I received so many great suggestions from my readers here and on my Facebook Page. Every one could be implemented before you retire or after that big day. Since I asked you to think outside of the box, readers gave me a large variety of ideas other than pensions and investments. I’ll address some of them now and then devote a later blog to others. Some were variations on financial options such as; checking into your spouse’s Social Security. You may be eligible to collect extra Social Security benefits if you were married for at least 10 years and earned less than your spouse. Go to http://www.ssa.gov for the full explanation of this benefit. I have a separate savings plan for travel, but you may want one for purchasing large items, like a car. One reader plans to cancel her term life insurance policy and her disability insurance when she retires. I kept enough life insurance for funeral expenses.
When we reach the magic age of 50, AARP sends us that reminder that we can now become a member. Even though you may not want to embrace the fact that you’re old enough to be a part of that group, they do offer many discounts on insurance, travel and items too numerous to mention. At about this time or at 55, stores get into the act and have discount days to lure Baby Boomers through their doors. As you progress in age, theaters, restaurants, travel agencies, hair salons and almost every kind of business wants to give you a discount. At first I was offended if they asked, but now I ask for it. Since I’ve accepted that my hair’s natural color is now white, I might as well benefit from accepting my age even if I don’t want to act it.
Couponing is also a popular way to save on many items like groceries and household supplies. Restaurants, craft stores, theaters and Redbox, just to name a few, have money saving apps and websites they use to send us discounts. My neighborhood store has “BOGO” deals and for every dollar I spend, I get cash off gas. I earn points on my timeshare credit card to spend on maintenance fees, gift cards and other items. My airline mileage and regular credit cards do the same. There are so many loyalty cards on my key chain that I have to detach it from my keys when I want to travel light. I also found out that my community has a ‘local’s’ discount. It’s like anything else-if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Many readers have also scaled back on their housing, wardrobe, car expenses and luxury items or have bought gently used articles. It’d be interesting to find out how many Goodwill and consignment stores there are in my state. Condo rentals and “snowbird” donations make up a large portion of their inventory. When I gave up my work clothes for shorts and T shirts, I found that there were many new or like new clothes at these places. EBay, Amazon, Groupon and even Craigslist can also help us change our lifestyle and make some money in the process.
Near my apartment there’s a senior center that accepts members at 50. They offer classes for $1 a week, game groups, pot lucks featuring speakers, dances, trips and much more. It happens to be next to a library and about a block from a pier and beach, so I can work on my blog or go for a walk between my class and my low cost weight loss group. The local college runs a 6 week program with classes on writing, the visual arts, travel, crafts and many other subjects twice a year for a nominal charge. Besides providing inexpensive entertainment, these activities allow us to meet new friends and exercise our mind and body. Most cities and even small towns have similar programs.
Other important suggestions from my readers concerned exercise and nutrition. We need to take good care of our bodies at all stages of life, so that we can still use them to their fullest potential as we age. Too often we hear of people dying right after they retire. Although, they may have some kind of unpreventable disease, some can be controlled with diet and exercise. It was suggested that instead of paying for a yoga class, you go for a jog. Walking in the park, on a wooded hiking trail or even a city where you’re vacationing is very therapeutic and free. There are weights by my couch and a WII Balance Board, so that I remember to exercise while I watch T.V.. If you really want to join a gym, they’ll more than likely offer you a senior’s discount and you’ll meet new people. These are just a few of the ways to save money and enjoy your life before and after retirement.
Now for next week’s question. How can singles travel on a budget?
If you know of ways to avoid the single supplement on tours or cruises, save on flights, other forms of mass transit, events, admission to attractions or if you subscribe to websites that help with these things, please share your tips with us.
Thank you for all of your suggestions on my last blog. Become a member of this community and have the blog delivered to your inbox each week. You’ll never have to worry about me selling your information. We’re becoming a wonderful support system for single Baby Boomers, my friends.