Let’s face it, everyone likes saving money but, for those on a fixed income like most retirees, it can almost become a necessity. While it seems like the cost of living goes nowhere but up, there are still ways to save money without sacrificing any of the enjoyment or pleasure that comes with the purchase or experience. Some people devote their lives to find ways to save money and that’s fine – but it’s not our purpose here. In this section, we’ll give you a few ideas and then point you in the right direction to find some others.
One of the most obvious ways of saving money in retirement is to make sure you get all the benefits of achieving Senior Citizen status. Senior Discounts are usually there for the asking. Many times you’ll see a special Senior price that can save you a little pocket change on the price of a ticket or some other purchase. It can mount up pretty quickly. Senior Discounts are available from theaters to amusement parks and it’s one of the nicer benefits of growing old. The National Parks are a true bonanza. A one-time purchase (last time I checked it was twenty dollars) will get you free admission to all the National Parks for the rest of your life. Even better, it will allow free admission for others in your group. Check on the details of the location you’re visiting and keep in mind there’s no replacement option – if you lose your card, you’ll have to buy another one.
Senior Discounts are available in many restaurants but, more often than not, you’ll have to ask. And, while we’re on the subject of dining, let’s not fail to mention that eating in will be a source of savings as well. While it’s nice to eat out and not have to cook, if money is tight, planning out your meals, looking for sale prices and getting take out rather than dining in, are ways to cut one of the biggest spending categories: food. Whether you’re dining in, eating out or getting takeout, it never hurts to ask if there’s a discount or to use a coupon you might have seen in an advertisement.
Finding ways to cut costs on anything can bring a smile to your face and allow you to do a little something extra with the money you’ve saved. Being part of a group, organization or club is also a way to get a discount on something that isn’t available to the general public. At this point, let’s put in a plug for an organization that has a tremendous amount of work fighting for the rights of retired people and that’s the AARP (American Association of Retired People). It’s an amazing organization and you can usually pay for your membership with just a couple of discounts. Another membership to consider has nothing to do with age but it’s worth mentioning here and that’s the Automobile Association of America (AAA). Like AARP, AAA membership has many benefits, like roadside assistance, that can pay for itself with one use.
Being part of a buying club can also yield attractive savings especially if you’re making a large purchase in the future. You do want to do the math here and make sure that the price for membership will be more than recouped through the purchases you make. It is becoming very easy to save money through online purchases and there are now more than one way to get money back on your purchase and when you add it in some credit card options that pay you money back, the savings can be substantial. The danger is that shopping can become addictive for some people so keep that in mind. Remember, you're not really saving money if you end up spending more!
If money is really tight, one of the things you can consider is looking at your current residence and consider the options. If you own your own home, consider the cost of living where you currently reside and examine all the items in your budget. You should definitely track all of your expenditures and have a budget to monitor your spending. If you pay real estate taxes, make sure you’re getting any rebate you may be entitled to in the state you live in. If you do not have a financial adviser and do not have an accounting background, you may want to explore what resources are out there for seniors in your area. Some are provided for free and some are low enough that they are well worth the cost. In any event, look at the possibility of downsizing and, in some cases, re-locating to bring your overall cost of living down. This is a big change, of course, but many retirees have found, with a little planning and exploration, that it was one of the best things they ever did.
Never stop looking for creative solutions for saving money. Even if finances are not a problem, it can be very satisfying to save a few bucks here and there – especially if you save up for a little extra “splurge” and do something that you’ve always wanted like a frivolous purchase or a long delayed trip. Just make sure you ask for the Senior Discount!