Are you wondering how you can save money as a senior? Well, I’ve lived on a tight budget for more than 10 years, and in this article, I’ll share my best tips on how you can save money as a senior. Let’s find out more!
1) Check Your Monthly Bills
If you want to save money, you need to know your monthly expenses. It may sound obvious. However, there’s a good chance you’ll have a lot of bills that are on automatic payment each month. Which means you’re spending money without even noticing it. Ouch!
I learned to make a list of all the expenses I have annually. Doing this once a year makes me aware of my expenses and where I can save money. It’s also fun to save up the money when you stop some monthly membership.
Checking your monthly bills can be a timely process, and maybe it’s something you just don’t like doing. Still, it is essential when you want to save money. A great way to make this process easier is by using Billshark, an automation process to lower your bills. Billshark charges you a one-time fee of 40% of your savings, but when they can’t save you any money, you don’t have to pay anything! You can start using Billshark for free here.
2) Re-evaluate Your Insurances
According to the Bank of America, housing costs and insurances are the largest expenses of each household. So when you want to save money, it can be wise to re-evaluate your insurances and figure out what you really need.
Most people overpay for their insurances like housing and car insurance. The reason for this is that insurance rates fluctuate constantly, and insurance companies aren’t actively sending out new (cheaper) prices to their customers. Earlier I mentioned Billshark as a helpful tool for saving money on your bills. Billshark can also help with an easy free comparison for home & car insurance. Find out more here.
3) Sign Up For Medicare
When we’re talking about insurance, it’s also interesting looking at your healthcare insurance. Healthcare insurance is one of the biggest expenses in the United States, next to housing and other insurances. However, when you’re a senior, you can easily save money on healthcare insurance because you’re probably eligible for Medicare.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States for people who are 65 years or older. Of course, you’re only eligible when you’re a US citizen.
There are two standard programs that Medicare offers, Medicare A, which is hospital insurance. According to the official medicare website, Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Medicare B is medical insurance. According to the Medicare website, part B covers certain doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
There’s also a service that covers prescription drugs, including many recommended shots and vaccines; this is Medicare Part D.
Medicare can be free of charge for seniors, depending on your individual situation. Learn more about Medicare on the official government website here.
4) Go Grocery Shopping Once A Week
When I started to live with a monthly budget to save money, I found that one of my biggest expenses was grocery shopping. The reason behind this was that I went grocery shopping nearly every day. It costs me a lot of extra money, but also a lot of time. And I was throwing away leftovers that I didn’t use at home, which I could easily use to make a lovely meal.
So, multiple reasons to become more serious about your grocery shopping. When you really want to save money on groceries, just go shopping once a week doesn’t cut it. Make sure to make a shopping list before you go. Think of all the meals you want to make, and buy only the products you need. There’s a good chance you still have some things at home in the fridge or your pantry.
Also, and here’s an expert tip, never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll buy much more than you need!
5) Get Senior Discount Cards
Seniors can join a lot of extra, and saving money as a senior has never been easier. Most companies offer a senior discount that sometimes can save you up to more than 10% of the regular price!
Are you a member of AARP? You can become a member for only 12 USD a year. Next to the helpful information, you’ll receive many discounts and benefits. Learn more about AARP here.
6) Use A Smart Thermostat
One of the easiest things you can do at home to save money is installing a Smart Thermostat like Google Nest. This Smart Thermostat helps you to create a pleasant temperature at home. You don’t need to work with difficult programs. It connects with your WiFi and is easy to install.
Some of the key features of the Google Nest Smart Thermostat are;
- The Nest Thermostat automatically turns itself down when you’re away to avoid heating or cooling an empty home.
- It has an auto-schedule, which means it learns temperatures you like and programs itself in about a week.
- You can see energy usage on your phone
- It’s compatible with 95% of the heating and cooling systems.
7) Pay Your Bills Annually
Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of all your bills. I wish that were the case! However, when you start paying your bills annually, you can often save a lot of money. Some companies even offer a price reduction of +5% of the yearly costs when you pay in advance. Don’t forget to check the senior discount box if available for extra discounts!
8) Refinance Your Mortgage
It can be beneficial to refinance your mortgage. Especially because loan rates stay low, it seems there’s a worldwide trend to this. It’s important to know what you pay for your mortgage each month, and if this can be cheaper, why not change it? If it makes sense financially, it can save you a lot of money.
