Many seniors are no longer working and don't have an income source. This can be a stressful factor to adjust to as you have only a fixed budget each month from savings and retirement funds. That doesn't mean you have to live well below your usual means and completely change your lifestyle! There are plenty of ways to save money that won't leave you wishing you could go back to work. Here are a few ways to save money:
1. Shop around
Most people compare prices on large, expensive items like TVs and cars. However, these are infrequent purchases. While it's important to shop around for big buys, it's the little ones that really make the difference. When you go shopping, don't just grab the first thing you see that you need. Browse to see what brands are different. Milk is a great example. There are different kinds of milk to choose from and various brands of each kind as well. Some are fortified and are, therefore, more expensive while others are a few cents or even a dollar less. Always compare prices between brands, and also look at weekly ads for specific stores before going to them. You may find one shop is always the least expensive or that this factor changes from week to week.
2. Use discount cards
These days just about everywhere offers customer loyalty cards. After a few purchases at your favorite cafe you may be eligible for a free drink. Using a card at a pharmacy may help you learn about helpful discounts on the medications you need. Your health insurance may even offer a card that you can use to earn money off on fresh produce and healthy food purchases. Don't hesitate to ask the grocery store, community center where you go for water aerobics classes or perhaps your favorite restaurant if they offer discount cards. Being a senior also helps as plenty of locations provide discounts just for being over a certain age.
3. Learn about manufacturer coupons
If you're like many seniors, you take at least one medication per day. No matter your health insurance, pharmacy costs can add up quickly. Don't just look into using a pharmacy discount card – look into receiving discounts straight from the drug manufacturer. As strange as it sounds, these companies will offer special rates because they want more people to use their products, even if that means losing a few bucks here and there. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if he or she can provide you with manufacturer coupons or help you find ones to print off at home. Keep these coupons on your phone in photo form to show at the pharmacy each time you go in for another round of medicine.
"When you can, don't buy – borrow!"
4. Visit the library
Movies, books and magazines may seem like small purchases but they really add up quickly. If you love magazines, don't buy them on news stands. Instead, purchase a subscription or checkout copies from the local library. If you have access to a library, skip buying books in favor of borrowing them. Some even have interlibrary loan which can greatly expand the possibilities for books that you will want to read. You can also borrow movies, audiotapes and music from the library to save money. Some senior living communities even have their own mini in-house libraries that residents can use.
5. Pay on time
Late fees can almost always be avoided with the help of a little planning. Everything from utility bills to streaming movie subscriptions and phone bills are all due at the same time each month. If possible, sign up for automatic bill pay so you won't have to think about it. Or, make notes in your planner or calendar and your phone calendar to alert you to upcoming due dates. If you still have trouble remembering to pay, ask a loved one to remind you, too. You could even have your bills sent to a trusted family member who has access to your bank account and can pay them for you.