Grandkids aside, age-related discounts are one of the best perks of getting older. If you’re part of the 50+ crowd, you could be overlooking some unique ways to cut costs.
Whether you’re looking for money-saving opportunities for entertainment, travel, health or food, you’re going to love this list of simple, practical ways to spend less in all areas of your life.
Save Money on Insurance
- Bundle home and auto insurance. Does your insurance provider offer a discount when you use them for all of your insurance needs? If so, it could help you cut costs and save you time spent dealing with different insurance companies.
- Pay annually instead of monthly to save on your insurance premiums.
- Shop around for health insurance. Just like shopping for a new television or computer, you could save on health coverage when you comparison shop. Visit a site like Finder.Healthercare to easily compare costs and coverage of private health care plans.
- Ask about alumni/retiree benefits available from group health insurance through trade organizations , alumni organizations, or your current/previous employer. Health insurance through membership organizations can be less expensive than getting insurance on your own, because the organization gets a special “group rate” from the insurance provider, and because they may also pay for part of your coverage. According to insure.com, an average annual insurance company premium for an individual is $1,644, while an average individual premium is over $5,000! Check rates and eligibility with your former employers or even college associations.
- Explore whether taking a defensive driving course could reduce your auto insurance. Talk to your insurance company first, then check out AARP’s Smart Driver Course, available in person or online.
Cut Costs on Transportation
- If you or your spouse no longer commutes to work, consider getting rid of your second car to save on gas, maintenance and insurance.
- Downsize your car to one that is better on gas. Or, consider swapping out for a hybrid or electric vehicle. As Consumer Reports discovered, you could save $4,700 or more on fuel in the first seven years.
- Get a bus pass and use public transportation for running errands instead of maintaining a car.
- For long-distance trips, travel by train or bus instead of driving or flying, and enjoy a less expensive, less stressful journey.
Spend Less on Living Expenses
- Downsize your home. Not only could this boost your savings if you sell, but you could also reduce your utility costs and maybe even your property taxes.
- Relocate to an area with a lower cost of living. However, remember to factor in the cost of travel if family and friends are farther away.
- Research your state and municipal laws to see if they offer property tax reductions or “freezing” for people over a certain age. Or check out this handy state-by-state guide to taxes on retirees for your own state.
Cut Costs on Household Expenses
Cut the cord and cancel your cable TV subscription. Try a less expensive streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu instead.
- Bundle your telecommunications plans to cut costs on your cell phone and internet.
- Get a smart thermostat to regulate heating and cooling times to shave a few dollars off your utility costs.
- Ask your utility company about available discounts on maintenance packages and services, such as electricity, home heating and water.
- Replace toilets and showerheads with water-saving models to slow your water costs.
Spend Less on Groceries
Use a grocery savings or rebate app like Ibotta, Coupons.com or Checkout51.
- Talk to your friends and family about bulk buying together for savings on groceries. Items with a long shelf life such as pasta, paper products, canned goods and laundry detergent are good choices. Even meat can be cheaper bought in bulk, as long as you have freezer space.
- Grow your own vegetables and fruit in a backyard garden. It’s more than good exercise and an excuse to spend time outdoors, it might even help cut your produce costs. Or try indoor gardening to grow leafy greens, herbs, tomatoes and peppers in containers or a small countertop greenhouse.
- Only buy what’s on your list and shop twice a month instead of weekly to save on gas and avoid additional opportunities for impulse buying items you really don’t need!
- If you’re up for the exercise and only need a couple things, walk to the market for groceries. You’ll save on gas and avoid impulse buys because you know you have to carry home whatever you buy.
- Fill your pantry with protein-rich legumes (beans, lentils) to help replace one or two more expensive meat-based meals each week.
Cut Costs on Medical Expenses
- Check out online discount sites for over-the-counter and prescription medicine. Popular discount online pharmacy sites include PharmacyChecker.com, GoodRX.com and BlinkHealth.
- Lower your medical expenses with the AARP Medicare Supplement. An AARP membership also gives you access to apply for AARP vision and dental discounts.
Save Money on Entertainment and Shopping
- Replace expensive restaurant meals with themed potluck dinners with friends and family.
- If you (or your spouse) are reluctant to give up restaurant meals, look for the daily specials or even AARP discounts at eligible restaurants.
- Save on late fees and the cost of buying books by joining your local library. Get their e-book app to read books on your mobile device or e-reader.
- Replace an expensive gym membership with daily walks, doing your own gardening, landscape maintenance and housekeeping chores.
- If you want to exercise to help preserve bone density and avoid debilitating future bone loss, you don’t have to buy an expensive weight set. Instead, fill large laundry detergent containers with water and start lifting.
- Join free local online classifieds sites or Facebook groups to purchase (and sell) second-hand items instead of buying new. This is a good source for gently-used sporting equipment, such as golf clubs, hobby and craft equipment like sewing machines or woodworking, and small kitchen appliances.
- If you love shopping the outlets for deals on clothing and more, look for coupon books like this Tanger Outlets coupon book for AARP members.
- Swap with friends as a fun way to get “new” clothes and other items. Host an event where friends bring their unused clothes, books and household items to share.
- Review your credit card programs for any unused perks. Use the discounts that come with your credit card and consider replacing your premium card that has an annual fee with a basic cash-back credit card that lets you earn cash rewards.
