100 Frugal Living Tips For Seniors
Sarah Sharkey13-minute read
January 18, 2022
You’ve sailed away into the never-ending sunset of retirement. However, life in your golden years isn’t all sandy beaches and fun. You still have to deal with the burden of managing your financial obligations. Luckily, frugal living can help you ensure that you never run out of money.
Check out our top 100 tips for frugal living below.
1. Take Advantage Of The Senior Discount
Senior discounts seem to be everywhere. Many stores and restaurants offer senior patrons a good deal. Whether it’s a 10% discount at Dairy Queen or 15% off on Wednesdays at Kohl’s, make sure to cash in on these deals.
2. Get A Library Card
A library card can be your gateway to free entertainment. Not only do libraries offer books, but they also have DVDs of popular movies and television shows. Plus, many have computers that are available for free use.
3. Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage could lead to a lower monthly payment or a shorter loan term. Whatever your money goals are, a refinance can help you reach those goals sooner.
Start the refinancing process with Rocket Mortgage®, America’s #1 online lender.
4. Improve Your Credit Score
If you have a low credit score, make time to change that. You can improve your credit score significantly by making on-time payments and disputing any errors on your credit report.
Rocket HQSM is a free resource that can help you learn more about improving your credit score.
5. Take A Safe Driving Course
You may be able to land a discount on your auto insurance by taking a senior driving course. Talk to your insurance company to find out what types of courses they’ll accept. You could end up saving 5% – 10% on your auto insurance premiums.
6. Try Your Hand At Thrift Shopping
In many cases, people avoid thrift shopping because it takes more time than a Target run. However, you might have more time on your hands as a retiree. Digging through thrift stores for a steal of a deal can be a fun and frugal game.
7. Drop Disability Insurance
If you no longer need to work to survive, you may want to reconsider your disability insurance. Only continue to pay for coverage if it makes sense for your lifestyle.
8. Reconsider Life Insurance
As you continue to age gracefully, you might find that you have fewer obligations and dependents. With that, the need for life insurance may fall by the wayside. Consider eliminating life insurance if it no longer serves a useful purpose in your life.
9. Give Travel Rewards A Try
Travel rewards offered by credit card companies can be a great way to stretch your travel budget. If you have a long travel bucket list to accomplish, it might turn into a large expense. Consider earning travel rewards points to fund your wanderlust.
In a similar vein, you can stay away from peak travel times to limit travel costs. Although you likely have the time to travel whenever you please, the working world isn’t so lucky. Take advantage of that and book your travels when you’ll have the place to yourself.
11. Take The Train
Amtrak offers a 10% discount to seniors who are willing to travel by train to most destinations. Although it might be a slightly longer journey, the savings might be well worth it.
12. Travel Light
Avoid expensive baggage fees by packing light for your travels.
13. Declutter Your Home
Clutter can be the cause of unnecessary stress. Start decluttering your home one room at a time. You may be able to find things of value that are no longer needed in your life. Sell those items and turn clutter into cash.
14. Add Safety Features To Your Home
Small upgrades to your home such as improved lighting or a shower grab bar can be an upfront cost. However, simple upgrades could prevent a fall. Not only are falls painful, but the subsequent hospital stay can cost thousands of dollars.
15. See A $5 Movie
Movie tickets can be expensive these days. Instead of paying $10 for a single movie ticket, take advantage of AMC’s $5 Discount Tuesdays. Also, make sure you ask for the senior rate at any other theater before you buy a regularly priced movie ticket.
16. Shop With Coupons
Most products and stores have coupons and deals available both online and in the newspaper. Take time to find them and use them.
17. Freeze Your Property Taxes
Property taxes can be a large expense each year. The constant increase of property taxes can be difficult to budget for down the line. Luckily, many states allow their seniors to freeze their current property tax rate to avoid an annual increase. You’ll need to contact your local tax office to see if this is an option for you.
18. Create A Budget
If you’re living on a fixed income in retirement, it’ll be relatively easy to craft a simple budget. Make sure to include monthly expenses as well as annual expenses.
