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Money Savers for Seniors

MoneyWise | Sep 19, 2022

Show Notes

If you’re a senior citizen who’s found that your golden years of retirement aren’t so golden, take heart. There are plenty of things you can do to make the money you have go further. We’ll give you a whole batch today on MoneyWise.

  • Okay, we’ve got some great ways that seniors can save money, but really, these tips will stretch a buck no matter what age you are.
  • Always use the self-checkout aisle if one’s available. Studies show that people actually spend less using those machines because they’re really paying attention to the prices rolling up on the screen. That cuts down on impulse buying. Knowing that you’re going to self-checkout is a psychological aid for sticking to your shopping list.
  • And have you seen the price of beef lately? You can get around that by using ground chicken in your recipes like chile and tacos, instead of hamburger. If you simply must have a steak … buy a cheaper cut and marinate it a day or two in the fridge to tenderize it.
  • Speaking of the fridge, set aside a space on one shelf for stuff nearing the end of its life, and then look for ways to add it to your recipes. Or get really creative and make something entirely new out of your odd bits of cheese, leftover rice or pasta, and last week’s fruit and veggies.
  • And when you’re cooking on top of the range, did you know that the burner you choose can either save or cost you money? You want the size burner that matches the bottom of whatever pot or pan you’re using, whether electric or gas. If the flames are curling up the side of the pan, or you can see a red coil outside the pot, you’re just wasting energy.
  • Now, what about your oven? Are you using it to cook or heat up a small dish with just a serving or two? That also wastes energy. Use your toaster oven if the dish will fit. It preheats faster and uses less than half the energy of the average oven. Or better yet … pop it in the microwave to save even more on energy costs.
  • Now, you don’t have to give up fashion just because you’re living on a fixed income. You can now shop at online, upscale thrift shops for your clothing needs. Sites like ThredUp, Poshmark, The Real Real and Tradesy carry gently used clothing for a fraction of what it costs new. Will anyone really know if you’re wearing last year’s style?
  • And who doesn’t like giving gift cards to the kids and grandkids? You probably didn’t know that you can buy them on the cheap at sites like Raise, Gift Card Bin and Gift Card Granny. A card that someone else didn’t want could be a great birthday gift for a loved one. We’ll put links to all of these sites in today’s show notes.
  • Now, let’s say you forgot to pay a credit card bill and got a late fee. Or maybe you were dinged for insufficient funds at your bank. If this is just a one time thing, your bank or card issuer will probably waive the fee if you ask. It’s worth a call, anyway.
  • Do you have an unlimited data plan for your phone? That could be a money waster, especially if you’re at home a lot and using your wifi most of the time. Instead, call your provider to look over your usage and choose a lower price plan that still works for you.
  • Or better yet, get a prepaid plan. They tend to be cheaper and usually won’t require a contract.
  • And while you’re at it, ditch your phone insurance. Have you read the fine print on that agreement? They tend to restrict the type of phone they’ll cover, plus they often come with a high deductible and lots of red tape to replace a lost, stolen or broken phone, not to mention the fee you’re paying every month. Instead, keep the cost of replacing your phone in your emergency fund. That’s what it’s there for.
  • Okay, time to sit back, relax and watch your favorite streaming TV show. But are you wasting money there, too? Possibly. Take a close look at the terms of agreement for your streaming services. Many of them allow a certain number of household or family members to use their service. You can go “halvsies” with your kids on streaming apps that you share.
  • So much for watching the tube, now you want to get out of the house, and you’re driving down the road. Did you know that every time you touch the brake pedal, it costs you money?
  • Now, obviously, you have to brake. I’m a big fan of it. But the truth is, when you brake to slow down or come to a stop, you’re wasting the energy— gas— that it took to get up to speed. You can minimize that by coasting as much as possible. If you see the light’s red up ahead, take your foot off the gas early rather than stomping on the brakes at the last minute. Your brakes will last longer, too.
  • And for heaven’s sake, don’t tailgate. It’s not only dangerous, it requires more frequent braking and acceleration. Keep a safe distance and you’ll not only arrive alive … you’ll find yourself at the gas pump less often.

On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:

  • How can you invest without fear of losing your money?
  • What are the options for paying for assisted living care?
  • Does it make sense to pay your mortgage more frequently or pay more on a basic monthly basis?
  • What is a SEP IRA?
  • What taxes can you expect to pay on the sale of a second home?


Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to Questions@MoneyWise.org. Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, join the MoneyWise Community, and even download the free MoneyWise app.

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