10 Great Ways for Seniors to Save Money

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Budgeting one’s finances influences all aspects of life, regardless of age. Some adults grew up in households that did not need to budget. For others, monthly or weekly budgeting was a family necessity. But, regardless of how you or your loved one was raised, you should begin budgeting for situations that arise over time that may result in high bills, like health concerns.

For many seniors, the cost of healthcare influences the ways in which we spend our money. For example, if you have an upcoming surgery, you may reduce the number of times you go out to eat in the months leading up to the procedure. Alternatively, unbudgeted daily spending may affect senior access to healthcare. In other words, if older adults spend money unwisely, they may not have the funds necessary to cover essential health expenses. Luckily, a guide published by AARP reveals that budgeting techniques can save people thousands of dollars.

Why Budgeting Matters for Seniors

Budgeting is extremely important for seniors and folks living on fixed incomes. The practice can improve your overall quality of life. While some seniors still work part-time jobs, others may be fully retired. Despite the different lifestyles, each group has their own budgeting concerns.

Documenting expenses through a budget reveals where you spend your money each month. A 2020 survey of 1,500 American adults showed that 65% of those surveyed did not know how much money they spent in the last month. The survey also found people wished they spent less money in the prior month.

Most of us, especially if we are on fixed incomes, need to budget our money. Budgeting each month and adjusting our budgets when necessary help us live with less regret. Budgeting also offers long-term security. For any hesitant seniors, consider speaking with a financial advisor to explore efficient cost-saving methods. For children or friends of seniors, talk to your loved one about his/her financial habits to understand how money is spent.

If you’re looking for easy and effective budgeting tips for seniors, the below guide can help you out. And, for those who need to fit a medical alert system into their monthly expenditures, consider Alert1. Our button alarms are up to three times less expensive than some of our competitors’ alerts, for the same features and functionality. We also offer monthly contracts to help seniors who may not wish to pay a larger sum upfront.

10 Savings Opportunities for Seniors

You or your loved one has probably wondered where to start when reviewing finances. Budgeting can feel stressful, especially for seniors who have developed financial habits over the years. We’ve expanded upon 10 of AARP’s recommendations on how to best save your money.

1.       Use Meal Kit Trial Discounts

Many meal prep companies offer new customers a first-month discount. Some of the companies give customers the option to opt out after the trial period without any further obligation. Seniors on a fixed budget can save a tremendous amount of money by testing multiple services. Companies like Home Chef allow trial members to save $90. Hello Fresh also gives potential members a $90 discount. This can be a great way to try a variety of services and foods at a great price.

Promo discount options are an added benefit that certain companies, like Blue Apron, provide. Keep an eye out for these options to see which services you may enjoy. You may even find a new service that you stick with in the future. Just make sure you cancel properly and on time.

2.       Buy Discounted Gift Cards 

Over the years, someone has likely given you a gift card that you never used. It may still be lying in your desk drawer, discarded and forgotten. You’re not the only one who has this issue. In recent years, online services have sprung up to purchase old gift cards and resell them at lower prices.

These websites provide terrific bargains. Just because someone else doesn’t need or want their card doesn’t mean that it won’t benefit your needs. For instance, if you need new clothes, you can buy someone else’s gift card to a retail shop. You can purchase the card at up to 10% below the face value through a vendor such as CardCookie.

3.       Plan Ahead when Booking Flights

Studies and travel companies all share different ideas about the best time to book flights. The day of the week is rarely consistent across booking groups and agencies. One rule of thumb that does appear to be consistent is that people should try to book flights months in advance.[i]

Understandably, many people find themselves booking last-minute emergency trips. But, if you have time to plan, book a vacation flight between three weeks to four months ahead of your departure date.

4.       Find Free Tire Rotations

Rotating your tires shouldn’t eat into your budget. In most cases, the store from which you bought your tires will rotate them for free. Make sure to call in advance to confirm that the store does not charge customers for rotations. Some tire brands will even offer free rotation for the life of the tires at any authorized dealer.

