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Money Saving Tips for Seniors

Posted on Wednesday, July 26, 2023
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by AMAC, Jeff Szymanski
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Seniors trying to make ends meet face unique challenges others simply do not.  The fixed income component is one. While younger folks can work overtime, pick up a side gig, or put in an extra shift, that’s not an option for many retirees.  Further, retirement is more expensive than many seniors realize.  Research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found nearly half of households spent more than they had before retirement in those first two years.  Here are six money saving tips for seniors, more important than ever with today’s inflation.

1. Senior and/or Veteran’s discounts

Call it the privilege of being older and/or having served your country.  You’re now entitled to discounts on so many items from coffee to car rentals to hotel rooms to retail purchases, and the list goes on.  A typical discount is 5-10% at establishments, and the age of eligibility varies from 50 to 55 to 62.  My late grandma’s voice is in my ear saying, “Hey, it never hurts to ask” whenever she would see me cringe at her asking for a senior citizen discount.

2. Discount Clubs

There are a plethora of discount clubs across America.  Some pertain to very specific interests like owning an RV, camping or riding a motorcycle.  But many involve paying a small annual fee for the privilege of garnering savings.  Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s Wholesale embrace the buy in bulk theme. Of course, that can be a double-edged sword as many seniors may not need 48 rolls of toilet paper or paper towels.  Perishables might very well go to waste if not used up in time in a household of only one or two.  But it is unit costs that are generally lower, so in most cases, you are getting a deal, assuming you can use all items before they spoil.  And don’t forget about AMAC’s many member discounts from cell service to entertainment to insurance products.

3. Scale Back Transportation Costs

Owning an automobile is expensive.  Yearly maintenance, insurance, registration tags, and fuel top the list of expenses.  Often it makes sense in retirement for a couple to ask, “Do we need two cars?”  My folks didn’t.  I convinced them to sell their second one to me, and I sold mine to Carvana, an online site that will pick up your vehicle and bring you a check.  Another site is Vroom.  Further, at some point, it will become necessary to ask if you need any vehicle at all.  Considerations could be the closeness of public transportation, one’s health, and the ability of friends and family to take you shopping and to appointments.  Don’t forget to consider ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

4. Lower Your Health Care Costs

Medicare is a lifeline for seniors aged 65 and older.  But having the right coverage is key.  The proliferation of Medicare Advantage Plans in the past decade has given seniors more choices, generally at greatly reduced premiums and with enhanced benefits to boot.  Contact AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service at 1-800-334-9330.

5. Thrift Stores

It’s a great way to buy quality secondhand items and to even sell some of your gently used possessions for cash.  Thrift stores sometimes go by the terms resale, consignment, or vintage.  Check out one or more near you.

 6. Public Institutions

Think libraries, museums, parks, schools, colleges, and community centers.  Many have free programs, often set aside exclusively for older folks.  Enjoy some fresh air with summer concerts in the park.  Or learn something new by taking advantage of free or reduced tuition at colleges nationwide that cater to seniors.

These are six money saving tips for seniors to help with living on a fixed income.  Alternative living arrangements, coupons, reducing your energy consumption, and taking advantage of community resources are some additional tips, with more to be found here.

 Jeff Szymanski works in political communications for AMAC Action and previously taught high school economics, history, psychology, and sociology.  He writes frequently on money issues and Social Security’s ill financial health.

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