This is a guest post by Teena Celis. Although it applies to US citizens, citizens in most other countries will find the ideas useful.
The rising costs of everyday commodities are causing people all over the world to cut back on their expenses. Disposable incomes are getting limited; it’s getting tougher for people to make ends meet. 59% of available senior income is going towards housing and health care. This means there’s not much left over for food, transportation and other needs. How does a senior person save money in this kind of scenario?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for senior discounts for airline, bus, train, boat and other fares. Check online on the transport website for discounts.
- Apply for an AARP card (http://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/) to become automatically eligible for accommodation discounts.
- Check with credit card companies if you can get 50% off on interest rates, with no annual fees for your age.
- Call your power company to ask for discounts for turning up the heat, adding insulation, and weather stripping, free energy assessment and so on.
- Check for local grants for home improvements, infrared heaters and space heaters to keep your home warm.
- Combine home and auto insurance with the same agent to obtain lower rates and ask for a senior discount on top of it.
- Buy your fluorescent bulbs from Home Depot and Costco to enjoy rebates and a 6 pack for the cost of 2 bulbs.
- Many stores and restaurants offer special discounts for seniors on certain days of the week; be sure to check.
- Offer to pay your bill for 6 months at a time and obtain discounts for services such as your phone, cable and internet bills.
- Take a defensive driving course and check with your auto insurance company if you can raise your deductibles.
Save On Medical expenses
- Medicines cost similar rates for dosages that are close, such as 5 mg and 10 mg. Invest in a pill splitter and split higher dosage meds in half and save money every month.
- Buy diabetic and specialty supplies online to save money. Check auction sites for better rates when it comes to medical equipment.
- In case your medical insurance does not cover certain expenses, ask your doctor if you can get a discount for paying in cash.
- Check your insurance plan to see if you can avail discounts by ordering six months’ worth of routine medications at once by mail.
- If you are not medically insured and are not eligible for Medicare, check if you are eligible for state-administered Medicaid programs. See http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidGenInfo for more information.
Leverage Government Discounts and Assistance
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps seniors and low income families pay their rents. See http://www.hud.gov/renting/index.cfm for details.
- You can obtain help from SNAP, the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy nutritious food every month. Check for details on their website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap for qualification requirements.
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, (LIHEAP) helps pay heating bills, provides energy-related home repairs and weatherization assistance for free. Check their website here http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap.
- To know about other senior citizen and low income group aid programs, visit http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Benefits.shtml.
- If you limited income, the Medicare Savings Programs (http://www.medicare.gov/contacts/staticpages/msps.aspx can help you increase your Social Security payment and minimize your medical insurance premiums.
- Based on your eligibility criteria, you can cut back medicine costs via Medicare’s Extra Help and local prescription drug assistance programs.
- The IRS helps senior citizens reduce $500 to $2000 from their annual tax through local abatement, circuit rider and work-off programs. See http://www.irs.gov/individuals/retirees/index.html for more information.
- Check with your state department if you qualify for a free cell phone plan. Each state has its own rules with regard to eligibility criteria.
- Visit your local U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Eldercare Locator to find out what public benefits you’re eligible for. You can also get your eligibility screened online for free through NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUpÂ® service.
General Tips And Assistance
- Look up senior citizen specific personal financial management tips and tools by Visa, at http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/retirement.
- Look up AARP insurance recommendations if you’re over 50 years of age, for home and car insurance. You can successfully save more than 25% by increasing your insurance deductibles
- Sign up for AAA, AARP affiliate programs and leverage member discounts for various things. You can do the same with credit card issuers as well. Keep checking their websites for the latest offers.
- Many stores offer free customer rewards programs; be sure to sign up for these. You’ll get a store loyalty card and some coupons and discounts as well.
- Clip store coupons from your Sunday papers, or browse coupon sites online. Through clever couponing, you can reduce your expense burden a great deal.
- Check your community calendar for free events. You can get free entertainment, free meals and free stuff as well.
Look For Senior Discounts
Author Bio: Teena Celis is a freelance writer working for Adrenalin, a gift ideas company from Australia.