One of the hardest parts about getting older is cutting items from your budget to make ends meet. Exercising the wisdom and discretion that comes with age can help you decide what needs to go, but some things are harder to sever ties with than others. If you haven’t hit retirement age yet, a retirement calculator is a useful tool to figure out how much you’ll have to work with each month when the time comes.
While it may be necessary to cut back in some areas – and far be it from me to discourage savvy spending – there are ways to cut back on expenses and leave room for the things you love.
Let’s Be Practical
These days, everyone knows aboutAARP. You reach the dreaded half century mark and are presented with the honor of paying $16 a year to be part of a nationally known “discount club”. Who needs an extra expense, right?
When it comes down to it, most people don’t realize the full benefits of an AARP membership. Taking advantage of the numerous discounts they offer can more than make up for membership dues.
Start by making room in your budget with savings on necessary expenses such as groceries, phone service, and healthcare. Most online vendors only require entry of your membership number at checkout. In physical stores, you simply need to show them your card. You might be surprised by the number of places that provide a senior discount if you simply ask. Savings may only be 5-10% on some items, but every little bit counts. By freeing up extra funds here, you can also begin to enjoy some of the finer things in life you may have had to scale back on.
Saving on Day to Day Expenses
Scaling back on the staples is all well and good, but what about the rest of it? You’ve got kids, grandkids and spouses to spoil. You can’t cut discretionary spending completely, and nobody here is asking you to. In the spirit of saving though, there are many things you can be aware of and make sure to take advantage of as well.
For example, you can enjoy discounts on purchases at local stores such as Rite-Aid, where seniors get a 10% discount on prescriptions every day. Other retailers are following suit and big names like Ross and Banana Republic are hopping on the senior savings bandwagon. For those of you who want to be even thriftier, local second hand stores often offer anywhere from 10-50% additional savings on your purchases.
What About Savings on the Fun Things in Life?
Luckily, there are savings available for fun things as well. Many people dream of traveling the world, but life gets in the way, jobs get too constraining or it’s simply too expensive to take the whole family. Whether you are attempting to achieve a lifelong dream of seeing the world or simply wanting to enjoy anight at the movies, taking a few minutes to check for savings can make a huge difference. You may find yourself limited by the entertainment options from AARP, but you can always find savings through offers like Groupon and your local entertainment book.
Basic lesson: take a look before you whip out your pocket book.
Louis Mack is a seasoned financial planner and literary enthusiast. He’s currently consuming copious amounts of coffee while working on his first novel.
Category: Saving Money