19. Stick To Your Budget
Simply creating a budget is not enough. You need to stick to your budget. Otherwise, you may have to worry about running out of money, which is something no one wants to worry about.
20. Plant A Garden
Not only will a garden provide free veggies, but you’ll also get countless hours of free entertainment. You may even be able to score free seeds from your local library or university.
21. Get Involved In Your Community
Find a way to give back to your community in a way that makes you happy. Whether that’s through helping out at your local church or becoming a volunteer park ranger, volunteering can help make the world a better place. Plus, you’ll have a free activity to fill your time.
22. Exercise More
Although you may not want to start running marathons, making time to exercise every day is a cheap way to stay healthy. Even a walk around the block can be a great activity.
23. Get Organized
You can save a great deal of time and money by getting your financial life organized. Consider collecting your financial documents in an easily accessible place. You’ll be able to stay on top of bills and monitor your funds without breaking a sweat.
24. Never Pay A Late Fee
Once you have your bills organized, make sure to never pay a late fee. That’s just money wasted.
25. Cut The Cord
If you have an outrageously large cable bill, you should consider cutting it. With plans that can cost hundreds of dollars each month, it might be an easy way to add some breathing room to your budget.
26. Cook At Home
Although eating out is a nice treat, you might not be able to afford going to a restaurant every night. Consider learning how to cook your favorite meals at home so you’re less tempted to go out.
27. Skip Dessert
If you do want to go out to eat, avoid appetizers and desserts that can inflate the total cost of your meal.
28. Score A Free Drink
Chick-Fil-A provides a free drink to all seniors who purchase a meal. Small savings can go a long way.
29. Pay Off All Debt
If you still have lingering debts holding you down, make an effort to pay them off even if it means temporarily coming out of retirement for a part-time job or consulting gig. Debt can make it difficult to breathe easy in retirement because growing interest could be eating a hole in your savings.
30. Try Meatless Meals
A plant-based meal can be less expensive than a meaty meal. Even by incorporating just one meatless meal a week, the savings will add up.
31. Drink More Water
Not only is water a healthy alternative to soda, it’s also more affordable. Both your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
32. Try A Discount Cell Phone Plan
Cell phone plans can be outrageously expensive. Luckily, many carriers work with seniors to provide low-cost plans that suit your needs. Consumer Cellular and Republic Wireless are both good options.
Are you living in a home that’s too big? If you don’t visit one or two of the rooms at least once a week, the answer is probably “yes.” Consider downsizing to a smaller home for convenience. You’ll save on housing expenses and maintenance if you choose to downsize.
34. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
If you know that you’ll be spending money at a certain store, buy a discounted gift card. Cardpool and GiftCards.com are great places to look.
35. Monitor Sales
If you know that you need a certain item like a new oven, monitor the sales for months. When you see the right price pop up, you’ll save money by scoring a great deal.
36. Use The 72-Hour Rule
If you see something that you absolutely want at the store, wait 3 days before buying it. You might find that you often don’t return to buy the item.
37. Plan Ahead For The Holidays
Finding the best present for everyone on your list can be difficult. It’s even more difficult to find that perfect gift at a good price. Make your list ahead of time and shop for deals throughout the year. When the holidays arrive, you’ll already have your bargain-priced gifts on hand and avoid the stress of last-minute shopping.
38. Try Ibotta
Ibotta is an app that can help reduce your grocery expenses. You’ll be able to score cash rebates on groceries every time you shop.
39. Go On A Hike
Hiking is a fun and free activity to fill your days. You can find trails of all levels to suit your fitness by doing some easy research online.
40. Play Thrift Store Board Games
If you need to entertain a pack of grandchildren, board games can be a fun way to do that. Pick up board games at your local thrift store and play. You’ll get hours of entertainment out of a few dollars.
41. Learn Card Games
Consider learning social card games like bridge. These games are free to learn and can lead to a whole new group of friends.
42. Visit The Museum
Many museums and art galleries have free admission for seniors. Explore your local culture while enjoying a free day out.
