A simpler life with less things to buy means retirement can be cheaper for some folks than it was when they were working. However, with a surplus of time, a significant portion of retirees end up spending more than they used to on things like entertainment, travel, and leisure. A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that in the first two years of retirement, 45.9% of households spent more than what they had spent before retirement. Costs can add up quickly, so it’s beneficial to find ways to save money when possible. Seniors can save money through various cost-saving measures, such as budgeting and taking advantage of discounts which some businesses offer to those starting at the ages of 55, 60, 62 or 65. Here are some great ways for seniors to stretch their retirement savings and consider new options that can help save some money.
1. Shop for new health care coverage.
Medicare healthcare coverage that doesn’t match your needs can end up costing you more in the long run. A data report by HealthView Services found that the average 65-year-old couple that retires in 2017 will pay $11,369 in their first year for healthcare. By age 85, those 2017 retirees will spend $39,208.
Check-in with a Medicare agent to help determine if you need to make changes to your Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th to December 7th each year) to help avoid unexpected out-of-pocket costs. You can get an online quote at Medicare.org for Medicare plans that fit your healthcare needs. Or call (888) 815-3313 – TTY 711 to get answers and guidance over the phone from an experienced licensed sales agent.
2. Cut your transportation expenses.
You may not be driving to work anymore, but car ownership can still be expensive. According to AAA, the average cost to own and operate a new vehicle annually is $8,469. Maintenance and repair on older vehicles can also add up. For many people, not owning a car isn’t an option. However, you can save costs in other ways, such as shopping for a lower insurance rate, or carpooling with other people. You might also consider moving to an area that has public transportation or a high walkability score so you don’t need a car to get to the places you need to go.
3.Take advantage of senior discounts.
One of the perks of being an older adult are senior discounts. All you have to do is ask businesses if they offer them. You can also look on a company’s website to see if they advertise any discounts. Look into retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, utility providers, auto services, hair salons, transportation and travel services, and low-cost cable TV providers that may offer discounts for seniors.
4. Ask about Veterans discounts.
If a business doesn’t offer senior discounts, and you’re a veteran, find out if they offer veterans discounts. Those same retailers, grocery stores, and restaurants that don’t offer a senior discount may offer a percentage off of your purchase or sometimes even a freebie by showing a valid military ID.
5. Join a discount club.
Consider what type of discount club would benefit you most and provide the biggest “bang for your buck” if you join.Depending on your lifestyle, interests, and purchasing habits, a membership with AARP, The Seniors Coalition, or The American Seniors Association (ASA) may benefit you. There’s also the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association for federal workers. And for RV enthusiasts who plan to spend a lot of time on campgrounds and would benefit from park discounts, there is the Good Sam Club (short for “Good Samaritan”), Camp Club USA, Escapees RV Club, Passport America, and more.
6. National park admission senior passes.
Access over 2,000 federal recreational sites and national parks with an “America the Beautiful” National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Lifetime Senior Pass or Annual Senior Pass. These senior passes may also provide a 50% discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services
7. Visit public institutions.
Take advantage of public institutions like public libraries, parks, schools, and community centers that may offer free or discounted services, educational opportunities, and events. Not only can you rent out books and movies from the library, but many also offer free programs and classes. Parks typically hold concerts in the summer for free. Some colleges offer reduced or free non-credit college tuition to those 55 years of age and older.
8. Consider new living arrangements.
As you age, and situations in life change, you may need to adjust accordingly. For example, if you currently live alone and the costs are adding up, consider alternative living arrangements such as getting a housemate or moving to a senior living community that may be more affordable than the up-keep of your own home, utilities, and caregiving, transportation, and grocery costs.
9. Thrift stores.
Thrift stores are an affordable option for clothing, accessories, and home goods. However, tack on the senior discount that many offer, and you can get a new item for a low price.