Senior Citizens Save Money

Jul 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Finances

The economy continues to do its rock ‘n roll dance and senior citizens are no exception to the financial stress created.  It seems that no matter what we do, because most of us live on fixed incomes, our Social Security and pension checks just don’t stretch far enough.  And if we’re lucky enough to have some investments, the low interest paid on them is disappointingly meager.  So what options do we have?

Let’s look at some suggestions our editors suggest for saving money, and some Internet links that offer many more ideas:

  1. Lower your thermostat in the winter, and raise it in the summer.  We suggest 66 degrees in the winter (put on layers of long-sleeve shirts/sweaters/insulated tops and long pants with insulated underwear) and 83 degrees in the summer (wear only enough clothes in the house to keep you comfortable).  Utility companies tell us you can cut your heating and air conditioning bills by three percent for every degree you drop in the winter and raise in the summer.
  2. Stop spending money except for essentials.  What are essentials?  Groceries (limit eating in restaurants), medications (check your prescription drug plan to be sure it’s the best available for you; if it is not, be prepared to change it next November 15 when the next election period begins), auto (gas, servicing, insurance–is your vehicle a gas-hog?  If so, consider trading it for a hybrid–used.  Two SCJ editors have hybrids and they have an ongoing competition for who’s getting the best gas mileage; tops so far for a tank of gas was 61.7 mpg.), housing/mortgage payment/rent (consider sharing your living quarters and the cost with a family member(s) or close friend(s).  Add your ‘essentials’ to this list, but be sure they are really essential.
  3. Sell stuff you don’t need.  Look in your garage, store room, attic for what’s been sitting in boxes for years.  You haven’t used that stuff, and you likely won’t.  Let go of your emotional need to hang on to ‘stuff’.  Sell on online classified ads or craigslist or your local classifieds
  4. Use coupons.  Cut coupons from newspapers and ads you get in the mail.  Create your own system for saving them so you will use them before they expire.  Do NOT save coupons you will never use.  One of SCJ’s editors uses coupons religiously and estimates his savings at $10 a week.  That’s $520 a year.  Be sure to share coupons with your friends at the local senior citizen center or your church/synagogue/mosque.  He also says, “Shop wisely; shop local; read the ads.”  His final advice is to buy ONLY on sale; this includes everything… groceries, clothing, tires, gas, household items, etc.  To this we would add, shop your local thrift stores.  We have a Goodwill store nearby that ranks, in our estimation, as a Resale Store; quality is excellent, and much of the time we can find something close to what we are looking for; we also donate to that store, so we get an additional discount when we buy.
  5.  Buy generic brands.  When you go to the grocery store or supermarket, that company’s brand items will generally be considerably less than brand-name items, and their generics are frequently on sale for lower prices.  Always shop the generics.
  6. Shop on Senior Citizen Day at your local supermarket.  They generally take an additional 10% off one day a week.  If it is not advertised where you can identify the day, ask your grocery store manager what day of the week it is.
  7. Schedule Errand Day each week, to combine all the errands you need to complete, so you can do them all in one day.  You will save both auto fuel and time.  Plan your route and write it down, along with the errands you need to address.  Don’t trust your memory!
  8. Better yet, schedule your errands with friends and neighbors so you can share driving expense and have a nice social activity simultaneously!
  9. Get Internet saavy and find web sites that sell products you need regularly, especially nutritional supplements and cosmetics.  You can frequently purchase these items at significantly reduced prices, with no shipping/handling costs.  Use your computer and do regular Internet searches for essential items.  Once identified, be sure to save the site to your “Favorites” list so you can return to it when you need to re-order.
  10. Ask your senior friends and family members what they are doing to save money.  They will frequently come up with ideas you never thought of, and that are really useful to try.

Let us know what you think about this list.  AARP Bulletin has a list of 99 suggestions.  Be sure to check it out!.

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