Here are some additional ways that seniors can save money:
1. Bargain for lower interest rates. If you have any debt outstanding, now is the time to seek a better deal.
2. Refinance your mortgage. With home loan rates at 50-year lows, take a careful look at refinancing. How much will it cost you? Divide this by the number of years you expect to stay in your home. Then look at how much your monthly payments would decline with a lower mortgage rate. If it makes financial sense, act now before interest rates rise.
3. Pay annually if you can. Insurance and other annual services will let you pay the bill in smaller monthly installment payments. But while these monthly payments are not considered a loan, that is exactly what they are. You wind up paying the equivalent of interest in the form of higher payments.
4. Try shopping once a week. This will limit impulse purchases, force you to do better meal-planning, and cut down on travel expenses.
5. Share groceries. If you shop for yourself alone, plan shopping for your weekly supermarket trip with a neighbor or friend. You’ll get some good social time and save money by buying larger sizes and splitting them.
6. Share on errands and travel, too. Every time you find yourself going on an errand by yourself, ask if there might have been a friend you could have taken along. And many vacation costs will be cheaper when traveling with a companion.
7. Avoid late fees. Make a list of when all your payments are due. If you use online bill payments and are not worried about overdrafts on your bank account, set your recurring bills for automatic payment and save time along with those late fees.
8. Unplug unused devices. Most electronic devices use a bit of power even when you’re not using them. Make it a habit to only plug things in when you’re using them. Using a power strip is a convenient way to handle multiple devices by only unplugging one element.
9. Turn off heat to unused rooms. This is a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many obvious things we don’t do. If you use hot-water radiators, make sure you bleed off any air pockets that have built up in them since last winter.
10. Use programmable thermostats. Why heat up (or cool down) your home when no one is there? It’s one thing to turn down thermostats during the winter, but it’s even better to program your home’s temperatures to turn off the heat (without risking pipe damage) when you’re not there or at night when you’re sleeping.
11. No partial loads. Do not waste energy, water, and detergent by doing partial loads of dishes or laundry.
12. Merge your home phone and cellular services. Fewer and fewer people now keep land lines along with their cell phone service, especially now that cell phones can have multiple phone lines. Revisit whether you feel you really need a land line along with a cell phone.
13. Generic is good. Look for generic store brands and give them a try. And when it comes to prescriptions, there is even less reason to stick with branded drugs if identical generic versions are available.
14. Drink water, not soda. And I don’t mean bottled water. Changing this single habit will help your wallet gain weight while the rest of you slims down.
15. Flaunt your age for discounts. If there is one virtue of aging that is worth exploiting, it is senior discounts. You’ll find lots of options if you search online.
Source: Caren Parnes for The Senior’s Choice