For people on a fixed income or preparing to enter that lifestyle, knowing how to save money can be nothing short of essential. According to US Government research, most people can expect to spend about two decades in retirement. And over that time, frugal living can be the difference between maintaining your lifestyle or sinking into poverty.
How can seniors save money? Everyone has a different idea of frugality, as well as different budgetary and lifestyle considerations. But whether you’re a frugal living on a pension or you’re still working part-time and just looking to stretch your dollar a little further, it can be worth familiarizing yourself with a few frugal living tips for seniors.
Planning Your Meals
Making a meal plan is both a healthy and practical decision. It makes it possible to reduce food waste, minimize the amount of effort required to make meals, avoid takeout, and kick bad dietary habits – all while saving money.
That’s why some of the best frugal retirement living tips you’ll find are simple dietary changes. For example, soda, alcohol, and other similar beverages aren’t great for your health or your wallet. That means cutting back can have a two-fold impact! To make things even simpler, there’s also a wealth of resources available online relating to recipes and meal planning for the elderly.
A Frugal Retirement Lifestyle
Living frugal doesn’t necessarily mean living much worse than you already do. For instance, you can almost always save a bundle on travel expenses if you decide to travel during the off-season or off-peak. For instance, mid-week travelers can often find better discounts than weekend travelers. The frugal senior will find planning ahead will generally get you better rates across the board.
Another thing to keep in mind is senior discounts are exceedingly common; even though they’re often not always advertised clearly. Nearly anytime you visit a major retailer or restaurant chain, and with nearly any store you visit on a regular basis, it’s worth asking if they’ve got a senior discount available -- because you can often find discounts in excess of 10%.
Frugal tips for seniors often overlook the bigger picture. For instance, perhaps you bought a home next to a school and filled that home with children who no longer live there. Perhaps you’ve recently undergone a divorce, and your living arrangement no longer makes sense.
There are many reasons why you might consider moving into a smaller place, but trading away unruly large properties for smaller manageable ones can help you save on several fronts. Along with saving money, you can often find locations with better proximity to grocery stores, physicians, family, and other essentials.
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Other Ways for Seniors to Save Money
Some of the better frugal tips for retirees are things we can all learn to live by. For example:
- Swap out CFL lightbulbs with LED bulbs, you may achieve energy savings that amount to hundreds over a short period of time.
- Take care of your health. Regular exercise, age-appropriate diet, appropriate hydration: basic steps like these can have an enormous impact on healthcare expenses.
- Thrift shopping isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great mix of treasure-hunting fun along with sheer practicality.
- If you already have enough treasures at home, consider selling collections on sites like Craigslist, Etsy, or eBay.
In short, frugal living for senior citizens is mostly about seeing the big picture and realizing that every dollar counts in the long run. Experts suggest you may need as much as 80% of your pre-retirement income in order to maintain your standard of living. If you take a moment to build a plan around these kinds of guidelines, you may find it can lead you to a longer and more enjoyable retirement.