9) Move To A Cheaper Home or Retirement Community
Instead of refinancing your mortgage, you can also think about selling your house and moving to a smaller, cheaper home or a retirement community.
When you get older, you often don’t need a lot of space. Large houses are often much more expensive. Living in retirement or a senior community can also be a good choice. Often people think that these communities are only for seniors who require assisted living, but this isn’t always the case. There are many retirement communities where you live if you’re still fit and full of energy.
However, the biggest benefit of living in such a community is that it’s cheaper, including many services.
10) Save Money For A Specific Purpose
It is having goals and staying active that are some of the most important things you can do for a happy and fulfilling retirement. However, doing fun things costs you money. But when you prepare for these things by saving money, it will cost you less.
You can easily set aside some of the money you’ll be saving by cutting your bills. Save money each month and create a specific purpose for these savings. It can be a simple as ‘Retirement Bucket List Savings,’ so you can complete your retirement bucket list.
11) Save Money For Later
Yes, as a senior, you can still save money for later. Maybe you even need to save money for when you get older. Many people didn’t save up enough money that lasts their entire retirement. Since we all get older, it is important to guarantee yourself income during your complete retirement.
Traditional retirement savings last for around 15 to 20 years, but since most people are retired for a longer period, these savings won’t last the complete retirement.
Saving money for later can be as easy as setting aside a few dollars once a month. For example, the money you would typically spend on going to a restaurant. Use AgeUp for saving money.
12) Downsize Your Home Interior
When you’re looking to save money as a senior, there’s an excellent opportunity when it comes to housing. We already mentioned things as refinancing your mortgage, using a smart thermostat, or even moving to a smaller home or community. However, downsizing your home interior is also a great way to save money.
There’s a good chance you have a lot of things at home you never use. You can sell these products easily on the secondhand market. Organize a garage sale or use an application like letgo or vinted to sell your stuff.
Downsizing your home interior is very popular among people who are minimalists—the minimalist lifestyle focus on living and owning fewer things and products.
13) Bake Your Own Bread
When you love to be active in the kitchen, a great and healthy opportunity to save money is baking your own bread.
If you go shopping at a wholesale or supermarket, you can probably choose many types of bread. Some places even sell over 50 different pieces of bread! And while all the bread looks lovely, they often contain many sugars and other unhealthy additives. The average price of a loaf of bread is around 2.72 USD.
When making your bread, you can create a healthy loaf and make it as expensive as you want, depending on the ingredients you’re using.
14) Start A Vegetable Garden
Being aware of the food you’re eating and buying is an excellent way of saving money. Like we discussed earlier, shopping once a week is helpful to achieve your money-saving goals. A different way to save money when it comes to food is by starting your own vegetable or fruit garden.
Growing your own food is not only cheaper, but it has many health benefits as well. When gardening, you’re physically active, which is an important factor that is related to healthy aging. I describe the many other benefits of gardening in my article What Are The Benefits Of Gardening After Retirement?
15) Stop Your Unused Memberships
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that the most important thing you can do to save money is by checking your monthly bills and lower them. Many people will look at their housing costs and maybe insurance costs for lowering their bills. There’s another category where you can probably save a lot of money each month; memberships.
You probably have a few memberships on autorenewal, meaning you pay for them every month without even noticing it. Find out which memberships you have, and then look at how many times you used it over the past three months. When you didn’t use them or were limited to a minimum of three times, I would recommend stopping this membership immediately. It will save you a lot of money! Try out Billshark if you want some help with lowering your bills.
16) Limit Your Expenses To Charities
Doing good for others is essential. It’s something I try to do every day. However, it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. You can also help other people in another way. If you want to save money and have monthly payments to charities, now is the time to limit these. Maybe you want to stop paying charities at all, or perhaps you want to switch to a lower payment plan.
Another way to help other people is by volunteering. Starting as a volunteer is a popular activity among seniors and retirees. You can read more in my article, Why Do Retirees Volunteer?
17) Unplug Unused Products
Many people keep their phone chargers plugged in when not charging their phones. Did you know that many electrical products and chargers use a tiny bit of electricity even when there not switched on? So, you can probably save on your electric bills when you unplug the devices if you’re not using them.
