Living on a fixed retirement income is not easy. Prices continue to rise but your income stays the same. Here are some ideas that other retirees have used to cut their living expenses.
This is often the first step to consider. Do you really need that four bedroom house now? How much company do you get in a year and how often do they come? Renting a hotel room for three or four nights a year might be much cheaper.
If you move to a two bedroom place all your housing expenses should drop, including taxes and utilities. When you move to a condo you also eliminate the cost and the burden of lawn work and snow removal. You will need to add in the costs of H.O.A. fees for condo living.
Ask your children about any sentimental pieces of furniture they want from your house, then sell everything you don’t need or want.
Also, now that you don’t need to be near a job you can settle in an area where the housing costs are cheaper. Some people even retire in other countries where the cost of living is much lower.
Some retirees sell most of their belongings and pack up an R.V. to travel the country.
Sell One Car
Chances are when you and your spouse were both working full-time jobs you needed two vehicles. But often, after retirement, you can get by with one with a little planning. This saves the cost of upkeep and repairs as well as insurance and licensing.
Talk to each of your utility companies and ask if they have a discounted rate for seniors. Often they do but they don’t bother to let anyone know unless asked. If they don’t, compare rates of other utility companies, if you have a choice.
Raise your thermostat a little in the summer and lower a few degrees in the winter. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Unplug electronic items when not in use.
Are you watching all those cable channels you pay for? See if there is some way you can lower your bill by getting a smaller plan or by comparing prices with other services. You may need to switch or they may lower your bill just to keep your business. I tend to watch shows that are on local channels, if you do also, you may be able to buy an antenna to pull these in, and not have to pay any television costs.
Drop your Landline
Many people are choosing to only use their cell phones and drop the additional charges of a landline. If you have a life alert system this might not be an option.
You can see if there are any services on your cell phone you are not using. Ask your carrier if they can lower your bill by cancelling services you don’t use.
Join the A.A.R.P
The yearly cost of membership is usually less than $20. You can get 10% to 20% discounts at many hotels and restaurants.
Find the Council on Aging Organization in Your Area
This non-profit organization offers many helpful programs for seniors including a low-cost shuttle service. They can connect you to many services in your area.
Sign-up for Meals on Wheels
This service delivers meals to qualified seniors Monday – Friday except for holidays. They even bring frozen meals or canned soups that can be eaten on days of inclement weather when volunteers can’t make their routes. Donations are welcome but not required.
Many grocery stores and department stores have senior discount days during the week. You can receive 10% to 25% off.
Always ask about senior discounts in restaurants. They are often not advertised or offered unless you ask. Some start as young as fifty.
If you or your spouse need help in the home; talk to your doctor. He may be able to recommend services that will be covered by Medicare with a doctor’s approval.
Visit the Library
You can not only read all the books you want (many of them in large print) but you can also have access to the internet, check out DVDs and audio books, and participate in local programs.
One of the biggest expenses for most retirees is their medications. Ask your doctor if there are generic equivalents to the meds you take. Also, ask to be referred to any organizations that help with the cost of senior medical care.
Get together with others for a night of potluck dinner and card games.
Remember to always asks for your senior discounts. You’ve put in your years and you deserve those small breaks!