Resources and Links to Savings Opportunities
The resources listed here have so many good tips that you could have difficulty implementing it all. The key to using them is analyzing your own cash flow to see where money “leakages” are happening. Nobody has perfect savings habits, and sometimes circumstances change. So try focusing on the bigger ticket items, or where you or your family has personal challenges, and then perhaps the smaller items won’t matter as much. On the other hand, if you are near retirement and haven’t saved enough, or have a lot of debt to deal with, then it is time to pull out the stops and do whatever you can. Have fun and good luck!
Kiplinger’s List of “Fabulous Freebies”
Who doesn’t like the word “free?” Kiplinger’s put out a great guide on freebies at http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/saving/T063-S001-fabulous-freebies-2012-slide-show/index.html
Some of these are small items one might take advantage of as a true fugalista, but Kiplingers is also practical about hitting some big ticket items, like college tuition. Some of the financial tips will look familiar to my clients (like commission-free ETFs we have used in your portfolios).
Money Magazine Savings Tips
This page is a bit old, but it does address finding those money “leakages” and how to get yourself started saving: http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/18/pf/money-saving-advice.moneymag/index.html.
Saving really is a mental challenge and a habit. Deborah Owens, another personal financial expert, recently addressed this in a talk I attended earlier this year. She described having the correct mindset for saving and building wealth. “If you approach each decision you make and consider whether it will help or hurt you financially, you may find yourself making entirely different decisions.” Of course, not every decision in life is financial, but a lot of the time, these are words to live by.
Costco and BJ’s
These stores are standard fare for many of us, but it is always worth a review to see what new savings you can take advantage of. Costco is where I first learned about the Ooma device for free internet phone calls (see www.ooma.com), and I love that BJ’s has things in amounts that a smaller family can use; also, if you are a coupon clipper, you can use them at BJ’s, while at Costco you cannot.
One of the other links here mentions Costco’s free car buying service, a boon for those of us who dislike the car buying and negotiating process. I plan to check out their inkjet cartridge refill service next time I am in the store.
AARP is not just for retirees. Their website is packed with all kinds of savings ideas. In recent years, they have begun publishing an annual “99 Ways to Save” column that has lots of ideas for young and old alike: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/aarp_save_money/.
If you are in the age bracket for AARP membership (which seems to keep dropping), their $12 membership fee is quite reasonable. Since I am not yet old enough to use anything like their Medigap policies (which historically have been quite useful for folks who need them), you may still benefit from things like discounts on home or auto insurance. I found their road assistance program less expensive than AAA and just as reliable (had to use it once already). Many other resources abound, so check out their site to see what might be good for you.
Senior Discounts in General
Speaking of senior discounts, a recent Wall Street Journal article alerted me to some I was not aware of. The definition of “senior” seems to keep dropping for some things, and they don’t necessarily require AARP membership: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324564704578626073439018976.html
If you are hesitant to use these because of vanity, personally I would just accept the discount gracefully and embrace it. Some do it with more joy than others (my husband was delighted to receive an “old farts rule” hat, since clerks then automatically give him a discount), but our progression through life is inevitable, so go with the flow.
These are a lot of savings resources if you peruse these sites, so I’ll close here. Just remember to focus on a few at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.