April 24, 2013.
7 Strategies to Save Money for Your Retirement
Increasing longevity can offer many blessings, but it also demands new strategies to increase your financial base in order to live your older years in dignity. There are basically only three ways to do this: save more, leverage our resources more effectively, and increase your income. Today we are going to focus on some simple ways to save more. Fortunately, most of us find that as we grow older there is a strong wish to simplify our lives, so we can approach the need to save more from the perspective of simplicity over that of fanatical frugality. In that light, here are 7 strategies to start saving more:
- Reduce long distance travel. Vacation near your home. There are many excellent resources online to help you plan road trips, train trips and stay-cations. Most offer discounts for seniors as well. Here are a few of my favorites: www.aaa.com; www.tripadvisor.com; www.amtrak.com; and all kinds of interesting events listed in local newspapers sites such as www.sfgate.com and www.eastbayexpress.com. In the Bay Area www.johnnyfuncheap.com offers tons of free and low cost events every week. The newsletter subscription is free too!
- Reduce food costs. Shop the specials and buy in bulk. For people who have small or one person households, food buying clubs can help you reap the benefits of bulk purchases. Two that I like are www.unitedbuyingclubs.com and www.growandbehold.com. These let you purchase high quality natural foods at reasonable prices. Another trick I learned from my mother was to cook three times as much as you need and freeze the rest in small portions, so you won’t be tempted to eat out when you are too tired to cook.
- Entertain at home and reduce restaurant bills. This has a big benefit besides saving money! It is so much fun to spend time with friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere. The costs and work of entertaining can be shared by hosting a cooking party where the ingredients list is shared, or forming a dining club that rotates homes each month, or creating potlucks around new menus that everyone learns and shares together. These can be combined with a movie club, book club, game night, etc. for a full evening’s entertainment.
- Make gifts instead of buying them. Not only will this save major money, it will let you enjoy and explore your artistic and culinary talents! You might want to match the gift making with entertaining at home, by forming a crafts circle. There are so many good websites with video demonstrations of various craft and gift projects: http://www.pinterest.com is a treasure trove and http://www.ucreatecrafts.com is another favorite.
- Decorate your home with re-use projects and furniture makeovers. You can imitate top designers who no longer rely on matching furniture to create an exciting new look for your home. The home and garden TV shows offer lots of inspiration. Paint and fabric can work wonders with your current furniture or with thrift store and flea market treasures. Check out www.36thavenue.com for some terrific ideas.
- Cut your transportation costs. If you drive your own car you can save gas with the tips offered at http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/05/30/how-to-improve-your-gas-mileage-23-top-tips-for-better-fuel-economy/. You can ride share or join one of the new car sharing programs like www.Zipcar.com or City Car Share. If you have a long commute, public transportation is not only better for the environment, it is probably less expensive and less stressful. And walking more is probably one of the best ways to improve our health.
- Finally, there are more Senior discounts than we can mention here – for stores, restaurants, hotels, travel, movies, clothing, etc. etc. AARP membership adds many to the list. The trick is to plan ahead to really save big! Here is a really useful link: http://frugalliving.about.com/od/frugalseniors/a/Senior_Discount.htm