a Dropshipping Model
  • Sell An E-Book on Amazon
  • Sell Digital Products or Online Courses
  • Teach English Online
  • Become An Online Assistant, Writer, Designer, etc. (Fiverr)

These business ideas require low investment, and often the only things you need are a laptop, your smartphone, and a good internet connection. Those are things you probably already have. And it requires a lot of time and focus. Because starting an online business isn’t fast money, it requires a lot of research and perseverance. But it gives you something great to do in retirement that gives you a satisfying and worthy feeling. 

3) Reduce Your Expenses

You want to have a thorough look at your expenses when you’re broke in retirement. Maybe there are big or little expenses you can downsize on, so you’ll have more money to save up or spend in retirement. 

You can create an excel sheet or use pen and paper to list all your monthly and yearly expenses. When you have a clear view of what your expenses are, you can prioritize the expenses that are unavoidable and expenses you can reduce.

Sometimes you can even reduce the expenses you think are unavoidable. When you want to downsize big, you can consider living in a smaller or cheaper house. Sell your car or other costly items you own. Like costly hobbies, you perhaps have, but don’t spend time on. And check out cheaper supermarkets or become a coupon guru to get cheaper groceries.

Reducing small expenses can add up to become big savings. These are expenses like your gas and electricity bill, subscriptions to magazines, TV, clubs, etc. You can research ways on how you can save money on gas and electricity and get creative with replacements for your monthly subscriptions. For example, online video streaming services like Netflix offer family plans. You can consider sharing the bill with friends and family members or asking if you can be part of theirs. 

When you reduce your expenses, you need to know what things in life are most important to you. You want to reduce the expenses that aren’t important and can make your life more enjoyable. You don’t want to cut on expenses that make you happy. Because being happy is what life is all about. So it’s a balance of making compromises and setting priorities for yourself to enhance your retired life. 

4) Host A Yard Sale

Perhaps, you don’t have a lot of money in the bank, but chances are you do have a lot of stuff. And you can host a yard or garage sale to get rid of stuff you don’t need and use anymore to earn a bit of extra money in retirement. 

Go through all the stuff you own and see what things you haven’t used in a year. These are things you probably can go without and sell for extra cash. 

The fun thing about hosting a yard sale is that you have something to do. And you set a goal for yourself which you are working towards. It gives your daily retired life more purpose. 

Also, hosting a garage sale allows you to meet new people and reconnect with neighbors. Because having daily social interactions is important for your health and happiness in retirement. 

5) Get Help From Family And Friends

When you struggle or have a problem, you need to ask for help. You can’t go through life alone and think you can manage all the problems and struggles life throws at you. People need people. 

And asking for help isn’t weak. You have to be very strong to show your vulnerability. And sometimes, expressing your problems gives you a sense of relief. And a problem becomes less heavy when you share it with others. 

So, don’t be afraid to seek help from your family and friends. That’s why they are your family and friends. You will probably want to know if it’s the other way around as well. 

And they can maybe have the solution for you that you didn’t think about yourself. Or your friend can help you find solutions for your struggles in retirement. 

6) Apply For Free Classes

Educating yourself and challenging yourself is a booster for your confidence, health, and happiness. When you apply for a class, you continue to grow as a person, and you’re more likely not to waste your days in retirement. You become less bored, and there are awesome ways to apply for classes for free. 

You can watch all sorts of tutorials online from learning a language, how to grow a vegetable garden to how to do maintenance on your car. Youtube is the world’s modern University. 

Contact your community center and ask what kind of workshops or classes are available for you to take for free or for little money. 

But the best part comes last. Did you know that as a retiree, you can go to college university for free or in a very cheap way? Many colleges and universities across the USA offer cheap or even free classes when you’re 55+, 60, or 65 years older. Often you can attend these classes without earning a degree, and in some schools, you’re even allowed to earn a degree.

A lot of states want to encourage older citizens to go back to school, and that’s why they guarantee them free or discounted classes at a couple of colleges or universities in the state. The minimum ages and programs vary per state. So, contact your local or state college or university and ask about the possibilities. 

Read more: 50 Fun Classes For Retirees

7) Do Volunteer Work

A lot of retirees like to do volunteer work in retirement. They want to be busy, have some sort of structure, social interactions, and have a fulfilling feeling at the end of the day. And volunteer work could do all this for you. 

You don’t earn any money, but you won’t be bored in retirement. Doing something to help others directly makes you a happier person. And often, volunteer work comes with some benefits that might be essential for you and save you money on other expenses. 

Check out Volunteer jobs at:

8) Read Books At Public Library

When you love to get out of the house, you can visit your local public library. You can loan a couple of books for yourself to read at home or make it a routine to read books in the library. The environment of a library is very peaceful and also inspiring, and this can add some joy to your retired life. Especially when you love reading.

9) Exercise

Exercising is a must in retirement because it keeps you fit and healthy and makes your chances bigger of enjoying your retirement as long as possible. 