43. Host A Potluck
Invite your friends over for a potluck for an affordable evening with your favorite foods.
44. Turn Your Crafts Into Cash
If you love crafting, consider selling your creations for profit. Although you probably won’t want to sell all of them, a few sales can go a long way even if they only cover the cost of your next project.
45. Find Free Concerts
Many cities offer free concerts all year round. Take advantage of this free entertainment.
46. Host Tailgates
Instead of watching football games at the bar, consider inviting friends over. You’ll be able to enjoy the game without the hassle or expense of a sports bar.
47. Use Groupon
Groupon will often have deals that get you excited. Use it to enjoy a discounted activity.
48. Remember Regular Check-Ups
Make sure to visit your doctor on a regular basis. If they catch a health problem early on, you can save thousands of dollars.
49. Brush And Floss Your Teeth
Taking good care of your teeth can save you from expensive dental bills.
50. Double Check Your Bills Each Month
Mistakes happen! If you regularly check through your bills, you’ll likely find a mistake at some point. Report it and only pay what you truly owe.
51. Do Minor Car Repairs Yourself
Almost everyone can handle minor car repairs such as swapping out windshield wipers. Save some money by doing that yourself.
52. Read Your Newspaper Online
Although you might enjoy the feel of a newspaper in your hands, it might be costing you hundreds of dollars each year. Instead, consider keeping up with the news online.
53. Spend Time With Your Grandkids
Hanging out with your family is completely free. Put some time aside to spend with your children and grandchildren.
54. Learn To Sew
If you have minor clothing issues, a quick stitch could be the solution. You’ll be able to hang onto your favorite clothes for years to come.
55. Use Energy Sparingly
Don’t leave all the lights on at your house. Instead, always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
56. Replace Your Toilets
Water-efficient toilets can easily cut your water usage in half. You’ll be able to pay for the cost of the replacement through water bill savings in a matter of months.
57. Replace Your Shower Heads
Using an energy-efficient shower head is another way to reduce your water bill easily.
58. Groom Your Own Pets
If you have a furry friend, consider grooming them yourself. In addition to cost savings, it can also be a bonding experience.
59. Invest In A Slow Cooker
You can cook many budget-friendly meals in a slow cooker. Plus, these meals require very little effort on your part. It’s a win-win!
60. Move To A Low Cost-Of-Living Area
If you’re retired in an expensive city, you might find yourself light on funds. A lower cost-of-living area can be one of the easiest ways to slash your budget.
61. Visit A National Park
The National Park Service offers a significantly discounted senior pass. With that pass you’ll be able to access some of the nation’s most beautiful places throughout your golden years.
62. Buy Your Internet Modem
If you pay for internet each month, you might be paying to rent the equipment as well. You can buy your own modem and save around $20 each month!
63. Watch Your Thermostat
Energy costs can add up quickly. Consider lowering your thermostat in the winter and upping it in the summer to save on your utility bills. Stay comfortable, but within reason.
64. Call Your Billing Companies
Each month, you casually pay your bills without too much thought to the expenses. However, by simply calling in and asking for a discount you may be able to save hundreds of dollars. For example, calling my internet company led to a $10 reduction in my monthly bill. It adds up quickly!
65. Buy In Bulk
Buy in bulk whenever possible. You might be surprised by how much you can save over time.
66. Start Eating Healthy
Eating healthy can make your body strong and keep your mind sound. Not only will eating healthy make you feel good now, it can help prevent serious (and costly)health problems down the line.
67. Make A Picnic
A picnic with your family can be a fun and cheap activity. Pack up lunches for everyone and find a nice spot to put down your picnic blanket.
68. Cut Back On Smoking
Not only will this trick save you money, but it will also keep you healthier.
69. Get A Reusable Water Bottle
As you’re drinking more water, consider buying a reusable water bottle to cut down on expensive and wasteful plastic bottles.
70. Drink At Home
Instead of a $10 beer out at the bar, consider drinking at home with friends for a more affordable and tightknit experience.