Older folks sometimes drive less often than younger people. For many, owning a car is a large and sometimes unnecessary added expense. As long as you can safely drive, looking into car maintenance deals is a great way to save money.

5.       Shop Beyond Amazon

Shopping for yourself on Amazon can become second nature. We especially get into that habit if we need an item immediately or want to avoid shipping fees. However, other online services can sometimes offer better deals. Take a look at Walmart, Target and Costco options if you need to buy something. Online-only retailers like eBay and Newegg can also provide better bargains at times.

Consider also looking at local brick-and-mortar stores when you shop. Shopping at these stores offers two distinct benefits: you won’t have to worry about shipping fees, and shopping in the store minimizes your carbon footprint. Plus, shopping local helps support small businesses and your local economy.

6.       Check for Tax Credits

Make sure to check if you qualify for a federal premium tax credit. You may qualify for a credit if you purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federal or state-run marketplace.2 Visit HealthCare.gov before Aug. 15 during the special enrollment period. If you do meet the income requirements, the program can potentially cover certain premiums.

7.       Get a Smart Home Discount

You can lower your home insurance premiums in any number of ways. Depending on the provider, homeowners can sometimes lower premiums by as much as 15%. Investing in a “smart” home security system is an easy way to cut your premium. Separately, fire extinguishers lower home insurance premiums by 5%.

Investing in smart home products makes sense for seniors who spend a lot of time at home. These investments not only lower your premiums but provide you with a greater sense of security.

8.       Negotiate Hospital Bills

Hospital bills can reach extreme heights depending on the length of or reason for your stay. For many Americans, bills can be so high that they deliberately seek out alternative and cheaper forms of care, like those offered at urgent care facilities. However, when you have to visit a hospital, you should try and negotiate your bills down to a more affordable sum.

You can and should negotiate your bills even if you have insurance. Some hospitals offer patients a discounted rate. If you pay for your stay with cash, the likelihood of discounted rates increases. Can you not meet your deductible? The hospital’s discounted price may cost a patient less than if the patient tried paying out of pocket using their insurance. Just ask your care provider or patient navigator about the potential for “charity care” or “financial assistance,” and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

9.       Don’t Cover Your Air Vents

As the saying goes, it’s important to work smarter, not harder. If you’re worried about energy bills, avoid placing rugs, bookcases, or other items in front of heating and cooling air vents. Blocking a vent strains the furnace. In the short term, you will shorten the furnace’s life. In the long term, you’ll increase your energy bill.

Other concerns can arise when you cover your air vents. Blocking your air vents can create mold and mildew. These avoidable issues, if unresolved, can lead to expensive hospital stays or home repairs.

10.   Use a Pharmacy Discount Card

Medicine plays a crucial role in our health and well-being regardless of age. Unfortunately, certain medications can leave our wallets feeling lighter, especially if you cannot use generic alternatives. To alleviate this issue, seniors should research pharmacy discount cards.

More companies, including insurers and pharmacies, are offering these cards more frequently than they did in the past. These cards can sometimes save you as much as 80% off the list price of certain prescription drugs. This allows seniors to worry a little less if they don’t have specific drug coverage. These cards can sometimes help to cover copay and coinsurance costs.

Save with Alert1 Medical Alert Systems

Seniors looking to make cost-saving investments who are interested in the security and protection afforded by medical alert systems should look into Alert1. Whether you spend most of your time at home or outdoors, there is a button alarm device for every lifestyle and budget.

More than anything, our commitment to a positive, reliable customer experience sets us apart. When you invest in any Alert1 service, we promise you’ll never face an emergency alone when you need help the most. We are always accessible to our valued members, both in service and in price.

 






[1] Dhir, Rajeev. 8 June, 2021. What Is the Cheapest Time to Book a Flight? Investopedia.com. What is the Cheapest Time to Book a Flight?