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.
Cut Costs on Household Expenses
- 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
- 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.