71. Decide What You Value
What makes you happy to be alive? Make sure that your time and money is spent doing what brings you happiness.
72. Be Mindful Of Your Waste
If you’re constantly running through household essentials, you may be letting money swirl down the drain. Be aware of how much you’re using throughout the day to start reducing your waste.
73. Tidy Up
A tidy home leaves less opportunities for an expensive slip and fall.
74. Try DIY Projects
If you want a new item, consider making it yourself. For example, a quick DIY tablecloth could transform your entire dining room.
75. Pick Up An Inexpensive Hobby
An inexpensive hobby is a great way to spend your time. For example, knitting can bring hours of enjoyment with just a few dollars’ worth of yarn.
76. Reuse Plastic Bags
If you still use plastic bags at the grocery store, hang on to them. Among other things, you can use them as small trash bags.
77. Cook In Batches
Even if you don’t have a crowd to feed, consider cooking in batches. You can always freeze the leftovers.
78. Use Cash Back Apps
There are several apps that promise cash back for certain purchases. A few of my favorites are Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and GetUpside, both of which send me cash back for online shopping and filling up my gas tank. You might as well take advantage of these easy savings.
79. Go Out For Breakfast Instead Of Dinner
Breakfast meals out can be a more affordable option than a dinnertime meal.
80. Rent Out Extra Space
If you choose not to downsize your living arrangements, consider renting out the space you don’t need for extra income.
81. Switch Bank Accounts
If your current bank is throwing fees at you, consider switching to a low-fee bank.
82. Try Mystery Shopping
There are legitimate mystery shopping companies that offer an opportunity to get paid to go shopping. If you enjoy shopping, this is a great option.
83. Avoid The Dry Cleaners
Dry cleaning your clothes is an unnecessary expense. Choose to buy clothes you can wash at home.
84. Explore Your Town
You might be surprised by how many free activities are available near you. Take the time to find them.
85. Go Fishing
If you love spending your free time on the lake, take your prized catch home. Hand-caught fish can also be a cheap, healthy meal.
86. Sign Up For Loyalty Programs
Most stores and restaurants have loyalty programs that reward you with points for shopping at their store. Take advantage of these programs!
87. Browse The Clearance Section
Head straight for the clearance section when you enter a store. You might be surprised by how many great deals can be found there.
88. Save Gift Bags
Every time you get a gift, save the wrapping paper or gift bag. Reuse it when you’re giving a gift to a loved one.
89. Use Amazon As Your Pharmacy
Amazon has recently entered the pharmacy business. You’re able to buy over-the-counter medicines on Amazon at better prices than brick-and-mortar stores.
90. Bake Your Own Sweets
If your family expects a sweet treat as they walk in the door, consider baking your own treats. You can bake amazing sweets at a fraction of the cost as buying them.
91. Trade In Your Car
If you have a car payment, consider selling the car and buying a cheaper car in cash. It might not be as luxurious, but it’ll be paid for!
92. Try ALDI
ALDI can be the best place to get your grocery budget on track. You’ll be shocked at how much you can save when you shop there.
93. Have A Pantry Night Once A Week
Food accumulates in your fridge and pantry. Use it up in a creative weekly meal.
94. Take Home Leftovers
Exhibit portion control at restaurants and bring your leftovers home. At most restaurants, this won’t be difficult to do.
95. Find Birthday Freebies
Each year celebrate your birthday with a mountain of free stuff.
96. Sell Your Second Car
Without daily commutes, you and your spouse may be able to share a car. Consider selling the extra vehicle in your driveway.
97. Buy High-Efficiency Appliances
If you need to replace your appliances, consider high-efficiency options to save on energy costs.
98. Cut Subscriptions
Monthly subscriptions can add up quickly. Evaluate your needs and cut out subscriptions you no longer need.
99. Save Your Pennies
Keep track of change that you naturally accumulate. Once a year, exchange it for cash to pad your budget. You might be surprised by how quickly it can add up.
100. Evaluate Your Priorities
Choose which frugal tips will work in your own life. Not every tip will work for everyone. Align your priorities with your spending habits.
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