Dynamic Dozen: Ways to Save During Retirement

Dynamic Dozen: Ways to Save During Retirement

In today’s very low-interest-rate environment, seniors who are retired are looking for ways to save on their expenses so they can conserve their cash and investments. We looked over the many ways to save as espoused by the blog The Simple Dollar, and other publications such as Money Magazine (now only online). Here are the 12 we like the best:

1. Ask for a senior discount. If you have greying hair this is much easier to ask for to reduce your cost for a product or service. A big smile doesn’t hurt either.

2. Subscribe to blogs and online content from organizations like AARP for new cost-saving ideas. We have already mentioned The Simple Dollar and Money Magazine, but there are several others including Queen of Free and Clark Howard.

3. Go back to work: Full Time, Part Time or develop a side gig. This may be the toughest strategy as it admits you didn’t plan ahead. Never mind. Things change as we’ve seen this year in 2020. Go back to what and who you know or reinvent yourself. There are so many side gigs for experienced people. Entrepreneur magazine online lists 50 and another online list promotes 99 side gigs or hustles. Local and virtual options are available.

4. Move to a lower-cost area. If your location is an expensive one, then consider lower-cost areas of Florida, Texas, Nevada and several other states where there is no state income tax and lower property taxes. Kiplinger.com is a good place to start your research. Also, websites like Forbes and CNBC have a ton of articles on living in lower-cost areas of the country.

5. Downsize your home. This may happen in conjunction with #4, moving to a lower-cost area. Lots of retirees realize they don’t need the mansion anymore. Children are grown and have moved away. Sometimes they’ve moved very far away. No need to climb stairs anymore. Many consider the single-story condo as a good cost-saving alternative which includes letting the Homeowners Association take care of all the outside work for a fee.

6. Add browser extensions to cross-shop items by price when looking at Amazon or Walmart websites, as an example. Wikibuy, Honey and Rakuten Cash Back Button are a few of the more popular and easier to find via Google search. These extensions pop up to identify a cheaper an alternative to the website you’re currently shopping. However, be sure to read the fine print on shipping, arrival dates, use of coupon codes, and payment methods.

7. Meal plan weekly, shop with a list and reduce eating out. This is a combination strategy to save on food expenses. Shopping sales and using coupons has gotten easier in the online universe. Local supermarkets like the Kroger and Safeway chains send circulars frequently to offer up savings. Mirror that to meal planning and you’ll be keeping money in your pocket rather than theirs…if you stick to your list. However, you could plan to eat out once a week to keep your favorite restaurants in business through taking out, delivery or dine in. Consider signing up for emails to get access to weekly specials to reduce your cost of eating out.

8. Look for discounts based on other factors besides age. Ethnicity, geographic location, high school or college attended, veteran, retired military, etc. National and regional chains like to identify with groups and target them for reduced costs of products, meals or services. Some churches even feature ads on their service program, while establishments promote savings via sign or online for healthcare workers, churchgoers brandishing their bulletins, first responders, military active duty and their families, veterans and many easily identifiable categories using your appropriate identification card or driver’s license.

9. Utilize a reverse mortgage line of credit for future needs. Reverse mortgages may have received a bad rap from abuses observed over 20years ago. Now highly regulated and government-insured in many cases, this product allows you to tap home equity without making payments and allowing the loan to build while you use funds for necessities. You can just establish a home equity conversion mortgage line of credit that grows over time regardless of home value. Will, it helps you save on expenses? No, but it will help you meet that increased need without having to leave home as offered in #4 and #5.

10. Take in a roommate or boarder. That could be a friend, relative or college student or someone else who will help you pay your living expenses and reduce your income needs. Make sure in advance that you get in writing exactly what money they pay and what that covers. Also, be explicit to what their benefits are in your homes such as TV and kitchen privileges.

11. Cut or gather online coupons, T-Mobile Tuesday as an example. In thinking about writing up my list, I received my weekly Tuesday text from my cellular carrier with another offer to save money.
This week it was a free big burger as long as I spent $1. One of their side dishes was just that price. After paying a little sales tax that meal cost me $1.38. Not bad, and the cup of water was included at no cost.

12. Sell on eBay or Facebook Marketplace to raise money and rid yourself of excess. Notice I didn’t say the online sales website that begins with C. I’m a little concerned about my personal security on this one. You may run out of items to sell, but there are legal ways of gathering other items for sale (ask friends, neighbours and relatives) and you can also consider this reselling a part-time job. Offer to split the profits as an incentive to your gracious donors.

Good luck and keep alert. This area is always developing.

Jim Ludwick
Jim Ludwick

Jim Ludwick is the founder of MainStreet Financial Planning. His varied education and life experiences have enabled him to apply his knowledge and experience into useful solutions for personal financial problems. His writing and broadcasting activities allow him to help many more than just individual clients. He loves a microphone.

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