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Don’t waste money

Created date

August 4th, 2009
burnmoney
burnmoney

It seems just about everyone is thinking about ways to live on less money. Maybe your investments have taken a hit, or you re in the mood to spend more conservatively. Either way, you can enjoy your retirement without breaking the bank.

Rethink your budget

Regardless of your bank balance, there s no reason to waste money on things you don t value or pay more for stuff you need. Start by reviewing your expenses to identify unnecessary costs. Tom Scanlon, a Connecticut-based financial advisor says to watch automatic recurring charges to your credit card. The Netflix package or gym membership that seemed like a great deal is a waste if you no longer use it. Scanlon says you can also trim fixed expenses. Save on auto insurance by increasing your deductible, cut medical expenses by switching to generic drugs, and reduce your grocery bill by sticking to a list and looking for bargains. If you add all these things up, you might have a few bucks you can do something else with, Scanlon says.

Get what you deserve

You could be squandering thousands of dollars, simply by not taking advantage of discounts for which you re eligible. Jay Greenburg, spokesman for the National Council on Aging, says there are millions of older adults who aren t getting benefits they deserve from property tax breaks to medicals savings to discounts on utilities. Greenburg suggests visiting benefitscheckup.org to make sure you re enrolled in programs that could save you money. Over the last eight years, over 2.3 million seniors have gone through that self-assessment, and we found $7.3 billion of annual benefits that these seniors were eligible for but didn t even know about, Greenburg says. You re aware of the ubiquitous senior discount, but did you know it can get you much more than a free cup of coffee? David Smidt is the president of SeniorDiscounts.com, an online directory of businesses that offer discounts for older adults. Smidt says the website offers savings on everything from new cars and auto mechanics to hotels and restaurants. He also advises older adults to ask for discounts at businesses they patronize even if it s not advertised. You d be surprised by which businesses will offer discounts if you just ask, Smidt says.

Shift your thinking

Regardless of age or tax bracket, we could all benefit from changing our thinking about money and happiness. Do you need to take your grandkids to Disney World? Or would they have as much fun spending the week in your home? Will you build a better connection with friends by throwing a lavish dinner party? Or would memories from a backyard barbeque be just as precious? This is exactly the kind of mentality Carol Holst is trying to spread through Simple Living America, a nonprofit organization she cofounded in 1996. It s about looking at your values and deciding whether particular purchases are actually in line with your individual values, she says. You can save a lot of money and enjoy your retirement more simply by focusing on the activities and people you value most, Holst adds. meghan.streit@erickson.com

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