To find some often overlooked, but extremely helpful money-saving tips, we consulted Mark Hager, co-owner of AgeInPlace.com, a website for older adults and their families to learn more about staying in their homes as long as they are able after retirement. Here are his 10 tips to save you money:
1 – Combine your errands
Make all your doctor appointments, grocery shopping, mall trips, etc. on the same day. The money you save on gas by making one trip a week versus several will add up.
2 – Shop online
Not only can you find good deals on gifts and other specialty items, you can also get the things you use every day for less than you would pay at the store. Many online retailers offer free (or discounted) shipping or member clubs for frequent shoppers that include free shipping. Shop around for the best deals on merchandise and shipping. You can even avoid state taxes if the retailer is located elsewhere.
3 – Have your heat and air ducts checked
Summer or winter, duct leaks can cost homeowners a lot of money every month in electric bills. Have your ducts checked, sealed and cleaned for optimum efficiency.
4 – Pay for what you use
Eliminate the features from your cell phone, home phone and cable services that you don’t use. Features like text messaging and extra channels are prime targets for saving money.
5 – Change the bulb
Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. It may sound trivial, but these bulbs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
6 – Take the 50+ discount
Most of us know that many stores, theaters and restaurants offer discounts for those 50 or older. Sometimes these discounts apply during certain days or times, so check around. There are also discounts to be had on other things as well, including car rentals, hotels, flights, golf, car repairs and home services. Just ask. Also, don’t forget your AARP membership card, which provides a host of additional discounts and benefits.
7 – Use the microwave
Cooking with your microwave uses one third less energy than your stove.
8 – Combine insurance policies
You can save significant money by having one insurance company for your home, car or other insurance policies. Call your insurance agent to discuss what offers they have. You will probably be surprised. Also, ask if they offer 50+ or good driver discounts.
9 – Shop bank accounts
Most banks now offer no-fee checking, which could save you a little every month. Also, most banks offer online bill payments. It is usually free and can save on postage.
10 – Install a whole house fan
Some may remember the large attic (or window) fans that draw air through the whole house from open windows. Not only are they perfect for spring and fall (summer too, depending on where you live), but you can also save up to 5% on your electric bill by using them.