18) Stop Using A Landline For Your Phone
I feel that having a landline phone is a waste of money. When you still having a landline at home, try to figure out when was the last time you used it. You’re probably using your cellphone much more.
Make sure to figure out if it can save you money to stop using your landline. Many providers say that a telephone landline is ‘free’ when you buy an internet and TV package. However, if you ask for a package with only internet & TV, you’re often paying a lot less.
19) Stop Using Cellular Data (4G)
This trick saves me around 250 USD a year. You don’t need an expensive mobile subscription. For years I’m using a prepaid SIM card without data. Around once a year, I need to top up my prepaid with the lowest rate possible.
At home, my iPhone connects to the WiFi, so I don’t need 4G data. When I go shopping or outside, I just love to be offline, and if I really want to, there’s always a place nearby where I can connect to the WiFi.
I only do voice or video calls when connected to WiFi and using Whatsapp Messenger or Facetime so that it won’t cost me anything. And all of my friends know that I’m not always online, so it can sometimes take some time to reply to their messages.
20) Don’t Buy The Newest Phones or Devices
If you don’t need to use expensive data subscriptions, you also don’t need to use the newest iPhones, smartphones, or tablets. Yes, I’m using an iPhone, but I still use the good old iPhone 5. And my boyfriend is still using his iPhone 6 since 2014. They all work fine. Maybe we need to buy a new phone soon, but then we probably look for a refurbished iPhone to save money on that as well.
21) Always Bring A Homemade Snack When Going Away
Bringing homemade snacks and drinks is a habit I picked up during traveling. I always carry a bottle of fresh water and something to eat with me. It can be just a snack. And if I want something to eat or drink while on the road, I don’t have to buy expensive food or drinks.
You can do this easily when you’re going to the mall or something. Instead of buying an expensive coffee, bring your own!
22) Buy Clothes During A Sale
There’s always a sale somewhere. I never buy my clothes for a regular retail price. It’s just too expensive. This easy trick can save you at least 15% of what you are usually paying.
And if you buy winter clothes during a summer sale, you probably end up with a 50% discount or even more!
23) Compare Products Online For A Cheaper Model
When you need to buy a new device, it can save you a lot of money to compare products online. There’s always a place where something costs less. And maybe you can wait to buy it until there’s a sale. There are so many holidays companies use to sell their products for a discount. It can save you a lot of money doing some research online and sometimes wait until there’s a sale.
24) Use A Timer For Showering
Your water bill can be expensive. Showering is one of the activities that take up a lot of water. Most showers take up around 10 liters (around 2.6 gallons) of water per minute. So for a shower of 10 minutes, it will costs you approximately 26 gallons of water.
You can see on this interesting chart of Statista how easy it is to save money on your water bill when using less water.
25) Buy Only Generic or Private Labels
When going shopping once a week, there’s another way you can easily save a lot of money, buying generic or private label products. These products are often cheaper priced and similar or even better quality.
26) Buy Vegetables and Fruit On A Local Market
If there’s a weekly market closeby, you probably can save a lot of money when buying your products at that market. Fruit and vegetables are often much cheaper than in a supermarket. It’s probably because you can buy directly from the farmers when buying at a local market. There aren’t as many middlemen involved who are all taking a cut of the sales price.
27) Avoid Late Payments
Lowering your bills is one of the important things you can do to save money. But paying your bills on time is also very important. Often companies give you a fine when you’re late on your payments. Being late on your payments is unnecessary. Avoiding late payments will save you money.
28) Get Solar Panels For Your Home Electricity
We already looked at several things to save money when it comes to home improvement. Another great thing you can do is installing solar panels. This way, you can use solar electricity at your home, and you’ll be paying less to the electrical company.
29) Use A Bicycle For Shorter Distances
Riding a bicycle is not only fun and healthy, but it can also save you a lot of money you normally would spend on gas. It’s just that simple. Leave your car at home, hop on your bicycle when visiting a friend, or going out for a coffee.
30) Make Larger Meals
We already discussed doing grocery shopping once a week. When making your shopping lists try to think of a weekly menu of larger meals. For example, when making a pan of soup, make sure you can eat from this for two or three days.
Or, when making a pumpkin soup, you can use half of the pumpkin for the soup and save the other half to make another meal with it. This way you can save money on your meals every week.