- Use your accumulated credit card points to buy gifts for others or even yourself.
Other Ways to Save
- Enroll in loyalty programs wherever they’re offered for free. Get card stamps (or points) with each of your purchases, and eventually, you could earn a free coffee, a free book and more.
- Get an AARP membership and take advantage of all of their money-saving membership benefits and discounts on everything from car rentals and travel specials to technology and pharmacy discounts.
- Check out AAA member travel discounts for hotel stays, public attractions, events and car rentals, etc.
- Ask your financial institution about available discounts or service fee waivers on bank accounts.
- Always ask for an age-related discount, even if you don’t see one advertised.
Once you get in the habit of always looking for ways to save money, you might find that you even enjoy yourself! Remember, always ask what discounts are available, review each item on your budget to look for ways to save money and then apply those savings to something fun.
What are your best tips to cut costs and save money? Let us know in the comments.
Don’t reinvest your dividends and capital gains in your mutual funds. Instead, have dividend and capital gain distributions from mutual funds go to cash, then buy shares of ETFs (“exchange traded funds” because there are usually not managers trading in ETFs, that produces capital gains. Over the long run, you want to increase shares in ETFs, not your mutual funds as this will help control capital gain distributions and taxes from mutual funds.
Make your coffee at home. Purchase a travel mug for on-the-go purposes. This could save you at least a dollar a day, possibly over $2. Using a Keurig coffee maker makes it easy and it will turn itself off if you forget to. Some K-cups can cost less than 25 cents a piece but even if you buy drive through specialty ones, you’ll still save significantly. And you won’t have to wait in the line for coffee places you frequent, saving you both time and gas as well as money.
The LIGHT BLUE “linked type” in the body of your text is too light for me to see, in my opinion, and my vision is rated “good” Apple Mac Pro w Samsung monitor – I am a graphics professional
Thanks for the feedback Carl – we’re always looking to improve and will take this into considering when we work on an upcoming redesign.
Take clothing to consignment store. Have a garage sale.
I am a Hartford customer. Is there a special discount for my RV when it is stored and not used during the winter season. I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and my RV at this time has four feet of snow covering it. It is not used between September and late May or mid April.
Thank you for the chance to communicate.
D.E. – Thanks for your comment. Can you reach out to our customer service department with specific questions about your policy? They can help you determine the best way to insure your RV when you’re not using it. You can reach someone by calling 800-423-6789. We are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Use fresh ground coffee to drip your morning coffee.
Pods are expensive.
Gasoline at Costco is 20-30 cents cheaper per gallon
Order groceries online and pick them up. Cost $3 and I only buy what I need. Not tempted to buy things like when I go inside. Plus keeps me safe from me from Covid!
Rakuten, eBay, Tracfone
Amazon prime credit card gives me 5% off on Amazon purchases.
Are there any market research companies that pay Seniors for surveys or focus groups?
It may be boring but I have switched to bulk sock purchases that are all the same and easy to find a match when they come out of the dryer. As a bonus when one gets a hole it finds a use in the garage as a rag and it’s good mate can easily be matched with any in the rest of the group.
Where can you get bulk socks? I must use socks that don’t bind at the top because the others make my legs swell!
Use local grocery coupons where you can buy multiple items and save when additionally on sale and eliminate Large box stores where multiple packs usually aren’t cheaper. (Use simple division to prove it, e.g. cost per ounce or lb.)
I split membership costs with friends to COSTCO, and get dual subscriptions to museums.
We enjoyed your “Tips to Save Money” including the Defensive Driving Course offered by AARP. Last week I called to set up an appointment for this course in-person classroom setting as we have done for several years and was informed due to COVID classroom sessions are canceled. January 11 I signed up for the on-line session and was unable to access this course, which will affect our automobile insurance. We are not computer savvy and found it impossible to navigate through the required course. This course is poorly designed and we fear will affect our automobile insurance rates because we are unable to take this course on-line. Unless steps are taken to have some sort of classroom instruction on Defensive Driving, we are unable to do so on-line. Please help!
David and Judith – Thanks for reading. We’re sorry to hear there were issues with the course you signed up for. Please give our customer service department a call and hopefully they can help. You can call 800-423-6789. They are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Thank you for all the saving tips. I use 99% of them already. Stamps for books? I think those went out when TV dinners were invented, unless they started new ones.
Z. – You’re probably right about most places. We updated the article to include “points” like they give you on the Starbucks app for example.
thanks a lot. some really good ideas. re: checking with friends and swapping clothes could really be fun.
There are some useful hints on cutting costs and saving money in this article.
That there are unscrupulous folks taking advantage of insurance companies is true, but the reverse is also true. Many times people have carried insurance for years only to have insurance claims denied or only partially covered. The average home and auto owner have very little if any leverage. I believe there are enough charlatans in the service industries to go around.
I do not own a dishwasher and wash dishes by hand. I microwave to heat my water in an old 1/2 gallon plastic ice cream pail, using only half level and microwave until hot, about 4 minutes then cool off with tap water until very warm but not too hot. I wash my dishes in left side of double sink and use trickle of water to rinse. This saves me from using gas hot water heater for such a long time to bring to kitchen sink for such a small job.
I’m going to try your water heating method. It takes so long for the water in my kitchen tap to get hot that I usually end up just washing with cold water. That’s okay for some things, but not for greasy items. I don’t want to waste water waiting for it to heat up.