You want to include exercising every day or a couple of times a week in your schedule to maintain your strength, flexibility, and endurance. It isn’t only good for your body; it’s also a mood-booster. When you exercise, your brain releases a protein that will reset your memory neurons. And that is the reason why we often feel relaxed, see things more clearly and happy after exercising. Also, endorphins are released in your brain, which gives you the feeling of euphoria.

So, whenever you feel bored or down in retirement, do some exercising routines, and you feel better afterward. It doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon. You can walk the stairs, walk to do groceries or visit friends, hike through nature, go swimming in nature, do yoga at home via YouTube Tutorials, etc.

Read more: How To Stay Active In Retirement

10) Get Outside One Hour A Day

Whenever you feel bored or down, go outside for at least one hour. It will make you feel much better because nature does wonders to your health. Being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress, and increases your mood. Nature will make you feel better emotionally. And it also contributes to your physical health: reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. 

From the sun, you get vitamin D-boosting. It boosts your serotonin levels, and this hormone improves your mood and makes you feel calm and focused.

Also, fresh air can help you refresh your mind. It helps digest food more effectively, improves blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthens your immune system.

Ever felt refreshed or energized after a jump in the ocean? Well, that’s because magnesium-rich seawater helps promote our body’s natural relaxation process leaving us feeling refreshed after each swim. It relaxes our muscles; it reduces stress and helps induce sleep.

And the best part is nature if free for you to enjoy. Every day there is a sunset and sunrise you can enjoy watching. Nature is painting a picture of infinite beauty every day. It makes you forget about your worries and feel grateful for being alive. 

11) Learn House Maintenance Projects Online

When you own a house, you have to do maintenance jobs on it once in a while. And they can be costly. But to avoid these costs, you can teach yourself how to do house maintenance projects yourself. It can save you a lot of money, you learn something new, and you never have to be bored again. 

You can find all sorts of tutorials of house maintenance projects on YouTube, read about it in blogs, or see how to do things on Pinterest. And you’ll have access to these sources all for free.

12) Rearrange Furniture At Home

Do you want to start fresh and spice things up? You can rearrange your furniture at home. You can start room per room and get creative with new furniture arrangements. It can lead to a new and improved way of living and gives you a fresh feeling every time you walk in your home. 

13) Do Meditation

When you feel bored and broke, you probably also feel a bit depressed or sad and reminisce about the good old times when everything was better. Or you have anxiety for the future. When this applies to you; you’re living in the past or future. And that doesn’t make the present any better. Your life now is affected.

To be happy, you have to be in the now. You can’t change things in the past or future. These worries or bad thoughts or feelings will never make you feel happy. 

So, to remind yourself of staying in the present you can practice meditation. With meditation and focusing on the breath, you remind yourself to live in the present. And you distance yourself from your emotions and thoughts. You learn how to cope with all your emotions and thoughts that pop up every second. And I can highly recommend you to use Headspace. It’s one of the best-guided meditation apps that makes meditation very easy and accessible for everyone. And the first 10 guided meditations are free.

14) Learn A New Skill Online

Learning something new is always fun, interesting, and even inspiring. So, take action and learn a new skill. As I mentioned before, you can learn all sorts of skills online for free: YouTube Tutorials, Blogs, or on Pinterest. 

You can check out how to play the guitar, perform a magic trick, or learn a new language. Perhaps you find something you’re passionate about along the way. 

Read more: 14 Tips: How To Find Your Passion In Retirement.

15) Do A House Clean Up

“A clean house is a clear mind.”

As you perhaps experienced yourself, when your house is tidy, you feel much better mentally. Because clutter causes stress and is one of the main barriers to productivity. So, whenever you feel bored in retirement, you can actively get rid of the clutter and unproductiveness by cleaning up.

You can start by cleaning out your clothing closet, then move on to your kitchen bassinets, the garage, the attic, your garden shed, etc. Decluttering will make your life in retirement much better and less boring. And it doesn’t cost you anything. You can even earn extra money by selling your stuff on eBay. 

16) Listen To Podcasts

If you have certain topics that you find interesting. Well, the changes that there is a podcast about it are huge. 

Podcasting is a free service that allows online users to download or stream audio files from a podcasting website or app to listen to on their phones or other devices. It’s the modern version of radio, but with podcasting, listeners can listen to a show on their own time.

Podcasts can inspire, inform, or entertain you, and you can listen to them on your phone. You can download a podcast app on your phone or listen to podcasts on Spotify. 

You can create a morning routine for yourself that you listen to a new podcast every morning to start your day in a great way. It can boost your mood, and it can get you moving in a new direction and feel less bored the entire day. 

17) Watch Inspiring TedTalks

Another way to educate, inform, inspire, or entertain yourself is to watch TedTalks. These are influential videos from expert speakers on all sorts of topics from education, business, science, tech, psychology, creativity, etc. You can watch them online for free. 

It’s a great activity to do in retirement. I won’t advise you to binge-watch TedTalks or spend too much time watching a screen. But a TedTalk a day can be a great part of a new routine in retirement, and it can stir your curiosity.  

