MANAGE | SEP 18, 2022

Money Savers for Seniors

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Rob West & Jim Henry

If you’re a senior citizen who’s found that your golden years of retirement aren’t so golden, take heart. There are plenty of things you can do to make the money you have go further.

Here’s the list and while these will work for anyone, they may be especially valuable if you’re living on a fixed income:

  • Use the self-checkout aisle if one is available. Studies show that people actually spend less using those machines because they’re really paying attention to the prices rolling up on the screen. That cuts down on impulse buying. Knowing that you’re going to self-checkout is a psychological aid for sticking to your shopping list.
  • Get around the high price of beef by using ground chicken in your recipes like chile and tacos, instead of hamburger. If you simply must have a steak, buy a cheaper cut and marinate it a day or two in the fridge to tenderize it.
  • Set aside a space in the fridge for stuff nearing the end of its life, and then look for ways to add it to your recipes. You can also get really creative and make something entirely new out of your odd bits of cheese, leftover rice or pasta, and last week’s fruit and veggies.
  • When you’re cooking on top of the range, the burner you choose can either save, or cost, you money. Use the size burner that matches the bottom of whatever pot or pan you’re using, whether electric or gas. If the flames are curling up the side of the pan, or you can see a red coil outside the pot, you’re wasting energy.
  • Don’t use the oven just to cook or heat up a small dish with just a serving or two. That also wastes energy. Use your toaster oven if the dish will fit. It preheats faster and uses less than half the energy of the average oven. Or better yet, pop it in the microwave to save even more on energy costs.
  • You don’t have to give up fashion just because you’re living on a fixed income. You can now shop at online at upscale thrift shops for your clothing needs. Sites like ThredUp, Poshmark, The Real Real and Tradesy carry gently used clothing for a fraction of what it costs new. Will anyone really know if you’re wearing last year’s style?
  • Who doesn’t like giving gift cards to the kids and grandkids? You probably didn’t know that you can buy them on the cheap at sites like Raise, Gift Card Bin and Gift Card Granny. A card that someone else didn’t want could be a great birthday gift for a loved one.
  • Did you forget to pay a credit card bill and got a late fee? Maybe you were dinged for insufficient funds at your bank. If it’s just a one time thing, your bank or card issuer will probably waive the fee if you ask. It’s worth a call, anyway.
  • Do you have an unlimited data plan for your smartphone? That could be a money waster, especially if you’re at home a lot and using your wifi most of the time. Instead, call your provider to look over your usage and choose a lower price plan that still works for you, or better yet, get a prepaid plan. They tend to be cheaper and usually won’t require a contract.
  • You can also ditch your phone insurance. Have you read the fine print on that agreement? They tend to restrict the type of phone they’ll cover, plus they often come with a high deductible and lots of red tape to replace a lost, stolen or broken phone, not to mention the fee you’re paying every month. Instead, keep the cost of replacing your phone in your emergency fund. That’s what it’s there for.
  • If you stream TV content, you could be wasting money there, too. Take a close look at the terms of agreement for your streaming services. Many of them allow a certain number of household or family members to use their service. You might go “halvsies” with your kids on streaming apps that you share.
  • When driving, avoid quick stops and starts that use up gas and put unnecessary wear on your brakes.

Those are some ways seniors (or anybody) can save money. We hope you put them to good use.

You can also listen to the related podcast on this topic.

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