25 April 2024

Retirees: 9 Easy Ways to Cut Spending

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Retirees often ask Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling how to trim their budgets so they can live on their fixed incomes. She tells them the first step is to take a hard look at their spending and find little ways to trim back to create a savings for emergencies.

About 71% of people, including working folks and retirees, have financial worries, and 31% of them say their biggest concern is not having enough savings, according to a recent survey of 2,016 adults conducted for the credit counseling foundation. In fact, 34% of people in the survey say they have zero non-retirement savings.

Many people need to create a personal budget to see how much they spend and where they spend it and then fit savings into their budget. Here are nine ways to save more:

• Pay with cash. People who put their plastic away and choose to pay with cash typically spend about 20% less, yet don't feel deprived. Why? They have an increased awareness of their spending, and instead of casually spending their hard-earned money, they become more contemplative and as a result, spend less.

• Tracking spending. This is something people strongly resist doing, probably because once they see their spending staring back at them in black and white they'll be forced to change their ways.

• Try the $10 by 10 equals $100 plan. People usually have multiple discretionary spending categories, some of which have fixed payments. However, it's easy to shave $10 off of 10 spending categories such as food, utilities, clothing, miscellaneous, gas.

• Pocket the savings from items bought on sale. Everyone feels like a savvy shopper when they score a good deal by buying something on sale. To actually realize the savings - 'show me the money' by putting the amount saved into your savings account. Now that's a real saving.

• Ask for discounts. Whether you are a senior, military or member of AAA, AARP or the Farm Bureau, use that to your advantage and ask if there is a discount offered at restaurants, hotels or for house or auto repair services. The money you save can be tucked into your savings.

• Trim your food costs. Eating out frequently is a huge budget-buster for many people. If you want to eat out, be smart about it. Use sites like restaurant.com and groupon.com to help reduce the cost. Many restaurants have bargain days or happy hours when the prices are better, and a lot of chain restaurants have coupons on their websites or they offer deals through social media.

• Cut your rent. Try renting a room in someone else's home instead of renting a more expensive apartment or home. There are many homeowners anxious to save money by sharing, and you may gain a new friend. This can be especially good for people who don't want to sign a lease.

• Shop for the best price for home repairs and other services. Always get at least three bids and make sure the company you request a bid from is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, or you can end up paying dearly. Also check for coupons on the company's website as well as third party sites such as Groupon and Angieslist.com.

• Bargain hunt for travel deals. Check out www.biddingfortravel.com and learn how to strategically bid using Priceline.com's Name Your Own Price feature. It is a really good way to save a lot of money on your travel budget.

Click here to access the full article on USA Today.


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