There’s a big difference between being frugal and being cheap. When you’re cheap, you pay less for products and services of inferior quality. On the other hand, when you’re frugal, you pay less for products and services of similar or superior quality.
Numerous Americans are now looking towards more frugal lifestyles. And this makes sense, since mortgage bubbles seem to pop every few years or so, student loans debt has skyrocketed and credit card debt is everywhere. In a world where every penny matters, being responsible, thoughtful and well informed is extremely important.
And all of this goes double for seniors. When you reach retirement, your sources of income become limited. It takes just one financial crisis to leave you homeless. That’s why it’s important to be smart and to save as much as possible. However, senior citizens also need to take care of their health. You can’t do this if you’re cheap. But you can, if you’re frugal. This way, you save some money without sacrificing comfort.
Here are a few tips to help you change to a frugal lifestyle.
1. Create a monthly budget
Most people are reluctant to live on a budget, since this means that they’d have to give something up. But frugal budgeting can help you save money while keeping that comfortable lifestyle that you’re used to. It works in a very simple way. You just have to create a well documented monthly budget for each month of the year, while also allowing for quarterly, semiannual and annual expenses such as income taxes or insurance premiums.
Creating a budget allows you to see those areas where you can reduce spending.
2. Choose a lifestyle
Retirement offers you a lot of possibilities. You can travel, spend time with friends or doing what you love. That’s why you need to ask yourself some questions. Do you still want to live in your home? Or do you want something smaller, in a warmer climate? Maybe you want to see the rest of the world. RVs are great. But so are sailboats.
The faster you decide what kind of lifestyle you want to adopt, the sooner you will be able to apply frugal strategies to it.
3. Give downsizing a chance
When you’re young, you want a big car, and a big house, and maybe you’ll even get them if you have an even bigger paycheck. But these things start to lose importance once you’re reaching retirement age. The kids are moving out, that paycheck stops coming in, and all of a sudden you realize that you don’t need such a big house.
A smaller home might be a good idea. It’s less expensive both to buy and to maintain. You can sell your old home, use the money to buy a smaller one and still have something left afterwards. And don’t forget to ask your family and friends to help you to move. No sense spending money on a moving company if you don’t have to.
Downsizing also applies to automobiles. A lot of American families have two cars. But when you reach retirement age you don’t really need more than one. And maybe you don’t even need that one car. Sell one vehicle, or maybe both. You can buy a newer, more fuel-efficient car instead.
4. Eat at home
We spend a lot of money on food. It’s normal. Everybody has to eat. But if you always eat out, you can be sure that you’re spending a lot more than you have to. Try to eat at home instead. Go to a grocery shop, buy the ingredients you need and go home and make a delicious meal. It will definitely be cheaper, healthier and even more fun than eating out.
5. Stay healthy
Healthcare costs are through the roof nowadays. It’s one important reason to stay as healthy as possible. Make sure that you exercise, that you eat right and always take your medication. Walking is a great way to stay in shape. It’s also free and it can help you cut reduce that gas bill.
And don’t forget about those Medicare plans.
6. Choose the right entertainment
Do you still need cable? I mean, do you still need all those different programs? Why not change to Netflix or other streaming options? You’ll be able to see all your favourite movies, without those pesky commercials. And it will also be cheaper.
Additionally, you can also visit museums or art galleries. It will be just as fun, healthier and cheaper than just watching TV all day long on the couch.
7. Ask for senior discounts
A lot of place offer senior discounts. But they don’t advertise it. So just ask next time you’re out shopping for new clothes or other stuff.
There are a lot of ways to save money without sacrificing comfort. Take me for example. Today I saved money on electricity by not getting up early. I waited until it was light outside and, trust me, I don’t regret that extra hour of sleep. What an awesome and simple way to both save money and take care of myself.