18) Start An Upcycle Project

“Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.” – Wikipedia

Upcycling is a great project for yourself in retirement. You can use any stuff that you can find around the house to create something new out of it. Whether its a product that is useful or a new piece of art. It’s great for the environment because you are not consuming more products, you use old ones in a new way. And it’s good to be creative because it positively affects your brain. And it boosts your mood and self-confidence.

You can get inspired and find all sorts of upcycling ideas on Pinterest and YouTube. 

19) Rediscover An Old Hobby

A new hobby can be expensive, but an old hobby doesn’t have to cost you a thing. You already have the equipment or gear, so why not give it another try. 

When you have an old hobby, you can try to rediscover it in retirement. You enjoyed it before, so chances are you enjoy it now as well. And now you have more time to spend more time on the hobby. So, dust off your hobby equipment in the attic or garage and give it another try. 

Read more: How To Get A Retirement Hobby: 7 Tips.

20) Have A Potluck Party

When you love to be social and host parties, you can organize a potluck or Bring Your Own party. It only costs you what you eat and drink yourself, and everyone else takes care of themselves. It’s a great way to meet up with friends and family where it doesn’t cost you a lot of money. 

Everyone will understand that when you live on a tight budget, you can’t organize expensive parties. They will be more than glad to take care of themselves. It’s about time you can spend together, and it’s not about how fancy it is. And the ones that don’t understand aren’t your real friends anyway. 

21) Visit Attractions On Free Admission Days

There are all sorts of attractions that have free or discounted admission days. From museums, parks, tourist attractions, etc. Contact these attractions and ask about when their free admission days are or if they have a senior discount. And see if it fits your retirement budget.

22) Create A New Recipe With Leftovers

Get creative with leftovers and create a new recipe. It can be fun to create something with almost nothing. And when you live on a tight budget, groceries can be a big expense. Therefore it can be worthwhile to get more creative in the kitchen. 

Eating the same things every day can be cheap but it is also boring. Spice it up and see what you can make with all your leftovers in the fridge. Perhaps, you invent a new family recipe that will be famous 50 years later. 

23) Do Gardening

A popular activity in retirement is gardening. The benefits of gardening are great for your health. Because you’re outside in nature, you exercise your body by all that bending, lifting, and stretching, and you challenge your brain by focussing and being creative. 

Perhaps you have some gardening tools in the shed that you can use, you can loan tools from your neighbor, or you can use your hands to do the garden. 

A study has shown that getting your hands dirty in the soil is a mood booster. Exposure to the bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae in the soil encourages the production of serotonin. That is the natural chemical in the body that brings happiness.

24) Create structure and routine

When you stop working, you lose structure and daily routines. To not get bored in retirement, you need to replace these work routines with new routines. Therefore, you need to structure your day in a new way. It gives you something to hold on too, and you’re more likely not to waste your days in retirement. 

Read more: How to Structure Your Retirement Day.

25) Rekindle A Relationship

Being social in retirement is essential for your health and happiness. We, humans need social interactions daily to remain mentally healthy and to be happy. Because being social can lower your blood pressure and reduce the symptoms of depression and loneliness. 

And when you stop working, you also lose your daily interactions with co-workers and social stimulation. And therefore, you need to seek new ways to be social in retirement. 

So, get out there and call up an old friend, organize a reunion, visit family members you haven’t seen in awhile or rekindle the romantic relationship with your spouse. 

Read more: 20 Ways: How To Stay Social After Retirement.

You’re NOT Alone

Retirement is the time to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. But unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to everyone. A lot of early retirees struggle with boredom in retirement, so you’re not the only one. Also, not everyone has a big bucket of money saved up for retirement. Many people didn’t save up enough for retirement or lost it somewhere along the way because life got in the way, and things didn’t go as planned. 

So, what to do when you’re retired, bored, and broke? Well, the first thing you want to do is to accept and take responsibility for your situation. And take action to change it, because feeling sorry for yourself will only make things worse. That’s a downward spiral that can lead to depression. And that’s a road you’d rather want to avoid.

And because you’re reading this article, it already means that you’ve taken action to change your life in retirement. And that’s great. Because you can live happily retired every after, even when you’re broke. And for that, you have to get a bit creative and think out of the box. 

According to a study: boredom can be good for you. People who are bored feel that their actions in life are meaningless. And therefore are more motivated to engage and take action to more meaningful behavior. So this period in your life might be very useful and can be the start of something great. 

Also, You need to know that retirement is a major life change. It’s a transition that takes time before you’re well adjusted to the idea of retirement, and before you fully can enjoy retirement. 

For some people, this transition doesn’t take very long and is easier than for others. Especially when you haven’t prepared or planned how you want to spend your time in retirement, you can get bored more easily. You can feel lost and also feel a loss of structure and purpose in your life once you’ve stopped working.

And a lot of people plan their finances for retirement. But they didn’t plan or thought about how to spend their time in retirement. And that’s important to live a happy retired life too.

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Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 200+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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