Many seniors are living on a fixed income, and even those living comfortably often look for ways to save money to travel more, leave a bigger inheritance, or simply have a larger nest egg for unexpected events.
Since many seniors saw their 401Ks dwindle with the stock market crash, planning for retirement has become a hot topic. How do you save more in less time? While there may not be any quick and easy answers, the solution may lie in pinching pennies and spending smarter.
Here are a few tips to help you stretch that social security or pension check even farther.
Money Saving Tips for Seniors
1. If you’re within five years of retirement age, consider transferring your 401K to a gold-backed IRA.
Gold IRAs are more secure than stocks, and historically show a steady increase in value — a safer investment as you near retirement.
2. Consider shutting off your landline and going mobile.
Phone service can be expensive. If you’re not the chatty type and only need a phone for occasional calls and emergencies, you may not need your landline anymore. You can even talk to your kids about adding an extra line to their plan for more savings. Most plans allow you to add a line and share minutes for an extra $10 a month. You can also opt for a prepaid cell phone, which can cost as little as $10 a month to keep your minutes active.
3. For social engagement that won’t break the bank, try finding a favorite meeting place with amenities you value.
For instance, you can cancel your newspaper subscription and spend your buck a day on a cup of joe at the local coffee shop. Many shops offer a free “community” newspaper for patrons. This gives you more for your buck than you’d get sitting at home with the morning paper. You can also visit the local McDonalds or library for free wi-fi and social interaction if you want to cut back on internet expenses.
4. Get to know you neighbors.
Only need four pieces of bread a week? Share a loaf with your neighbor and take turns buying the bread each week. You can do the same with all perishables — like milk, eggs, and cheese. Create cooperative grocery lists for the month to help plan your savings ahead of time.
5. Take advantage of senior discounts.
Call your local senior center or visit Sciddy to find senior discounts in your area.
6. Check into lowering your taxes.
I live in Ohio, where Homestead Exemption lowers property taxes for those 65 and older. Check if your state has a similar program.
7. Schedule a visit to your local Department of Job and Family Services.
Even if you don’t need Medicaid, there may be programs available to help you stretch your savings each month. You can apply for a budgeting program for utilities, have a contractor visit your home to install energy saving items like CFL light bulbs or weather stripping, or just get a few tips on making ends meet on Medicare.
8. Visit your local Department of Agriculture.
If you grow the majority of your own food and rely on home canned goods to get you through the winter, your local Department of Agriculture can help. They offer free expert advice for common gardening problems and canning questions.
You can also check into special programs available that are perfect for seniors, like learning to be a beekeeper. Last year, my state offered free training and equipment to seniors who were willing to learn to keep bees to help boost the bee population. Many programs crop up every year, and being in the know helps you take advantage of these free programs and benefits.
What are your senior-specific money tips?
- E*TRADE IRA - Official Site