Today’s cost of living for households headed by someone 65 or older is $45,756 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest estimates (based on 2016 figures). The average retiree household income is only slightly more at $48,000. That means many seniors are trying to make ends meet on incomes well below the average cost of living.
Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your costs down without sacrificing your quality of life. So follow these cost-cutting tips and watch your savings grow.
Despite the rising cost of food, this is one of the easier places to cut costs. Coupon clipping can net substantial savings—as long as you only buy items you’d purchase anyway. Also, set guidelines so you don’t use coupons for unnecessary purchases or when it’s a better deal to buy another brand.
Another strategy, which can cut your grocery bill by at least a third by buying only what’s on sale. Flip through your store flier each week, then stock up with a 4 to 6 week supply of the sale items.
When grocery shopping, always compare the price per ounce on various size packaging. Contrary to popular belief, smaller packages are sometimes the better deal.
We are believers in shopping local so check out the online fliers for SauttersMarket.com (full grocery), reddyfoodnspices.com (their bulk spices are a steal), middleeast-market.com (super meat counter and deli), SofoFoods.com (italian), and WaltChurchillsMarket.com (full grocery).
Also, don’t let eating out eat up your spare cash. Keep plenty of simple or frozen meals on hand to toss in the oven when you don’t feel like cooking. Better yet, make large batches of soups, casseroles, and other dishes and freeze them in single-serving containers for simple meals.
Run your dishwasher only when full, and use the no-heat or air-dry setting.
Turn off the oven a few minutes before your meal is done cooking. The heat already built up in the oven will finish the job.
Wash all laundry in cold water, except for sheets and towels, which may need hot water to kill bacteria and odors. Washing in cold water will also reduce shrinkage and fading of colors.
Clean the lint filter on your dryer before each use, and don’t over-dry clothes. Or even more cost efficient, hang your clothes to dry.
For your lighting, use the lowest watt bulb that provides ample lighting or use LED light bulbs for maximum energy savings.
Keep your hot water heater between 115 to 120 degrees, as recommended by The Department of Energy. Warmer temperatures are wasteful and unnecessary.
Turn your computer off overnight and during lengthy interruptions.
During summer months, your electricity provider may increase usage charges during the afternoon and early evening hours.
Being entertained doesn’t have to be costly, or often, cost anything at all. Visit the library regularly to select from a wide variety of free entertainment, including books, newspapers, magazines (print and digital editions), DVDs, music CDs, and more.
Parks offer a variety of scheduled activities and programs like bird viewing and nature hikes. Area parks also boast paved biking trails, hiking and nature trails, fishing, wildlife viewing, and more.
Metroparkstoledo.com details its many parks and the happenings at each. Olanderpark.com provides the same detailed information about Sylvania’s parks. At https://toledo.oh.gov/residents/parks, all area parks are displayed on a may with hotlinks.
MLivingNews.com maintains a digital calendar which includes park, museum, music and other entertainment options in Northwest Ohio.
Increase the deductible on your collision coverage to $1000. The cost difference can be significant. Also, carefully review all the charges on your policy. Insurance agents and companies often prepackage or tack-on unnecessary coverages or higher coverage than you need.
Dress for Less
Hit the end of the season sales to save 60 to 80% on clothing.
Visit resale shops for super savings on like-new clothing at stores both locally as well as online. Toledo offers a few resale shops including House of Dow, 1501 Adams Sr., Bella River, 2301 River Rd., Maumee, and Plato’s Closet, 5644 Monroe St., Sylvania.
Hit garage and estate sales for clothing and other household needs to find top-quality, items in good condition, often for next to nothing.